There are specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world that you have to understand before you can awaken to a simpler, happier life.
Sometimes we make life more complicated than it is. We attach our happiness to achievement and then look for it in all the wrong ways and in all the wrong places.
Of course, you don’t have to live like this. If you feel like you are, it’s time to simplify things. It’s time to clear the air and get back to the basics.
Simplifying your pursuit of happiness is not seeing how little you can get by with – that’s poverty – but how efficiently you can put first things first, and use your time accordingly to pursue the things that make a difference and mean the most to you.
Here are eight ways to do just that:
1. Lose yourself in something that moves you.
To truly flourish in life you have to let go a little, lose yourself in the moment and become fused with other people, experiences, and tasks.
This happens sometimes when you are engrossed in a challenge, or when the artist inside you becomes one with the creative task at hand. It happens sometimes while you’re playing sports, or listening to music, or lost in a good book, or when you feel completely enveloped by another’s love. And it happens most when you emotionally connect with someone who shares your visions.
In other words, long-term happiness isn’t just about conscious achievement; it’s also about the unconscious part of your mind naturally intertwining with the ideas, passions, work, people, songs, and stories that move you.
2. Know what you want and commit to it.
The words ‘aware’ and ‘commit’ are so powerful. It’s amazing what you can do once you’re aware of what you want and you commit to doing it. If you can honestly say that you are fully aware of your desires and what they entail, and that you are devoted to doing what it takes, you are already in a high spirited state of mind.
Being aware and committed means you are informed – alert, knowledgeable, prepared – and you have the mindset to visualize, strategize, focus, and achieve.
The more aware you are of life and its difficulties, and the more committed you are about how you handle both good and bad situations, the less stressful life will be in the long-run.
3. Guard yourself against dream crushers.
Stop sharing your dreams with people who try to hold you back, even if they’re the people who are supposed to support you – parents, siblings, friends, etc.
If you’re passionate about something out in the world that you want to explore – an interest that’s a little different than the norm – something that makes you a bit EXTRA-ordinary, you’ll never get there if you listen to people who keep telling you you’re not extraordinary. Instead, you’ll likely settle into the comfortable, ordinary role they expect of you. And that’s not likely a happy place for you.
4. Find the right day job.
Lack of passion is fatal. Happiness is spending your life in your own way. This is especially true when it comes to lifelong work.
Your day job should be the place where your interests meet the world’s needs.
If you want to pursue happiness through your work, don’t look at a list of popular trades, pick one at random and dedicate your time to learning it. Rather, find something that truly interests you… like writing, and indulge your mind in the infinite possibilities of fusing your thoughts with the written word. Or maybe for you it’s boating, in which case pursue a position in the maritime industry and allow yourself to long for the endless immensity of the sea. Or…
You get the idea. When you appreciate what you do for a living, happiness and success tag along.
5. Focus on the way you want to feel.
You will begin to become happier and more successful the minute you decide to be.
Knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have. Generating these feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life.
Your thoughts create your reality: A positive context leads to positive actions, thoughts, and feelings, which gradually lead to positive results. This mindset is the magic ingredient that helps you persevere in the face of challenges, setbacks, pain, and even personal injury.
6. Maintain a flexible, constructive perspective.
Forget all the reasons it won’t work and figure out the one good reason it will. It’s possible that you won’t get the exact results you had anticipated, but that’s OK – it’s still progress as long as you learn from the results you do get. And perhaps with your newfound understanding you’ll discover a way to achieve even better results than you had originally thought possible.
Your choice of perspective has the power to build or demolish. Your mind has the uninhibited ability to take any experience and create a meaning that deprives you or one that can literally make you jump for joy.
7. Drop the comparisons.
Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply understanding that you’re OK just the way you are. Don’t let the silly little dramas and dilemmas of each day get you down. There is no reason for you to feel sorry for yourself, and there is no point in acting in such a way that others feel sorry for you.
Forget about where others are in their lives. You aren’t competing against them; you are supposed to be right where you are. Every life is unique. You were born to do things that have never been done, to understand things that have never been understood. And you’re doing it. The aches and pains you feel are the side effects of personal growth.
How would your life be different if you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about your life and how you think it should be? Let today be the day you look at the positive aspects of this journey that is uniquely yours.
8. Help others smile.
In your pursuit of happiness – as unique as it may be to your own specific needs – don’t forget that you’re a member of a world that is far greater than yourself.
There are simple things you can do daily to lift the human spirits around you – things that are effortless and free and related to your pursuit. And best of all, happiness begets happiness; when you do these things to help others, you don’t just lift their spirits, you lift your own as well.