Category Archives for "Mentality"

What Are The Best Self Love Books Today?

​What Are The Best Self Love Books Today?

​​Self love is, at its essence, about forgiveness.

We never feel we're good enough. We can't get over that mistake we made. We don't like (and definitely don't ​love​) our bodies.

Self love is about seeing all of that... and offering yourself forgiveness.

Because no one is perfect. And in fact, your imperfection may be the most perfect thing about you.

Who Needs ​​Self Love Books?

​​​​Short answer: anyone who isn't a narcissist.

(don't give these books to a narcissist)

Longer answer: Self love books are all about getting your relationships right, starting with your relationship with yourself.

Self love books are written for those who struggle with:

  • ​Guilt
  • ​Depression
  • ​Anxiety
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  • ​Shame
  • ​Body hatred
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    ​Feelings of not being good enough (insufficiency)
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    ​Feelings of not being as good as someone else (inferiority)

​​If you feel like you struggle with one or several (or, in my case, all) of these, then a self love book may be for you.

What ​Self Love Books Do

Self love books help remind you that you are actually kind of stinkin' awesome.

These books remind you that you are ​not​ your flaws, you are ​not​ your failures.

You are you.

And you are valuable.

Self love books help you see that your faults do not define who you are, whatever those faults may be.

​Once these books have helped you see your own value, they show you how to ​believe ​in your own value using cutting edge techniques straight from the science books.

These books take you full circle from seeing your faults truly and realistically to overcoming your own self doubt.

These books help you become the person you have always known you could be.​​​

​How To Choose The Best ​Self Love Book For You

​We all come to the table with baggage, and all of our baggage is different than all of someone else's baggage.

So you're going to want to pick a book that best solves the problem ​you ​are facing.

Some books specialize in dealing with emotions like self doubt or self hatred, while others are geared toward accepting your body.

Other books have an emphasis on relationships, while others are about achieving freedom through bravery.

The best book for you will be the one that helps you see your own specific issue in a new light and overcome it.

And don't worry, I've ​made it easy to identify which book does what 🙂

​​Our Picks For Best ​Crossfit Shoes

​​I've chosen ​the ​best ​self love books in the world to help you step up your game. These books were graded based on:

​1)​ ​The quality of the information

​2) ​How ​practical the book is

​3)​ ​Whether or not the book covers all that needs to be said about an issue (called "scope")

​For each of these metrics, we've assigned a star rating and then given our own rating, which is an average of all the metrics above.

Best ​For Dealing With Destructive Thoughts




Our Rating

​​​Self compassion is at the heart of what it means to love yourself. 

And if you are dealing with thoughts or emotions that are destructive in nature, that are slowly consuming you, then this is the book for you.

First off, this book is grounded in high quality scientific information. It is ​not ​your​​​​ typical "think happy thoughts, say happy things"​​​ that could be sold in Walmart as Diet Science.

Dr. Gerner, the author, is an acclaimed psychologist to the point where he's often found speaking at Ivy League schools like Harvard.

But this book isn't ​all research. The Mindful Path To Self-Compassion really has a lot of ​​​practical, step by step instructions on how to begin eliminating negative thoughts and emotions from your life.

Finally, this book really covers a lot of ground. There aren't many types of mental or emotional sufferings that won't be addressed, but a few may get less focus than others.

All in all, if you are looking to heal from trauma, stop believing you aren't worthy, or conquer your feelings of self doubt, this book could really go a long way towards helping you out of the pit you've found yourself in.

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    ​Does a great job of giving science without giving ​too​ much and getting bogged down​​​
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    ​Practical tips
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    ​Covers a large portion of types of mental and emotional suffering
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    ​Great for those experiencing destructive thoughts or emotions
  • Does not cover every possible type of emotional and mental burden

Best​ For Those Who ​Have Unrealistic Expectations Of Themselves




Our Rating

​​​​If you consistently find yourself alone, trying to take on the world, you may be setting expectations too high for yourself.

Feelings of loneliness have a ton of horrible effects on us (​we discuss them in this post) and always lead to us feeling burned out and betrayed by those we love.

The Gifts Of Imperfection takes that problem and tackles it head on.

This book is filled with up to date research helping you solve the real problem, not just the symptoms. The author uses a ton of quotes and paraphrases from others to help you get the best information on how to overcome this suffering.

​And then it shows you how to use that information.

This book gets top score on practicality. ​Every single chapter ends in a D.I.G. where the author sums up what you just read and then gives you step by step guides to start doing what you need to do.

That alone is an incredible resource.​​​​​​

And finally, this book does a great job of presenting the entirety of what you need to know to succeed while reading it.

​The only critique is that the author may have leaned a little too heavily on ​her personal life experiences, which some may love and others not so much.

  • ​Great science
  • ​Uses the voices of a ton of experts
  • ​D.I.G. at the end of each chapter will make sure you know how to implement what you just read (that's ​super ​useful)​​​
  • ​Author says all that needs to be said
  • Great for those setting expectations too high for themselves
  • ​Author may lean a little too heavily on personal experience

Best ​For Those Who ​Don't Love Their Bodies




Our Rating

​​​​If you looked in the mirror this morning and said "Eww" then this is the book for you.

We all struggle with self image sometimes and it's easy to get discouraged after trying so hard and not seeing a difference in the mirror or the scales.

This book digs deep to find current information about both physical and mental health, and this book does a good job at showing the link between the two.

​This book isn't just a how-to book, instead it ​helps you address the root of you not loving your body (your own beliefs about how you look and, more importantly, who you are).

From that cornerstone, the book gets practical. It gives effective tips on how to most effectively love your body by being kind to it. Treat your body well, and it will slowly become the body that you love.

And this book really covers a lot of ground. It covers all the bases of body love, addressing what you can do, how you should feel, who you truly are (you are awesome), and helps you see the value in connecting with others who share the same ​goals in life.

The only critique is that some of the tips for health are already included in other books (which, if they work, makes sense).

  • ​Extremely high quality information
  • ​Tons of practical and useful tips
  • ​Talks about the full range of health both mental and physical
  • ​Goes ​beyond other health books by addressing the need for your beliefs to be right and your community to be helpful
  • ​Best for those struggling with body image
  • ​​Some health tips already mentioned in other books (to be honest, I just have to put something here so other people think I'm being fair)

Best ​For Those Who Want To Improve Relationships




Our Rating

​​​​This is the only book on this list that is specifically written with women in mind.

That said, it's probably a book that a ton of people, both men and women, need to read.

If you aren't happy single, you won't be happy in a relationship. And until you get your relationship with yourself right, you will struggle in relationships with other people.

This book ​includes some great information on how to know what you really want from yourself and from your relationships.

Powerful questions frequently asked help you see whether or not you're on the right track.

Once the book has helped you see where you want to go and who you want to be, it gives you practical guidance towards becoming more and more of that person.

And after that, this book offers a step by step approach to finding or fixing the relationships of your dreams.

​Best of all, this book says all that needs to be said about your relationship with yourself and your relationships with others.

Some Amazon reviews mentioned that the author is a little repetitive and that she uses a lot of personal experience.

But even so, this is a great book for finding who you are before you search for who you want to be with.

  • ​Real and encouraging
  • ​Includes great questions for self discovery
  • ​Nicely written and easy to read
  • ​Helps you align with who you want to be and who you want to be with in your life
  • ​Great for those who are in or searching for relationships
  • ​Can be a little repetitive
  • ​Author may use too much personal experience

Best ​For Overcoming Fear And Being Brave




Our Rating

​​​​Daring Greatly confronts the issue of fear with brunt force: 

Until we are vulnerable, we can never be brave.

Daring Greatly expertly combines the research and tips from a ton of different fields all into this one powerful book.

It is filled with well written research, analysis, quotes, and stories of personal triumph (and failure).

And sprinkled throughout the powerful information are pieces of practical advice that are both important and realistic.

The author does not waste time with ineffective or impossible tactics.

This book also does a really great job of talking about everything related to the issues of self-doubt, fear, vulnerability, and courage.

All that said, a few mentioned that the book may have been a bit boring.

All in all, this book checks all the boxes someone who struggles with fear or self-doubt needs. It is a great purchase.

  • ​Does a great job of giving science​​​
  • ​Approaches the concepts of fear and bravery from a new angle
  • ​Easy to read and easy to implement in your life
  • Says all that needs to be said about the topic
  • ​Great for anyone struggling with fear, anxiety, or self-doubt
  • ​Some reviews mentioned it may be a bit boring

Best ​Overall




Our Rating

​​​​If you aren't exactly sure what the problem is, but you know that you need a solution, then this is the book that I recommend for you.

This book serves as a sort of catch-all, and could easily substitute for every category on this list. If you don't know where to start or feel like you have ​lots​ of books you need to read, I suggest beginning with this one.

First, it's loaded ​​​in great, well-researched, practical info. No rah-rah "everything will be fine" stuff here (unless, of course, ​you ​make everything fine with your actions).

Speaking of actions, this book gives you some great ideas on stuff to do. And not only does it give you action tips for a few things, it gives ​universal​advice.

This means that whatever situation you find yourself in, this book gives advice that can help you identify your mental surroundings and take advantage of the situation presented to you.

Whatever that situation may be.

This book is broad, and for that reason, it can lack focus on specific issues. While it may be your best option if you want to tackle several issues or don't know where to begin, you may be better off with another book on this list if you have only one deeply rooted issue.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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    ​Does a great job of discussing lots of issues
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    ​Well researched and high quality information
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    ​Universal practical tips that can help you in every situation
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    ​Best overall
  • ​May not be as good for dealing with one specific issue as others on this list


​​Thanks for reading! Since there are so many variables in different workouts, I recommend different ​books for different circumstances. That said, if I only had to recommend one, I would recommend Self Compassion as the best book overall.

​Self Compassion deals with a wide range of various circumstances and is guaranteed to help you in some part of your life.

Let me know in the comments below: ​what is your favorite self love book?

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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How To Deal With Depression And Conquer Negative Emotion

How To ​Deal With Depression

​And Conquer Negative Emotion

Depression is a destroyer.

​​And even though depression is usually only associated with feelings of sadness and feeling down, the reality is much more complicated. It is one of the most common, yet, sadly, one of the most misunderstood conditions.

​As to just how prevalent the problem is, The WHO (World health Organization) estimates that a staggering 300 million people suffer from depression around the world.

Not only this this a huge number, but this means that around 15% of the adult population has to deal with a major depressive episode at least once in their lifetime. (​source).

Yet to understand what depression ​is​, first we must understand what it ​isn't​.

We need to have a little talk about myths​​​​​​.

The misconception surrounding depression is still quite prevalent and can pose a huge challenge for people going through a depressive phase: their symptoms, more often than not, are disregarded as "feeling blue".

​This lack of understanding has stigmatized this very real mental health issue which has provide quite detrimental to raising awareness and trying to cure the actual condition.

It is absolutely essential to be clear on the nature of depression, if we are to propose ways to cope with it.

​Myths About Depression

​​Misconceptions surrounding depression is still quite prevalent and can pose a huge challenge for people going through a depressive phase as their symptoms, more often than not, are disregarded as ‘feeling blue’.

​This lack of understanding has stigmatized this very real mental health issue which has proven quite detrimental to raising awareness and trying to cure the actual condition.

​It is absolutely essential to be clear on the nature of depression if we are to propose ways to cope with it.

Misconceptions are important for people going through depression, and people who know someone going through depression, to understand.

If you are going through it, we have to ensure that you aren't falling prey to the cultural idea that you're just feeling down, or that something is wrong with you.

So here are some myths... and the truth.


  • ​"Depression is not an actual condition, just an excuse by people who are too lazy or can’t deal with their emotions"


  • ​Depression is very real. Though feelings of sadness may be the most obvious symptom of depression, it is by far the only one. People with depression may suffer from lack of concentration or poor memory. Since these are easy to overlook and attribute to other things ("maybe I just have ADHD"), this can mean a diagnosis may never really happen. This just magnifies the problem since sufferers already feel depressed emotionally and the only way they can explain their failures to pay attention or retain information is by blaming themselves. The self-blame and shame only aggravates the problem. ​​Additionally, it is not the feeling of “sadness” that is most heart wrenching, but the lack of any feeling, the emptiness and void that cannot be filled no matter how much happiness surrounds people with depression.


  • ​"Depressed people are failures"


  • ​That is again far from the truth. Several well-known people, who appeared seemingly quite happy and successful have to deal with the demon of depression throughout their life. Winston Churchill is a famous example of a high-functioning individual suffering not just from bouts of depression, but also periods of mania. He personified his depression as the ‘black dog’ that kept coming back to him, which is why the black dog is the international symbol of depression.
  • Other famous individuals include Robin Williams, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, and Kim Jonghyun, all apparently individuals who were at the top of their game when they took their own life after losing a lifelong battle with depression.


  • ​"Depression can easily be cured by taking anti-depressants"


  • ​While anti-depressants definitely help individuals suffering from depression by producing "happiness inducing" chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, they are by no means the ultimate answer. Most sufferers need additional tools to help them combat their depression. This only sheds light into the complicated nature of depression and the many layers it has. It also means that a sufferer of depression does not have to be dependent upon anti-depressant drugs throughout the course of their life.


  • ​​"Depression is triggered by sad and traumatic events"


  • ​​While this statement is true for certain other conditions, most notable PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) which is caused by the sufferer going through extreme and repeated traumatic events such as childhood abuse and war, this is not true for depression. Feelings and bouts of sadness are a hallmark feature of depression, yet the cause in most cases is an unaccounted for. Depression patients do not go experience anything exceptionally sad as compared to non-sufferers, yet they react different to the same situation as non-sufferers. A bad grade in a class test can drive people going through depression into a whirlwind of emotions where they beat themselves up for "being an utter and complete failure".


  • ​"People eventually find a way out of this condition"


  • ​This is a huge misconception, one that prevents people from seeking help and can sometimes have extremely adverse consequences. Depression is not a switch that a person can just eventually "turn off", it is a debilitating and painful condition which recurs throughout a person’s lifetime if goes untreated. The feelings of absolute helplessness and hopelessness are real and at time interfere with a person’s normal life. The ultimate consequence, if left untreated, can be suicide where the person finds the only way to escape the depressive state is to end one’s life entirely. Intervention and proper treatment as soon as possible is absolutely essential and can lead to suicide prevention.

​The True Nature Of Depression

​Once the myths are busted and one faces the reality of the issue, its breadth and depth, the urgency to cope with the disease comes into perspective.

In the developed world, where science has eliminated most viral diseases, such as polio and measles, or found cures for many others like tuberculosis, depression as a mental health issue still poses a serious challenge.

Depression is not simply an organ malfunctioning or a viral disease that can be combated using anti-biotics. It is more like a cancerous tumour, which is malignant and keeps coming back and which requires multiple techniques to cure or, at minimum, to cope with.

So how do we deal with this malignant black dog that gnaws at us every chance it gets? Since the nature of depression is quite complicated and multifaceted, the treatment must reflect this complexity.

Depression can be recurring. So one day an individual may feel fine, but the very next day the onset of depression may be so bad that they find it impossible to get out of bed. Also there are different kinds of depressions.

Aside from the major depression which is hard to ignore and quite obvious, a lot of people suffer from the persistent depressive disorder which is more hidden.

It can be a silent killer, sucking away the happiness in an individual’s life over extended periods of time. Sufferers can go through life without ever figuring out what is wrong with them. (source).

There are other kinds as well. Bipolar disorder is an affective disorder where the sufferer has episodes of deep depression intervened by episodes of extreme elation or mania.

In their manic state people feel they can conquer the world, but in their depressive state they feel like utterly useless and worthless. Winston Churchill is a famous example of a person with bipolar disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is the kind of depression which is triggered by changes in the weather. Usually as winter approaches and the natural light of the sun is present for shorter periods of time, this can have an adverse effect on the mood and emotions of people.

​Occasionally, there is a view that only women suffer from depression. This is totally wrong. 

Yet there are types of depressions that are only experienced by women: these include peripartum depression, which is depression felt by women during or after pregnancy, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder, depression preceding a woman’s period.

Since women’s bodies go through major hormonal changes at certain periods of their life, the hormonal imbalance can result in mood swings and in some cases be magnified into full-blown episodes of depression.

Whatever the cause may be, we want to show you something:

There is hope.

​The Light Before The End Of The Tunnel

​​​​​It can feel like depression is all consuming and impossible to escape, but we have good news:

It isn't.

It can be beaten.

​The good news is that although it is just as serious as one imagines it to be, depression is nonetheless curable. There is light ​before​ you get to​​​ the end of the tunnel, no matter how dark or how long that tunnel might seem.

​The dark clouds of depression can eventually part and shine a ray of sun shine. Make no mistake though;​ it is not an easy road.

Extreme effort will need to be made at times when effort feels nearly impossible. For sufferers of depression, taking action can be especially difficult as they find doing daily task a huge burden.

But depression’s very own nature is a downward spiral and the only way to get out of it is to push oneself up. The road to full recovery consists of a number of different steps, including these:

​Medical Assistance

The use of antidepressants has grown popular in recent years.

Antidepressants are medications used to alter the brain chemistry and alleviate the symptoms of depression and it's not hard to see why they're popular:

Research has shown that ​70-90% of patients report alleviation of their depression with antidepressants. (source).

However, there are many different kinds of medications available and some are better suited than others for each individual. Also, in general, drugs should be used with caution.

​Not only do they have side effects but they can also result dependency and addiction. Antidepressants in particular can have some negative side effects, including withdrawal problems, weight gain, sexual dysfunction, and "emotional numbness". (source).

​So while antidepressants may help alleviate symptoms, the intake of antidepressants, especially in children, needs to be closely checked, specifically for suicidal tendencies. (source).

The bottom line is that drugs should be used with caution and their effects need to be monitored. In addition to this, many patients do not respond to medications alone. ​There is often a need for more than simply popping a pill. Other options include...

​Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims at improving the thinking of people suffering with depression.

​Since negative thought processes and bad thoughts are common in depression, cognitive therapy is targeted towards changing those thoughts.

The patient works along with a therapist in identifying the negative thought processes and realizing how unrealistic they are. (source).

Apart from documenting negative feelings and false perceptions, patients are required to act out difficult situations. While this may sound strange, it is surprisingly useful.

​The idea is to help the patients view difficult and depressive situations by simulating them and analysing them in the absence of the emotional stress involved the first time those emotional events occurred.

For example, a patient might be asked to re-enact an argument with their spouse which may have aggravated their depressive state.

Since the argument is now being acted out in a different setting, with different environmental and emotional cues, the level of stress felt may be lower.

The patient is able to achieve a greater level of clarity and understanding.

This reprocessing and reassessment ability enables a patient to change the way they think. Their fundamental beliefs, self-perceptions and the behaviors that stem from those negative thoughts need to be changed.

Once negative thoughts and self-deprecating beliefs are altered, the patient’s emotional state greatly improves. Self-inflictive behaviors, such as cutting, self-harm, etc, may also change as person realizes their own self-worth.

While CBT can be effective and involves little to no side effects, ​it is not ​always​ effective​​​. CBT relies heavily upon a patient’s own willingness to co-operate and change.

​As a result, motivated individuals do far better than those lacking in motivation, which is common in depression.
​CBT is also a long-term process and results are not apparent overnight.

It is a slow (sometimes painful) process as the patient tries to delve through the layers of pessimism and self-hate and attempts to re-evaluate their basic beliefs about the world around them.

Other solutions may be needed.


Being active and getting a move on can do wonders for patients suffering from depression. Regular exercise not only helps maintain physical well-being by increasing stamina, toning the muscles and increasing flexibility, it also has positive effects on the emotions. When a person exercises the brain releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins improves the mood and gives a feeling of happiness. Exercising provides a kind of a high self esteem.

Aside from the neurochemical impact, regular exercise can lead a person to feel motivated about taking care of their body. Patients with depression tend to ignore their well-being and may not practice proper hygiene as they do not feel worthy. A simple thing like daily exercise can help change that self-perception and encourage the individual to focus on improving their health both physically and mentally.

​​​​​​Being Social

People with depression tend to feel cut off and trapped. The poet Sylvia Plath described her episodes of depression as being held under a bell jar, which made her unable to communicate with people outside the bell jar (basically everyone else) and them being unable to understand her.

While it is true that depression is hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it and it can result in feelings of being misunderstood, isolation is not the answer.

Socializing and talking to people may seem like the most difficult thing to do. However, the things in life that seem most difficult are often the things that we need to do the most.

​Socializing is so effective at eliminating depression that, while not being the only cure, Johann Hari's research in his book Lost Connections indicates that strengthening our social connections may be the strongest tool we have in the fight against depression.

Strengthening social connections works in several ways. ​Once we get to know more people, we can open up and see that we are not the only ones struggling with life. We can see that our hopelessness and feelings of helplessness are unrealistic. Once that realization is achieved, it is easier to take steps to change harmful attitudes.

​Just talking about feelings and sharing our despair with loved ones can be a very positive thing. People with depression commonly feel embarrassed of their condition, as they believe they are somehow weak or abnormal. They try to hide the fact that they are dealing with crushing depression. Patients try to put on a brave face and act normal. 

While "toughing it out" is a short-term solution, it can be very detrimental. As a person fakes happiness, the feelings of emptiness only grow. The hopelessness and helplessness only build up. That p​erson will feel increasingly isolated and cut off from the world because they are withholding a storm within their mind.

In many ways, it is ​impossible​ for a person who is hiding their true emotions to make authentic friends: how can your friends love you for who you are if they don't know who you are?​​​

​For that reason, being expressive, crying, shouting, and letting it out is much better. Sure, you may lose a few friends. But any friends who leave you because of how you feel aren't truly friends anyways. Keeping emotions bottled up is not a healthy solution. Having just a single confidante that ​you can reach out to is enough. 

The power of social connection is so powerful that ​the simple act of keeping a pet can impact a person’s life positively. Caring for a pet takes mind off harmful thoughts and helps form true loving relationships.​ And since animals are not judgmental, there isn't any reason to fear social isolation from them.

​Connecting To Meaningful Work

Following ones’ passions and taking up a new hobby can have a positive effect on the mood of a depressed individual. Knitting, reading books, cooking, basically anything a person enjoys can give a feeling of happiness and fulfillment that can be extremely rewarding.

The act of doing something that one likes not only makes a person happy but also drives away the laziness commonly felt in a bout of depression. Traveling, picking flowers, watching birds, fishing, etc are all activities that connect us with the world, with nature and give a feeling of calmness.

​The internal turmoil of a depressive mind can be pacified, it only requires a bit of effort and help.​​​​​

​The Bottom Line

​What is extremely revealing about depression is its intensity and prevalence. The stigma attached to depression makes it hard for people to understand it and for the sufferers to accept it.

​But the road to recovery only begins with the recognition of the problem.

Identifying one’s mental state as depressive is key. Once that step is taken, the path, in no time, becomes easier. In fact, it becomes extremely pleasing. Then, with the medication, emotional support, and self-motivation, it can be overcome.

​But there is no silver bullet that can be used to counter depression; it is complex condition requiring a ​mixed set of complementary treatment techniques. Treatment must be consistent and, if the depression is recurring, constant.

​But it is treatable. With the right tools and right tactics, depression can be defeated. The big, bad black dog can be tamed and chained.


Thanks for reading!

​Depression is not an easy battle, and certainly not a fun one, but it is a struggle that can be conquered; it is a journey where, at the end, you will be much stronger.

If you'd like to read more on the topic, I recommend our post How To Be Happy With Your Life to bring a lot of these tactics to life and make them easy to follow (including tactics to make friends).

I also recommend Lost Connections by Johann Hari. In my opinion, it is the single greatest book for understanding, diagnosing, and overcoming depression.

​Let me know in the comments: ​what have you found that helps your depression?

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

​Are We "Best Content On The Internet" Worthy?

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If you don't think we publish the best content on the internet, we don't ​think we deserve to get to know someone as great as you.

If you do, well here ya go.

Copyright Information: Copyright Elite Happiness. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

How To Be Happy With Your Life

How To ​Be Happy With Your Life

​​From the dawn of time, humanity has been burdened with pain.

From modern philosophers like Thomas Hobbes (​life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,") to evangelists like Billy Graham ("We live, we suffer, and we die,"​​​​​​) to world-renowned ancient thinkers like Aristotle ("The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain,"), the pursuit of happiness has always been core to the meaning of what it is to be human.

​To help you be happy, I've organized the best tactics, the most up to date science, and the surprising ancient philosophies that humans have been using for millennia to teach you how ​to be happy in all the circumstances of life.

This is a big post, ​but I recommend reading it in order, as each section builds upon the last. I've organized this post into three sections: 

First, we start with the science of happiness, looking at in depth research that provides a basis for the rest of our topics.

Next, we take a look at philosophies and teachings of the ancients, reminding ourselves of concepts that can be forgotten in the modern hustling world.

Finally, we look at the tactics you can apply to be happy where you are in life. We cover how to conquer overwhelming sadness, pessimism, remind yourself that your life matters, and show the best way to make new friends.

If you would like to skip to a section, click below.




The Science Of Happiness

beakers and jars

​On Being Punched By Strangers And The Good News About Instagram

​Johann Hari was, by most accounts, quite depressed.

​Beginning antidepressants as a teenager, at the ripe age of 18. In his book Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes Of Depression, Hari says about his depression:

​"I would often have to absent myself, shut myself away, and cry. They were not a few tears. They were proper sobs. And even when the tears didn't come, I had an almost constant anxious dialogue thrumming through my head. Then I would chide myself: It's all in your head. Get over it. Stop being weak."​​​​

Yet when almost 13% of people are on antidepressants, is being unhappy really just in your head? (source).

Perhaps it isn't.

Perhaps unhappiness is a detectable scientific phenomenon pervasive in Western culture.

And if it isn't just in your head, if it is more than a chemical imbalance as we are so often told, then perhaps another fact is also true: it can be fixed.

Hari says that in large part, sadness we feel in every day life comes not from genetic chemical imbalances in the brain, but from ​created​ chemical imbalances in the brain.

And one of the leading causes of chemical imbalance?

Loneliness. In studies reviewed by Hari, he found that loneliness increases the stress hormone cortisol as much as being physically attacked.

In Lost Connections, he says:

"Feeling lonely, it turned out, caused your cortisol levels to absolutely soar—as much as some of the most disturbing things that can ever happen to you. Becoming acutely lonely, the experiment found, was as stressful as experiencing a physical attack. It’s worth repeating. Being deeply lonely seemed to cause as much stress as being punched by a stranger."

There's some conflicting information about how many people feel lonely. A Gallup survey in 2004​​​ concluded that Americans are, in general, satisfied with their number of relationships. While the average number of close friendships has decreased since 1990, the average correspondent reported having almost 9 close friends. (source).

However, another study suggests that humans can actually max out the number of close friendships: we struggle maintaining more than five intimate relationships at once. (source).

​​And perhaps another study takes us even nearer to what we need to be looking at. When people were asked how many friends they could have important conversations with, the average answer wasn't nine, and it wasn't five.

It was zero. (source).

From a research standpoint, it looks like people ​claim​ to have several close friends, but when asked questions that are more specific (such as how many friends they are comfortable having intimate conversations with), the number drops dramatically.​​​

​We are lonely.

And loneliness is deadly.

Specifically speaking, not being lonely makes us emotionally healthy ​and it even makes us smarter​. (source).​​​

When it comes to loneliness and social interaction, I think we need to have a talk about social media (​and no, I'm not going to tell you to uninstall Instagram).

Depending where you go on the internet, you'll either see sycophants worshipping at the feet of the social media giants or people who are basically the Luddites of the 21st century. (The Luddites went around and destroyed technology in the 19th century - imagine if Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos had an evil twin)

Both of these approaches are a misguided, yet at a surface glance, supported by the research.

For example, one study shows that no ill effects were recorded as a result of social media use. People continued talking with friends and family, having social interactions, and didn't feel increased emotional negativity. (source).

Another study says that when social media is used too frequently, ​people were twice as likely to have feelings of social disconnection. (source).

A third study brings this two conclusions together nicely. This study concludes that when social media is used to establish meaningful connections, it has several positive effects without any negative ones; think of this useful social media as simply a new way to share your life, hear from your friends, and connect with new people.

Yet when social media isn't used to connect, ill effects begin to happen. This was observed happening at about the two hour mark each day; once participants crossed two hours, social isolation began to creep in. (source 1​) (source 2).

So by all means, use social media. Just remember that it's best used for genuine connection, and that too much of a good thing isn't really a good thing.

friends at a picnic with small dog

Hot Spouses And Big Houses (And Why Having One Choice May Be The Best Thing To Ever Happen To You)

​Any self-improvement book, course, or website (that would be us) will tell you to set goals. Know what you want and get it!

But research is increasingly showing that just ​setting​ goals doesn't help. You have to set ​the right​ goals.

​Specifically, the more materialistic your goals are (I want a nice XYZ, a salary of [six+ figures here], and a spouse that is a twelve out of ten), the more likely you are to be depressed.

Quoting from a study done by Tim Kasser in The High Price Of Materialism,​​​​​​​​​ Hari writes:

​"It really did seem that people were having a worse time, day by day, on all fronts. They felt sicker, and were angrier. 'Something about a strong desire for materialistic pursuits,' he was starting to believe, 'actually affected the participants' day-to-day lives, and decreased the quality of their daily experience.' They experienced less joy, and more despair."

So what does work?

Intrinsic goals. Goals that are less about how others see you and more about how you see you; less of an emphasis on appearance or "being better" and more of an emphasis on living a fulfilling life.

In Heidi Grant Halvorson's book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals, she defines an intrinsic goal as one focusing on your own self-improvement (whether it be mental, spiritual, or physical) or a goal focused on your relationships in life.

​Intrinsic goals are more valuable and lead to more happiness than extrinsic goals because extrinsic goals are based in comparison. In Eric Barker's bestselling book Barking Up The Wrong Tree, Barker analyzes a study for the purpose of happiness:

​In a real life study of when people were presented with multiple options, the study found that the end result was usually better with increased options. When people were given options of multiple careers, for instance, their respective salaries usually ended up higher.

Yet even while options and absolute results increased, happiness and satisfaction decreased when people were presented with multiple options.

The more that people had opportunities to do, the less satisfied they felt with their ​final choice.

​On the flip side, studies show that comparison helps us to achieve extrinsic goals. If you're looking to bump your salary, rise higher in life, or just generally overachieve, then I have some advice for you: compare away.

Comparison acts as sort of a turbo boost when it's used. It causes us to want more and strive to be more even though "being better" doesn't actually make us much happier. (source).​

As with all things, going to either extreme is rarely the correct solution; you don't need to be a miserable world ruler or a happy person that can't afford clothes. Compare your life when you need a boost, stop comparing when you need to be happy.

So while limited comparison can be good for you, don't allow comparison to consume your life. Focus less on being the greatest musician ever and more on being a musician who can bring joy to yourself and others. Strive less to be the greatest salesperson in the world and more ​on being someone who can help others get what they want.

When we take the focus off of beating others and place more value in being happy with who we are (especially if that leads to desires for self-improvement), we may beat others less... but we'll be a lot happier about losing, about loving, and about everything else.

Keep the focus on what matters: yourself and your relationships.

goals sheet

​​Questions With Friends

Man's search for meaning probably began when the first humans started organizing words and yet this drive is so powerful that it continues to haunt us even today.

"Why am I here?"

"What am I doing?"

"What's my purpose?"

Each question only reflects a greater truth: we innately feel like there is more to life than what meets the eye. Even though we work at a job, that job is not our identity; though we have emotions, we can rise above them; though we think, we can think better.

Tom Rath cites a study in his book Are You Fully Charged? about meaning in the workplace. His research led him to see that when people are working on meaningful tasks in their jobs, their average engagement increases by 250%.

But why do we need meaning to make us happy?

Well, to put it simply, searching for happiness isn't enough.

In fact, searching for happiness may be making you unhappy.

In Ph.D. holder Christine Carter's book The Sweet Spot, she looked at a lot of science to determine what really makes us happy. Her findings were stunning:

“Compelling research indicates that the pursuit of happiness — when our definition of happiness is synonymous with pleasure and easy gratification — won’t ultimately bring us deeper feelings of fulfillment; it won’t allow us to live in our sweet spot. Although we claim that the “pursuit of happiness” is our inalienable right and the primary driver of the human race, we humans do better pursuing fulfillment and meaning — creating lives that generate the feeling that we matter.”

This raises a question: how do we actually stop pursuing happiness and start pursuing meaning?

What even is meaning?

Lucky for us both, there are answers to both of those questions. To stave off any incoming existential crises, let's first take a look at what meaning actually is.

In Emily Esfahani Smith's book The Power Of Meaning, she analyses what meaningful lives actually look like: when people say that they feel fulfilled, what are they actually doing differently?

Her conclusions led her to believe that a meaningful life is characterized by three things:

1) Connection and contribution to something beyond yourself (connection and contribution)

2) Doing activities that generate positive emotions (positivity)

3) Deepening social connections (social connection)

Let's take a look at each of these.

Connection And Contribution

Activities that promote connection and contribution to something beyond yourself can be anything that you feel is working for a greater good.

It can be coaching your local little league team, working on a project with your family, or going to the gym with your friend.

Tasks like these help us feel like we are creating a legacy. These tasks help us to see that life is only meaningless if we don't share it with others; that everyone (yep, even you) has talents and abilities that can benefit the world.

And you don't have to build the next Microsoft or Apple to feel like you are contributing; even small tasks like cleaning the house for your family, volunteering a couple of hours a week, or spending time with your child can all activate this feeling of meaning.

So go out and take part in something bigger than you.


I don't need science to tell you that humans avoid doing what is good for us. Instead, we do what is easy. (but here's the source if you want it anyways)

Yet the tasks that are easy rarely bring us much happiness at all. Just ask yourself the last time you finished binge watching a show on Netflix and said "Wow, I'm so glad I did that!"

Probably exactly never. If you're like me, you finished binge watching to go into a horrifying panic ​mode because you remembered that you're an adult with responsibilities and that if you don't do something ​with your life you might ​never accomplish anything at all.

A little dramatic, but it's how I feel.

One of the key elements of a meaningful life is a life that consistently does activities bringing positive emotion, not just activities that are easy.

I recommend putting down the remote and start doing a hobby. Not convinced it's worth it, or don't have a hobby? Then it's probably time to look at the research and get one.

Having a hobby can...

  • ​Make you better at work (source)
  • ​Increase job satisfaction and decrease burnout (source)
  • ​Lower blood pressure, cortisol, waistline, BMI, and make you believe you're in better health (you are)​ (source)
  • ​Put you in a better mood, increase interest, lower stress, and decrease your heart rate (source)

​So opt for things that make you happy, not things that numb your mind of offer an escape from reality for a fleeting moment of time.

​Social Connection

As mentioned earlier in this post, humans are social creatures and loneliness is deadly. So deadly, in fact, that loneliness is one of the ​most regrettable things about life.​​​​​​​​​

In Bronnie Ware's book The Top Five Regrets Of The Dying, she recounts the many people she took care of as they passed on. ​And as people lay on their deathbeds, many of them said a sentence that was becoming more and more familiar to Bronnie:

"I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends."

One of the keys to a meaningful life is staying connected with those around you, deepening those connections, and building new ones.

When you feel like you are connected and contributing to a higher cause, are doing things that actually make you happy, and are building deep relationships, you won't have to search for happiness.

You'll already have it.

​Road Rage, Thank You Notes, And Why (Kinda) Being A Control Freak Lowers Stress

​Be honest: are you a control freak? Because if you're not, you should be.


Here's what I mean. ​If you want to be stress free, you need to have control over your environment. When people believe that they have both direct and indirect control over their environment, their stress levels are shown to plummet.

​On the same note, when feelings of control are taken away, stress began to increase. (source).

But here's the kicker: these results held true even when participants only ​thought​ and ​felt like​ they had control over a situation. How much control the participants actually had was unimportant.

The amount of control participants actually had was irrelevant as long as they felt like they were able to influence an outcome. (source).​​​​​​

​And if you're really trying to avoid stress, avoid ​embarrassment in situations where you don't have much control.

In a study of people who were driving to work, drivers who had the more difficult commutes showed higher blood pressure and decreases in behavioral performance (duh). Interestingly enough, the increases in blood pressure and decreases in behavioral performance were especially severe when the driver had other people in the car. (source).

So avoid stress and avoid being embarrassed in front of others. Gotcha. But how do we actually do that? What do we do about situations where we don't have much control?

In situations where there isn't much you can do (such as driving to work or handling your boss), it's best to stop focusing on what you can't control and remember what thing you can take control of:


The positive control freak is not a freak because they worry about everything, but about nearly nothing. It isn't helpful or particularly productive to fear over problems you can't control, so the positive control freak doesn't do it.

​And while you can't make people like you, can't make every client buy from you, and may not even be able to pick what you're going to eat for dinner, you can always control your response to these situations, of which the list is short:

​Gratitude and optimism.

Optimism is its own beast, so we tackle it right here in the Tactics section.

​Gratitude, however, is pretty easy to talk about:

Do it.

In an eight month study looking at the long term effects of optimism and gratitude, researchers found that the effect gratitude places on you is pretty powerful. It makes you happy.

And the researchers were quick to specify that gratitude worked both in the short and long term as a producer of happiness and was not just a placebo.

Gratitude had a real, measurable effect on making the participants happy, not just in the moment, but for a long time after. (source).

Of course, the most simple way to show gratitude is to tell someone thank you.

So who do we thank when life gets rough and gives us situations that are out of our control? First, thank yourself. Appreciate the fact that you are someone who can handle tough situations and a tough life.

Thank yourself for getting you through one more day and then go thank others who helped you become who you are today.

​Taking control of our situations by controlling our response is the only way we can always feel like we're making an impact, so be sure to congratulate yourself and give some gratitude to the people who made you how you are today.

They​ appreciate it and it makes you happy.

To sum up this section on the science of happiness, here's an incredible TEDx talk about one the longest studies ever recorded: the study on happiness.

With that said, let's get out of the studies and move into the minds of the greatest thinkers humanity has ever known.

The ​​Philosophy Of Happiness

Ancient Greece - ​The Art Of Being A Pretty Decent Dude

Perhaps no period in history, with the exception of the Enlightenment, produced as much powerful philosophy as during the time of ancient Greece.

Particularly, Greece had the power trio: Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. While tons of philosophers were produced during the lives of these three men, as they were all attentive teachers, these are the three that you'll probably hear about in high school and college history classes.

So let's look at what a few of these master thinkers had to say.

In his book The Republic, Plato uses a conversation with Socrates, his teacher, as a discussion on what justice truly is. Plato believed that if we could adequately define justice, then we could improve economics, government, and human rights.

And, he argued, we could be truly happy.

Most relevant to our discussion is how Plato believed that people could achieve happiness. Plato defends the idea that for a person to be truly happy, that person has to be a moral person, fulfilled all of their social duties.

Social duties and "cardinal virtues" played a big part in Plato's thinking. He thought that to be truly happy, people had to be wise (being able to discern the right course of action), courageous, fair, and have control over themselves.

He paid a particularly large portion of attention to the concept of self-control, saying that until a person could reject power and reject the things that didn't make that person happy (such as money or fame) then a person could never be truly happy.

It's worth remembering in today's world.

Aristotle believed similar things, but himself believed that if you were left with nothing and lived completely in a vacuum, that wisdom, wealth, or fame wouldn't have much value to you.

The only thing that would be left is your character: who you are.

He believed that to be happy, we must become people who are happy with ourselves, pleased with our own character. Of course, he argued, to truly have an excellent character, you must be a just person.

(Some philosophers throughout history have criticized what they consider to be a contradiction here - Aristotle first says that being just isn't ​extremely important, and then he says that if you want to be happy, being just is the most important thing. I've tried to reconcile these beliefs in the paragraph below)

​Aristotle believed that you must be a person of virtue. Even though wisdom, courage, self-control, and restraint are not the most important things in life, he argued, these are the only things that can make you a person who is truly happy with who you are.

So be a person of virtue.

Ancient China - ​Be Happy Because I Said So. ​Now​.​​​

Ancient China's philosophers were so impactful that their teachings still impact the world today. Confucious in particular is still adhered to, encouraging people to maintain the correct level of intimacy and respect with those around them.

Confucious taught respect as a major emphasis in his teachings: the respect between student and teacher, parent and child, older and younger siblings.

Confucious would argue that appropriate respect for your environment and those around you brings you the good life, which sets you on the path to happiness.

In particular, Confucian teachings say that you can create happiness; it does not need to be brought to you. Confucious believed that if you focused on the reasons in your life to be happy, that you would eventually achieve joy.

And once you have joy, a beautiful cycle of renewal begins. For each reason you have to be joyful, Confucious says, you can always find one more.

The happier you are, the happier you will be. It all begins with one step in the right direction: respect and optimism.

Another powerful ancient philosopher is recorded in history as Lao Tzu, literally translated as "old man".

This old guy has a lot to teach about how to eliminate stress, eliminate worry, and produce happiness.

Lao Tzu's big contribution to the philosophy of happiness is the idea that your thoughts should be focused on the present if you want to be happy.

While focusing on the future may make you achieve more, it doesn't bring true happiness.

It only brings worry.

This goes back to what we learned about comparison: comparing does make us accomplish more and compete better, but even winning doesn't ever make us truly happy.

And Lao Tzu believed similarly of the past; he said that staying focused on what has already happened won't just make us anxious, it makes us downright depressed.

So focus on the present, be thankful for the past, and expect the future to work out when the time is right.

​Middle Ages - ​​The Real... Uh... Reality

​In the times of the Middle Ages, theology and philosophy were often considered ​as closely linked, with guys like Thomas Aquinas ​believing that philosophy is the servant of theology.

Much of philosophical debate during the Middle Ages was made about the question of which is more powerful: faith or reason? Which should be adhered to the most?

Essentially, Middle Age philosophy came down to the question of whether the world was essentially spiritual or essentially physical.

Since happiness is a part of reality, how each philosopher viewed happiness depended on how they viewed reality.

The famous philosopher Augustine, who was so influential that he is still hailed today in Christian circles, believed that love was the key to happiness. ​Augustine believed that love (whether it be love of ourselves, of others, of possessions, or of God) was the missing element to ethics; that it was impossible to be truly ethical without being truly loving.

And the most important love of all, he said, was love of God. Without a connection to God, Augustine argued, all was for naught.

Other philosophers also shared the belief that to be truly satisfied in life, we must satisfy our spiritual element.

Al-Ghazali, a Muslim philosopher and theologian, believed that one must have both an intellectual and spiritual understanding of the world and of God and that only by using logic, a God-given ability, can humans attain joy.

Al-Ghazali believed that true happiness came from an understanding of the four essential knowledges that humans needed: Knowledge of self, knowledge of God, true knowledge of this world, and true knowledge of the next world.

And then finally, another, slightly later philosopher, brings us into the contemporary period: the Jewish philosopher Maimonides.

Maimonides shows the moving answer to philosophy's great​ debate of faith vs reason during the Middle Ages.

While earlier philosophers are almost without fail at least partial believers in the power of faith, Maimonides sticks out like a sore thumb.

His argument is that only by deep critical thinking can one attain true happiness. Happiness, he says, is purely and completely intellectual. Knowledge evolves into joy.

So love deeply, believe what you will, and always be willing to learn more.

​This thinking leads us nicely into the Modern Age (which, actually, isn't modern).

​Modern Age - Ingredients: Unlimited Power And A Dash Of Nothing

​The unmodern Modern Age was a time of incredible increases in knowledge of all sorts. Knowledge of ​science grew vast and there was an increase in arts of all sorts. Many famous people, including Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, Napoleon, and the founding fathers lived during this time span.

It was an age of heroes.

It was​ an age of tragedies.

The Modern Age was a time period when philosophy grew in exponential levels and became inextricably linked to science. The philosophers ​were​ the scientists.

One of these men, Friedrich Nietzsche​​​, is particularly well known. Nietzsche had a lot to say and much of what he said revolved around, well, the more basic human needs (that means sexy stuff).

Nietzsche was a little bit obsessed with turning the lights down and putting some good Bach on, but that doesn't mean he thought you had to get between the sheets to be happy.

In fact, Nietzsche believed that basic human happiness was solved by a solution we've already discussed: control.

Nietzsche argued that once humans have power over their environment and are not subject to the whims of the unpredictable world around us, we experience true joy.

Another philosopher had quite a different view.

John Stuart Mill was a British philosopher who contributed a lot to the idea of individual liberty and was an early adopter of the belief that women should be able to vote.

His view on happiness is surprisingly ​spartan.

Mill believed that true happiness did not come from being able to do whatever you wanted. Instead, it came from not wanting so many things.

Mill was a minimalist.

In a way that would have satisfied the Buddha himself, Mill believed that more desires only caused suffering and greed, and that the only way to truly thrive was to thrive with only a few things.

​Live with only what you can really afford, only what you c​an really enjoy.

But what both of these men have in common is the same solution, they simply approach it in different ways.

Nietzsche believes that control over the environment is essential to happiness. Mill believes that the only way to truly control the environment is to control yourself.

​However you get there, mastery of self is the true way to unlimited joy.

But how do we actually master ourselves?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

The ​Tactics Of Happiness

​How To Activate Your Real Life Friend Finder

​By far, the best way to happiness is to have quality relationships with people you care about.

​As mentioned in the video of the TED Talk above, the number one indicator of someone's happiness is how they feel about those around them, so the most important step for you is to develop personal relationships.

But making friends is difficult, and takes a long time. In fact, becoming friends can take a ​really​ long time.

In Jeffrey Hall's study of friendship, he found that just to be a casual friend with someone, you're gonna need 40-60 hours with that person, preferably within a few weeks of initially meeting them.

To develop a new best friend? About 200 or more hours. (source).​​​

Making friends is obviously difficult, and takes a lot of time. But with relationships being so essential, this is the first area we should focus on.

​And you c​ould go downtown, hold up a sign that says "Looking For Friends", and see what happens...

(I don't think I would take you up on that)

Or you could do ​follow our little cheat sheet below and be swimming in friends in under a month.

​Go Where The Happies Are

The first order of business is to start going where happy people congregate. And to do this, your best option may be, well, a congregation.

Research shows that just ​being ​physically close to happy or sad people will turn you into the same kind of person that they are. And happy people tend to gather in two places: churches and in gyms.​​​​ (source).​​​

​Working out and participating in religious services give people disproportionate amounts of happiness compared to other activities. One study even says that consistently participating in these two activities can boost your entire well-being from physical to emotional to mental. (source).

​​​We aren't exactly sure why these two things in particular provide big boosts to happiness, but the best guess is that these are simple tasks that can be done consistently.

So you should go where the happy people are (maybe starting in a church or a gym), but you should also...

​Do What The Happies Do

A key element of friendship is a feeling of camaraderie, the feeling of being in something together.

One study where two participants had to ask each other 36 intimate questions showed that just after asking these intimate questions, the participants felt closer to one another. (source).

(here are the questions if you'd like to read them)

And remember earlier where we talked about the importance of hobbies?

Find a hobby, but don't do it alone.

Do it with others.

This can be anything: exercise (I enjoy jogging with someone), knitting, video games, martial arts, golf, fishing, a cooking class, you name it.

And in this hobby, try and surround yourself with people who you want to be like, people who are happy and successful in the same ways you want to be.

So find a hobby you enjoy and find others to do it with.

​Talk How The Happies Talk

So you're surrounded by people, you're doing what they do, and you're beginning to build friendships.

But how do you really take friendships to the next level? How do we really get people to genuinely like us?

Well, we talk.

Talk about them some, talk about you some.

This is an area I struggled with for a long time; I always thought that since people ​love​ talking about themselves, that I should rarely talk about myself.

Research slaps me in the face once again:

One study shows that you ​should ​​​​​​​​​talk about yourself with people. In fact, the research gets pretty specific: about 30-40% of your communications should be talking about yourself, and another 30-40% should be talking about the other person. (source).

​​​Be sure not to go overboard and hit only talk about yourself, but also be sure not to ​never​ talk about yourself.

​For people to be your friend, they have to know who you are.

And people have always been a lot more accepting of that than I thought they would be, once we got to know each other.​​​

Go where happy people congregate, do your hobbies with them, and don't be afraid to open your mouth, just not too much.

​Do these things and in less than a few weeks, you'll be swimming in new budding relationships.

You'll be swimming in friends.

​Learning Luckiness And 3 Important ​Beliefs

​​Being an optimist is strangely reminiscent of having superpowers.


Optimists have a lot of advantages over people who are pessimistic or just blatantly neutral. For one, optimists are happier. An eight month study found that optimism and gratitude literally change people's mindset to feel more joy. (source).

Not only that, but optimists tend to make friends more easily (source) and according to Richard Wiseman's book The Luck Factor, optimists flat out have better luck than the rest of us.

Further, optimism contributes to another happiness producing factor: control.

When you are optimistic, you by definition believe the future will be better than your current situation.

This belief, when stubbornly ingrained, allows us to control our responses to painful events. And the more we feel like we have control, the less stressed we are. (source 1) (source 2).

But how do we become more optimistic? By chanting meaningless platitudes ("each day, in every way, I am getting better and better")?

Well, no.

Not at all.

In fact, Martin Seligman's book Learned Optimism studies enough research to show that most of those platitudes are worth about as much as a cup full of dirt.

That's to say, not very much at all.

​Seligman's research shows that when you're looking at people to determine whether they are optimists or pessimists, what you're really looking for are stories.

When things in life happen, what stories do these people tell themselves?

Pessimists say that bad things are obstacles.

Optimists say that bad things are opportunities.

Pessimists believe that bad things are often unpredictable and, when they happen, are often long-lasting.

Optimists believe that not every bad event can be predicted, but that we have control over a large portion of the results of our lives. When bad things do happen, these bad things can be conquered.

In Seligman's research, he saw that whether you're an optimist or a pessimist isn't determined by some divine balancing scale, but is actually a learned behavior.

You trained yourself to be an optimist or a pessimist.

And since you trained yourself in, you can train yourself out.

One of the ways to start training yourself to be optimistic is to start listening to the stories you tell yourself.

When bad things happen, do you say ​statements like these?

​"This is never going to work out."

"I don't think I'll ever find the right person."

"Maybe I'm just not meant to be happy."

You can't begin to change your self talk until you begin to listen to it. When you can hear it and notice what you're saying to yourself, then you can begin to adapt.

Change "This is never going to work out," to "This isn't working yet, but if I either change my approach or keep trying, I can do this!"

"I don't think I'll ever find the right person," becomes "There are over 7 billion people on the earth, one of them has to be right."

"Maybe I'm just not meant to be happy," suddenly can change to "I deserve to be happy, I'm just not there ​yet​."​​​

Your self talk is the most important aspect of your optimism. Begin to hear it, then begin to change it by believing:

​1) ​My problems are not unsolvable

​2)​ I can be the solution to my problem

​3)​ I am not conquered yet

If you'd like to read more about self talk, we talk a lot about it in this post on motivation.​​​​​​​​​​​​

​Conquer your self talk and you conquer your emotions. You can literally create happiness.​​​

​​Why Lottery Winners Bankrupt Fast

​One of the greatest obstacles that people face when trying to be happy is that we often don't do what makes us happy.

We already discussed that people often do what is easy (watching Netflix) rather than what is best (focusing on your new business).

But to fix this, first we must ask the question of ​why​ people do what is easy instead of what they know is best.

I believe that people do what is easy because we often do not at all know what makes us happy.

And even if we do know, we often do not consciously remember it.​​​

The first step in pursuing your happiness is this: ​know what you want​.

Do you really want Netflix? Or do you want financial freedom?

Do you really want to check your emails and look over that project you can't do anything about for the third time? Or do you want to do meaningful work?

Do you want relaxation for ten minutes now or do you want retirement ten years early later on?

Life comes down to the tiny, minute choices we make. And if I'm allowed to beat us all over the head with reality for a minute, I want to say something you won't hear elsewhere.

You ​can't​ achieve your dreams tomorrow.

Probably not the next day either.

Maybe not even ten years from now.

But you know what you can do?

​You can achieve your dreams​. We simply must switch our mindsets from event to process.

Your dream life won't happen in an event. It won't happen overnight. It will be the cumulation of a thousand tiny decisions day in and day out, but understand this:

Until you go through the process, you probably aren't ready for the event.

​​​​​​​​​Jack Whittaker was, by all accounts, an extremely lucky man.

Already a millionaire at the time he bought a winning lottery ticket, Whittaker supplemented his current wealth with over $100M more.

Now ​that​ is a lot of money.

It's even more money today than it was when Whittaker won in 2002. Today, his winnings would be worth almost $150M.

And yet in 2016, Whittaker, now broke, says "I wish we had tore the ticket up." (source).​​​

Why is it that lottery winners, who can take home up multiple millions of dollars, are twice as likely to file bankruptcy as the average person? ​Lottery winners are so bad with money that 70% of them go bankrupt within 5 years. (source).

Not only that, but lottery winners are neither happier nor healthier after winning. (source 1) (source 2).

The reason why is simple: these "lucky" people experienced an event. They missed out on the process.

​And because they missed the process, these people were not emotionally or mentally strong enough to handle the event.​​​

When you think of your happiness, don't wish for an event. When we aren't strong enough to handle the event, then the event can ruin our lives.

If you want to be happy, be willing to dedicate your life to the process: dedicating moment after moment to becoming the person who ​deserves​ success in whatever metric you define.

Become a person who deserves to be rich.

Become a person who deserves to have a great spouse.

To achieve your dream, you have to be someone who is worthy of achieving your dream.

To be happy, first you must know what you want.

​Then you must chase it wholeheartedly, committing to the process.

And make no mistake, the process can be a ton of fun.

If you have never experienced what it is to wake up one day and know that you are better than yesterday, know that you are one step closer to your dream, I want to tell you that there aren't many greater joys in all the world.

Know what you want and pursue it day in and day out, each day enjoying the victories, each day remembering that the defeats teach you lessons.

That's the only way you'll really be happy.​​​​​​

Because life really ​is​ about the journey, not just the destination.​​​


Thanks for reading!

​Happiness may seem far away, but it is always worth pursuing.

​You can achieve it​.

Develop your relationships, avoid focusing on the wrong things, and improve yourself every day. You'll get there in no time.​​​

​Let me know in the comments: what are you doing to be happy?

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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If you don't think we publish the best content on the internet, we don't ​think we deserve to get to know someone as great as you.

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Success Is Something You Deserve. Here Are Six Reasons Why

​Success Is Something You Deserve. 

Here Are Six Reasons Why

​​As Martin lay in his bed, his mother leaned over him.

"I wish you were dead."

While anyone, most of all Martin, could fault a mother for wishing her son was dead, Martin remembers feeling understanding toward her in that moment.

Understanding and pity.

Martin had been bedridden for a few years at this point. And not only was Martin ​stuck in his bed, he found himself entirely unable to communicate.

In fact, no one even knew Martin was awake.

At the age of 12, Martin developed a disease that baffled all of his doctors. He rapidly lost muscular control, mental acuity, and went into a coma months later.

A few years later, Martin woke up.

But no one knew it.

He couldn't move. He couldn't communicate. Actions that Martin thought were enormous, such as barely moving a finger, were barely perceptible to onlookers.

​For years, Martin was trapped inside his own head: a burden to his parents and caretakers. He described himself simply as being in the way, and when his mother had a death wish, he recalls understanding.

“It broke my heart, in a way,” he said in an interview with Today. “But at the same time, particularly as I worked through all the emotions, I felt only love and compassion for my mother. My mother often felt that she wasn't a good mom and couldn't take care of me. One of the hardest things for me was I couldn't tell her that, ‘No, you are doing great.’” (source).

​In a miracle that sounds like it came out of a movie, Martin emerged from his isolation: once a nurse noticed that he was responsive, he was given the attention and therapy needed for limited movement and communication.

​​Today, Martin has to use a special computer to talk... but he can talk.

And not only can he talk, but Martin became a successful freelance web designer, developer, and a ​​best selling author​.​​​​​​

​Martin was successful because he knew that he deserved success. He overcame horrible scenarios, the worst background imaginable, and still found personal success (oh yeah, did I forget to mention that Martin married ​the spouse of his dreams?).

​And while you probably aren't reading this in a coma, or having ever been in a coma, or having ever been conscious in a coma for nearly a decade, I want you to understand something:

​Just like Martin, ​y​​​ou deserve success​.

​If you just want to get to the meat of this post and only want to hear all about why you deserve success, you can click here.

But if you'll hang with me a minute, I would like to talk about ​the greatest roadblock to your success: negative beliefs.

​​Remember That?

​​As a human, you undoubtedly have a past. I would love to hear that your past is only filled with good things: sunshine, rainbows, and lots of dancing in flower patches on a hillside; but since you're human, that probably didn't happen to you any more than I fought a battle with a Sith Lord while in my penguin PJs.

​Many times, our self beliefs come from things that happened to us in the past; this can even be true if we barely remember the actual event.

Imagine this with me. A child (we're gonna call her Emma) is an an entirely loving, nearly perfect home. Emma's parents play with her, raise her well, and teach her how to be an excellent adult in today's society.

​While Emma's parents are very loving, they are quite poor and never too far from the negative numbers in their bank account. They talk about wealth like they talk about ​being poisoned with ricin: rich people are always greedy, cruel, and worse than most Bond villains.

Would you be surprised to learn that Emma grows up to believe that wealth is evil, to be avoided, and that rich people only make for good movie bad-guys?

While there's nothing particularly wrong with believing that life is superior without much wealth, this example shows how many of our beliefs are formed.

Have you ever had someone say to you:

"You can't..."

"You won't ever..."

"It's not good for you to..."

"You should do it like..."

"Never, ever, ever..."

​Well-meaning parents telling their children that ​they can't​ may have stolen from the world many a star athlete, movie star, astronaut, and genius.​​​

Many beliefs, including the negative ones, may have been instilled at childhood. Others are brought about by experiences.

Let's say that you have been in the dating game for a while. A long while.

In fact, you've been searching for so long that you're right on the brink of giving up.

Last night, as you were waiting on a text back (which may not have come), you began to question: "What if I just can't find anyone for me?"

Not you? Let's try again.

You're at your job, frustrated you aren't moving higher up. You aren't feeling accomplished. ​Despising your morning alarm, you think "Maybe I'm just not meant to be happy."

You and your boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse​ keep coming back to one argument. You begin to think "I've done all I can, but maybe ​​I just can't have good relationships with people."

Life hits you with ​another​ curveball you didn't see coming. It's financial stress, emotional weight, family problems, pick your poison.​​​ Sullen and hurting, you begin to say to yourself "I'm just not someone who life works out for."

Whether these beliefs come from what you were taught or what you experienced, we all believe something negative about ourselves.

​You are not alone​.

These limiting beliefs are deadly to our happiness and to our success.​​​

​​How To Find Your Limiting Beliefs

The first step in eliminating a problem is to figure out what the actual problem is and, like I often am, you may find yourself surprised at exactly how nasty your self-talk is.

Try this: say "I don't deserve success because..." and finish the sentence.​

​If you had more than one thing pop into your head, well, you're probably like the rest of us. The goal here is volume. Think of (and preferably write down) as many of these thoughts as possible.

Other prompts are easy to come up with and any of these below will work.

"I don't deserve good relationships because..."

"I shouldn't have happiness because..."

"I'm a financial failure because..."

​"I'll never have the body I want because..."

"My mind/life/personality will never be right because..."

"I'm not worthy of _________ because..."

Feel free to create your own. Your objective here is not to find one or two things that are really working you over, but to think of as many limiting beliefs as possible.

​Again, I encourage you to write these, stick them on a mirror, wall, vision board, or another place you're going to look at often.

​And spend every single day proving these beliefs wrong​.​​​​​​

Why? Because success is something you deserve.

Here's why.

​​​​​Fire Up ​Your Super Powers

​​Rejected. Again.

​While Joanne hadn't quite collected a Tim Ferriss sized rejection list (25 publishers rejected his first novel, The 4-Hour Workweek), she was hurting due to her​ ​only 12 rejection letters.

Not only that, but she was about as close as a person could get without actually being homeless. Her mother was dead, ​her marriage was shattered, and Joanne could barely afford to buy food for her and her daughter.

But Joanne had a passion surpassing almost all her other desires.

​She was a writer. Stories were her love and her joy. Ever since she was a child writing tales of bunnies and their friends, she had wanted to grow up to be a author; a creator of wonderful fantasies, people, and places.

Her manuscript was finally accepted after one publisher's daughter wanted to read more than the first few chapters, but it turns out that even Joanne's name wasn't good enough: the publisher highly recommended a pen name, as boys were ​less likely to buy books written by a woman.

Taking an initial from her grandmother's name, J.K. Rowling was born.

You probably know the rest of this story, but her Harry Potter franchise became such a powerhouse that it turned Rowling into one of only 1500 billionaires worldwide​, and the first billionaire to be a female author.

Her books are so popular that they are some of the most stolen worldwide. (source), often competing with books such as the Bible to grab the number one spot. (source).

How did the poor single mother Joanne go from the verge of suicide to worldwide bestselling author?

She unleashed her super powers.

​Passion is the closest thing to a super power that you and I have​.

While I never recommend people start businesses based on their passions (a tip from MJ DeMarco's book The Millionaire Fastlane)​​​, following your passions for other purposes is extremely sensible.

In fact, you'll probably never be happy if you don't follow your passions.

​Here's the thing, and it's pretty cool: you're good at something.

I don't have the foggiest of what that thing is, but you're pretty good at it. And if you aren't that good at it yet, you definitely want to be.

Maybe it's something you have always dreamed of but don't know how to do or you haven't found a good time to do it yet.

Maybe it's something that keeps you up at night, unable to fall asleep.

Maybe it's something that you want to see changed.

Nothing sounding right?

Let's make it easy. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

While it may not be in your most effective life to be a princess or an astronaut any more, this makes for a good starting place: what about that lifestyle was so appealing to you?

What did you want to wake up every day doing?

Passions make for bad business advice, but good life advice. If you truly want to be content with your life, you need to find and do something you're passionate about.

When you allow this passion to become a part of your life, you are allowing yourself to accomplish something that you feel is meaningful and that you know will leave a legacy.

​Even if you're in a situation as bad as J.K. Rowling where life has no ups, you don't think you can take more punches, and you're even looking at suicide, I want to encourage you: take a few minutes every day to pursue a passion of yours.

​It may be something simple: you want to learn to sew, to speak a new language, or visit a foreign country.

Take one step today, right now, to get you closer to that goal. Even if it's just saving $5 or downloading an app, start pursuing your passion today.

It's your superpower.

And your passion may never grow into a multi billion dollar book series, but you can definitely use it to change the world, no matter on how small of a scale.

Just think: if everyone changed the world just a little bit for the better every day, we would almost be living in paradise right now.

You deserve success because you have the power to make the world a little bit better from right where you are, no matter your situation or circumstances.

Pursue that passion. Unleash your superpower. Make the world a little bit better today.

You deserve the joy that it will bring you.​​​​​​​​​

​Take One More Big Breath

​The Mona Lisa is, quite literally, priceless.

The world's most famous painting hasn't exchanged hands in quite some time. In fact, the last time it was sold was to King Francis I of France... in 1518.

Due to the fact that the painting is never bought and sold, it ​is impossible to assign an exact price to it. The closest estimation was back in 1962 when the Mona Lisa was given a value of $100 million for insurance purposes.

​Today, the estimated value of the Mona Lisa varies from $620 million (source) to $1.5 billion. (source).

​To give you some perspective on the size of that number, if a person with $1.5 billion were to ​invest his or her money and received only 1% return on investment per year, this person would have about $1,250,000 in monthly income.

But if the Mona Lisa is ​that​ valuable, why ​are we able to go on Amazon or in Walmart and buy a copy for $15?

Value, contrary to popular opinion, is not exactly an arbitrary or random number. ​​​​​​​Value can always be determined by two things: scarcity and exclusivity.

In other words, an item​'s value is determined by how many of this item exist and how different it is from everything else.

The copies of Mona Lisa are, in comparison to the real painting, nearly infinitely worthless. They can be mass produced, photo copied, and have no real distinguishing feature from other mass produced, photo copied ​copies​.

The real Mona Lisa is an item that is fundamentally unable to be replicated. Age cannot be magically disposed onto a painting; nor can any other painting claim to be the original Mona Lisa. No copy of the Mona Lisa can claim the benefit of being the most famous painting in the world​​​; no piece of art carries quite the same weight of exclusivity.

Wondering where I'm going with this? Have you ever heard the saying "no two people are alike"?

​Since value is based upon scarcity and exclusivity, I want to tell you some good news my brothers and sisters: You can take a big, deep breath.

You are valuable.

You are valuable for tons of reasons (chief among them that you're just stinking awesome), but let's analyze you the same way we do a painting, a car, or anything else that is assigned value: through the lens of scarcity and exclusivity.

​To start us off, you're pretty rare. In fact, even if you ha​ve an identical twin, you've still got some genetic differences going on inside. (source).

You aren't able to be replicated (not even by cloning, you nerds reading this) because your experiences ​like your unique parents, school, talents, and desires have all shaped you. We'll talk more about this in just a second.

Since you can't be replicated, you're pretty scarce. In fact, even though there is probably someone who looks ​a lot like you in the world, there's no one who ​is you​ in the world except for, well, you.​​​

You're literally one of a kind. Your DNA says so. That makes you unable to be replicated and, as such, inherently valuable.

But being unique is not quite enough to generate loads of value; while there is no road that is exactly like the one that my grandmother lives on, there's nothing particularly valuable about a dirty, winding, unkept road.

To have a particularly high value, an item must also be exclusive: namely, unlike other items in a useful way.

You are certainly unlike other things on earth: as mentioned before, your past experiences, unique personality, and memories that you keep ensure that you are literally one of a kind.

So how do we be useful?

​I point you back to this section on ​unleashing your inner super power: your passion.

When we pursue goals that are helpful to others and bring joy to our lives, we become a stronger force of good. We become exclusively ourselves as we were meant to be and as we want to be.

​You have value for one reason and one reason alone: ​you are human​.

​While this sounds depressing ("I only have value for ​one​ reason?!") it's actually quite liberating. You do not have to be the greatest athlete, singer, friend, parent, or worker in the world.

It's not a bad thing to ​want​ to be the best (here at Elite Happiness we want to publish the best content on the internet), but the liberating truth is simple:

You don't have to be the best to be valuable.

If you want to increase how valuable others perceive you as, then do something that you enjoy and that is helpful to others.​​​​​​​​​​​ Follow a healthy passion.

You deserve success because you're human. Mistakes and all, nothing else is needed to make you valuable and important.

So take a big, deep breath. Life is good. It's okay. You deserve success because you, faults and all, are uniquely you.

And that is a good thing for the world.

​​The Real Reason You Don't Box With Bears

​Unless you are literally a robot, you've probably had at least one night where worry, stress, anxiety, depression, or racing thoughts kept you up. If you're like the rest of the human race, you have these nights nearly weekly... maybe with a big serving of existential crisis.

What-if scenarios are running rampant, emotions are rolling unbridled; all because your mind is stuck believing one single truth: you have no control over the situation.

Or maybe, even worse, you had control over a situation and you blew it.

Out of these worries​ comes a disturbing phenomenon: without any further evidence being necessary, we begin to believe these negative thoughts.

​And slowly, over time, these negative beliefs become part of who we are; these beliefs become our essence.

Earlier, we spoke a little of these negative beliefs, calling them our "limiting beliefs". And while our previous discussion was quite brief, I now want to dive a little bit further into how we can defeat our limiting beliefs to unlock our success.

​And before I say anything else, I want you to understand one essential truth:

​You are not your thoughts.

This is because there is an interesting occurrence that happens when we are afraid, stressed, or anxious. Our thoughts tend shift in the direction of increasingly bad scenarios and, as such, tend to shift further and further away from situations that are the most likely.

​In idiot-speak? Our emotions and thoughts don't always reflect reality.

In the context of survival, this can be a pretty useful trait. If you're debating whether or not to forage from a bush, see it ruffle, and immediately fear that it may be a lion inside, you can probably find other, more safe bushes to eat from.

​And if that rustling bush ​is​ dangerous,​​​ then you live to forage another day.

​In our modern context, this survival instinct is a bit less useful. If you're going to die after not turning in a work project on time, it's probably about time for you to move on.

In the past, our extremist emotions taught us that we weren't quite good enough to initiate hand to hand combat with bears (to date, only one person has killed a bear without weapons - and he did it by sticking his arm down the bear's throat), but today, these extreme feelings and worst-case-scenario thoughts are the cause of a different feeling.

They cause us to feel insufficient. These long, stressful nights breed the belief that we simply aren't good enough to be happy, accomplish our goals, and live the life of our dreams.

These emotions cause us to believe that we ​can't​ succeed and that we aren't ​destined​ to success.​​​

​​​In the context of fighting wild animals, this can be true. In the pursuit of your dreams, these beliefs are ​absolute lies​!

​You are not your thoughts, your thoughts do not define you, and even if you have a bad past, ​you are able to change​.​​​

​​​​​​You deserve success because your negative thoughts and emotions don't reflect reality. Even though you ​feel​ like you don't deserve success, that is simply not true. Consider it a well-intentioned gift from your parents: you probably won't be trying to fight with any bears, but you ​can​​​​ accomplish what you want in life.​​​

It all starts with a little bit of change.

​​​Can Old Dogs Learn New Tricks?

​From ancient times to our modern world, life has always been in flux. New inventions, whether it be Facebook or fire, ​have always been displacing older, more settled ways of life. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus summed it up nicely when he said that "change is the only constant" in the world we live in.

In many reputable self-help sources today, you will hear the phrase "you are not your past." While an interesting and seemingly wonderful statement to make, it is quite untrue.

​In fact, you are literally nothing but your past.

While some of your past may have been out of your control (such as where you were born, how your parents raised you, how much money you had as a child, etc.), many factors ​were ​in your control (how you decided to perform in school, your career choice, whether or not you read books).

Out of these environments and decisions comes you.

So while saying that "you are not your past" may be​ said with the best of intentions, it is ultimately untrue. And while we all wish that we could change the past, it probably won't be happening unless you​ have a DeLorean and a mad scientist on hand.

​That's the bad news. Are you ready for the good stuff now?

Changing the past is impossible. It simply can't be done.

But changing the future is not only possible, ​it's easy​.

How do we change the future?

We change what we do in the present.​​​

It's brutal honesty time. Ask yourself a question: "If I continue pursuing my happiness and pursuing my dreams the way I am right now, how much closer am I going to be six days, six weeks, six months, and six years from today?"

​​Excuse me one minute while I stop Snapchatting and go move my phone to another room.

As a child, I remember asking my father to play video games with me. A kid of the Atari generation and possessing, at most, a Nintendo 64 almost exclusively used for Mario Kart, he insisted that he could never get used to the multiple buttons on my Xbox controller. As I insisted that practice made perfect (and that he should practice with me), he often said a line that haunts me to this day.

With a sad smile, he would say, "Son, an old dog can't learn new tricks."

Even now, typing ​that sentence makes me grimace and cringe; whoever said those words didn't love their dog very much.

If you are stuck in life, feeling trapped, and not even inching towards your dreams (or going backwards?) perhaps it's time to try something new. Give up a little TV time to work on your dream, delete social media from your phone (yes, you can live without it) to spend more time with your family, or cut out some ​sugary delights to drop those few extra pounds you've been making excuses for.

The best change I ever made was that I stopped having "zero days", a term made popular in this post on Reddit (WARNING: lots of swearing). A zero day is a day where you accomplish absolutely nothing. As the author of the extremely influential post says (lightly edited for language):

"Didn't do anything all day and it's 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero."

You deserve success because even though your decisions have brought you to where you are right now, you can always change your future. Start by changing your present.

Perhaps it's less "old dogs can't learn new tricks" and more "it's never too late to mend."

​Dinklebergs And The Pursuit Of Happiness

​In the Nickelodean show ​Fairly Odd Parents​, the main character's father, Mr. Turner, has a problem.

His neighbors are the worst people on the entire planet.

What do they do that's so evil?

Well, they have nice cars, a beautiful home, a well-kept yard, and never experienced the financial burden of having a child.

​The Dinklebergs are, to the dismay of their protagonist neighbors, the best at pretty much everything. They have better fighting robots, financial ease, and an undeniably green thumb.

For the entirety of the show, Mr. Turner is flamingly jealous of his neighbors, having no way to one-up them. This is the case until one tiny episode swept ​through TV sets ​across the nation: while ranting against his possession heavy neighbors, Mr. Turner lovingly tells his son, "You are the one thing the Dinklebergs don't have."

The constant connection of our modern world forces us to be in eternal comparison mode. Every tweet, post, or picture is maximized for likes. Each update is intended to one-up our friends, family, and people who we will never ever meet.

​We dive into the world on our phones and the mental voices in our head are quietly screaming "I ​need​ that like, I ​need​ that follow, I ​need​ that share, I ​need to be valued​."​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

The horrible dichotomy of social media is one where you either create a fake life for yourself online or you share your true feelings ("I've had a horrible day today) and get called attention seeking.

Sound familiar?

We surround ourselves with Dinklebergs. We compete on our salaries, our boyfriends/girlfriends/husbands/wives, our follower counts, and how fantastic we can make our lives look.

We spend our whole lives trying to compete with the Joneses only to find that the Joneses aren't much worth competing with.

It is not until we stop looking at what we don't have (that nice new car, a big salary, a wonderful vacation multiple times a year to exotic locations) and start looking at the things we do have that we can be happy.

If I could offer one piece of advice to someone to maximize their happiness in life, it would be to stop looking at the strengths of others and start looking at their own strengths.

There's no need to be upset over your neighbor's many possessions when you have the thing that they don't: love and legacy.

While this may sound wonderful and rosy (and it really is good news), it can be difficult to implement in practice. After being trained for years to live a life of comparison, it can be a difficult habit to break. 

Here are some practical tips on how to stop comparing yourself and be happier.

​1) ​Set Your Own Goals

​​​You know what would make me really, really hate my life?

​Owning a big home, having a cushy job in an office working 40+ hour weeks, being married to someone slightly above average, and having 2.5 kids.

The "American Dream" is, for me, more of a nightmare.

Understand this: you are the only person who knows what will make you happy. Don't allow others to set the standard for your life. If you don't want the same things other people want, ​that is perfectly fine​.

Good for you.

Set your own goals, set your own dreams, and pursue them wholeheartedly.

And whether you and I meet at a dinner party in your mansion or bump into each other on a bus in Costa Rica, we'll both know that we didn't settle with what others expected for our lives.​​​

​2) ​Stop Filling Your Weaknesses And Start Maximizing Your Strengths

​It's easy to look at our coworkers, friends, family, or people we barely know and think "Wow, I wish I had all that they do! I wish I had their money/talent/fame/etc."

But you have one thing that no one else will never have:


Remember earlier when we talked about value? You are valuable because you are human. And because you're unique, you have talents, gifts, and passions.

There will always be others who have more money, more fame, more X, Y, and Z, but there will never be anyone else who can be in your exact situation and thrive like you can.

Stop looking at what you don't have and start maximizing what you do. Use your unique talents and passions to increase your impact on your situation and live happily knowing that you have lived in a way which others only hope to do:

You have made a visible impact on the world around you.​​​

​3) ​Avoid Your Triggers

​Whatever inspires the feeling of you being insufficient or not good enough needs to be immediately eliminated in your life. Do not allow these feelings to have any purchase on your soul because they are ruining your happiness.

​Learn what causes negative emotions for you and immediately get yourself in a position where you don't have to be around it.

Whether that means kindly changing the subject when your coworker begins talking about his or her dream vacation or getting rid of social media entirely, you will find your life is much improved after you begin avoiding what causes anxiety.

It's no sin to block some people from showing up in your news feed.​​​

​4) ​Remember ​That ​Everything We See Is Exaggerated

​See that person's fancy new boat? Kinda makes you a bit jealous, huh?

Just remember that they now owe $50,000 more dollars than they did before. And, like you, they probably can't really afford that.

We hear of great things without hearing about negative ones because of what is called Survivorship Bias - this rule essentially means that for every person who bought a brand new boat, camper, or other fancy toy, there are thousands like you and me who didn't.

We simply don't hear about them because no one posts to social media or tells their friends that they ​didn't​ buy a boat today.

Remember that all social media (and most of your friends' stories) is an exaggeration of real life. The good stuff is multiplied a hundred times while the bad stuff is swept into a corner.

When seeing stuff that inspires a feeling of jealousy, just remember: you don't know the story behind that item or experience​​​​​​. That camper may be hiding 5 years worth of $1000/month payments or that vacation may only signify another maxed out credit card.

Social media is an exaggeration and the grass is always greener on the other side. Don't fall for that trap.

You deserve success because you success for you is different than what it is for me. That's a good thing.

So stop looking at the Dinklebergs and start pursuing what will really make you happy.

​Deserve​ Is Overrated

​I don't want you to be angry with me.

I have walked you through this entire post without truly telling you the secret to it all:

​Deserve is overrated.

​Don't allow your circumstances, your friends/family/followers, or yourself to tell you what you do or don't deserve.

Just get out there and do it.

You deserve success because you're you. Nothing else is necessary. So stop reading posts on why you deserve success, go out there, and get it done.

Be successful. It doesn't matter what others say or think of your efforts.

Deserve is overrated.


​​​The fact of the matter is that whoever you are, whatever your circumstances, and no matter what your past looks like, you deserve success.

​So use your superpowers, unleash your value, ignore and crush your negative goals, change into the best version of you, stop comparing yourself to others, and ​just do it​.​​​

​Tell me in the comments below: how have you kept yourself motivated for success?

​Thanks for reading.

Stay awesome. Have a great day.

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If you don't think we publish the best content on the internet, we don't ​think we deserve to get to know someone as great as you.

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What Is The Best Self Help Book Of 2019?

​What Is The Best
​​Self Help Book Of 2019?

​​​​​​​Everyone needs a little help sometimes.

​Maybe it is your job weighing down on you, a rift in your family, a personal struggle, a battle within yourself; there is no shame in admitting that you simply don't have the tools and resources to solve the problem ​right now​​​.

​It doesn't mean that your mountain cannot be overcome, your challenge cannot be defeated, or your life cannot be improved.

​Sometimes we just need an extra boost.

If you've ever seen a review on this site before, they usually look different than this one. Since everyone has different needs and are looking for different things, I have broken down self help books into categories and given a review of the top one in each category.

If you​'re eager to get going and just want to see the best book for each category, here's a little table of contents for you. Click on any of these titles and you'll go straight to the best book for that category.

Who Needs A ​​Self Help Book?

​​As Hal Elrod taught me in his life-changing book The Miracle Morning, I owe it to myself, my family, my friends, my associates, and the world to be the best version of myself that I can be.

You owe it to them too because check this out: the world is a worse place if you are not your best version of you.

And you deserve happiness. You deserve success. You deserve to conquer the mountains standing before you.

You deserve to win at life, my friend.

And because you deserve to be the best version of you, ​your family, friends, associates, and the world need you to be​.

The world needs you to be who you truly want to be.

And I have bad news: you aren't strong enough alone.

But with a mentor? With a guide? With someone who has made the mistakes, done the research, performed the tests, and found a better way?

Absolutely. If you can get that person, there is nothing holding you back.

And the least expensive, least time consuming way to have a mentor is to read a book.

The author has made the boo-boos and recovered. He or she has healed and holds scars. This person has seen the evidence and analyzed it for us.

Books hold lifetimes worth of information and expertise boiled down where we can consume them in only a few hours.

Who needs a self help book?

I do. You do. Your friends, family, associates, and the world do because ​we can not do this alone​.

​We must learn from the experiences of others because life is too short for us to learn everything we need through trial and error.

If you want to improve your life, heal your wounds, learn new skills, motivate yourself, or become the version of you that you have always dreamed of, you need a self help book.

It will be your guide.​​​​​​

​​​What ​​Self Help Books Do

​Self help books are fantastic servants, yet they are somewhat limited.

A self help book can do anything from teach you a new skill to help you battle your depression. Literally any topic can be discussed, dissected, and analyzed.

In this way, self help books help you solve your problems by providing solutions or giving you tools to use.

​As mentioned before, however, they are somewhat limited.

A self help book dealing with mental suffering will probably not teach you how to be a better leader.

A book explaining the ins and outs of options trading won't talk too much about dealing with your family.

Since self help books are at once so incredibly useful while also being limited in what exactly they are useful ​for​, we need to discuss how to choose the best one for you.​​​​

​How To Choose The Best ​Self Help Book For You

​The best self help book for you will be the book that uniquely tailors to what you are trying to accomplish.

​Some books are best for ​learning skills, becoming more efficient, and mastering the physical or mental arenas of life.

Some books are great for ​healing emotional wounds, teaching you how to connect with people, and helping you to mend emotional or spiritual aspects of life.

​Of course, there is no reason to ever stop improving yourself. While it may be wise to only ​start​ with one of these books, you would in no way be out of place to read many or all of them.

Find the books that speak to your situation, master those books, and then continue improving yourself.

​​Our Picks For Best ​​​Self Help Books

​​I've chosen ​the most useful self help books to review based on the quality of the information within, how practical the information is, and ​the range of topics the books deal with (called "scope").

Let's see how they all stack up and hopefully you can find the one you would like to try out.

Best Book For ​Achieving Financial Independence




Our Rating

​If you've ever looked at this site and wondered, "Gee, I wonder what made Brady want to write all this stuff," then you can sleep well tonight, because here it is: this book started it all.

From helping me to see the massive dangers of debt to realizing exactly how much of my life that my 45 minute daily commute was stealing, this book was, is, and forever will be a lifesaver for me.

The information within is of the absolute highest quality. It's not the regurgitated "don't buy a Starbucks latte or you'll never retire" junk that you see all over the financial independence niche, though it does have good pointers for keeping more money than you are right now. Your Money Or Your Life goes into excruciatingly painful details on exactly how your money and your time are related.

What it finds should be horrifying to us.

Your Money Or Your Life will help you to think in new ways about your money, your debt, your income, and (most crucial to it all) your time.

This book covers all you'll ever need to know about personal finance, financial independence, money management, debt elimination, and increasing your income.

It's filled with the highest quality information, covers a ton of topics, and boy oh boy is this book practical.

Your Money Or Your Life gives step by step instructions on how to track your exact income, ​every single expense in your life​, your hours worked, and exactly how much your purchases are costing you (it's more than just money).

This is the greatest personal finance and financial independence book of all time.

And best of all?

It helps us to remember (or realize) that no matter who you are, what your past is, or what you want to do with your life, that you can and deserve to be free from financial slavery.

Give it a read.​​​

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    ​Not the same regurgitated junk in every financial independence source
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    ​Goes into ​excruciating​ detail ​​​
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    ​Helps you track true income, expenses, and your time cost of every activity
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    ​Explains how to destroy your debt, increase your income, and have more time
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    ​High quality information and covers a huge range of topics
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    ​Very practical. This book includes step by step instructions to make financial independence easy for anyone
  • ​So much detail that it can seem repetitive later on

Best Book For Creating Happiness And ​Conquering Depression




Our Rating

​​​​​​Wow. Talk about a life changing book.

The Happiness Advantage intends to be just that: life changing.

Shawn Achor sets out using his own worldwide experience and time with world class achievers to prove that success does ​not ​increase happiness.

It's the other way around.

Happiness increases success.

Once Shawn has proven this incredible nugget with story after story and study after study, he gives a deep dive to show how we can develop happiness in our daily lives.

His practical tips are, once again, proven by experience and lab work.

This means that he isn't pulling stuff out of the air and selling it to you in a book promising to make you happy. This book is ​not​ fluff. It is scientific, intelligent, and gives step by step instructions on how to improve your happiness levels.

This book is powerful, credible, practical, and covers the full spectrum of the emotion we call happiness.

My one gripe is how often the author reminds us about his time at Harvard. He talks about himself a good bit, but don't let one minor flaw ruin this incredible read.

Some may not even consider the author talking of his accomplishments a flaw, as it does contribute to the overall narrative of the book.

Practicing the steps within are guaranteed to change your life permanently for the better.​​​​​​

This book is a read that's worth it.

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    ​Filled with tons of stories
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    ​Lots of research
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    ​Includes scientific evidence on how to be happy
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    ​Practical. Includes step by step instructions and practices to develop in your daily life
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    ​Covers the full spectrum of happiness, depression, and success
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    ​Author talks about himself more than some may appreciate

Best Book For ​Encouragement And Motivation




Our Rating

​​​​​​I can't tell you how many people I've heard say negative things about Tony Robbins and his audience only to be converted later.

I place myself in this category as well.

"He's just a mumbo jumbo fluffy self-help guy who calls himself a guru," I would think to myself, skipping over his book suggestions in Amazon.

Man was I wrong or what.

I've become a huge fan of Tony in the past few years and no work of his is as impressive in my mind as Awaken The Giant Within.

This book has top tier, extremely high quality information in it. It talks about succeeding and accomplishing physical, emotional, mental, and financial goals with such grace that few other books match it.

Even though this book has such high quality information and covers so many topics, it is still extremely practical. Tony gives step by step instructions on how to set goals, figure out what you really want, and hit the target you're aiming for.

Some say that this book is a bit fluffy, but others appreciate the vast amount of details, guides, and help within.

Above all, this book always reminds us: we are not a product of our past. We can change, adapt, and we are always capable of improving.

Well worth a read.

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    ​Lots of information on how to be the best version of you
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    ​Wide scope: discusses physical, emotional, mental, and financial success
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    ​Has practical tactics and tips for achieving what we want to achieve
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    ​Extremely high quality information
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    ​Might have some fluff

​​​Best Book For Entrepreneurs




Our Rating

​​​​​​If you're asking me, MJ DeMarco's Unscripted is without a doubt the greatest entrepreneurial book of all time.

And I'm not just saying that; my wallet can reflect how much I adore this book. I first purchased the book on Audible (which I love). After listening to it twice, I went and bought the Kindle version so I could take notes and highlight.

I'm a big fan.

Here's why I'm such a huge fan.

This book starts off by speaking to a situation that many entrepreneurs find themselves in at one point or another: a situation filled with discontent.

Discontent with your job. Discontent with your income. Discontent with your life.

Always wanting more. Always feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled.

Once Unscripted shows us that this is a life that society has written for us, not one that we have created ourselves, it offers us the chance to escape.

Escape the script, escape the preordained life of mediocrity.

This book will show you how to be the person you know you can be through the creation of a business that serves the needs of those around you.

Unscripted goes into details on how to start this business. It covers how to pick a business to pursue, some practical start up tips, and some key pieces of information that entrepreneurs wish they knew sooner.

After detailing how to start the business, it explains good practices for keeping the business growing, cashing out, and investing your money wisely.

While the information is the highest quality on the planet and the scope is massive, this book is a fuzz low on practicalities. It doesn't offer many step by step guides since ​each entrepreneur's situation is so unique.​​​

This book changed my business and changed my life. It has my highest recommendation.

  • ​Starts by explaining why humans are discontent in life
  • ​Shows how to escape discontent
  • ​Details practical tips for starting a business
  • ​Gives advice and tactics for growing and selling businesses
  • ​Explains how to live on the proceeds of a business
  • ​Recommends methods of effectively investing profit in the business
  • ​Includes general investment advice
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    ​Not a ton of step by step information

Best Book For ​Finding And Creating Better Relationships