So many people are waiting to feel happy. They think that they’ll be happy when they get this, or they achieve that. But to be honest, happiness is not the result of things you’ve done, but the person you’ve chosen to become. There is a big difference between being happy about things as they are, and being happy with who you are. When you: a) realise that there are things that are going to be out of your control, b) start believing in your own potential, and c) let go of your expectations of others – you inevitably choose you and your happiness, everyday.
When there is progression in everything that we do, whether it is in our careers, personal growth or relationship growth, there is a sense of fulfillment and joy. Our favourite definition of happiness is: “Happiness is to be filthy Rich. Rich in adventure, in health, in knowledge, in laughter, in family and in love.” – Unknown. Imagine how we would all feel if those areas in our lives thrived! Well, they can thrive, by following a few simple principles in creating lasting happiness and fulfillment.
Principle of Choice: Taking Charge.
The first and foremost step in becoming the happiest you can be, is to simply decide to be a happy person. Most people find plenty of excuses to avoid being honest with themselves about who they are, and what they’re wanting out of life. Make the conscious decision to own up to your true potential, and step into your own personal power. Deciding to be happy doesn’t have to be complicated (though it can be easier said than done). Think about the person you are right now. Are you someone who is happy? Someone who accepts life’s ups and downs? Being the best you can be is not the same as trying to be perfect. A quest for perfection is a lost cause, it’s subjective and completely unachievable. We all want the perfect body, perfect teeth, perfect partner, perfect this and perfect that; if nothing you do or have is ever good enough, you will exist in a constant state of dissatisfaction, frustration and disappointment. Release yourself from the burden of perfectionism. This doesn’t mean slacking off, accepting average, or becoming complacent; it is deciding and establishing what is best for you, and committing to that.
The Principle of Presence: YOLO – You Only Live Once.
The most important moment of your life is this one. Right now. Not yesterday, and not tomorrow. Being able to learn from your past is important. It can hold so many answers about who you are, and why you think and feel the way you do. Past experiences will liberate you, move you forward in life, and equip you with lessons to make stronger and wiser decisions about the current path you’re on. Remember though, that the past is the past. There is nothing you can do about it unless you hitched a ride with Marty McFly and Dr Emmett’s time machine (from Back to the Future), so don’t waste your time and energy complaining or dwelling in it. Accept the fact that it is what it is, not what it could have been or what you wish it was. Once you leave those past experiences where they firmly belong, you can focus your energy towards bigger and greater things, and live out the happy person you want to become.
The Principle of Abundance: Have an attitude of gratitude.
When we think of abundance we think of having, which leads to thoughts of buying, which leads to thoughts of money. Worrying about money is one of the biggest causes of unhappiness. Money itself isn’t the problem, but the feelings that people have about money, is. It’s all about the perspective on the wealth and abundance in your life, regardless of your financial position. Do you focus on things that you don’t have? A bigger house, perhaps? Designer clothes, or an Audi R8? Just because there are things you still want, that doesn’t mean you can’t feel grateful for all the wealth and abundance already in your life. An impoverished mentality is a serious affliction. It leaves you focusing on all the things you don’t have, when in reality you probably have everything you truly need. With the consumption-crazy generation that we currently live in, it seems there are many influences leaving people convinced that they simply don’t have enough. But when you understand the difference between a want, and a need, you will finally realise how rich your life really is. There is nothing wrong with enjoying life’s luxuries, as long as your happiness isn’t dependent on them.
Principle of Optimism: Expect the best.
Your expectations in life will determine your experience of life. Simple enough right? If you’re expecting your day to be a good one, it probably will be. So if you expect your life to be good, it most definitely will be too. Optimism and positive expectations are important contributors to experiencing continuous happiness. We need to stop expecting the worst and to stop worrying. Worrying is a complete waste of time. It is an unproductive habit; one that we create and one we need to break. Although sometimes these concerns do deserve consideration, your energy would be better used towards doing something about these things that concern you. Focus your energy on the outcome that you desire and then do what you can to make it happen. If you can adopt an optimistic approach in your life and expect positive outcomes, you will be able to dominate your worries a lot easier. Most of the things that go wrong in life don’t have a lasting impact anyway. Remind yourself that if it won’t matter in a year, it doesn’t matter today.
Principle of Generosity: Paying it Forward.
Being generous is associated with the law of give and take. The more we can give, the more we will receive. Whether it is time, money, love or attention. Generosity doesn’t necessarily mean monetary donations or gifts. Being generous is about so much more than that. It can be a little gesture, treating a friend for lunch for no reason other than ‘just because’, or taking the time to listen to your grandpa’s life stories for the 10th time. Sometimes, being generous is as simple as giving someone the benefit of the doubt. So many people view their relationships as transactional affairs. Keeping tabs on who paid for coffee last, who last called, who purchased the more expensive gift, who booked the restaurant, etc. Don’t sweat the small stuff. One person may contribute more financially, be more generous with their time, their love or their patience, while the other contributes in other ways. For example you may have a friend who never picks up the phone, but will regularly pick up the bill. Serving others especially with purpose, gives you a sense of fulfillment. Always remember to afford yourself the same generosity you give to others, too. You don’t want to be walked over or taken advantage of, or neglected.
We hope that these key principles were eye opening and inspiring to discover or revisit. Perhaps on some level, knowing that the pursuit of happiness is different for everyone will give you a sense of relief; there’s no order in which you need to do things. Keep these principles in mind and implement them into your life. Whenever you don’t feel as happy as you know you could or should, the solution will often lie within these key principles.
Remember, the concept of life itself is an ever evolving, unpredictable, and exciting journey. You’re going to make mistakes. Decide to learn from them, and use them to fuel you to become a better, happier version of yourself. After all, happiness is a state of being, not a state of having.