The Secret of Happiness – Wisdom of the Ages and Modern Sages On How to Achieve Happiness

What is the secret of happiness? While we may say “to each his own,” we can also draw from the wisdom of the ages, and modern sages, to find some of the timeless principles of happiness. With that in mind, the most effective way I’ve found to improve happiness is to own your happiness and grow happiness right under your feet. And the beauty is, you can start your happiness journey from wherever you are.

10 Ways to Achieve Happiness

Here are 10 ways to help you on your happiness journey:

  1. Drive from Happiness. Ultimately, happiness is a decision to drive from. One you flip this switch, you actually set the stage to find excuses to be happy instead of excuses why you are not.
  2. Count what counts. Sometimes it’s the little things that count the most. Don’t let the good stuff pass you by, simply because you didn’t notice. A simple way to do this is end your day by thinking of three of your favorite highlights of the day.
  3. Focus on what’s right, not on what’s wrong. If you tend to walk into a situation, asking yourself, “What’s wrong with this picture?”, then challenge yourself to start asking, “What’s right with this picture?”
  4. Don’t dwell on things. Dwelling is disempowering. To empower yourself, find a new way to look at the picture, and find some simple actions you can take. Action increases your power and momentum, and it’s a way to break out of self-defeating patterns, and find new happiness habits.
  5. Have a short-term view, AND a long-term view. You may not be happy in the moment, but will you be happy in the long-run? This is a fulfillment question. Sometimes the best you can do, is all you can do, and that’s one way to make the most of any situation.
  6. Model the best. Find people in your life that have that sparkle in their eyes, and that skip in their step. What comes naturally to them, may not come naturally for you. Get curious, and find out what makes them tick and how they deal with common scenarios. Get curious, and you’ll find many people like to share what they are good at, including happiness… and it’s contagious.
  7. Spend more time in your values. First you have to get clear on what you value. For example, maybe you really value freedom, or maybe it’s adventure, or maybe it’s time. Spend more time in what you value, and you will start to improve your happiness. You don’t always have to change “What” you do. Sometimes, you can just change “How” you do it. For example, if you like to learn then find a way on the job to learn a little more about what you do, as you do it.
  8. Eliminate or embrace the stuff that holds you back. Sometimes that means accepting things as they are. Sometimes it means, not accepting it and directly addressing it or finding a way to make the most of it. If there is something that significantly holds back your happiness, then face it, and make it a project. Sometimes the best way to increase happiness is to reduce the things that sour our life.
  9. Set your own happiness bar. We don’t all walk around as rays of sunshine, blue skies, rainbows, and unicorns. The trick is to find what happiness means for you, and be OK with that bar, rather than beat yourself up if it seems like somebody else has a higher happiness capacity than you. That just might be their temperament. Instead of go against, the grain, work with what you have, and always remember that happiness is a personal thing.
  10. Make it a skill. If you think of happiness as a skill, then you can continue to add to your bag of tricks, and get better over time. You can draw from books, people, and quotes to build an arsenal of happiness tools that you can use for any scenario. And, like any skill, you’ll get better with practice. Additionally, if you have setbacks, always remember that happiness is a process, and you’ll grow your skills, as you expand your happiness capacity and capabilities.

Have a Short-Term View and the Long-Term View on Happiness

Perhaps, one of the greatest insights of our modern times on happiness is that happiness should be addressed by two questions:

  1. How happy are you?
  2. How happy are you with your life?

The first question is about how happy are you in the current moment. The second question is more about fulfillment. While you may not find happiness in your moment to moment experience, you may be able to turn your challenges into opportunities and work on personal fulfillment and meaning. In this way, you write your story forward, and you can shape happiness for the long run.

Russell Bertrand on the Secret of Happiness

My friend, Dr.Michael, shared with me his thoughts on what Bertrand Russell believes about the secret of happiness. It went like this… “Bertrand Russell believes that unhappiness is largely due to a mistaken view of the world, that happiness is a basic human right – something to be pursued. He concludes that happiness lies in a personality” neither divided against itself nor pitted against the world’ and the ability to swim with the ‘stream of life’.” happiness quotes