5 Lessons for a Happy Life

A guest post by Shilpan Patel, from success soul

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap. If you want happiness for a day — go fishing. If you want happiness for a month — get married. If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
– Chinese Proverb

While driving on the highway, I stumbled upon a billboard that read, “Be happy now”. I, for a moment, felt jolt of happiness in my body. It was inexplicable but the feeling was real.
I pondered along the way about happiness and its sources. Where it comes from? I started feeling nostalgic. My mind started wandering into the past in an intense search for the traces of happiness. It was exhilarating thought to find the roots of happiness that lie nowhere but in my own thoughts and the ability to react to different circumstances.
I have a habit of writing a journal. The journal tracks my life. It tracks my setbacks, it tracks my success and it certainly tracks my happy days. I went through the journal to capture the lessons of happiness that I can share with you.

Lesson # 1: Make someone happy:
A successful surgeon practices surgery daily; a successful lawyer practices law daily. To become happy, you need to make someone happy. Engage in random acts of kindness. Try to serve others with your time and money. Making someone happy makes you selfless. I have always felt happy when I do not expect any return for the service I rendered. It always makes my day fulfilling.

Lesson # 2: Become debt free:
Debt is an imprisonment to our happiness. It shackles our ability to think and pursue true happiness. Imagine if you are living by paycheck to paycheck, it is hard to have anytime for things that bring happiness when you have to work to make money to pay debt without any relief. You can cut out fat from your spending to work towards paying off your debt. If you start living life of simplicity, you will accentuate your freedom from the debt-ridden life.

Remember, happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have, it depends solely upon what you think.
– Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American writer.

Lesson # 3: Choose to be positive:
Our ability to choose our thoughts allows us to think positively. If we learn how to replace self-limiting thoughts with affirmations, we develop habit of positive thinking. For instance, replace self-limiting thought of – “I do not have enough time to enjoy time with my family.” with “I have plenty of time to spend time with my family”.

Lesson # 4: Be transparent:
I constantly remind myself that to earn trust from friends and family, I have to remain transparent about my actions. I have to show honesty and sincerity in the pursuit of happiness to get support from my alter ego. I have to show her that I’m committed to her pursuit of happiness as much as I’m to mine. Develop transparency with the attitude of showing all your cards to others involved in your life. They will in turn show you their cards; together everyone wins.

Lesson # 5: Live a simple life:
The modern day life is an entangled web of complexity. We live with cell phones, laptops, and pagers. These devices are convenient and they definitely add flexibility to work anywhere in the world. However, we pay steep price for these conveniences. We clutter our minds with information overload. We tend to ignore our inner voice of simplicity to feel true happiness. We tend to ignore the pristine value of our time with family; we definitely ignore the pearls of joy in sharing our laughter with our children. I’m not advocating that we give up on our pursuit of the burning desire, I’m suggesting that we shall always be mindful about de-cluttering our physical as well as mental space to live for a happy, fulfilling life.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
– Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism.

Photo Courtesy of Smugmug