What does it mean to be Happy? How can we achieve a high level of happiness (a level of happiness like my little nephew has!!)? Truth is, it's different for everyone. While the definition of happy is the same for all: Showing pleasure or contentment. Not everyone is content or happy with the same things or situations. There is no magic answer as to what needs to happen for all people to be happy.
Even though we can't define what everyone needs to be happy what we can do is define the process that will allow you to identify what you specifically need in order to reach that high level of happiness everyone strives for.
The process starts by committing to a detailed self exploration to help determine your needs and wants.
1. Take 10-20 mins and brainstorm about all the things that you believe you need in order to be truly happy. This is actually more like a brain dump, whatever comes to mind write it down. For example.. I need $1 million to be happy, I need a house with a pool, I need to not work, I need to travel the world. Anything that comes to mind whether it's realistic at this point or not, jot it down. You should be able to come up with at least 20.
2. Now that we have our happiness needs on paper let's narrow it down to the top 10. The top 10 are the must haves, things that would make you truly unhappy if you didn't have them or we unable to do them. This is a long process. I want you to really think! Down to the tiniest detail about these happiness needs. This is your life we are trying to figure out, so go into as much detail as possible. It may take an hour or a week. It doesn't matter as long as you put 100% focus into this process.
Let's use the following top 10 as an example to demonstrate what I mean:
1. Travel the world
2. No Job
3. Two healthy children
4. Mansion on a hill
5. 2020 corvette
6. Loving/supportive relationship
7. Be in good health
8. Summer home on the lake
9. 10$ million in the bank
10. Season tickets for the NFL
These are the 10 we decided on, now it's time to break these down. Let's look at travel the world.
We need to consider the reality of doing this. All aspects need to be review in order for us to decide if this will really make us happy?
For instance, you would live out of your suitcase for a good part of a year. Every time you got familiar with a place it would be time to leave. It would cost an exorbitant amount of money. You couldn't realistically have children on this trip due to school and stability issues. You would be able to experience some really cool stuff but would you be to tired from all the travel to enjoy joy it? Perhaps a shorter trip to a specific area would better? After you have out in some significant thought can you decide if you really need ti travel the world to be happy. If yes then keep on the list, if no then cross it off.
Keep going to you complete a detailed review of your top 10. You may be surprised when you discover that new corvette wouldn't actually make you happy once you figured out that you couldn't fit the family in the car and that you were more enamored with the feeling of being cool than the actual car. ( happens all the time, people try buy a feeling through a car or boat, doesn't work).
Repeat this detailed review with all of your top 10. This process will help you truly consider you own happiness needs. Once you have done this you will be able to cut your list in half. You will find that after careful consideration you may not need or actually even like some of the items on your list. That's Great!
Most people think they know what makes them happy but in reality they don't. Truth is most haven't spent much time thinking about it. This process forces you to dedicate the necessary amount of time needed to help formulate legitimate happiness goals.
Remember, this is your life and you only get one! That's why is crucial to do complete this exercise. Your life and happiness are priority #1, so let's act like!
Since everyone's list is going to be different and unique to them there is no need to compare your list with others. Your life is your own, no one else's. The only constant on the lists will be that the 5 items that are left are absolutely necessary to that person to achieve happiness.
Now that the list is done, time to make a plan of action to accomplish it! We will discuss this process in the week's to come...
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A little bit about me! I'm a family man with a lovely wife and three awesome boys. I have a bit of an entrepreneur bug. I started and sold my own company twice ( small businesses but the experience was valuable), I've dabbled in real estate, been an Ebay reseller, and also spent many years in management roles which is my current stream of income ( plus a few side streams I've put together). I'd say all in all I'm your typical guy trying to make a better life for his Family.