Happiness is hard to come by as it is. Why make it harder on yourself by deviating from the three rules that keep you happy? If you know, understand and follow these three rules, you’ll never again be forced into a situation that you know will make you unhappy. These rules are by no means cast in iron; there are merely warning signs that you should heed on the road of life so you can stay safe and protected as much as possible. Neither are they any kind of guarantees that you will be happy if you follow them. All they are, are guiding values that make common sense. Everyone knows them, but few actually follow them. So do yourself a favor and really try to understand the truths behind them – they could lead you to a happier life.
Be in the Right Profession
This is one of the major areas in life where people find great happiness. “Doing a job” is not the same as working at something you love. Of course, financial necessity may force you to take up whatever’s available; the environment may also push you in a direction other than your preferred one. But one thing is for sure: if you stay too long in a profession you hate surrounded by people you don’t really like, it is a certain road to unhappiness.
Consider the many stories of people who studied something else and then became something else altogether: the qualified MD who became a chef because he loved curing ham better than people; the garbage truck driver who went to night school to study law because he wanted to help society in a different way; the corporate manager who switched careers at age 45 because all he ever wanted to do was to be a pilot; even the monk who sold his Ferrari, for that matter!
On the flip side, there are those that didn’t take their inborn calling seriously enough and somehow couldn’t find the motivation to change tracks in their respective professions. The surly bus driver who would much rather be a hotel concierge; the grumpy farmer whose disposition is that way because he really wants to be a teacher. Even here, the examples that can be found are innumerable.
Don’t make this mistake if you want to be happy. Find a profession you love and pursue it for all you’re worth. A man who lives his dreams in this way will be happy whether he’s rich or living in a one-room studio apartment with his family of five.
If you’re an accountant but you’d much rather be a ski instructor, then do what it takes to achieve your goal. You may not be able to do it overnight, but you could first move closer to Aspen; then you can start taking skiing lessons on a regular basis whenever the season opens; gradually, as you start skiing at an expert level, get certified as an instructor.
It doesn’t matter if it takes you 5, 10 or 15 years to achieve your goal – if your heart is in it, you’ll get there in the end. After that, you can live your days in happiness rather than regret.
Form and Foster the Right Relationships
Being stuck in the wrong relationship is the surest way to unhappiness. Your emotions are deeply involved already, so uprooting a long-term relationship is not an easy task. But if you value your happiness, then you need to think about it long and hard.
The first thing you should do is to find ways to improve the quality of the relationship that is making you unhappy. If you dig deep enough, you will always find the real reason behind your condition. It may not be the relationship at all – it might just be the way you’re going about it. You need to look at the situation from all angles to make sure that you’re not the one responsible for the relationship being the way it is.
If you truly can’t resolve your problem, then it may be time to remove yourself from it. Yes, it may cause heartache, lead to tears, rip apart your family or even make you lose something else in the process. But the truth is, these wounds will always heal. And when they do, you’ll be a stronger and happier person.
If, on the other hand, you are only now thinking about getting into a relationship, then the solution might be a lot easier. Introspect and see if this relationship is something you really want or if you’re getting into it for a less-than-ideal reason. For a brief time, ignore your heart and listen to what your head is telling you; your logical mind is free of emotional influence, and will guide you right in these situations. After that, if you still feel you’re doing the right thing, then jump into it and never regret your decision.
Maintain the Right Attitude to Health
Good health means different things to different people. We’re not here to tell you to become a vegan or start running 10 miles a day or go on a crash diet. Your lifestyle is a matter of preference, so don’t let anyone tell you what to do.
That said, however, it is important for you to know how your food and physical habits affect your state of happiness. If overindulgence causes you more grief than pleasure, then rein in your desires. If being a smoker is causing you mental anguish and physical discomfort and affects the people you love, then quit it no matter how hard it is. If your idea of social drinking is two bottles of vodka and you regret it every time you wake up the next morning, then maybe it’s time to cut down.
Controlling your desire in the short-run to make you benefit in the long-run is a smart thing to do. The short-term discomfort will go away, but the long-term happiness will stay with you much longer. If exercise is difficult but you’re obese, then you can continue to be that way – and be depressed all the time – or you can choose to do something about it.
This is where the right attitude comes in. Unless you make the right choice between lifelong happiness and temporary pleasure, you’ll constantly be in a state of yo-yo happiness – up one moment, down the next.
This basic attitude is what will ultimately make you happy. Having the right attitude about your job, your spouse and your lifestyle are the three-rules-in-one for a lifetime of happiness. Get this right and you’ll never have to struggle with avoidable unhappiness ever again. Go ahead, try it.