Would you abandon everything you have in exchange for the recipe for happiness?
Unfortunately, we often spend time chasing things that don’t make us fundamentally happy. It could be material things or a job promotion. Or perhaps we dream of retiring early to live happily ever after, to name just a few possibilities.
However, have you considered that these things may not be the ideal recipe for happiness and may end making you unhappy instead?
Will moving into a bigger house or having a flashier car contribute to a significant increase in your level of happiness? Is it worth sacrificing time with your family to get that promotion?
It’s important to realize that whenever you buy something, you’re exchanging a chunk of your life (your time) for that thing. It’s a trade-off. The question is: Is that particular thing worth trading hours of your precious time?
For example, is getting into debt to buy a Porsche a good strategy to maximize your happiness? That’s up to you to decide. Before you do that, try calculating how many hours of work you’re trading for it. Would you trade an entire year of work for it? Would that be worth it? Remember that you can never get more time. Everything you buy is part of your life that you willingly give away.
When you start looking at things you buy in terms of the amount of time exchanged for them, you’ll start questioning some of your purchases.
Personally, I consider my time to be the most valuable asset that I have. That’s probably one of the reasons I don’t buy many things. I know that the more I buy, the less control I have over my life. The worst part is getting into debt, which is rarely worth it. In my opinion, there aren’t many things that are worth trading a big chunk of our lives for. In a sense, I could say that my recipe for happiness is to buy less things.
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What is your recipe for happiness?
What do you do to make yourself happy? Are the choices you’re making maximizing your happiness? In What’s Your Definition of Success and Happiness, (How to Be Happy Series Part 3) and The Psychology Behind Happiness (Part 4) we’ve already seen that society and big companies aren’t here to make us happy. We’ve also seen that it is the nature of our ego to always want more. Of course, all of these things tend to work against our happiness.
What about you? Do you take your happiness seriously, or do you buy into society’s definition of success and happiness without questioning it?
Happiness isn’t necessarily complicated. It doesn’t require doing extraordinary things. Rather, it may require you to stop doing some of the things you’re currently doing and to stop buying things you don’t need.
Exercise – what makes you happy?
This week we’re going to do a very simple exercise.
I’d like you to come up with your own recipe for happiness by answering the following question: what makes me happy? I’m not talking about the regular shot of dopamine you get from playing video games, gambling, or checking Facebook. I’m not talking about the excitement you get by drinking with your buddies during the weekend, either. I’m talking about what makes you feel at peace and brings you a lasting sense of fulfillment.
A friend of mine once said that drinking beer was the only thing that made him happy. If the only thing you’re looking forward is drinking beer on Friday night, that’s not genuine happiness. It’s just escapism! Temporary relief from a boring and depressing life. It’s important to think about what brings you true happiness.
So, what’s your own recipe for happiness? Leave me a comment below and let me know 🙂
I’ll leave you with a great quote by Anthony De Mello and I’ll see you next week. In next week’s article we’ll discover whether your standard for happiness is too high. Stay tuned.
“How could you be so selfish that you’d choose happiness over me?” Would you not feel like responding, “Pardon me, but how could you be so selfish that you would demand I choose you above my own happiness?!” – Antony De Mello
Previous articles in the “How to Be Happy” Series:
- Why Am I Not Happy With My Life? (Part 1)
- How to Combat Anxiety and Eliminate Problems (Part 2)
- What’s Your Personal Definition of Happiness and Success? (Part 3)
- The Psychology Behind Happiness (Part 4)
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