I’ve read a lot about happiness in books, pop magazines, spiritual texts, and modern scientific research in psychology. I’ve written a little about it too. And I’ve experienced a lot in life, failed a lot, have been in many different extremes, and have learned a bit this way too.
Almost everything comes down to these ten lessons:
10. Laugh at anything and everything. Go into everything with an adventurous spirit. Find the joy in every situation.
9. Slow down. Sleep and relax. Simplify and focus. It’s okay to have an easy schedule, to say no to people, to cut responsibilities, to decline big titles, to buy fewer things, and to refuse to participate in the madness of this fast treadmill we call the world.
8. Be present. Take in and really savor whatever is right in front of you, whether it’s a friend, a conversation, a dish, a sight, or a song. Let everything else fade for the moment. No matter how often you talk about it or how elaborately you plan it, the future never arrives–it’s always a step away.
7. Love and accept everyone. Better to overdo it than underdo it. Better to do it early than do it too late. Life is about people. They make your world go ’round. Abuse them and your world stops. Cherish them and your world soars.
6. Trust what’s natural. Never forget that we are a part of that beautiful thing called Nature, not apart from it. Look to it for answers. As long as you have a kind and honest tone: Don’t force things, don’t fake things, don’t cover up things. You have the right to think and feel the way you do. Trust instincts. It’s in you already. Be real, raw, intensely human, intensely genuine, intensely natural.
5. Be the best you. Be different. Go your own way. Don’t ever trap yourself into a title, age, race, or sex. If people can predict you, you’re failing. Be free-flowing. Accept your weaknesses and develop your strengths. Focus on your passions, find your purpose, and leave your legacy. You are a gift to the world. Don’t ever shred that gift by living someone else’s life.
4. Everything is a lesson. Everything is a chance for growth. Take risks. Dare yourself. Try. Look backward to see how much you have learned from failure. Look forward with the comfort that no matter what you do, you have nothing to lose and another lesson to gain. Keep learning, keep growing.
3. What you give is what you get. Karma. Friendship. Work. Health. Everything. The universe is interconnected as if everything were a predictable input-output system. Don’t like something in your life? You need to give more. It’s the simplest recipe. Believe it.
2. Balance. Keep everything in moderation. Listen to everyone, listen to no one. Lessons overlap, lessons contradict. Keep switching gears, changing levels, and tinkering with the scale until you get it right. When you do, mess it up and go again. It’s more fun that way.
1. Let go. Let it be. Life goes on. When you’re giving everything and nothing’s changing yet and you’re searching but seeing no lesson yet, just remember that things happen for a reason. Be grateful for the cards you’re dealt. Have hope. Someone once said, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” With everything: do your best, sit back, and wait for the end.