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Be happy

Everyone looks for the elusive feeling of happiness. It’s hard to describe it because it’s fleeting us most of the time.

In my work with clients, I get curious about how one can be happy in their day to day lives. Turns out, it depends a lot on what choices you make every day, every hour and every minute of your life.

Although happiness could be determined by your genetics, a whopping 40% of how much happy you feel is in your control. Nothing happens if you don’t take action; same is with happiness.

It’s not as hard as it sounds, given you’re conscious of your decisions as you’re making them. Which brings me to the top 10 things to stop doing if you really want to be happy:

1. Not Building Strong Connections

In a study conducted, 10% of the happiest lot had supportive relationships. Science shows that having deep relationships and sharing a great bond with your family ties with high happiness rates in people. People living in Okinawa, Japan live the longest despite being poor. The secret? Their strong family ties.

If you have a good, loving circle of friends, a strong marriage and deep and meaningful connections in your life, chances are you’re happier than the average Joe.

So quit running away from lasting relationships and build more of them instead.  You’ll find a significant boost in your happy hormones!

2. Not Knowing What to Do With Your Anger

Sometimes, it’s good to vent out before bedtime. Rather than sleeping on it, express your rage (if possible) in words. Putting anger into words can well be the way to resolve it.

However, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to it.

At other times, if possible, you may want to let it fizzle by not paying attention to it. Ignoring leads to forgetting. Again, it comes down to how you make your choices.

3. Not Chasing Your Dreams

I’ll tell you this: Chasing your dreams could be the hardest of things you ever take up. It’s tough, it’s challenging and it’s frustrating sometimes.

When I quit my J.O.B back in 2009, I was on fire to get my own business going. Each day, I faced new hiccups in my businesses, but the vision, past successes and passion kept me going.

So yes, chasing your dreams is tough job. But not chasing them? I figure that’s even harder because you die a slow death out of lack of passion. Soon, you realize you’ve stopped really living life. There’s lack of meaning and purpose. You know what you ought to be doing but it’s been so long that you’ve ignored your dreams. It’s never too late to back them up.

4. Not Being 100% Responsible

There are times when your boss pisses you off. Or your employees don’t meet your basic expectations. What do you do?

I remember a quote by my mentor: “You can either be happy or be right. What do you want to be?”

Well, I choose happy, thank you. The constant attempt to “prove” yourself right  in front of your team, your spouse, your mom, your friends is quite draining.

There is an alternative to it — take responsibility for what’s not working in your life right now. I know, sounds harsh. Are you responsible for their faults?

Well yes and no. I am not saying you’re literally responsible for what “they” do. But you are literally, 100% responsible for what happens to you and what you do as an after-effect. You sure can control that, can’t you?

Take responsibility and you’ll automatically do better next time. You’ll try to communicate more transparently; you’ll make sure you pick up the milk on the way home and basically leave no stone un-turned because you’ve discovered a secret: “I’m responsible for my own happiness!”

5. Not Treating Failure As Feedback

I’m sure you know this already but I’ll go ahead and say it nevertheless: FAILURE is not PERMANENT.

It is temporary; it is feedback.

What do you do with failure? Take it in your feedback loop, apply it and as a result, do something new this time.

If your boss is not impressed with the way you do your reports, ask them what they want instead. This does not mean you failed; it simply means you’re seeking feedback.

Next time, apply that feedback and show them your work. They’re bound to notice your amazing new attitude.

6. Not Really Listening

I always wonder if human beings have invisible antennae on their heads like cockroaches. (I sure do.) They seem to instantly pick it up when I’m not listening to them.

The next time someone’s talking and you catch yourself day-dreaming whether aliens exist, bring yourself back to earth. Apologize and promise to give them your full attention. Focus on them. Listen to what they are saying.

And for God’s sake, stop formulating responses in your head while they talk. You can always pause before answering if you have to.

7. Not Contributing

Someone once told me that teaching is the best form of learning. I live by that philosophy.

It’s so easy to consume, grasp, learn, take in without finding any need to share. If you’re reading 10 books in a year, more power to you! But what are you doing with all that knowledge?

It’s like empty calories — you take them in but they do not contribute positively to your health in any way.

A few years ago, I realized I had become a personal development junkie. I consumed so much, without releasing any of it. Now that I think of it, it was not only selfish of me but also very stupid. Argh.

We don’t know how long we’ll live or when our time’s up. Our contributions will always shine through generations after generations. If this strikes true to you, and you go ahead to share this wisdom with your children tomorrow, and they share it with their children, am I not leaving behind a legacy of sorts?

That in itself gives me goosebumps. That’s what makes me happy. That’s what I live for.

And you?

Image:  Neal.

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