Everyone wants to be happy but few of us ever get to that state. I can think of a few people in my life who seem to be truly happy. Top on that list would be my immediate younger sister. She doesn’t have much; no car(s), no house and no stable income. She has three sons and is a single mother and yet she is happier than most people who actually have much more ‘stuff’ than she does.
Truth be told, I envy her and have told her as much countless times. She is the type that we love to label ‘carefree’ but in a cool sort of way. I think in a way, she has it right on so many levels and maybe it wouldn’t hurt if I emulated her some.
To start with I will, as much as possible, try to live a simpler, less worrisome life by abiding by these rules taken from what others have learned by experience.
1. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Everybody starts out in a different place and is headed on their own journey. You have NO idea where someone else’s journey might lead them, so drawing comparisons is a complete waste of time.
2. Never obsess over things you cannot control.
While it’s often important to know about other things–like the economy, the markets that you sell to, the actions that others might take, your focus should remain on what you actually control, which is 1) your own thoughts and 2) your own actions.
3. Know and keep your personal limits and boundaries.
While your job might sometimes seem like the most important thing in your world, you’re killing a part of yourself if you let work situations push you into places that violate your privacy and your integrity.
4. Don’t over commit yourself.
It’s great to be enthusiastic and willing to go the ‘extra mile’ but making promises that you can’t reasonably keep is simply a way to create failure and disappointment. When you say ‘yes’ to everything, you only succeed in spreading yourself too thin and end not giving your best.
5. Remember you get the same amount of time every day as everyone else.
You may feel you’re short on time and that you need more of it, but the simple truth is that when the day started, you got your fair share: 24 hours. Nobody got any more than you did, so stop complaining.
6. Don’t take yourself so seriously; nobody else does.
The ability to laugh at your yourself not only makes you happier as a person, it makes you more powerful, more influential and more attractive to others. If you can’t laugh at yourself, everyone else will be laughing behind your back.
7. Daydream more rather than less.
The idea that daydreaming and working are mutually exclusive belongs back in the 20th century. It’s when you let your thoughts wander that you’re more likely to have the insights that will make you both unique and more competitive.
8. Don’t bother with hate; it’s not worth the effort.
Hate is an emotional parasite that eats away at your energy and health. If something is wrong with the world and you can change it, take action. If you can’t take action, you’re better off forgiving and forgetting.
9. Make peace with your past lest it create your future.
Focusing on past mistakes or wrongs inflicted on you is exactly like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. You’ll keep heading in the same direction until you collide with something solid.
10. Don’t try to “win” every argument.
Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and many people are easier to handle when they think they’ve won the argument. What’s important isn’t ‘winning’ but what you, and the other people involved, plan to do next.
11. Remember that nobody is in charge of your happiness except you.
While some work environments are inherently difficult, if you’re consistently miserable it’s your fault. You owe it to yourself and your coworkers to either find a job that makes you happy or make the best of the job you’ve got.
12. Smile and laugh more frequently.
Did you know that when you laugh the body releases ‘endorphins’ (health-enhancing’ hormones) and suppresses the ‘bad kind’? The best thing about all this is that the body can never tell when you are laughing for real or when you are faking. So go ahead and find reasons to smile. Never, ever suppress a laugh.
13. Don’t waste precious energy on malice and gossip.
Before you tell a story about anybody else, or listen to such a story, ask yourself four questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it kind? 3) Is it necessary? and 4) Would I want somebody telling a similar story about me?
14. Don’t worry what others think about you; it’s none of your business.
You can’t mind read and you don’t have everyone else wired into a lie detector. Truly, you really have NO IDEA what anyone is REALLY thinking about you. It’s a total waste of time and energy to try.
15. Remember that however bad (or good) a situation is, it will inevitably change.
The nature of the physical universe is change. Nothing remains the same; everything is, as the gurus say, transitory. Whether you’re celebrating or mourning or something in between, this, too, will pass.
16. Trash everything in your work area that isn’t useful or beautiful.
Think about it: you’re going to spend about a third of your waking adult life at work. Why would you want to fill your work environment–and that part of your life–with objects that are useless and ugly?
17. Believe that the best is yet to come, no matter what.
The best inspirational stories are about normal people who just wouldn’t give up on their dreams. No matter the odds, these people held on and today we celebrate their courage and call them heroes. Allow the ‘hero’ inside of you to take over for a while and live your best life now.
18. The only person you can change is yourself.
Believe me, as much as we’d like to, we have no power over another human being, unless of course they allow us. So, instead of grumbling and losing sleep over what is ‘wrong’ with your spouse or your child, how about trying to change your own attitude and you will find that life does indeed become easier and more beautiful.
19. Be Kind.
We live in a world where kindness is treated as a weakness and where we are taught to fight for our ‘rights’ while we are still in diapers. But to be truly happy, you have to give up your own ‘rights’ and fight for someone else’s ‘rights’. We are happiest when we make others happy.
20. Take care of your body. It is your first asset and the only one that serves you for life.
A farmer who expects to get the best out of his piece of land will go to great lengths to ensure that the land is in its best state at all times. It amazes me how we always take our bodies for granted and expect them to perform properly at all times. Make the small adjustments: exercise, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, learn how to manage stress and try to live in a balanced way. Be a kind master and your body will be a loyal servant.
Do you have any rules that you live by? You are welcome to share them in the comments box below.