Happiness: 5 Mistakes You May Be Making 237

happiness

 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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What the Richest People in the World Have in Common 6

What the Richest People in the World Have in Common

Getting rich is something everyone dreams about.

For those facing financial hardships, getting rich seems the only way out to tide over shortage of money. For the bourgeoisie – the working class – getting rich conjures up visions of stuff they want to buy for luxury or higher social status. Millionaires also wish to get rich: they want to become billionaires and enter Forbes List of the world’s wealthiest people.

Unless you inherit a fortune or get lucky at lottery or sweepstakes, getting rich can be quite tough.

Yet, there are countless rags-to-riches stories around the world. Enterprises such as Amazon, KFC, Facebook or SpaceX have become runaway successes within a short span. The reason: their founders have several things in common, which is rare among other people.

Here we look at various traits that the world’s richest and most successful entrepreneurs have in common.

The Common Traits of The World’s Richest People

The Common Traits of The World's Richest People

1. Serving People.

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it,” said John D. Rockefeller, who laid the foundation stone for America’s giant petroleum industry and his own enterprise, Standard Oil. The same adage holds good today.

Facebook, for example, was launched by Mark Zuckerberg and his roommate, Eduardo Saverin to allow Harvard University students to share profiles and pictures

There are countless such examples of ordinary people striking rich. However, they share one thing in common: serving people. The main objective of launching these enterprises was to make life easier or enjoyable for people rather than earning money.

2. Reading Books.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, celebrity TV show host Oprah Winfrey, SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Berkshire-Hathaway CEO Warren Buffet and several other extremely rich people of the world have one more thing in common: they are avid readers.

Bill Gates reads at least 50 books every year – an average of nearly four and a half books per month.

Elon Musk owes his success at SpaceX, the project to open space tourism to his love for books and the knowledge he gained from them about rocketry. Oprah Winfrey attributes her success to dozens of books, including some 70 top titles she read on her way to success while Warren Buffet spends about 80 percent of his day reading books.

3. Long-Term Financial Strategies.

A report by CNBC states, all wealthy people depend upon long-term financial strategies rather than short-term gains. They utilized their earnings and savings to invest in safe stocks that would assure gains in the long run rather than indulging in risky trading that can offer high returns.

Such financial planning and decisions ensured they do not lose money. Further, they invested money in their enterprises without the hope of immediate returns.

These wealthy people first focused on building a brand, offering value for people to identify with the brand. And later, popularize the brand through word-of-mouth publicity, which is more effective than traditional advertising.

4. Never Say Die.

Yet another common character trait shared by the world’s richest people is, they are not quitters.

Like every other human on Earth, these wealthy folks also witnessed ups and downs in life. Some of these were so overwhelming most ordinary people would have called it quits and gone in search of easier ventures.

Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Bleckharczyk, founders of Airbnb, the world’s largest hotels and accommodations aggregator were plagued with financial problems.

 

Heavily encumbered with debts, bankruptcy was staring at these entrepreneurs in the very eye. Yet, they did not budge. They innovated their service that made Airbnb the world leader in its field today.

Another excellent example is Colonel Harland Sanders, whose recipe for fried chicken was rejected as many as 1,009 times before it was accepted. Col. Sanders is the founder of global chain Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC.

5. Accepting Criticism.

Most people flee from criticism of any sort. Rather than learning from negative comments arising out of their behavior or work, they take umbrage rather quickly. Yet, they do not bother to amend their behavior or work pattern.

All wealthy people, however, are different. They are willing to be criticized for introducing new ideas or thoughts.

Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, rightly says that those who will try and do something new must be willing to draw criticism.

Steve Jobs, founder, Apple, Inc. puts it in even stronger words: “If you want to make everyone happy, do not become a leader; sell ice cream instead.”

The success of Amazon and Apple proves their founders were right when it came to accepting criticism.

6. Out of The Box Thinking.

how regular life looks like and why it won't make you happy

Thinking outside of the ‘box’ or a typical mindset is often impossible for most people. Understandably, because everyone draws their mindset from factors and circumstances they are raised and educated in.

This mindset eventually becomes a formidable fetter for anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur. Generally, most people follow the flock and take professions they falsely believe as best suited for their skills. Others try to follow footsteps of their parents.

The wealthiest people in the world never followed flock or took lucrative professions of their parents.

Mark Zuckerberg’s father was a dentist and mom – a psychiatrist. Bill Gates’ dad was a banker father while his mother was a lawyer.

Despite coming from wealthy families, they chose to follow their passion rather than confine their thinking to the proverbial boxed mindset. Col. Sanders had lost his parents at a young age of six years and had to shoulder responsibilities of his siblings.

Other Examples of What The Wealthiest People Have in Common

As we can see, these qualities or personality traits are common to the world’s richest people. It sets them apart from others. Most of them launched small enterprises with the sole purpose of bettering the lives of people. Their products or services gained popularity because money was never their consideration. Widespread use of their technology, products, and services eventually led them to become wealthy.

These traits are not typical to the US or the western world, as one may mistakenly come to believe. A glance at some richest people in India and elsewhere also reveals, they share the same characteristics with their American counterparts. This amply proves that richest people around the world share something in common, regardless of where they live and flourish.

Another common trait that all rich people share in common is philanthropy.

Since childhood, they believe in giving back to the society and helping the underprivileged. They practiced charity when they were not so rich and continue to donate money for the betterment of the society even after becoming billionaires.

These richest people on the planet never waited to become wealthy. Instead, they were philanthropists since childhood – a trait most other people pathetically lack or try to foist upon themselves to gain popularity.

In Conclusion

It is not easy to become wealthy. Or everyone would become a millionaire. People who do make it to the top have a different way of thinking combined with an undying zest for learning new things and educating themselves.

They do not consider conventional learning at universities as the end of their education. Instead, they try and acquire new skills every day and find ways and means to become better humans rather than focusing on fattening their purses.

The world’s wealthiest people also share one common trait: they are not people pleasers, despite their generosity and willingness to serve the society. Because they know, trying to please everyone will get them nowhere and could mean possible failure.