“Happiness is a how, not a what. A talent, not an object.”
The older I get, the more that I experience life and the more I learn what truly makes me happy. Throughout my life, I have always been a pretty happy guy, but I have definitely had my ups and downs like every other person.
Happiness has always been an intriguing point of interest for me. I have always seen happiness as the epitome of all success that life can bring. To me, I believe income and status is important, however if it’s at the cost of happiness it’s not something I would want to continue to pursue.
Happiness comes in many forms and I’ve come to learn that it can be extremely different for all people. However, there are 10 lessons in life that I have learned and that I believe can help anyone become a more satisfied and happier person. I would like to share with you the 10 lessons in life that have made me a much happier person.
Image: Some friends and I frolicing in the vineyards. Gotta love that jump, right? 🙂
Learning to say I love you
For some reason, this was always a hard one for me, particularly with my immediate family. As I have grown older I have come to realize what my family have done for me throughout my life and that I am extremely thankful to them. I’m still learning to say “I love you” more and I still find it difficult (I think it’s part of our male genes to find this hard!) but when I do it gives me a great sense of happiness and I feel more authentic and honest with myself. Plus, I know that those I love really appreciate it.
Learning to forgive
There have been times in my life where I have felt betrayed or let down, and there have been times when I know I have let others down. Although sometimes hard, I have found that forgiving others and being able to forgive myself is essential for being able to move forward and regain a truly positive outlook in life.
Learning to say no
I used to struggle (and often still do) with saying no to people, events or situations which would then take up a lot of my time and have a negative impact on certain areas of my life. I have learned that saying no is essential for being able to focus on what I truly believe in, what I value and what is important to me in my life.
Learning to live my passion every day
Now that I’m working for myself, I have the pleasure of being able to spend my time how I want to spend my time. I get to incorporate my passion into everyday life and into the work that I do. I have come to learn that spending even the smallest amount of time living my passion each day can have a huge impact on the way I feel and on the success I achieve.
Learning to eat healthy & exercise regularly
The old saying goes ‘you are what you eat’ and I am a true believer of this. The amount of information on health and well being these days is absolutely enormous. Scientifically proven, eating healthy and exercising regularly can have huge physical and emotional benefits. I now exercise first thing in the morning for about 30-40mins, 5 days a week and this has helped me to feel more energetic and happier on a daily basis.
Learning to connect deeply
I used to be somewhat afraid of connecting deeply with others as I always thought that I was making myself too vulnerable in doing so. It’s kind of like learning to say “I love you”. I’m a lot more conscious of the benefits of connecting more deeply with others now and I actively try to do this. I have learned that making myself vulnerable and connecting deeply with others can help me become more relaxed, open and honest and helps me to be more of who I truly am. I have also learned that connecting deeply, being vulnerable and asking for help is essential for both growth and success. It also helps build a trustworthy and honest relationship.
Learning to see life differently
This is something that I continue to focus on and gain an understanding of to help me create my own lifestyle. I have learned that life is not meant to be taken so seriously and that life is simply about enjoying the time that we have and making a contribution in some way. I’m not a fan of the traditional corporate career and spending time working on another persons priorities. In saying that, I’m sure I’ll re-enter the corporate world at some stage but it will be with more of a focus on gaining the skills and experience necessary to move towards where I want to go with my life.
Learning to set my own goals
I never used to set my own goals. The world around me used to do it for me, such as my parents telling me what grades I should aim for or what job I should get, and my teachers telling me how to go about my schooling. Even into adulthood, my bosses and society (through social norms, peer pressure and media etc) would dictate what I would focus on. I have learned that by setting my own goals and focusing on what I truly believe in is the only way to live authentically, realise my full potential and sustain happiness.
Learning to count my blessings
When I was growing up as a child I took everything for granted. As I have become more aware of the world around me, I have come to realize that I am extremely blessed with good health, a great social circle and community and the freedom to live a life that I choose. I remind myself of this every day which helps me take to the world with a positive outlook and a mindset to make a difference.
Learning to give
Following on from the above, I have learned that giving is an essential ingredient for happiness. I have come to realize that the more I give the more that I get in return. This is in both giving to others and also giving of my time and energy into what I believe in. I have learned that by giving to others, it can enhance my relationships, build up trust and make a difference in the life of another. I have also learned that the more I give in terms of my time, energy and focus on my goals, the greater my return in terms of success and happiness.
Life continues to unfold and I continue to learn every single day. There are so many experiences and so many relationships that I have yet to have in life and I’m truly excited for what life has to bring.
I look forward to reading back over this post in a number of years and seeing what has changed in my life and what else I have learned about life, success and happiness.
What lessons have you learned about life, success and happiness?
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Great post Brendan. Particularly like ‘Learning to say I Love You’. I reckon this is important especially if we work for ourselves, in this case me and you. Working from home has shown me the true value of cherishing the people around me and making the point to verbally tell them is important. 🙂
Hi Brendan, that’s a great list with some really important values to work on. When you find that you don’t live up to what you’ve learned, like saying no for example, do you get annoyed with yourself? I’ve been experiencing this recently and just wondered how you dealt with it?
Hi Brendan, these are all great values to have. I am a huge fan of forgiveness and it makes a huge impact on my own personal level of lifelong happiness. I’m not always happy, but not holding grudges is definitely not the thing holding me down 🙂
One thing I’ve always had trouble with, like you, is saying no. It’s not that I don’t want to help people, but I have to decide when I really should help and be there, or maybe I should help this person in another way. It doesn’t have to be THEIR idea of help. What someone thinks they need help with is not always what they actually need. Sometimes they need the opposite of what they’re asking for. Depending on what it is, some people are very needy and dependent, and helping these people over and over actually harms them and keeps them from being able to build independence, which is freedom. I have decided that instead of doing the same things over and over for these dependent people, I will simply console them in their times of trouble, and even give advice if they will accept it. Because at this point, that is all I can really do for them, and that’s all that should be expected of me. They need to learn how to solve their own problems, otherwise, they will always be depending on others to solve their problems for them. All this to say, that sometimes saying no when it’s right to say no, you are not only helping grow your own sense of happiness, but you are also hopefully giving the other person the chance to change and eventually grow into their own happiness.
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One thing many are not having these days is happiness. I have seen people chasing vanity, and getting sadder as each day passes. Thanks for bringing to us HOW to move forward and attain this precious thing every human needs.
Brendan, thanks for sharing. I especially liked your focus on the soft skills that tend to get less attention in the corporate world. One section I might add is spending more time with family and friends (you definitely hit on it with “connect deeply”). It’s something I’ve chosen to invest a lot of time in because I think it’s so important. I’m glad I have. It’s been a key piece of my happiness.