Seven Rules for Personal Happiness
There are lots of ways to be happy, and lots of ways to define “happiness.” Whatever happiness means to you, here are seven ways to help you get there.
Use your tools, resources and skills.
Know what you’re good at doing. You’ve got to have a true inventory of your resources. You’ve got be able to know where your talents lie. Sometimes our talents come to us so easily that we don’t realize their value. Sometimes we are so busy worrying about the resources we don’t have that we forget to utilize the resources we do have.
Don’t use fear as an excuse.
Fear is a natural human emotion. If you wait for a time when you are not afraid to step outside of your comfort zone you may wait forever. Maggie Kuhn said “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.” If you want to be happy you have to do what is in your mind, even if all of you shakes.
Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness.
It’s great to have friends, a life partner and children. But we can’t make the people around us responsible for our happiness, and we can’t use a lack of people around us as an excuse to be unhappy.
Life isn’t fair so don’t expect it to be.
Inside most of us is a six-year-old stomping feet and yelling “That’s not fair!’ If we let our indignation at the large and small injustices in the world rule the way we see the world we will be victims and not survivors. Survivors are happy, victims are not.
Don’t make happiness a goal.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Happiness isn’t a goal, it’s a by-product of a life well-lived.” Even the Declaration of Independence refers to “the pursuit of happiness” as an inalienable right, not happiness itself. People who say "I just want to be happy" have missed the point completely. Don’t try to be happy. Try to be passionate. Try to be compassionate. Try to be creative. Try to be involved. Happiness will come naturally.
Don’t compare yourself with others.
Max Erhmann said it best in his famous poem “Desiderata.” “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” Tend your own garden without worrying about what your neighbor is growing. Your garden is what will make you happy if you let it.
Appreciate the small things in life.
A great cup of coffee, a beautiful sunrise, a bird’s song – it truly is the little things that make a difference. When we appreciate the little things the big things seem to fall into place. Those small moments of happiness often add up quickly.