How To Produce Happiness
On Command In Under 30 Seconds
Tell me if I'm wrong, but I'm gonna guess that today has been a day just like a lot of others for you:
You woke up miserable and (feeling) hideous, went to work/school/prison/name-your-daily-torture miserable yet slightly more attractive, and now you're probably avoiding some mildly-important task while reading this.
Monotonous days and monotonous lives can produce the belief that life isn't all that enjoyable.
I want to tell you that whoever beliefs life isn't awesome is absolutely wrong.
And you are definitely not hideous.
To be a person who takes control of your life and produces your own emotional state, you must first be a person who can be happy.
This requires a bit of a mindset shift.
Many today believe that happiness is determined by our circumstances, that success (which you do deserve) in some random, indefinable metric determines our happiness.
And that's just not true.
In fact, studies show that instead of our success determining our happiness, it is the other way around: our happiness determines our success. (source).
So here's how to be happy in under 30 seconds anytime, anywhere in the world.
Use these tools to increase your success.
Start Your Day Kickin'
My start to every day is pretty much the same:
Wake up early, accomplish what I love before anything else distracts me.
Sometimes I read, sometimes I write, sometimes I go work out.
Sometimes I play Xbox.
You know what's even better?
These are my goals for the day.
Sometimes, playing Xbox is my numero uno for the day.
Regardless of what I decide, the principle behind decision making like this is a simple one. The most critical task every day begins with something I love to do.
Whether it is reading, writing, or whatever-the-heck else, I begin my day by setting myself a goal to do something that I enjoy and something that gives me energy.
It changed my whole life.
Beginning the day this way accomplishes two things.
1) It sets the standard for the day.
Setting small goals and accomplishing them feels awesome even if the goal is something stupid and trivial (e.g. bake a cake for breakfast; don't dare knock it until you've tried it).
Doing this is encouraging and empowering. It creates the desire to set and crush more goals throughout the day.
Wanna experience the best feeling ever? Believe in yourself.
How do you believe in yourself?
Set goals and do them. You will be ever more aware of your own ability to change and affect the world around you.
2) It accomplishes my critical tasks before I can be distracted.
90% of the time I do this, my small tasks evolve into my big tasks while I am doing them. I may begin reading a book and decide hey, I really want people to read what I write!
And then a post on Elite Happiness is born.
Conquering the day early with small tasks often takes care of the big tasks too. Try it out one day. I highly recommend it.
The book that started me on my early-riser/goal-smasher spree was The Morning Miracle: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life (Before 8AM).
This book got one of our number one spots on The Best Self Help Books and to this day, I keep a copy with me at all times just in case I begin to slack.
Life has a way of completely taking whatever we are either doing or trying to do and completely disrupting it.
It not fun, it's not fair, but it happens all the time.
It is almost guaranteed that as soon as I begin to write, eat lunch, or anything else that I would really like to get to, something comes up.
At work, these distractions are usually called "co-workers".
We can't always control how the day goes, but we can always control how we respond to it.
So take some you-time. Even if it's just for 30 seconds.
This "you-time" can truly take the form of anything. If you have long periods of time, you can spend it doing your passion or your hobby.
If you have 30 seconds, the task can sometimes look a little different.
Let's say, for sake of example, you have 30 seconds before you have to get back to whatever you were doing. Here is what I suggest:
Your time is important. Do these in whatever way you believe that you would enjoy and value the most.
- Meditate (practical tips right here)
- Imagine your dream life
- Imagine something you live for (a child, significant other, etc.) and be reminded of why you're doing what you're doing right now.
- Picture your perfect day is happening to you right now. Be very detailed. See the sights, smell the surrounding area, feel the people around you (or lack thereof). Experience this perfect day, even if only for a moment.
- Express gratitude for everything, even bad things.
- Picture something happening later in the day that you are excited for. This can be a meal, an activity with friends, time with a loved one, or anything else. Choose what makes you happy and take a moment to look forward to it.
Try these steps out a few times, even if only for 30 seconds. I promise it will make your day better.
Stash The Trash
One of the happiest moments in my life was when I sold one of my businesses.
It wasn't a bad business.
I would spend a few hours per day working on it, but I wasn't putting in anywhere near 40 hours a week. Maybe not even 30 hours a week.
I sold it because every night I went to sleep wondering if I needed to do more, to check everything one last time, or thinking of a way to increase the profit margins.
Once I sold it, my blood pressure went back to normal levels and I started sleeping less like an automaton and more like a human again.
In his powerhouse book The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, And Join The New Rich, Tim Ferriss makes a claim that changed my life (and I paraphrase here).
He claimed that what one does for time and what one does for money do not have to be the same thing.
He said that life is objectively more pleasurable if we maximize our time and enjoyment instead of our income.
Sometimes, we just need to get rid of the clutter.
We need to get rid of the trash.
My little business made money, but it was frustrating and the clients made me want to bungee jump without a parachute.
I did not enjoy it; I certainly did not love it.
So I quit it.
And I was happier without the money, without the clutter, than I was with it.
Sometimes elimination produces happiness.
Or maybe happiness only has a place to be once we clear a space for it.
Ain't Gonna Happen
In my life, I have come to be a firm believer that busy-ness is the enemy of happy-ness.
I specifically remember a time during my senior year of high school. At the time, I was attending a small church and they needed some help with the youth staff.
"Sure," I said. "I love working with youth!"
So I started working with youth Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights.
It turns out that the more things that people know you can do, the more things that they will ask you to do.
I asked if the sound technicians needed any help one fateful (read: dreadful) Sunday morning. Within two months, I was in charge of all music pre-service and post-service, all CDs, videos, making sure all of the electronics were working, presentations, and sound engineering, often immediately before or after I helped out with the youth.
All in all, the only thing I didn't do was give the sermons.
But I did make sure the outlines were always up behind the pastor as he spoke.
My problem was two fold:
1) I put myself in a position to overwork.
2) I couldn't say no when people asked me to work.
Busy-ness is the enemy of happy-ness.
So I began to tell people that no, I was not able to teach Sunday school and no, I would not help out in the kitchen and no, I will not do the task that you think should be done or else the world collapses.
My newly minted battle cry?
"This is obviously really important to you. How about you be the one to head this up?"
When I began saying no, my happiness increased dramatically, my workload decreased dramatically, and you know what?
We made it.
No one died.
In fact, the church was better off when I began saying no.
When I started saying no, other people had a chance to use their talents for something they loved. Before I said no, I didn't realize it and certainly didn't mean for it to happen, but I was keeping other people from doing what they enjoyed.
I was robbing others of their happiness by doing too much myself.
Now that I'm saying no, I can devote my full energy to perfecting the sole task in front of me.
Tell someone "no" today. Make it about something trivial. Whether it's a task at work (please don't get yourself fired because you read my post), a chore at home (don't get divorced over this post either, please), or just a favor.
Say no. It ain't gonna happen
It doesn't have to be forever, but train yourself to stop being other people's pet monkey with all the neat tricks. Don't jump just because they say you should.
Your happy-ness will increase when your busy-ness decreases. Guaranteed.
They Really Can't Pin That On You
There is a class of people that I like to deem "the super apologizers".
These people tend to be extremely apologetic for just about everything.
Their food took three minutes in the microwave and someone else had to wait, they showed up a minute and a half late to a casual meeting, they whispered to you once during a two hour movie.
These people start early and stay up late being sorry for their very existence and frankly, this usually seems to come from an insecurity that these people have with themselves.
Check this out: when bad things happen in life, there is a good chance that it is not your fault.
Just because your kids do bad things doesn't mean you're a bad parent. It means that they are rebellious children.
Just because your significant other cheated does not mean that you are a bad boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife. It means they're a cheater.
If your parents despise you, your boss mistreats you, your co-workers are not fair to you, or you can't find a date that meets your expectations, it does not necessarily mean that any of that is your fault.
Some of it may genuinely be something that you could improve. Learn to recognize the difference from when you aren't trying to make things better and when your best simply isn't good enough.
If you aren't actively trying to improve the situation or still have options available, then pursue the higher ground, be a leader and win over this challenge in your life. Conquer this mountain.
If you are genuinely doing all you can and things still aren't working out, it may be time to be proud that you are the bigger person and move on for the sake of everyone.
We have to begin to recognize that once we are trying our best, apologies from us are no longer necessary.
Get into the habit of continuing to move forward in life, no matter the consequences, and only apologizing when you really mess it up.
And only for things that are really your fault where you could have been better.
Refuse to take responsibility for the actions and decisions of other people.
All of the tips, tactics, and tricks used above are the ones that I use to make every day better. I have tried all of them and found them true.
What are your favorite ways to make yourself happy in 30 seconds or less? Comment below!
As always, thanks for reading.
Stay awesome. Have a great day.
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