Happiness: 5 Mistakes You May Be Making


 This post is a sneak peek into my book “The Tao of Happiness” .

Are you happy?

That is the one and only question I ask the people I love when they are in doubt, have to make a decision, analyze their relationship, understand whether something is right for them and what they should do about it.

I simply ask them if they are happy. And depending on the answer, I let them make the conclusion and decide what is the best thing to do.

I don’t want to interfere, because the answer is somewhere inside them. I just try to help them find it. Sometimes it’s right in front of their eyes.

Isn’t that the right question for everything?

If you’re not happy with someone, then there is no point in keeping that relationship. If you’re not happy with your job, quit. If you’re happy with the body you have and don’t want to do anything to change it, okay then.

 It’s all about whether it makes you happy or not. That’s the ultimate technique when in doubt or have to make an important decision.

The problem, however, is that most of us don’t really know how to be happy. We may try to find happiness, to fix our current situation, or to change things. But eventually we find ourselves in the same old state – wondering if we’re happy.

I think it’s because we tend to make a few crucial mistakes when it comes down to happiness.

5 Happiness Mistakes (And What to Do Instead)

1. Too much effort.

People think they need to do something in order to be happy. Then they start working too hard, pushing themselves to the limit, expecting too much, waiting for happiness to come and so on.

That is so wrong.

At some point you’ll realize you’ve spent a lifetime trying to reach a certain state when it was in front of your eyes for the whole time.

The beauty of happiness is that you feel perfect because you’re okay with everything, you’re grateful, things are easy and just the way they should be.

So you don’t need to make any extra effort, to put too much pressure in what you do or to make it hard and complex.

Instead, look around. If you let go of all the pressure you’ve brought in your life things might just get better.

2. It’s a destination.

Many people think happiness is a goal, a destination, something that is out there but which they will reach in the future. And they think they will feel great when they find it and reach that goal and everything will be just fine.

But it’s not. Because the future never comes. Or if you had some kind of a deadline, when you reach it, things just wouldn’t be what you expected. We will then be aiming at something else and satisfaction will never come.

We forget that happiness is now. Right here. And nothing will be different even after a decade if we still remain blind for what we have.

Happiness doesn’t depend on goals. And when you connect it with something in the future, you’re denying that it’s now.

What you need to do is stop making so many goals and plans, to spend less time in the future, and to live more in the present moment. Because happiness is right here and right now. It’s your choice whether you’ll open your eyes for it and enjoy it or let it go.

3. It’s in outer stimulus.

You try to raise your level of happiness by buying stuff, going to different places, going out, having one relationship after another.
Or worse – by overeating, alcohol, drugs, online life, etc.

And it may work for a while. But after that don’t you feel an even bigger void inside of you? Don’t you want to fill it with even more of what you usually do?

That’s a self-destructive behavior. The thing is that you will never feel better for real unless you realize you need to make some changes on the inside.

 Happiness is an inner state. It doesn’t really matter what we have, do, who we meet and how we fill our time. The only important thing that defines our happiness (or the lack of it) is how we react to things, what our attitude towards life is, if we enjoy it, if we are in harmony with ourselves and full of appreciation and positivity.

4. Always on the go.

The normal way to live these days is to be always busy, in a hurry, with no time. The streets are full of people who are literally running from one place to another.

Now imagine someone on these same streets who is walking slowly, with a smile on his face, breathing deeply and just looking around. We would probably think he’s insane, right?

The truth is that he’s happy, while all the other people that are in a hurry, are not. Because they just don’t have the time to stop and feel this way.

Happiness doesn’t mean you need to do something. Most of the things we’re busy with are just commitments and tasks we think we need to do, when actually we don’t. Because even if we don’t do them, the world wouldn’t come to an end.

So my advice is to slow down and enjoy life more. I’m talking about all these little things around you, people you love, daily activities and things you like doing. Find contentment in living slowly and take your time.

5. Follow the rules.

These people – the same that are always busy and going somewhere – think that they need to work hard in order to have money, so that they can buy stuff, and probably … be happy with all that at some point.

They go by the rules. But who invented those rules? And where are they leading us?

It is said that we need to do this, say that and behave in a certain way. “Authorities” and “experts” even go so far that they tell us when exactly to do everything and in what amount so that we can be happy.

And the result is that we need to sleep a certain number of hours, go to bed and wake up at a certain time, have a degree in something, then find a job in this field and spend years sitting behind a desk, marry at a certain age, and so on, and so on.

From my observations, people who strictly follow these rules aren’t happy. They are always seeking for the great balance between life and work, work and family, studying and social life, relationship and friends. And they want to control all these areas in their life so that things can be predictable and just as they’re supposed to be. They also loose themselves in their desire for security.

And because they’ve always been perfect in everything, society expects them to remain so. And this is huge pressure for someone because he can’t do what he wants, he can’t take spontaneous decisions or even try new things.

I don’t really want to live that way. If you ask me, happiness is more of a whim rather than a strict plan on how to live every day of your life.

So do what you enjoy, eliminate the things that don’t make you happy and don’t live by someone else’s standard. People will always criticize you and following conventional wisdom and rules will rarely take you somewhere in life.

And anyways, what’s the point of doing anything if it doesn’t make you happy?

Instead, embrace simplicity. Find joy in this very moment and appreciate everything around you. Life is beautiful and you’re happy. You just need to let go of everything else that is not essential so that you can see it and feel it.

See also:

The Only Guide to Happiness You’ll Ever Need

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How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money

How This Family Guy Makes $10,000/Month Online Teaching Others How to Make, Save and Invest Money - Interview with R.J. Weiss from TheWaystoWealth.com

This is an interview-style post with R.J. Weiss from The Ways to Wealth.

Hey R.J. What’s your background and what do you do?

I blog about all things personal finance at The Ways to Wealth.

Before I went full-time into blogging, I spent ten years in the financial services industry. Specifically, helping families buy the right type of life insurance.

During my time with a full-time job, I’ve always had different side hustles going on. From freelance writing, Amazon FBA, conversion rate optimization, to website design — there were many projects I pursued outside of work.

How did you start your career in finance?

I got started in finance straight out of college working for my the family insurance business. As I love the financial planning side of things, I choose to specialize in life insurance planning. This led me down the path to obtaining the CFP® Certification.

What made you start blogging?

The Ways to Wealth, which I started in 2016, has been my 5th blog.

The others mostly fizzled out most due to a lack of interest. But, in 2009 I started a personal finance blog called GenYWealth.com (no longer around) that had some success.

The idea GenYwealth.com was to write about what I was learning about studying to take the CFP®. The blog was, by all means, a success. I was able to gain valuable knowledge, pass the CFP® exam, earn some extra money and build up a good community.

I then took this knowledge and started a business blog, which allowed the insurance agency I was working for to generate leads.

I started The Ways to Wealth because my passion is personal finance–from investing to travel hacking, I love the challenge of optimizing my finances.

How was The Ways to Wealth born?

I didn’t have much of a plan for starting The Ways to Wealth when I purchased the domain name.

I was actually thinking it would be a niche site, which was inspired by Pat Flynn’s niche site duel. Then, I came across the income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and wisely changed direction to a more traditional blog.

This change came about 6-months after starting to blog.  I did a timeline of the site in one of my income reports.

What worked best when trying to grow the site?

I had a decent knowledge of SEO. So at first, I started growing the site with email outreach. One of the first posts I had about best investing books of all time, had about 15 links to it.

This was nice to start with but was quite slow to build up, as it can take a while to earn Google’s trust.

The big turning point came when I started to understand Pinterest. I spent a few frustrating weeks on the platform, then it finally started paying dividends.

I went from about 100 sessions a day to 1,000, which was huge for me at the time.

How did you get to 3 million monthly viewers on Pinterest?

the ways to wealth pinterest 3 million monthly views

I lay out my Pinterest strategy here. But at the core the idea is to:

1) Write high-quality content that Pinners want to click through, read, and share.

2) Pin to my own and high-quality group boards, with a keyword-rich description.

3) Continue to Pin my best pins across my own boards/group boards, ruthlessly eliminating Pins that don’t perform well.

One thing to keep in mind is impressions don’t mean much on Pinterest. What counts are clicks to your website. So, you want to design not for impressions but clicks.

What aspects of the online business are you outsourcing or automating and how?

The first thing I outsourced was Pinterest design. I’ll design about 30-40 pins a month, so this was big time saver for me.

Of course, it took some work to get going. At first, I hired 5 or so people on Fiverr. I found one decent designer but the work quality deteriorated over time.

I then went to Upwork and posted a job for a  graphic designer. I found a great team down in Argentina, who I’m very happy with.

I’m currently experimenting with working with a ghostwriter. A few of my latest posts have been transcribed from my recording, with the ghostwriter making sense of it all.

I can compile about 3 posts in 90 minutes, then take another 90 or so minutes to prepare them. Saving me around 3-4 hours per post this way.

What’s your main income stream and why do you think it works for you?

My main source of income for the blog is affiliate revenue. It works because the partners I do have are high-quality businesses, who deliver value and solve real problems. This makes it easy to naturally link to such a partner.

When did you start making more than $10K/month and what was the turning point?

My first month over $10K was in January of 2018. In December of 2017, income was around $3,000 and in July of 2017 around $500. So, it was definitely a jump.

What happened then in January?

First, personal finance is at its peak interest in January.

Second, I had multiple Pins go viral.

Third, in November I started driving traffic via Facebook to the site. So, in January I could take campaigns I’d been fine-tuning for a few weeks and scale them.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have a routine I stick to Monday through Friday.

When inside of my designated working hours, I work. When outside of these hours, I’m not.

This is a lot easier said than done. But the thing important for me is not to take work everywhere I go. This means I don’t have any apps on my phone that are work-related (email, analytics, etc..)

What are you 3 best finance tips for newbies?

  • Focus on your savings rate. How much you save is the most important decision you’ll make.
  • Small incremental improvements add up over time. My favorite example is increasing your savings rate 1% every quarter, means you’ll be saving 20% of your income in just 5 years.
  • Study happiness. Become a student on how to increase your level of happiness. The natural result is you’ll want less overtime, making the game of personal finance a lot easier to win.

What books, blogs or podcasts help you stay motivated along the way of growing an online business?

I read a fair amount to keep fresh ideas in my head.

My favorite podcast is The Tim Ferriss Show.

Two blogs I enjoy reading are:

Farnam Street
Barking up the Wrong Tree

And as far as books. I try to read one a week. A few books I would recommend to online entrepreneurs would be:

Deep Work by Cal Newport
The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Pin this post if you enjoyed the interview.

Check out my interview with R.J. from TheWaystoWealth to see how he entered the finance niche, started making money blogging, began bringing traffic from Pinterest and monetizing it with affiliate marketing, and is now making $10,000/month from his online business. #blogger #interview #blogtraffic #incomeideas #income