We are half way through. In this and the previous four posts I have mentioned 50 things that if nothing else should contribute to your happiness a little bit. Again, this is not an obvious solution to an easy problem, nor is it a comprehensive list. Happiness can be found in road trips, Oreos, long talks, and in self-help. It can be found in the cold hours of the night, and in the fresh minutes of victory. Happiness is ubiquitous, but it is also a choice. Once again, here are some things that help me feel happier and more fulfilled as a human person.
41. Write down your ideas– People complain about forgetting their ideas, or having other people “steal” their ideas. No one stole your idea. They just had a similar idea, but acted on it. Your day is full of moments that will remind and inspire you, so pick up a pen and jot them down before these moments leave you forever like a betrayed lover. And forget not the fine words of William Thackery who said, “There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.”
42. Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?-I think people are so obsessed with being right, with winning an argument, with holding the gauntlet of “I told you so” glory, that they forget how useless it is to be right if being right severed a relationship, or put a wedge between you and someone you care deeply for. Everyone would rather be correct, but realize that being right all the time will only ostracize those around you.
43. Reconnect sometimes– Some things will always remain in the past; old friendships, childhood homes, the place you had your first kiss. But sometimes ignoring the past only disrupts your future from effectively progressing. Seeing old friends, visiting avenues of yesterday can be a nostalgiac and highly cathartic thing. So, reach out to people you used to talk to every day. Visit cities that once brought you great joy, and watch a movie that reminds you of your Grandfather and his life-wielding laugh.
44. Move quickly, but stop rushing– Life is insanely busy, and this is good. It is good to have a lot on our plates with little time for idleness. A wise man in a suit once told me, “Be so busy that you don’t have time to be tempted.” But in all this hustle and quest for efficiency I worry about missing the big picture. I don’t want to be in such a hurry to go to work that I don’t notice the snow freshly painted on the mountains as I walk to my car. I don’t want to be so rushed in jumping from one appointment to another that I leave a conversation that was approaching greatness. Be swift in the good race of life, but take your time, notice and appreciate.
45. Wear skinny jeans– It’s 2015.
46. Rid your life of envy– This seems like an obvious piece of advice if you want to be happy. But far too many of us waste negative energy on envying that of another, in hopelessly wishing we were more like someone else. Who cares if someone is in better shape than you, or if their car works every time they start it. Life is about you, and the people you touch. How can you be happy if you are constantly comparing yourself to other people, and fretting that you aren’t measuring up?
47. Be kind to people making minimum wage– Most of us at some point in our lives have had a job that pays us almost nothing and is incredibly unpleasant. Yet, when out in the public, engaging with fast food workers, and novice employees we seem to be completely bereft of patience and compassion. Take an extra minute and ask the grumpy worker at Taco Bell how their day has been. Compliment the K-Mart worker on their trendy keds. Be kind. It is so easy.
48. Find a favorite author– Find an author that makes you understand life better, one that makes you want to drive across the country to see the house they grew up in. In doing so, read everything that they have ever published. Not only is it fun, but it is a much more productive obsession than a lot of things. And if you are reading more, that is great. Everyone should read more. I recently read that the average American worker reads less than one book per year, while the average American CEO reads 60 books a year. Think about it.
49. Surround yourself with winners– If you want to win, you have to be around people that have unrealistic dreams, people that have the loftiest goals on the planet. You will not be interested in mediocrity if you are surrounded by people that are dominating their craft and winning nonstop. If you need to get new friends, do it. There is no dearth of people on this earth that are magnificent champions. Find them.
50. Realize that people trump geography– I love cool places as much if not more than the next person. I want to be where history echoes off the walls, and art from centuries past smacks me in the face. I want to go do cool stuff all the time. But far too often I hear people complaining that where they are or what they are doing isn’t fun enough, or isn’t that epic. To me it seems insulting to those people they are with. Worry less about what you are doing, but who you are with. I would rather be in Reno, Nevada with my best friends, then the beaches of Bali with a negative complaining sucker of fun. Do epic things, but remember, people trump geography.
Once again, be a lamb and share this with someone who might struggle to be happy. Happy can be hard. So if you are lucky enough to feel it, and feel it often, share it.