Similar to success, the interpretation of happiness is unique to each individual’s heart and mind. Despite the wealth of studies conducted to investigate the concept of happiness and the individual factors that influence it, there is no single, accurate metric for which it can be effectively measured.
That being said, there are a number of harsh truths that people often overlook during the pursuit of happiness. This may be a conscious act of ignorance, since these austere facts of life challenge those who are indecisive or lacking in mental toughness. Recognizing these truths will actively empower you to achieve happiness, both in your professional and personal pursuits.
What are these truths and what benefits can you enjoy by recognizing and accepting them as fundamental aspects of life? Consider the following:
1. Life is Short and There’s More to be Embraced
While there is evidence to suggest that the average life expectancy is continuing to rise even in developing economies, it’s a fundamental truth that the typical human existence is relatively short. Although this is not a positive thought, you should consider it as a reminder to make the most of every opportunity that comes your way and live your life to the fullest.
2. Failure is a Fundamental and Necessary Part of Life
While none of us like to fail, this is unfortunately an inescapable and omni-present fact of life that must be accepted unequivocally. Even though you may fear failure, you cannot refuse to accept new challenges simply in an attempt to avoid feelings of disappointment. When you consider that failure is a necessary foundation on which success is often built, it is something that can be embraced and given positive associations.
3. You Have a Lot to Learn Regardless of Your Age
Whether you are a teenager, in the prime of life or approaching your retirement, you cannot deny that learning is a constant process that continues from birth until the day that you die. If you fail to absorb new information or methods of working as you continue to age, you will ultimately cease to evolve or advance in line with social progression.
4. There are Always Factors That You Cannot Control
The course of your life is influenced by a series of factors, from the people you meet, to your health, or the decision others make. Many of these factors will remain outside of your direct control, and it is important that you do not waste your time, talent and emotional energy attempting to influence them. Instead, you should focus solely on influencing the factors that you can control, such as prioritizing your goals and surrounding yourself with positive people throughout your lifetime.
5. Information Should Never be Confused with Knowledge
While it is possible to spend the majority of your life absorbing data and acquiring information, this should never be confused with gaining knowledge. At best, attempting to read information and discussing theoretical ideals merely gives you a philosophical understanding of a particular subject. Experience and practical endeavors provide you with a satisfactory level of knowledge that can equip you to succeed in life.
6. A Busy Life is Not Necessarily a Productive One
If you ever hear people discussing the concept of a ‘busy fool,’ they are referring to individuals who invest vast amounts of time and energy into projects without achieving anything noteworthy. It is a sad truth that many of us mistake business for productivity, in the same way that some confuse an excess of physical endeavor with inspiration. Productivity relies on a more structured approach and the ability to schedule time in a sensible manner.
7. You Cannot Achieve Success in Life Without Providing Value
We have already discussed how the interpretation of success varies from person to person, but this does not mean that there are not fundamental rules that can help you to achieve your goals. It is important not to become preoccupied with a generic understanding of success, or simply aspire to become wealthy and famous without understanding how you intend to achieve these ambitions. You cannot be successful without first providing value, and this requires you to develop in-demand skills and apply them over a period of time.
8. Understand the Clear Distinction Between Thinking and Doing
Theory is a crucial aspect of social, scientific and technological advancement, and it has underpinned some of the most important developments since the dawn of the 21st century. The cultivation of such wisdom would mean little without the efforts of pragmatists, who are happy to stand on the shoulders of giants and use intellectual theory to create a practical application. This perfectly epitomizes the difference between thinking and doing, which is important to understand if you are to strike a productive balance in your own life.
9. The Past Can Never be Changed, Only Learned From
Like failure, our past experiences are the building blocks that help structure our lives and determine all future successes. This should help you to cope with the fact that you will never be able to change your past or the impact that it has had on your life, regardless of your age or the outlook that you have on life. Instead, what you can do is control how you react to past events and learn from them in a constructive and positive manner.
10. You Must Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness
While we all dream of finding love and settling down with a life-partner, there is always a risk that a romantic relationship can end acrimoniously and in heartbreak. This ending can occur because you have an unhealthy view of relationships, and place your heart and happiness in the hands of a loved one. This is extremely counter-productive, as you must assume responsibility for your own happiness and develop a sense of self-worth that enables you to approach relationships from a position of emotional security.
11. There Will Always be People Who Do Not Like You
On a similar note, this inflated sense of security can help you to deal with the fact that there will always be people who do not like you. If you pursue a path in life that encourages you to focus on being a people-pleaser who wishes to avoid conflict at all costs, you will ultimately become discontented and detached from your own goals. Instead, accept that you will never be everything to everyone and focus on being true to yourself in the pursuit of happiness.
12. You Will Get Out of Life What You Put Into It
Life is an exercise in establishing goals, pursuing them and generating some form of return for your efforts. A general rule is that you will get out of life what you are prepared to put into it, whether this relates to love, friendship or professional success. If you remain willing to invest time and effort into delivering value, you will surely secure success over a prolonged period of time.
13. Repeating the Same Activities Every Day Hinders Self-improvement
While there may be staple features of your daily routine, the failure to embrace new lifestyle actions and broaden your range of activities will ultimately hinder self-improvement and personal development. Growth occurs as a result of change or evolution, while such an outlook also exposes you to new and exciting experiences. So although change for changes sake should be avoided, it should be considered as a viable option when necessary.
14. Accept That Change is Intimidating and Will Likely Prompt Feelings of Fear
Before you implement changes into your life, you may experience feelings of fear and genuine trepidation. This is because you are effectively embracing the unknown, which can trigger more significant changes in your life over a longer period of time. You will never be 100% prepared for change or new chapters in your life, which means that you must maintain a willingness to be bold and operate outside of your comfort zone during the pursuit of success.