Bad stuff happens to everyone. But life isn’t about what happens to you. It’s about how proactively you respond.
Rather than being reactive to what’s going on around us, happy people take control of their lives and emotions. If you are unhappy with your life, who or what else can you blame than yourself? And if you can blame someone or something else, how is blame going to make your life any better?
An article in thriveglobal.com lists a few behaviours which can change your life if applied.
* Never be too specific on an outcome. Not everything in life goes exactly how we plan. There are setbacks. Stuff happens. We mess up. Over-obsessing and basing happiness on specific outcomes leads to misery.
* Define your own success and happiness. No two human beings are the same. So why should we have one standard of success? Seeking society’s standard of success is an endless rat-race. There will always be someone better than you. You’ll never have the time to do everything.
Instead, you recognise that every decision has opportunity cost. When you choose one thing, you simultaneously don’t choose several others. And that’s okay. Actually, it’s beautiful because we get to choose our ultimate ideal. We must define success, wealth, and happiness in our own terms because if we don’t, society will for us?—?and we will always fall short.
We will be stuck if we keep comparing ourselves and competing with other people.
* We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. Commit 100 percent to the things that make you happy.
Unless you’re committed 100 percent, you will always be a victim to external circumstances. By relying on willpower, you’ll crumble more often than you think. Research has found that people over-inflate their own performance. Chances are, you probably think you’re doing better at your resolves than you really are.
But once you’re 100 percent committed, you no longer need to rely on willpower. Your decision has already been made regardless of the circumstances. Saying 'No' to anything outside our highest ideals becomes extremely easy. This is living proactively rather than reactively.
* Happiness is as simple as gratitude. Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits in the physical, social and psychological aspect.
Despite these benefits, most people ungratefully focus on what they don’t have. As a culture, we have become wasteful and undisciplined consumers. The grass is always greener on the other side. A constant pursuit of having more of the newest and best.
* This may be strange, but if you tell your friends and family you love them, they’ll be blown away.
A Polynesian missionary said 'When I tell people I love them, it not only changes them, but it changes me. Simply by saying the words, I feel more love for that person. I’ve been telling people all around me I love them. They feel treasured by me. Those who know me have come to expect it. When I forget to say it, they miss it.'
* Most people’s hobbies are just hobbies. And that’s okay. It’s good to have an escape from reality. However, research has found that a person can experience leisure in anything. Your work can become your leisure?—?where it literally rejuvenates you. Have hobbies directed toward your dreams.
*Nothing in life is permanent. Kids grow up. Friends move away. Our loved ones pass on from this life. Let’s live in the present and appreciate the most important things in our lives before it’s too late.
Happiness comes from embracing the now. Not letting those moments pass you by.
The future value of time is far less than the present value. Yet, people 'defer' happiness to someday in the future. In so doing, they forfeit experiencing the moment and being happiness now. You must find joy in the journey, because there really isn’t a destination. Goals are means, not ends. Progress is eternal. The process is everything.
*Happy people step out of their comfort zone. You can’t grow if you don’t challenge yourself. And growth is a requirement of happiness. If you’re not growing, you’re slowly decaying and dying.
Elevated risk makes you feel more alive and puts you in a state of flow?—?which is an optimal conscious state where you feel and perform at your highest level. You become completely absorbed in what you’re doing?—?pure presence.
When you do things way outside your comfort zone, you naturally raise your conscious level. When you do things that involve high risk, and high probability of failure, you are forced to think differently than you normally do. You are forced to be creative and innovative.
* Happy people always put the important stuff first. Not only important, but important and non-urgent. The important stuff includes exercise, reading good books, setting goals, writing in your journal, and spending time with those you love. None of these things are urgent. We could easily put these things off until tomorrow?—?which is ultimately never. The most happy and successful people in the world spend most of their time on the important.
* A lot of things in life are good, even great. That doesn’t mean we should do them. In Good to Great, Jim Collins says that once-in-a-lifetime opportunities come up every day. Most people take any great opportunity that comes their way, even if it’s not in alignment with their life vision. Consequently, most people’s lives are moving in a thousand different directions. They aren’t able to consciously move forward in a singular direction.
On the other hand, happy people say no to even amazing opportunities. They will not sacrifice freedom for security. They will not get derailed by distractions?—?even sexy and attractive distractions.
Very few things in life are best. You can only determine what’s best for you once you know where you want your life to go.