Monday, November 23, 2009

Happiness Quotient

What is your "Happiness Quotient" (HQ)?

I have been wondering why some people are happier than others? I have come to a firm conclusion that it has nothing to do with money, power, fame and possession. If at all these well sought after things are seen together with happiness, it is either a perception or a coincidence.

Having realized that the good old worldly stuff are not the answers to happiness makes the whole quest for happiness even trickier. Is it really so difficult to be a happy person?

The answer is 'no'.

Becoming a happy person is not our main challenge. The greatest difficulty is reaching a realization that happiness is a state of mind which is totally within our control.

Typically, unhappy people attribute their lack of happiness to anyone and anything.

They blame the economy for their business; they blame their teachers for their grades; they blame their spouses for their marriage; they blame their parents for their childhood; they blame their employers for their career and they blame the politicians for their living conditions.

Don't get me wrong. I am not a "Happiness" guru and I am definitely not the happiest person on Earth. I have my blues and I am aware that I am susceptible to feeling unhappy and instinctively want to blame someone for something.

However, I have come to realize that blaming others is just a temporary reprieve. The reality will soon hit again that I remain unhappy with the problem still staring at me.

Just like many people out there, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my HQ and wonder what would work best for me. Recently, I came across a short article "9 Secrets of Truly Happy People". Nothing in there is new to me but I hope to share my thoughts based on the nine given aspects.

1. They know what really matters

It is common to see people place great emphasis on material achievement. They pursue money and possession and soon find themselves less happy then before.

Truly happy people know what really matters to them.

To find out what really matters to you, imagine that today is the last day of your life. If you were to recap moments in your life which have made you happy, what would those be?

From today onwards, live your life that way.

2. Choose just 2-3 important projects for each year

Big and ambitious goals are often fuzzy. It is easy to shout "I want to be the most successful person!" but what does that really mean?


Taking life one step at a time has its advantage. It is helpful to define goals which are realistic and attainable. Think about a couple of projects to work on in the next 12 months or so. Focus on them. Work on them. Let them give you some purpose in life.

3. They put time aside for them each day

Face it, you only have 24 hours a day, everyday. If you do not consciously carve out some time for yourselves, others will definitely help themselves to it. Your family members, friends and co-workers are queuing up every day to get their share. Give them what they deserve but don't forget to give yourself some too.

4. They surround themselves with people who motivate, inspire or build them up

The good news is that, 'happiness' is contagious. The bad news is that 'so is unhappiness'.

It is your choice if you should let unhappy people infect you with their gloominess. If you are already feeling unhappy, you do not want to make it worse.

In "Be Inspired To Seek Inspiration", I said that "we need inspiration as much as the tyres need air." You just have to find your daily dosage of inspiration.

5. Happy people eat well

Who doesn't know that eating well leads to better health? However, you may not appreciate that it too leads to a happier you.

The whole matter is physiological. When you eat well, you put the right chemical into your body. Consequentially, your whole body, including your brain, works at its best.

Many people gauge their health with what they see on the weighing scale. They control how much rather than what they eat, in order to reach the ideal number. Their binging and yo-yo diet is certainly not helpful to their HQ.

6. They take time to play or to just ‘be’

We are the happiest when we are allowed to be ourselves. However, most of the time we have to be someone else because we are expected to be.

As a child, we wanted to be the child our parents would love to have. In school, we tried to conform so that we do not go against the rules. At work, we go along with corporate culture and achieve bottom lines. Out there we observe social norms so that we do not get into trouble.

Given the normal course of things, we rarely get to be ourselves. All the more so, we ought to remember to find time 'just being ourselves'.

7. They learn not to make excuses, justify, or cop out

People love to make excuses so that they get to wiggle out from tight corners. They soon find themselves back to the same tight corners again and they are unhappy about their own behavior. However, the urge to avoid reality is so strong that they continue to do the same. They get onto a slippery slope and they see their HQ dipping.

A common big fat excuse is "I don't have time" (sounds familiar?)

Happy people MAKE time. They don't find time.

8. Happy people take time to be grateful – for themselves and for others

This idea is simple. Let me summarize it this way:

Unhappy people dig out their one and only set back in life and feel unhappy about it. Happy people count their blessing and feel happy about it.

How more simple can that get? No one has no reason to celebrate. You just have to train your eyes to spot those reasons, however little they may seem.

I once updated in Twitter "Yesterday could have been my last day. I am grateful I have today". My morbid optimism was noted by some.

9. They get something done

Only real actions can translate 'what you want' to 'what you have'.

Unhappy people procrastinate and continue to feel unhappy about their under-achievement.

On the other hand, happy people know the secret of 'getting something done'. They set short term goals so that they get to harvest achievement regularly. Each day, they remember to find at least one task to accomplish, no matter how small. One thing for sure, they celebrate their accomplishment all the time.

That is it. I will leave you to read the article yourself. Try to map each aspect to your current state of mind and behavior. Work on them a bit at a time but do not stop. You may never be the happiest person in the world (whatever that means) but your HQ can only go up.

The secret for being a happy person is not that complex. Don't make it so.

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance,
the wise grows it under his feet."
~James Oppenheim~
1882-1932, American Novelist

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Jacqueline Johns - Your Happy Life Mentor said...

I'm sure even "the happiest person on earth" has their down moments.
I am The Happiest Person I Know and I have moments of feeling myself experiencing pain.

The secret to happiness is not, I think, complete absence of negative emotion, but rather the knowing that this too shall pass. Unhappy people tend to get bogged down in negativity whereas us happy people bounce back.

Live Life Happy!

Janice MacLeod said...

I dig that happy people take time for themselves and work on achieving personal goals. Sweet

Inspirational Quotes said...

Thanks for sharing this useful knowledge I am desperately looking forward to it.

Pamela Knight said...

Thank you for this info. I look to growing happiness at my feet each minute of every day.