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6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

Happiness seems unachievable to some; it’s easier to scowl so everyone knows you’re real and have been through some pain than it is to smile through the rain. The secrets of happiness are achievable by anyone, though. If you don’t want to spend your last moments on earth reflecting on all the woulda, coulda, and shouldas, than you should take the advice of the happiest people on earth. Here’s what six experts have to say about their secrets of happiness:

Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he envisioned a nation where people could be free to do whatever it is they want to do. The United States of America was founded upon those ideals, and those ideals are still very much the foundation of a modern democracy. Each of these pillars – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – is vital to support the other three. As a free human being, you have not only the right, but the responsibility, to pursue your own self-fulfillment and happiness.

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    Dalai Lama

    Happiness is not something ready-made; It comes from your own actions.

    The Dalai Lama is essentially the Pope of Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas Catholics believe in God, however, Buddhists believe each of us is our own God. Both are perspectives on the whole of humanity, which is a hivemind. In order to understand how a hivemind works, one must simply study Anonymous (or, you could look at the Internet itself on a high level).

    The direction of the hive is determined by the sum of the whole. In order to make the world happy, you, yourself, must be happy first. If you want to be happy, however, it takes work. Even if sitting around doing nothing is your life goal, you’ll have to put forth the effort. To be happy, you must BE happy.

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    Oscar Wilde

    Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 

    Keeping the hivemind in mind (pun intended, but balked at the last minute), Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde divides the world into two factions: those who please with their presence, and those who please with their absence. If you don’t inspire, motivate, and entertain the people around you, it’s not like they just never do anything entertaining. People don’t pause until you return; their timeline progresses, and if you’re not making them smile, they’re smiling when you leave.

     

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      Albert Einstein

      A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit, and a violin – what else does a man need to be happy?

      Albert Einstein defines German engineering: innovative, dependable, and practical. It’s thinking like Einstein’s that defined physics for the human race. His innovations led to the computer, space travel, and so many pioneering achievements. His brilliance wasn’t just in his ability to apply the scientific method, however; it was in his ability to sit and enjoy his own life. After all, what’s the point of being the richest, smartest, or strongest man in the world if you can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life?

      Mahatma Gandhi

      Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  

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      While Hitler ravaged the world with war, Mohandas Gandhi proved the power of peace. Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance is a milestone in human history, and he did it while happily living a life of poverty. He understood that if you’re constantly day-dreaming, or over-sell what you do or have, then you’re not happy.

      Let’s take your New Year’s resolution for example; odds are that you likely have already broken your resolution. In fact, there’s a real good chance you broke it on Jan 1. By the time you’re reading this, however, you may not have told people you cheated. You’re likely still living the lie you tell everyone (which includes “I don’t make resolutions,” because we know you secretly do) that you are still on track with your resolution. By March, everyone forgets resolutions, and you have 9 months before people realize you haven’t lost weight and still smoke. You’re afraid of happiness–now stop agreeing with me and change something.

      Helen Keller

      Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence. And I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” 

      I promise your problems aren’t as bad as Helen Keller’s were. The girl lived in darkness, and nobody, save for a handful of people like Anne Sullivan, knew or cared how to communicate with her. Somehow this woman found happiness and became more successful than you, with your excuses about being born broke, having to work too hard in a thankless world, people lying and cheating, and blah, blah, blah.

      Helen Keller grew up in this same world, broke, alone, and all that, and by the time she died at 87, she was a world traveler, author, activist, and respected by the world community at large. If she can smile through all that, you can do it too.

      The above examples are just a small sample of happy people. You can find them everywhere in history, and there may even be some in your own community.  Rather than mocking them and assuming you’re too “real” and “street” for anyone happy to ever possibly understand, and rather than assuming all happy people are squares, and they’re delusional or ineffective, or that their smile somehow makes them dumber than you, maybe, just maybe, take a few words of advice from the happy people–and experience happiness for yourself.

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      Last Updated on August 19, 2019

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

      We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

      When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

      In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

      Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

      If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

      According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

      No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

      When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

      Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

      1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

      When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

      Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

      When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

      Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

      In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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      It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

      You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

      Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

      What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

      You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

      That’s where we all should be.

      So, answer me this:

      How are you, really?

      And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

      Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

      Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

      Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

      Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

      It’s taking control.

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      2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

      You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

      You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

      In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

      Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

      You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

      Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

      But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

      It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

      In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

      It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

      Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

      Change will happen.

      Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

      You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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      And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

      You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

      That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

      You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

      When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

      There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

      3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

      Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

      In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

      If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

      Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

      Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

      How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

      Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

      “Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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      Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

      Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

      It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

      Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

      “If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

      What would you do if you felt you were enough?

      By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

      So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

      Final Thoughts

      By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

      Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

      When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

      You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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      Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

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