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3 Simple Steps to Being Happy Every Single Day

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3 Simple Steps to Being Happy Every Single Day

Do you ever wake up and think, “I hope I feel sad today?” Of course not. We all want to have amazing, happy-go-lucky days.

But as the Rembrandts taught us in the Friends theme song, sometimes you feel like “it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year…

Whether you have someone “there for you” or not, there is always a way to maximize your happiness, even on those not-so-good times. It takes a little time and a lot of self-reflection to really hone in on your true happiness. I think being happy is what life is all about. So why not put the time in to achieve it? Why not try to maximize it?

It’s silly not to. Downright stupid, actually. So I challenge you to follow these three basic steps. Don’t just skim them over and “kinda sorta” consider them maybe… for later… possibly. Really think about each one and how it would change your quality of life to be truly happy.

Here are 3 steps to being happy every single day:

Step #1: Surround yourself with positive people

What I’ve found is that most days I don’t even realize I’m not feeling happy until I see someone who is. This person is usually not just a little happy, they are genuinely, ridiculously, uncontrollably, obsessed-with-life happy. Try to find these people in your life and just be around them.

If you were stuck outside at a concert when a torrential downpour began, which person would be the one spinning in circles with their face to the sky still singing the lyrics to the songs? THAT is the person you need to hang around more. That friend who ran to the nearest bathroom screaming and stomping? Spend less time with them.

Learn to love positive people and to surround yourself with positive people and you’ll find yourself becoming much happier.

“Surround yourself with people who are only going to lift you higher.” – Oprah Winfrey

Step #2: Identify, seek, and destroy the negative

For one reason or another, we are all attracted to the negative side of a situation. For a lot of people, “seeing the bright side” is easier said than done. Even though it may sound counterproductive, identifying the negative can help you discover the positive.

The key is to have that “aha” moment when you catch yourself being “Negative Nancy.” Identify that you’re being a downer for no reason, and push that negativity away. For instance, if I’m at the store and there’s a long line and only one register is open, more often than not I’m irritated. So I’ll try to:

  • Stop and realize I’m just being negative (Identify)
  • Think about how small this problem is (Seek)
  • Do something positive (Destroy)

Sometimes you need to pause and realize that other people are having worse moments right now than you having to stand in line at register four. Perhaps I could take out my phone and check my email. Maybe even call my mom, because I’ve been putting it off for three days. Bottom line is, by doing something productive with the time spent, I’m creating a positive.

 

Step #3: Do good for others

To truly maximize your happiness, you have to bring happiness to others. This is probably the most important step. Have you ever had a really good day? Stop and think to yourself, “What was it that made it so special?” It’s likely that something happened that day to make you smile.

Maybe a co-worker brought you a donut. Or a stranger held the door open for you even though you were slightly farther away and you had to run a little because you felt bad. Or maybe you just simply received an unexpected compliment. These little things matter. Kindness matters.

Bringing happiness to someone else’s day also brings happiness to your day. That person who held the door for you, I’m sure they felt pretty darn good about it. When that co-worker picked up that box of donuts for the office, they were probably really pleased when they dropped them off. Putting a smile on another person’s face creates a smile on your own. This generates a whole beautiful mess of happiness.

“We are here on earth to do good to others. What the others are here for, I don’t know.” – W. H. Auden

So at the end of the day, just try to always remember there is good out there. There are genuinely happy people. So let’s all become them. Let’s inspire others to do the same. Let’s be really, ridiculously, uncontrollably, obsessed-with-life happy.

Thanks for reading my article! What have you done today to bring happiness into someone else’s day?

Yannick van den Bos is a world traveled young successful internet marketer & -entrepreneur. Yannick has helped hundreds of aspiring entrepreneurs start a profitable online business from scratch, while traveling the world. Learn more here: http://www.yannickvandenbos.com/

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Satya

    Jan 25, 2016 at 6:46 pm

    It’s so easy to be negative as our mind is like a garden overcome with weeds. Although it takes an effort, it’s so worth it to choose to be happy! Great job with the post!

  2. Neeraj Bhandari

    Dec 5, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Hi Bos, how you doing now a days?? I am sure fine because you are making other happy and pushing ahead for more happiness. I am totally agree with each step you have mentioned and they are absolutely motivating. Thanks again for sharing. And your name itself have Bos so you are the boss of happiness.

  3. Lawrence Berry

    Dec 3, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    I love and agree with every step here that will help someone to be happier. The biggest step to me is to eliminate negative thoughts. I meditate, exercise, and do everything I can to keep my mind clear and my focused on the positive things in life. it can be hard, because it’s like negative thoughts have a mind of their own. They creep in your thoughts any way possible, but will self-discipline and willpower you can overome that type of thinking.

    I also want to add that progress will help you be happier as well. Alot of people hit a “midlife crisis” because they are complacent with life and are no longer progressing towards something meaningful to them. Progress is the key to happiness in my opinion. Great post!

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Life

What Les Misérables Taught Me About Our Values

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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