Have you ever said to yourself, “If only I had _______, then I would be happy.”? Perhaps your item of happiness is a bigger house, a nicer car, or maybe it’s a boat. You envy people so much that have these things you want – you figure that you would be happy forever if you had them as well. Do you know what I’ve learned in my short life already? This is an absolute lie.
When we were in grade school, middle schoolers seemed to rule the playground. They were bigger, faster, and could easily push you around. In your grade school days you said, “When I get to middle school, I’ll be happy.”
Then you get to middle school and discover that high schoolers can go out on dates, drive cars, and have so much freedom! Oh, how happy you’d be if you were a high schooler!
Next you envy college kids, then you just want a job that pays well, and soon you’ll be wishing for a wife and children. Then you’ll soon be wishing for the days of peace and quiet again and a retirement from work.
But once you hit retirement, you realize that you no longer wish for future events. You wish that you could go back and live life over again. Except this time you wouldn’t keep longing for something yet to come; you would decide to be happy in the moment of each day and cherish it like it was your last.
5 Keys for Happier Living
Rather than wishing your life away and assuming happiness is yet to come (likely in the form of a shiny new item), put these five keys to practice and begin enjoying life now!
We go through life thinking that it would always be more fun to get, not give. But, giving is what truly makes you happy. You have the privilege of helping someone that might be in need and by accomplishing that need you receive a sense of purpose in this crazy life. By always receiving, your perception of the world will ultimately revolve around you. Instead, by giving you realize that there is much more to the world than your wants and needs, and you ultimately become very thankful and happy for those items you have always taken for granted. Begin to give and your happiness level will rise.
2) Build Relationships
Do you know someone that is old and lonely? Typically, these people begin to get grumpy and disorderly simply because they don’t have any relationships left in their life! Build strong relationships (which, incidentally can come from your giving) and watch your happiness level grow.
3) Take Care of Your Body
Some individuals believe that life is all about building wealth. They work 16 hour days (even over the weekends) and constantly push themselves to the limits, all while ignoring their health. Then, in their mid-50s they have millions of dollars, but also have terrible health and would pay any amount of money just to get their once-healthy body back.
Your health should be one of the most important variables in your life. Without a healthy body, life becomes more difficult and will ultimately bring you misery. Stay active, eat right, and keep your body in shape. You won’t be sorry you did!
I am so terrible at this one, but I am getting better. My brain is always directing me to ‘the next things’ that I need to do, and I very seldom look around and enjoy the world around me. Riding my bicycle forced me to slow down a bit and recognize the beauty that surrounds me each and every day. Stay curious and continue to look at landscapes you may not have noticed before.
5) Keep Learning New Things
Your brain is designed to learn new things. If you work a job that is quite repetitive and does not allow you to use your mind each day, start challenging yourself with something new. Learn to play the piano, take painting lessons, learn about astronomy. Stay curious and you will forever have things to talk about, and you’ll probably just want to keep on learning. Keep your brain active and your happiness level will certainly improve.
Did you notice that “Earning big bucks” was not on the list? That’s because money will not make you happy. Sure, it might be nice to have nice things once in a while, but ultimately stuff is just stuff. It will give you a thrill for a couple of weeks, but will most certainly not provide lasting happiness.
Take note also that these are not the only keys to happiness, but this is a great place to start! Master these five keys and you will no doubt become a happier individual.
What are your favorite keys for happier living?
AUTHOR Derek Sall
Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.