How I’m Able to Be Happy Every Day
Life is full of challenges, and happiness is one of them.
Struggle is a part of life and a requirement for growth. We are confronted with struggle every day. These daily confrontations may be small — “This person is bothering me. How do I deal with it?” They may be large — “I was just fired. What do I do now?
Succumbing to these struggles is the easy thing to do. We can let our struggles overcome us and define who we are. Or we can fight them, kill them, and grow beyond them.
How we react to our challenges has a large impact on our happiness. I could type up a few paragraphs explaining what I mean. But I think author Charles R. Swindoll does it much better than I could.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Happiness isn’t an easy thing to achieve and achieve consistently. It gets easier once you identify the source of your unhappiness. Here’s how I do it.
I don’t allow negativity
Kevin Hart said it best when discussing modern-day society: “It’s not cool to be positive.”
Negativity isn’t new. But in the digital age, where literally anyone can give an opinion with little-to-no repercussions, negativity is spread at the fastest rate in history. Your negativity can have an impact on hundreds or thousands of people in an instant.
It can also have an impact on just one person and that can be just as bad.
While I do my best to not let negative thinking impact my actions, I also do my best to not let the negative thinking of others impact me. I surround myself with positive people and limit my time on the internet. Stumble upon the wrong websites — hello, Twitter! — and the world may look like a terrible place.
It’s not, and don’t let others try to tell you it is.
I only concern myself with the opinions of people I respect
The majority of the people I talk to on a daily basis are people I respect. Obviously, as a functioning member of society, this is not possible every day. While working a job, going to the store, or doing anything else involving people, you will encounter strangers that can impact your day.
They shouldn’t impact your day.
If some teenagers make fun of your outfit, who cares. If some middle-aged knob head thinks you’re an idiot for an idea at work, who cares. Their opinion should hold no equity in your mind.
Evaluate your “circle” and determine who really matters. Weigh their opinions and their opinions only.
I focus on my goals
I spent this summer focusing on other people too much. I got wrapped up in the idea of a relationship that clearly had no future. I tried to appease my mom by considering job opportunities I didn’t want.
Then, I really got to know myself. “What do I actually want?”
I wasn’t going to let a girl that didn’t improve my life impact my focus. I wasn’t going to settle for a job that required no passion and creativity.
Now, I write every day about things I’m interested in. Does it make me a ton of money? No. I hope it will one day. But not everything in our lives should be tied to monetary value.
Even if you do have to trade 40 hours a week for an hourly wage — to, you know, survive — get that side hustle going. Work on what you really love. You have more time than you think.
I give myself a break
As someone that loves self-improvement, I know how easy it is to be hard on yourself when you fall short of goals. There is value in trying and failing, though. When you fail, you are growing, not shrinking. You shouldn't bury yourself; you should build yourself up.
Whether your startup fails or you just skip out on a daily workout, it’s OK. You haven’t wasted time or lost progress.
At the same time, you shouldn’t give yourself too many breaks. Forgiveness is important but it shouldn’t become a common habit. Skipping a workout or cheating on your diet is necessary for long-term success, but doing it too often makes it easier and easier to keep doing it.
Eventually, your brain will tell you it's not necessary to continue.
Be honest with yourself and your situation. Hold yourself accountable but don’t annihilate your ego in the process.
I treat my body with respect
It has become a bit of a cliche at this point, but you really should treat your body like a vehicle. The better fuel you put into it, the more maintenance you perform, the better it will operate.
I had to learn this the hard way. As a teenager, eating a full frozen pizza at 3 a.m. was a fairly common occurrence. Sugary sodas and candies were my weakness. I was 230 pounds and felt terrible.
In the six-plus years since I initially started trying to make healthy changes in my life, I have seen tremendous results in my body and health. I am down to 160 pounds and in the best physical shape of my life. I am very conscious about what goes into my body and my body rewards me for making better choices.
Eating healthy is the biggest thing. You don’t have to be perfect; I’m definitely not. But becoming conservative about what you put into your stomach every day will have tremendous benefits on your health, and therefore, your mood.
You don’t need to be a gym freak for great results, either. A simple 30-minute session of activity is plenty for a better body and mind.
What is the common theme here? A lot of it is not allowing something rather than actually doing something. Sometimes succeeding in life is more about limiting rather than gaining. While an external gain of some sort can improve our lives (think of making a new friend rather than buying a new toy), limiting what you allow to affect your happiness is the true key to an unflappable happy life.
There is a spectrum for happiness, of course, and changing our circumstances isn’t easy. But it’s not impossible, either, and a true reflection of how you handle things can dramatically change your everyday mood and passion towards life.