Happiness for Free

Happiness for Free

Many people today are lacking a sense of purpose and direction. Learn how you can use these powerful keys to unlock a more fulfilling life.

This article is based upon the webinar “Money for Nothing, and Happiness for Free” sponsored by Remora.

Happiness means different things to different people, but there are some objective pieces of happiness that I think are pretty agreeable.

I would call it an emotional state that’s characterized by feelings of positivity, optimism, contentment and satisfaction.

Happiness is a natural state for people who are clear about their worth, their purpose, the value of their work and the value of their suffering. To be clear, happiness is not a state of euphoria. Happy people definitely still experience the full spectrum of human emotions, loss, pain and sadness, but happy people tend to be more resilient when it comes to these things, and they don’t get derailed as much or for as long.

Happiness is not the same as pleasure. Pleasure is fleeting while happiness is deeply rooted in a lasting state.

You are what you do. We are the sum total of our actions, and we experience a life that is a result of our choices and our actions. Happiness is also a skill that is inherent in all of us and can be strengthened.

Happiness cannot be pursued, it must ensue.

Happiness is a naturally occurring side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than themselves, their purpose. I don’t know any happy people who aren’t clear about their purpose.

It is a skill, but it’s also a choice, and it’s also your moral obligation to be happy.

Purposeful Work

Our work is our contribution to society. Having purpose in your work is certainly a part of being a happy person. Happy people are mindful and self-aware.

I’ll ask people if they think it’s easier to commit 98% to something or 100%? My vote is for 100%. It’s actually easier to commit 100% to your goal than it is to commit 98%. If I commit 100%, I am not conflicted. Where with a 98% commitment, I leave room in there for doubt, for second guessing. If I don’t have any of that distraction going on, I’m going to be 100%. All my decisions are easy because they’re all based on the same goal.

When it comes to our purpose, you really have to think, “What makes me feel alive?” “What is the thing that I don’t need to motivate myself to do?”  “What do I do because I just love it?” And when you think about what that is, motivation and all that goes flying out the window because you don’t need to be motivated to do what you already love and do what your purpose really is.

Happiness comes from working hard and doing something that matters. That’s where our lasting sense of purpose and our lasting happiness is going to come from.

Your purpose is going to change over the course of your lifetime. So, your purpose and your meaning is important to find clarity on. You can find that clarity by really thinking through what it is that makes you feel alive and what it makes you happy in the moment. That will give you a good signal that you’re right on your purpose.

Everyone’s task is unique, as is their environment and their opportunity to implement it. You have a specific set of opportunities, assets, skills that is completely unique to you. And when you are in alignment with your purpose, you’ll be using all of that and you’ll be happy about it.

Focus

There’s a saying, “I’ve got a lot of irons in the fire” and while that may sound like a good plan, when you’ve got too many different things going, you’re not giving any one of them your full attention.  

Are you saying yes to energy vampires that don’t deserve it? People would love to take up all your time and get all the value they can, but if it’s not making you feel good or making you better for it, then you just have to say no.

When you’re saying no to good opportunities, that’s when you know you’re focused on your real main thing. It’s easy to say no to things that are definitely not a part of your plan. But it’s a little harder when it could be but it’s not quite. Is this a “hell yes” or is this a no?

And so when you’re telling people no, I would very strongly urge you to not use the word “can’t.” When you say, “I can’t do this thing with you,” you’re opening up a litany of whys. When you say, “I won’t be doing this with you,” it means something completely different. It means the conversation is closed. It means that I have already thought this through and I’ve come to a decision and the decision is no. Won’t is so much more impactful at shutting down a conversation that you don’t want to have or you don’t want to be a part of rather than can’t.

Don’t let yourself get easily distracted from your goals. We get distracted because we see an easy path to something that’s acceptable rather than staying on our path to something that’s hard.

Dr. Benjamin Hardy, says, “Success is achieved by being true to your future self. Nothing else.”

By saying no, you’re really saying yes and you’re saying yes to yourself.

The reality is you really have no business expecting things from other people. And if you just take an attitude of appreciation, that’s a much smoother and simpler way to live your life.

You should have high standards for yourself and low expectations for everyone else.

“Start and the pressure will be off.” I saw this on a teabag maybe 20 years ago. I’ve always remembered that whenever I’m feeling pressure it’s because I haven’t done the thing that I need to do.

Stress comes from ignoring things that you shouldn’t be ignoring, something you have control over.

Regarding Disappointments

“Be strict with yourself and tolerant of others,” is a quote from Marcus Aurelius in his Meditations. This is a great way to get around in the world. When we’re disappointed, we often are not taking into account what our expectations were. We just know that we’re angry or upset. And the reality is, without expectations in the first place, there would be no disappointment.

Aurelius says that expectations a choice are at the root of all disappointments. And so oftentimes we have unreasonable expectations of how people are paying attention to us. This is the spotlight effect, which says that we overestimate the degree to which other people are noticing or observing our actions. This is actually liberating. You can stop worrying about what other people think. Just be yourself and live according to your own values. Two traps to be aware of: caring what they think and thinking that they care.

Letting Go

What are some things we can let go of that maybe we’ve held on to for too long? A sense of entitlement would be one. I think that’s worth letting go of. Self-doubt, that’s not helpful. Resentment for others’ success. How is this helping you? And let go of negative talk, negative talk too around others. Negative self-talk. All negative talk can go. Just let that go.

Let go of toxic relationships. They’re pretty easily identified, and sometimes we hold on way too long. Let go of clutter. Having a clean and organized environment goes a long way toward your mental state. Let go of takers who rarely give. You can identify these people because even though you’ve done a lot for them, they act like you’ve never done anything at all. Let’s let go of the need for compliments and let’s let go of poor leaders and bad advice. I often say that I don’t take advice from people that I wouldn’t trade places with. Oftentimes, the people with the most advice are people we would least like to be like.

But the biggest one that we can all let go of and that no one ever wants to talk about is envy. Envy is a unique human problem because it’s like a secret problem. Nobody ever talks about it, and no one will ever admit to it. But the reality is it happens. We all struggle with it. The way to let it go is to realize that any comparison against you and another person is bogus because you have a completely different background, set of skills, set of opportunities and capabilities than anyone else. So, if you compare yourself to someone else and think you’re better than them, that doesn’t feel good. And if you compare yourself to somebody else and think they’re so much better than me, that doesn’t feel good. The only comparison that really makes any sense is to compare yourself from where you’ve come from and that typically feels pretty good. So, letting go of envy would be a big move toward becoming a happier person and just having a better existence.

Being Better

Writing your goals down is a necessary first step of being better. Establish a clear plan. Don’t just write down your goals but write down a path. Make a path to achieve the goal that you feel like is your purpose and break down each individual step. You can strengthen your confidence by building good habits and systems. Confidence comes from belief, but belief comes from evidence.

For example, I can’t just say I’m an athlete, I have workout. If I’m hitting all my workouts, I’m hitting all the numbers, I’m building evidence. It’s much easier to believe that I’m an athlete.

Evaluate your time. “I don’t have time,” is a lie that we all tell ourselves. If it was important, you’d have time for it. If you loved it, you’d have time for it. If it was part of your purpose, you’d have time for it. Not everything is worth your time, but generally when people are saying, I don’t have time, they also spend all their time watching Netflix and scrolling through their phone. So, it’s not that you don’t have time, it’s just you don’t have time for that.

Start small. Break down big tasks into smaller, manageable pieces and hold yourself accountable. Self-accountability puts you in control, and it’s easy to hold yourself accountable when you’re doing what you love. Consistency is key. Some days don’t work out as planned, but you’ve got to get back on the horse.

If you want to improve your writing, read more. If you want to improve your thinking, write more. If you want to improve your storytelling, present more. If you want to improve your energy, rest more. If you want to improve your understanding, teach. If you want to improve your network, give, and if you want to improve your happiness, appreciate more.

Being addicted to learning is a skill that is inherent in being a happy person. You should be a lifelong learner. When you are learning, you’re moving through the world in a whole different attitude because as you learn more and more, you realize how much there is to learn. It’s kind of a paradox that the more you learn, the more you realize that there’s so much more to learn.

To watch Christian’s webinar this article was based on, please go to: https://app.webinar.net/GnoR6BqWb8E?mcc=ASwebsite.

He dives into why he recommends each of the following books and their messages that have had an impact on his life.

Suggested reading:

Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor E. Frankl

Meditations, Marcus Aurelius

Hardwiring Happiness, Rick Hanson, Ph.D

Atomic Habits, James Clear

Be Water My Friend, The Teachings of Bruce Lee, Shannon Lee

Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, Greg McKeown

The Art of Exceptional Living, Jim Rohn,

Who Not How, The Gap and the Gain and 10x Is Easier Than 2x, Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

Be Your Future Self Now, Dr. Benjamin Hardy

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