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You Can’t Wait Until Life Isn’t Hard Anymore Before You Decide to Be Happy

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Life Hacks

A nasty old man shed a tear and shocked onlookers.

In 2001 Simon Cowell became famous after he got a gig as a judge on American Idol. He had a habit of being horrendous to people and commenting on their looks.

Recently, Simon made headlines when he started crying on America’s Got Talent after a choir performance, of all things.

How times have changed. The once rude man is now a big softy.

What made him cry is this choir performed a song by now-deceased singer Nightbirde who died of cancer. About a year ago Nightbirde performed on the same popular tv show and left a lasting impact.

She casually told the live audience and judges that she was battling cancer, then sang her own song. It’s one of the best performances you’ll ever see.

When it came time to comment the judges were speechless. At one point she revealed “I only have a 2% chance of survival. But 2% is not 0%. 2% is something and I wish people knew how amazing it is.”

During one long pause she said “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

I’ve thought about that sentence every day for the last 12 months. The path to happiness involves these few key ideas.

You’re allowed to be unhappy

Wait, what?

We’re taught the end goal of life is happiness, to live happily ever after behind a white picket fence with a fur baby. But…

Being unhappy is part of being happy.

Trying to be happy all the time is the best way to never be happy. You need moments of unhappiness to appreciate true happiness. The contrast is what makes life magical.

Why children are so damn happy reveals an uncommon truth

How many 5th graders do you meet that are unhappy?

None. They don’t start mass shootings either. When they grow up though, it’s a different story. Why? I’ll tell you why.

Kids aren’t self-conscious.

Kids don’t have deadlines.

Kids live for the moment and spend no time thinking about the future.

We can learn a lot from kids about happiness. If we learned to live like kids again global happiness levels would skyrocket. Not to mention creativity and imagination would be back baby!

Millionaires reveal a hidden truth about happiness

Society tricks us into thinking millionaires are happy.

I once heard a story from Khe Hy about a Harvard Professor who asked millionaires how much cash it would take for their happiness level to be 10/10. The results from each group of millionaires are shocking:

$1m: Double
$2m: Double
$3m: Double
$5m: Double
$10m: Double

What the hell. It seems no amount of money will make a millionaire happy. The thirst for more money grows as you make more money. So the pursuit of happiness is put to one side to chase it.

Being a millionaire won’t suddenly make you happy.

“When I achieve X then I’ll be happy”

We’ve all said this naughty line at least once.

Go on, don’t deny it. Happiness isn’t found in the future. It’s found in the present moment. If you can’t be happy before achieving a big goal, you definitely won’t be happy afterward.

Happiness is a habit.

Practice it today — because tomorrow may never come.

To be happy we need something to solve. Happiness requires problems. Happiness is therefore a form of action. It’s an activity, not something that is passively bestowed upon you — Mark Manson

Just do it = Happiness

The founder of Nike, Phil Knight, is a strange cat.

I’ve been reading a book about him called Shoe Dog. He is deeply spiritual and says some woo-woo stuff.

Despite his enormous wealth he may actually be living proof of a monk that’s reached enlightenment and also business success. His company’s slogan is “just do it.”

Turns out this is part of the happiness formula, according to former Prime Minister of England Benjamin Disraeli.

Action may not always bring happiness.
But there is no happiness without action.

Progress is what makes our lives feel meaningful. And meaning contributes to our overall happiness. It’s why so many office workers are unhappy. They’ve been deprived of all meaning and told to chase revenue.

Execute daily to increase happiness.

What true happiness feels like (in case you’ve forgotten)

Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga wrote a popular book called “The Courage to be Disliked.”

They say happiness is the feeling of contribution.

When you contribute to a cause bigger than yourself it helps you come alive. You see humanity as a collective force rather than the competition, or worse, the enemy.

That’s how I feel as a writer. I feel like I’m contributing something to the world that is helpful and perhaps even inspiring.

Seek out contribution.

Pro tip: help those less fortunate than you. The bonus is those same people will help you see how much you already have, which will increase happiness. Because your problems aren’t as bad as those truly struggling.

If you want to be happy, do this

Internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis says if you want to be happy then find something to pour your heart and soul into.

Then he goes a step further…

He says happiness is nothing more than a collection of memories. They go by so fast they’re easy to miss. If you want to be happier then create more memories.

This one smacked me in the balls. It’s how I feel right now watching my baby daughter grow up. Every day is a new memory I will never forget.

Chase moments that will produce nostalgia.

Three questions will determine 80% of your happiness

These come from Mark Manson and they’re controversial as hell.

1. How much did you sleep?
2. How well did you eat?
3. Who did you surround yourself with?

When I used to get angry at work my boss would say “have you eaten today?”

“Yes.”

“Well, have you pooped then? And how much sleep did you get.”

He was bang on. When my health was bad I’d be more grumpy. Soon as I had a good poop or a nice nutritious meal, I stopped growling. And of course if you hang around more unhealthy people who smoke, drink, and numb themselves with Netflix fentanyl … more anger will enter your life.

Weird how that works.

Final Thought

Let’s end with this final thought from the fallen hero Tony Hsieh:

Happiness is really just about four things: perceived control, perceived progress, connectedness (number and depth of your relationships), and vision/meaning (being part of something bigger than yourself).

By now you hopefully have learned that happiness doesn’t happen after life gets easy. Happiness is a habit that’s formed during the tough years.

Choose happiness now.

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