Reading article after article on the topic of how to be happy, one would easily get the impression that happiness – the long, lasting type – is completely impossible to achieve. But, this has not been the case for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong, up until my late thirties I did get my fair share of being totally unhappy. Which is why I spent a good amount of my life up to then exploring methods, books, music, economic systems even several religions looking for that seemingly unreachable state of happiness.
An Answer in the Most Unexpected Place
Ironically, I found what I was looking for at the moment in my life when I decided to finally “sell out”. For me, that meant when I decided to care for nothing but myself by pursuing money as my one and only goal in life. That is, when I decided to get an MBA instead of an advanced. degree in Economics to figure out how to get rid of poverty in the world.
It was a model for leadership that I came up with for a homework assignment during my MBA that brought all the pieces of the long lasting happiness puzzle together for me.
Below is a summary of what came from that. I call it a “happiness model”. It has worked to keep me happy even at times of serious sadness, anger or grief. I hope it can, at least in a tiny way, do the same for you.
And if you’re wondering, yes, one can indeed feel seemingly opposite feelings while in the background you know you are happy. This is because once you know what it takes to be happy, no one and no thing can take that away. Even in hard times, you know what it will take to get back to that happy place.
Three Things to Work on to Achieve Happiness
According to my happiness model, to achieve long, lasting happiness you must work out the three parts of you:
- Work out your Body. Apply the usual suspects here. Exercise, follow a healthy diet, get enough sleep. Stay away from poisons like alcohol, drugs or any type of excess really. But, importantly, you must include in this the need to understand your instincts and impulses that drive you to take action.
- Work out your Mind. Include getting an education and learning to control the inner voice in your head to stray away from negative thoughts. Meditation helps on the latter. For me, since I am just incapable of sitting still in the same position, practicing dream yoga has done the trick. Basically, it is the practice of meditating while laying down, right before you fall asleep and right when you wake up – but, importantly, before you open your eyes in the morning. If you need something stronger, try giving your mind a hobby or side project to think about to keep it busy criticizing something else other than yourself. This is what worked for me (my side project was writing a fiction book, even though I had never read much fiction in my life).
- Work out your Soul. First off, know what makes up your soul. Now, this is where that leadership model I told you about earlier comes into play. And the part that will distinguish this article from all others you have read or will read about happiness.
- There are currently no scientific studies that define the parts that make up a soul. To me, thinking about it from the point of view of what makes a business tick and what a business leader must do to “energize” the company’s employees made me think of the only formula I can remember from my high school days: E=MC².
- I used this to sum up the parts of a soul. Used merely as an acronym to include the major buzz words I had to include as part of my homework, I saw E as the energy, aka, the soul a leader must create in a company by using M (the motivation, that is, the company’s purpose), as well as C (culture), and using the other C (communication).
- Thinking of my own soul and my own happiness I extrapolated that the latter three things (M, C, C) can be used to define the major parts that make up a soul, in general.
- Therefore, according to this model, to work out your soul – aka, to keep your energy levels up and positive: 1) know what motivates you and work on that dream; 2) stay true to your culture/values; and 3) communicate to the world in a positive manner.
Happiness is More Than the Sum of Happy Moments
This comprehensive, easy-to-remember method for long, lasting happiness has convinced me that long lasting happiness is more than a sum of some happy moments here and there. True happiness is actually really quite a simple thing to understand. And anyone, regardless of money status, religious creed, reading habits or looks can achieve it.
I hope this how to be happy guide is useful to you. Have you ever come across another method for reaching long lasting happiness that incorporates a clear definition of what makes up a soul? And doesn’t that make all the difference?