Adult, male with a beautiful beard and moustache, laughing at a computer desk. He has a post it on his forehead that reads, "Be Happy".

How to be happy

I wish that everyone would just be honest with themselves and others, about what truly makes them happy. If, instead of being taught to follow the lifestyle steps and patterns that society tells us is “right”, everyone was taught to find what makes them happy, and to build their life around that, the compound effect would have a vast, positive impact on the whole world.

Yes, we all need to make a certain amount of money to live on, we all have to pay taxes and be contributing members of society. I’m not saying that everyone should quit their jobs and live barefoot and carefree on the beach. What I am saying, is that if you are truly honest with yourself about what style of actions, behaviors, thoughts, work, relationships, clothing, transportation, etc., make you happy, why can’t you build a life around those things? People build their entire lives around children – what job to take, what spouse to have – so what if being a parent isn’t what makes you happy? What if kayaking every afternoon at 4pm made you happy? What if having time for a walk every morning made you happy? What if you wanted to travel 6 months of the year? Couldn’t you build your life around those things?

If I know that I have to make a certain amount of money, and I know that hair styling is something that I both enjoy and makes me that money, then why not be a hairstylist and that takes care of one large portion of my happy life. If what I really want is to be outdoors all the time and with nature, then why not be an outdoors guide or a landscaper. If I love race cars why not work at a race track? If I love debating anything and everything, maybe I would love being a lawyer. If I loved night life and parties and socializing, maybe I’d enjoy being a bartender. If what I really love is to be on the water every day and living somewhere warm and sunny and full of beaches, maybe I become a scuba instructor and move to the Bahamas. Maybe I would just really like to be home every night for dinner with my family, could I not sacrifice something else to have a job that allowed me to be home every evening at 5? Not every part of your day is going to make you happy, but couldn’t you at least somewhat build your life around the few things that make you the happiest? Like I said, people do it for their children all the time. Can’t you do it for yourself too?

It sounds simple because it is simple. Maybe the logistics of getting the training you need or work visas or moving aren’t simple, but being happy doesn’t have to be complicated. We make it complicated in our minds. We put up our own barriers and obstacles without even realizing it.

People say “oh I couldn’t move to another country”. But why can’t you? What’s stopping you? Is whatever’s stopping you bringing you more happiness than the move would? If its not, then why can’t you? Why wouldn’t you, if that’s going to bring you happiness?

I still live in the same little town that I grew up in. But I’m happy here, I love Ladner, so why would I move? I have a job I love, a rental home that I love, I have no need to be anywhere else. Ultimately, happiness does not come from a place or a job or a material thing. It comes from inside of you, and if you can find that happiness inside of you then you can be happy anywhere you are. That being said, if you hate your job and you’re in a bad relationship and your living situation isn’t good, it does make it significantly more difficult to be happy. So why wouldn’t you change it?

People get stuck where they’re comfortable. The fear of the unknown out weighs the mediocrity of their lives and so they stay in the same place. But the fact is, no one is keeping you there but yourself. If you are not happy, change something. It is that simple.

Maybe what you’re happy doing isn’t something you can reach overnight. So start small, those small changes will compound I promise. What is one small thing that you can do or change in your life that will increase your happiness level?

I feel happy after I’ve exercised or meditated. I don’t always want to do it at the time, but I know that I feel better afterwards. So it would be pretty silly of me not to do those things, wouldn’t it? I feel happy when I sit outside and enjoy nature. So I rented a suite that has a little patio and small yard. I’ve planted flowers and vegetables in pots and garden beds surrounding this patio and I’ve installed a hammock chair (which, by the way, makes me SO HAPPY) and a portable gas fire pit to make it easy for me to get outside, and I make myself do it. How simple is that? Not everyone has the space or means for a garden plot but plant a few flower pots on your patio and grab a couple used patio chairs and suddenly getting outdoors for 5 minutes during your morning coffee or at the end of a long day is super easy!

The point is, happiness is a choice. Or, more accurately, happiness requires choices. Lots and lots of small, seemingly insignificant, day to day choices that all, very simply, add up to one big, rare, beautiful thing. Happiness. Figure out what makes you happy, and do your best to build your life around those things. It does not have to be as complicated as our minds or the media or unhappy people make it out to be.

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