Happiness is not something you postpone for the future;
it is something you design into the present.
Happy people do a lot of things. They spend time expressing gratitude, cultivating optimism, practicing kindness, nurturing loving relationships, committing to meaningful goals, savoring life’s little pleasures, and so on and so forth.
But they NEVER…
1. Mind other people’s business.
Forget about what others are doing. Stop looking at where they are and what they have. Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves. So stop the comparisons! Ignore the distractions. Listen to your own inner voice. Mind your own business.
Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day. Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it. Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be. Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU. Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you. (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Passion and Growth” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
2. Seek validation of self-worth from others.
When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you. And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.
How are you letting others define you? What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you. People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life. So forget what they think and say about you. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.
Those who accept you are your friends. Those who don’t are your teachers. If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true. If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true. Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem. What other people call you is their problem…
What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.
3. Rely on other people and external events for happiness.
Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need. But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have. We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy. Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such. Don’t let your happiness be held hostage. It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.
As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be. If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault. Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier. Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy. Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.
The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation. Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you. A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like. (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)
4. Hold on to resentment.
Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past. What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.
We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.
Forgiveness is the remedy. It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past. To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you. Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.
5. Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.
You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable. So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.
When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY. When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.
Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself. Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life. You don’t need negative thoughts. They are all lies. They solve nothing. All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason. (Read Buddha’s Brain.)
6. Resist the truth.
It is a certain deathtrap when we spend our lives learning how to lie, because eventually these lies grow so strong in our minds that we become bad at seeing, telling and living our own truth. Lives come apart so easily when they have been held together with lies. If you resist the truth, you will live a lie every day as the truth haunts your thoughts every night. You simply can’t get away from your truth by moving dishonestly from one place to the next.
So don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to hide the truth with deception; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion of what’s popular. It is better to offer no explanation or excuse than a false one. It takes courage and strength to admit the truth, but it is the only way to truly live. Accept what is, embrace it fully, and live for the possibilities that lie ahead.
What would you add to the list? What’s something you should NOT do if you want to be happy? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Photo by: Danorbit
What if you’re happy with yourself but you remain alone without attracting anyone in your life who want you?
And what if you can’t find or if it is out of your financial means to get into a positive environment?
1. Happiness is realizing and accepting the “actual” truth of life i.e this “life” is temporary and will end one day. Thus, don’t stress!
2. Happiness is all about making others happy. One does not require “money” to make others happy. One can give: blessings, one’s time, love, smile, a hug, a kiss, kind words, emotional/spiritual support etc.
Yes, I get joy out of seeing others happy.
Time and effort, knowing people care mean the most. But we do get stuck having to work to live.
I feel good reading these! It’s not me, it’s them.
This is one of the best articles I have ever read. And to add on to that..happy people they never stop praying. They watch and hope. Thanks
Live life with no regrets. The consequences from every choice or decision you make in life is only there to make you stronger and wiser. Obviously, take the time to think what is the worst that could happen and then ask yourself, is it something you can live with and learn from? A ‘mistake’ is just a “step missed taken” and the steps you continue to take upward and forward from that point on will eventually lead to happiness.
barbara stubblefield says
I so agree! Also, thanks for a great article, Marc.
Archie Manley says
Now is the only moment of power we have to be happy. All hopes for the future, and memories of the past only exist now. This moment is where the past and the future comes together.
Kumar Saurabh says
Life is a book. I am the writer of my book. Thanks for reminding me.
Hey, I am an introvert but kinda managed to say thanks. Thanks for your real life platforms. May God bless you both 🙂
Reminds me that it is not life about breaking out of our shells and doing things that make us feel alive – even if there are risks! It’s never too late.
I am soooo guilty of #2…
But, with the help of my hubby, I’m trying hard not to define my self worth with the views and opinions of other people.
Another great read from this site!
Although this is more about being content than happiness, faith in Jesus as my savior is a good way to be happy as well as content.
Also, physical exercise keeps my brain muscles going and releases those happy hormones but a lot of people nowadays forget to keep those faith muscles strong too.
The one I would add to that list is never use the words “I can’t”. Yes you can! There is always a way and always a solution it’s not always the one you wanted or in the shape, color or time you expected but it’s there. If you seek, think positive, work hard and honest it will reveal it self.
When the light is dim just believe..
Do not worry about the future. What’s meant to happen, will happen anyway 🙂
I think being happy for others is equally important as it increases your happiness manifold. I am rarely jealous of others, i know there is more than enough in this world for each one of us.
Rebecca Pursley says
Happy people never neglect their spiritual side.
Karen Shatafian says
This is a great perspective…looking at things that can’t bring happiness instead of what needs to be done to be happy. I feel happiness is something we choose not something we find. There are simple things we can do to be happy. Love your quote, “Keep your best wishes and biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them everyday.” Thank you for posting!
iam chopade says
Just dont expect anything from anyone… just give…..
Most unhappy people are unhappy with themselves, whether they internalize it or throw it out as negativity toward everything and everyone. Empathy not apathy. People like that don’t have the slightest clue who they are. Understanding that others may have this limitation won’t draw you down with them. Enjoy your own company. You’ll be happy no matter where you are.
I think number one on your list is HUGE. I spend a lot of time in my day job dealing with people who have a difficult time with that one. Keeping your mind on your own business keeps you focused on solving your own issues, not letting other people’s issues become yours.
As my dad always says “Don’t make your problem my problem”.
Amazing post! I love the caption under the first image because it’s just so true! Happiness indeed exists only in the present moment, and never in the future.
If I have to choose between the presented tips, I’d say that all of them are excellent, but for me personally number 3 and number 4 were the biggest contributors for my inner disturbance for a while…
Thanks for this great article!
Be a person of integrity…if you don’t know exactly what that means..Look it up!
You will find that you have to rely on yourself a lot in life, so be a person of integrity….you really don”t want to be relying on a person of poor character.
Understand that we are always changing as humans.. it’s alright to change your mind… If you find that what you have been doing isn’t working..change it! change the way you think about it.
and I just recently learned for myself..and I truly hope this is helpful to others…when the storms come in your life..”don’t run from them.. hold on tight and wait them out. They show you the weak spots in yourself. Just like a building structure needs to be inspected after a bad storm, so do we.
This is amazing very helpful. At first I thought I can find happiness from external events. But after reading this I found out that I should take responsibility of my own happiness or unhappiness.
Happy people know the best way to predict future behaviour is through past behaviour.
If somebody is abusive to them they get out of that environment as soon as possible because you cannot change an abusive person. Run and stay away form them and do not look back.
Never set yourself higher or lower than another, no matter if the other is King or Bum. Just walk your own path and let the other do the same! Thanks for your valuble words!
Penny wiegand says
1. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all–and
2. The less you say, the less you have to apologize for.
Carlo Cruz says
Thank you so much Marc! Your blog is really inspiring!
I think happy people also never settle. They are clear with they want and they pursue it relentlessly.
They are also content. At the end of the day, if they take small actions towards what they want, they are already content with what they have done or accomplished. As long as they move the needle on their dreams, they’re already happy.
Thanks again for the great posts! Keep them coming!
RAJA FAISAL says
I must say this is truly heart touching post
Omg!! I just thank God for making me come across ur articles…reading it I feel like I m not the only who feels this way! I hav been hurt a lot becuz I m too nice nd people take advantage…I always let others decide my worth but not anymore! I find tht being thankful for ur life nd standing up for wat u think is right is wat will make ur life awesome! Nd smile at those who r rude to u cuz ur smile will “kill” them 🙂
Irene Wallbank says
Happy people do not feel guilty if they cannot always help others with their problems. If somebody needs a favour and you are unable to help them on a particular occasion you should remember that there are other people around and everything is not down to you.
Lisa Jordie @TheDriftingDesk says
Awesome post. As a blogger, it’s hard to not seek validation from others! You’re always going to get a nasty comment here and there, and at first it’s painful. But I appreciate what you said about about being content with being yourself. It’s something I’m working on every day [hey, we’re only human, right?] Thanks for the super insightful read.
Tony Marino says
Attaching value to experiences instead of material things works well for me. If one takes the time to embrace the simple events in life, e.g. a sunset, he or she will attain pleasure, which will carry over to a general feeling of well being.
Rima Sehgal says
One thing that needs to be avoided is being in ‘the victim’ mode. Self pity will lead us nowhere but make one feel more sorry for oneself and the vicious cycle of blame, feeling victim, grieving the loss would begin.