Hey you! One of the most important questions I ask myself regularly is how we can possibly find happiness? What does it even mean these days? I’ve been thinking about this topic from quite a while now and have come up with an answer for myself in this post! I’ve been thinking about guest posting this on another site because I genuinely believe it has the potential to help a great deal of people lead a better life. But I decided I wouldn’t because this is actually a really personal topic and holds a lot of meaning for myself. Anyways enjoy!
There’s been said a lot on the topic of happiness lately. Books and products promoting the end-all-be-all fix for instant happiness, self-help gurus claiming they can “cure” your depression with their ground-breaking new methods (if you pay their price off-course) and a load more questionable content that will supposedly “fix all your problems.” Me personally, I’m not a big fan of backhanded sales-techniques, overhyping and endless product spam. I like my life simple and structured and that’s exactly the purpose of this blog; To get more clarity and build a better life (for myself and anyone else interested). Pretty much just cutting trough the BS.
Anyway, I’ve been reading some books and articles on happiness lately and have been thinking about what makes us feel truly happy. What makes us feel all these gradations of happiness? From general contentment to exhilarating excitement? I’ve found this a topic worthy to explore and therefore here is my take on how to find happiness
Happiness is a rather vague concept. Something illusive everyone is trying to find these days. Everybody wants to be happy and fulfilled. In my eyes this is pretty much the reason why everyone is alive in the first place.
Everybody has felt “happy” before in their life. It is actually amazing how little clues we take when we’re actually in a happy state. It is only until we feel unhappy that we start asking ourselves what we’re missing? If you are anything like me, – and I presume you are, otherwise you wouldn’t have clicked on this article – you are trying to find some deeper meaning to your existence and more fulfillment in your day to day life.
You know there is more to life than what our environment is telling you. And you are right! I truly hope I’m not coming of as some sort of fraud trying to sell you the latest trend in being happy ;) I’m genuinely trying to spread my take of what it takes to be truly happy.
First off, let me get some things out of the way. I believe all information is already “out there”. Everything you ever wanted to know is already crystal clear in your subconsciousness. You just haven’t come in contact with it yet. So deep inside you, you already know what really makes you happy but you just haven’t realized it yet.
Allow me to show you what you have forgotten. Let’s start off by clearing some superficial misconceptions about happiness. I trust you have realized already that there is nothing external that creates deep and lasting happiness. Happiness is something that can never be found on the outside but always originates from the inside. Therefore money is not the cause of happiness, possessions are not the cause of happiness, fame is not the cause of happiness, … . Anyway you get my point. So what is?
Keys To Happiness
I always like to use pretty metaphors and quotes as they allow me to explain an abstract concept in a very simplistic manner so everyone can understand it (retard-proof). Today I was wondering about the purpose of life while I was staring outside my dorm window.
Beneath my window there is this really tall and strong tree and I started to wonder why that tree does what it does. What is the purpose of its existence? Why does it grow leaves and does it bare fruits? Why does he keep growing from the nutrients it gets and share it with others? Nature is so beautiful simplistic and elemental.
You don’t have to tell a tree what to do in order to live a fulfilling life. You don’t have to tell an animal what to do to be happy. When’s the last time you saw a depressed dog? Those little bastards are always excited and happy! They already know deep inside them what they need to do. As I recognized that we are a part of nature, I realized that we can learn a lot from our environment. In my eyes there are three fundamental keys to deep, lasting happiness and personal fulfillment. They are;
Pretty abstract words, but allow me to explain…
Trees have really strong roots to anchor themselves into the ground. Without roots they wouldn’t be able to stand tall and face their harsh environment. This applies to humans by knowing who you are. (or at least who you want to be) If you know who you are you’ll have a solid base to build your life on. You grow your roots by defining who you want to be as a person and living accordingly.
A tree cannot thrive in loose sand and neither can humans without a solid foundation. Being rooted in your individuality is the first step you need to take in order for you to be truly happy about yourself. To many people fail by not setting certain standards of acceptable behavior for themselves.
“Nothing is more ruinous to a soul than the absence of authentic identity “ – unknown
Next up is actually having a direction and purpose in your life. Without it we just dwell around in this world and we tend to feel useless and get depressed. Find out what makes you tick! What really makes you smile? Insist on it and learn as much about it.
For a tree to grow into the magnificent being it can be, it has a blueprint by which it shapes itself. We need (not should, not want, not better to.. but NEED) to have a plan in front of our eyes by which we live our life. We need to have a sense of direction in order to feel truly happy. A sense of importance. Knowing that we’re making an impact.
The antonym for happiness isn’t sadness. It is boredom. And therefore excitement is what will spike your interest and keep you feeling energized and fulfilled. Fulfillment is essentially the result of growth. The best (and only) way to feel excited and fulfilled is by growing in any of your Areas Of Life.
Every person needs an inclination in which they can advance. Doesn’t matter what area it is. Whether it is in the energy, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, wealth or legacy area of life. Anything that can provoke excitement is the way to g(r)o(w)!
When we improve our physical appearance, grow closer with friends or loved ones, read about topics that interests us or when you get a stronger connection with our maker it all provides happiness because we are growing as a person.
These new experiences we create allow us to grow into a better version of ourselves. Note that excitement is often (always?) found outside our comfort zone. Whenever we overcome our self-defined limitations we start to feel alive again. Challenge yourself to live outside your comfort zone and happiness will be yours. Another related article on this is; How To Feel Alive TODAY! (The Power Of Comfort Challenges)
Another guest post I’ve written on feeling more alive is “9 Awesome Tips To Spice Up Your Life”
“The purpose of life is growth. What doesn’t grow, is dying.” – unknown
What if you’re constantly growing, wouldn’t that get boring after a while? Note that you can’t be happy all the time. There’s duality in all emotions (TBH, in pretty much everything). You cannot know what happiness really feels like if you’ve never experienced sadness. We need the contrast to recognize when we’re growing.
The only thing that block us from being happy even if we are growing, are our expectations. When we don’t live up to the expectations we set for ourselves we tend to become really frustrated and sometimes even depressed.
We create for ourselves an ultimate vision we need to achieve in order for us to be happy. We always forget that happiness isn’t about the results we get. Much like a tree doesn’t care about becoming big and strong, He just changes and improves to suit its surroundings but he is still as happy as when he started as a little twig, (Yeah, I know the feelings of a tree, trust me)
Happiness is about enjoying the process of growth, Happiness is about enjoying who you become by growing instead of what you get from growing. Now there are two ways to clear this blockages,
We can either;
- change our expectations (not lowering) by reflecting on what is true
- we can reach them by focusing our energy more on growth.
Failed expectations are mostly caused by false truths, We set out to reach the impossible in little to no time. We need happiness now! A tree doesn’t care about reaching its destination, he only focuses on growing.
Change your false truths and you will change your reality. Try to determine why you want to have that certain result in the first place! You shouldn’t expect everything to be perfect and live accordingly. Do your best to grow and always give 100%. Realize that growing takes time.
Twigs don’t transform overnight into a huge tree, they grow a bit more ever single day. Persistence is key. To often we’re overwhelmed by our end goals that we get discouraged and don’t even take action in the first place. It’s healthy to compare where you’re at to where you want to be. That’s necessary to create the drive you need to reach a goal. But you shouldn’t obsess over it.
Every journey starts with a small step. It’s as cliché as it can get but the statement does ring true. Stop beating yourself up about some minor shortcoming in the short-term. Try to focus on the things that you have achieved already! Compare your starting point to where you are now instead of your desired end result.
What’s the point in negative self-talk anyway? I hate to admit it, but I’m mostly the only person that’s holding me back from getting/achieving the things I want. But honestly? I’ve grown tired of all the bullshit I’m telling myself, aren’t you?
Try to grow without judging yourself (as hard as it may sound). Allow yourself to make mistakes as all failures are learning opportunities.
The key to clearing your blocks to happiness is basically to live with purpose (by focusing on your goals) and taking persistent action, but be free from outcome. Happiness is the process of becoming, not the end result.
Like a tree bares fruits, humans are also designed to share their talents, ideas and services with others. The third key to happiness is to share your results with the world.
To feel like you truly matter it is important to share your knowledge and insights with the future generation. By cooperation and contribution we can bring our society to the next level.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” — Greek proverb
There is no greater task than service to others (Peaceful Warrior). This is related to humans being social creatures. Don’t you just love it when someone comes to you for advice and you can actually help him with his problem? Helping others provides a great feeling of deep satisfaction that can’t be derived from anywhere else.
Try service, sharing of ideas, art, possessions,… . It gives you the feeling that you matter. Find out something you really love and are naturally good at and try to find a way to help people with that! (or create a way!) How can you provide more, love more, starting today? Try asking people for advice, talking to others.
There’s so many ways to provide for others. The greatest is probably just communication. Understanding deeply and emphatically how others feel and what they are about.
So in short, happiness consists out of only three factors; identity, growth (excitement) and contribution. Pretty obvious, isn’t it? A quick re-cap on how to find happiness;
- People who are confident in their solid identity are less affected by the “turbulence” around them. They live in a happy world they’ve created for themselves.
- People who love something/someone, live longer and are generally healthier and happier than people who don’t. The ones who exercise their passions and actively pursue excitement are the people who smile the most.
- Humans are social creatures and long for mental survival (not solely physical). They want to be liked, accepted, respected and they want attention from others. So go out, find something you truly love and share that with the world! Always give everything you have and don’t settle for anything less than what you’re capable of.
If all else fails… just smile. Demand yourself to be happy, maybe not because your circumstances allow it, but because you deserve to be.
Anyway, those were my thoughts on happiness for today. If you’re having any thoughts or questions on this topic, feel free to share those with me in the comment section below or send me a private message!
If you found this post relevant to your personal life, I want to invite you to share this post with anyone you care about on your favorite social media. I believe everyone deserves to be happy and shouldn’t need to buy a “get happy now” product in order to achieve that state. If these insights have helped you (as they did for me when I first learned them) they have the potential to inspire others!
Furthermore, if you’re interested in grabbing some free self-development tools you can find a heap of those in my toolbox or if you’re interested you can even sign-up to my free life coaching email course which will help you create a better identity, set goals (and actually achieve them) and give you some more interesting insights! Anyways, thanks for reading!