Hello friends, and welcome to this month’s Joyinmovement newsletter,
I started thinking about what it takes to live a happy life. Are there secrets to living happily, and as we create our own happiness, what outlooks or beliefs will help us in our journey? I came up with these “secrets” and I’m curious as to whether or not you agree and if you have any “secrets” of your own.
1) There are no guarantees
This is a biggie because the sooner we adapt this way of seeing the world, the easier life gets. It’s regrettable that this is true because we’d all like things to go just as we planned them, but alas they do not. Better to accept that this is true.
There will be occasions when we fail, when people disappoint us, and when the best laid plans don’t work out. If we accept that there are no guarantees then we can regroup much faster and get on with life.
2) Perfectionism is poisonous
You might have your own way of saying this. I’ve heard some say that perfection is over-rated. This is a radical switch from how I used to be, given that I’m a Virgo and we Virgos are known as perfectionists. But the older I get the more I grasp the idea that “good enough is good enough”. We are imperfect beings and we will continue to be imperfect all of our lives. I’m not saying that being or doing your best is not important, but striving for perfection actually gets in the way by causing its share of dissatisfaction, disappointment, and stress. So if you have perfectionistic tendencies, consider my point of view and see if shifting to a “good enough is good enough” attitude doesn’t make you happier.
3) Tame the ego
So many of us want to be the center of attention and to be seen as a “big” person. I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in my life. Taming the ego is important because it will fool and trick us into believing things that aren’t true. We’ll take too much of the credit for our successes and forget to give credit where credit is due. Before ego can be tamed, it must be known. Coming into a healthy relationship with ego takes time, and begins with observing all the ways your ego speaks to you and to the world. The sooner you start working at taming your ego, the sooner happiness will bubble up.
4) You will never have an awesome idea in the office
Someone once told me this, and I think it’s really true. This one may sound strange in an article talking about secrets to happiness but I think the more creative we feel, the happier we are.
Inspiration comes from being in places that are outside the box and outside your traditional working environment. I know I can’t be the only one who has great insights and ideas while showering! Taking long walks or being in nature inspires our brains to see and sense things differently. But don’t fall into the habit of always using your outdoor or exercise time to solve problems. A lot of folks do this and then they forget to stop and smell the roses. Allow your mind to meander and enjoy taking in scenery through all your senses. You’ll surprise yourself because often you’ll come up with great creative ideas.
So take a break and get out of your office or normal work environment more often. Go to places where you can relax more and think less. You’ll feel more creative and happier too.
5) Success is not the goal. Happiness is the goal.
Success, whatever that might be, is not the goal. Happiness is the goal. It’s hard sometimes to think that way because our conditioning says the opposite, that happiness will come from success. We think, “I want to make this amount of money, I want to have this car, I want to take this holiday, I want to live in this home, I want to have this body,” and then I’ll be happy.
But happiness is a choice, not a destination on the road to success. You can make up your mind right now to be happy. When you decide to be happy, you’ll be happy.
While there’s nothing wrong with setting goals for your success, I’d say that if you are happy, you’re already successful. All the rest is icing on the cake.
6) People who win at happiness are people who give.
Have you ever noticed that people who are happy and successful are always giving? They mentor others, they give their time to charities and other causes they believe in, they’ll encourage you or give you some useful advice just when you need it the most, and it’s not about their ego. They also compliment and praise easily, and criticize sparingly. What goes around comes around, and they realize that their happiness and success spreads happiness and success to others.
7) “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” AND “happiness grows on the tree of persistence”
Both of the above quotes are actually Japanese proverbs. The one about happiness is actually MONEY grows on the tree of persistence so I changed the wording a bit!
I like these quotes because they represent the essential secret to happiness and success in life.
There will be many times in life when we will fall down. However, the important thing is to stand up again. Get up again and again and again. I’ve certainly fallen down way more than seven times but I keep standing up and I hope you will too. We do it almost instinctively when we’re kids, but as life wears us down we forget this most important life lesson.
Life constantly evolves and hopefully we become better people as we age. No one succeeds the first time around (even though we often think they do).
So persist and keep getting up, be a giver, put happiness before success, use your mind creatively, tame your ego, avoid the P word, and know that there are no guarantees in life. I hope you’ll share with me some of your secrets to happiness so I can keep expanding my list.
Until next month, find joy in movement and move with joy,