I have a full list of marketing articles and cool ideas that I’m dying to share with all of you, but after giving it some thought and since most of us in the USA just came back to work after a great Thanksgiving + Hanukkah holiday weekend, I’ve decided to write about a different topic. HAPPINESS! Yes, Happiness, that sometimes elusive feeling that is free but a lot of people hardly ever remember to enjoy.
I’m not going to ask you what is your goal in life, although that would be a good start to find out what would make YOU happy. You can think about that on your own. However, what I’ve found out, is that most people have such lofty goals in their pursuit of happiness that they end up spending most of their lives “in the pursuit” part of it but never quite reaching their destination and “being happy!”
Over the past few months, I’ve read quite a bit about what makes people happy and frankly, the more I learn about it, the more I convince myself that happiness is just around us every day, we just ignore it all the time. It seems like we’re all so focused on or BIG goals, that we neglect to recognize the little happy moments that we encounter along the way.
During some of my research, I came across an article from “The World Observer” online listing 13 Ways to Be Happier. In the article, the author mentions that “without realizing it, many of our thought habits get in the way of our happiness and cause us to get stuck into negative patterns of thinking.” In other words, it’s like we’re holding on to too many thoughts and situations that cause stress and pain rather than liberating ourselves from those thoughts and habits and replacing them with more positive thinking and happier times.
From the 13 situations listed in the article, this is my top five list with my own comments:
- Let go of your complaining. Think about it. We are a society that complains about everything these days. We complain about our jobs and we complain about not having a job. We complain about the weather, traffic, restaurant food, shopping, you name it! Let’s all quit complaining and instead enjoy each moment as a real privilege so we can live lives to the fullest and be happy about it.
- You don’t need to be always right. That’s right! Being right is not a victory. How many times do we get involved in endless arguments with our friends just to prove that we are right? So what? Being kind and happy is far more important than being right. Think about it.
- You don’t need to be always in control. Trying to control everything and everyone is a sure way to “UN” Happiness. Let other people control other situations in your life, chances are, they will do a much better job than you would. Show them your trust and they will make YOU happy.
- Lose your fear. Fear of failure, fear of criticism, fear of what other people think… stop the madness! Be yourself, do what you love and love what you do. The heck with fear and all those intangible feelings that keep tying you down. Liberate yourself from your own fears and you’ll find happiness just around the corner.
- No more self-defeating ideas. Do you realize how many times we create these invisible hurdles and obstacles in our minds that end up obstructing every goal we set along the way? We are our worst enemy when it comes to defeating ourselves. Keep moving forward, swat those thoughts away and help others around you do the same. Happiness can be contagious!
Another favorite author of mine is Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com and author of “Delivering Happiness” a book that I solidly recommend, not just for entrepreneurs but for everyone wanting to learn how to overcome obstacles in life. After describing his path to success at Zappos, he dedicates an entire chapter of his book to the topic of happiness in our personal lives.
He cleverly points out how despite the fact that we all want to be happy and we all want to achieve and reach those worthy goals that we think will make us happy, we actually spend so little time studying the subject of happiness and what it really takes to be happy. Here’s my question to you: Wouldn’t it make more sense that if our ultimate goal in life is to be happy, we would all spend a little more time educating ourselves about the topic, and especially, applying what we learn to our everyday lives?
As I said at the beginning of this article, since I started to learn about happiness, I’ve found more sustained happy moments in little snippets of my daily life than after achieving any large milestone of my life. You may think that buying your first house is the happiest moment of your life, achieving the American Dream and all those clichés,… only to realize that after a while (months, or maybe a year), your actual level of happiness reverts back to where it was before you bought the house. Or the same after buying a new car, or getting a promotion, etc. Those are all great achievements, but other than the ‘temporary’ feeling of happiness, the majority of the times, you realize that you’re just as happy “after” the event as you were “before” the event.
However, before you were able to buy your first house, your new car, get that promotion, win the lottery, etc. how many little moments of happiness have you enjoyed along the way? How about that fun gathering with your friends at a local coffee shop? Or that happy time while gathering your kids for a holiday picture? Or watching your new baby taking his first steps? Or enjoying a quiet dinner with your husband or wife on Friday after work? Or listening to your favorite music while you relax? Or helping a friend with a problem? Or being recognized by your boss for a job well done? Or doing charity work and seeing the smiles you bring to those in need? And the list of happy moments can be endless!