If you’re anything like me, you spend about 40% of your life on your job (including commuting, getting ready and other stuff).
It’s only logical that you try your best to make that time as pleasant as possible, right? It’s therefore increasingly more important that your occupation is something that is pleasant and endurable.
Most people are not as lucky though. A survey by Mental Health America with over 17,000 respondents shows that only 21% of people in the US feel like they are paid enough at work. In fact, a lot of people simply hate Mondays, just for the simple fact that it’s the start of a new workweek. If this is you, then it’s very important that you find some kind of intellectual satisfaction from other sources. Something that actually gives you satisfaction and that you can be proud of.
In short: find something that makes you want to wake up in the morning! That’s what this entire section is about.
Discover your purpose in life in order to be happy!
Having a purpose in life is one of the fundamental factors of happiness. Without it, you’ll live your life less focused, less efficient and you’ll often feel restless and stressed because you don’t feel aligned with the things you do.
What are some examples of a purpose in life? There are a lot of commonly known purposes in life, like:
- Providing for your family
- Living a successful life
- Making positive connections with others and enjoying those around you
- Traveling the world
- Fighting the declining condition of our planet
But what is YOUR purpose? You can’t just copy & paste one of these purposes and call it a day. You have to find your own purpose in life.
My purpose in life is to live a long and happy life.
Sounds cheesy and anti-climatic? Maybe, but here’s the thing:
Everything that I do is a result of my purpose in life. There are a lot of other things that I feel are part of my purpose in life, like:
- Making others happy
- Making the world a better place
- Spending as much time as possible with the people I love
- Challenging myself intellectually and physically
But I only truly care about these things because they will eventually result in my main purpose, and that is to live a long and happy life.
Having a purpose in life is not just linked to a happier life
Having a purpose in life is not only a pillar of happiness. It’s also correlated to a number of other factors, that are in turn correlated to happiness again.
For example, having a purposeful life is correlated to a healthier life.
The most prominent and well-referenced study that I stumbled upon is very interesting. This study was conducted by Randy Cohen, Chirag Bavishi, and Alan Rozanski and was published at the end of 2015. As part of the study, over 136,000 people were evaluated and followed for about 7 years. The average age at the start of the study was 67 years old, and as the people in this subject passed away or faced health issues, the researchers found out an interesting piece of data.
The analysis showed a lower risk of death for participants with a high sense of purpose in life. After adjusting for other factors, mortality was about one-fifth lower for participants reporting a strong sense of purpose.
There are many more reasons to find your purpose in life, but I don’t think you need more convincing! 😉
Try new things on a frequent basis in order to be happier
You can be happier. That is the entire premise of this website.
A big piece of advice that a lot of people are not willing to take seriously is to try something you’ve never done before. I find this mind-boggling. How can you expect a change in your happiness by not changing any of the things that you do?
Think about it: whatever you’ve been doing until now has not resulted in you becoming any happier. Despite all the things you tried, you still don’t know how to be happy. Well, then it sounds pretty logical that you need to find something new to break your routinary life, right?
Think outside the box here. What is something that you would like to do but never tried?
I want you to forget about the reasons why you shouldn’t do these new things. There are always reasons to not do something. You have to push through this mental obstacle.
Grab a piece of paper and write down things that you would like to try. Here are a couple of examples:
- Taking dancing lessons
- Telling a person you have feelings for him/her
- Ask your manager for a different position
- Lose 20 pounds and get more confident about your appearance
- Travel to another continent by yourself
Here’s a fun example: I signed up for my first marathon ever 3 weeks prior to the start.
I was TOTALLY UNPREPARED (even in full caps, this is still an understatement), but I still finished the damn race. It was a perfect way for me to add a little adventure in my life when I needed it! Running this marathon – something I had never done before – made me extremely happy.
Except for maybe the last 2 miles, as you can see on this picture of my physically broken body.
This is me on the last mile of my first marathon. I was physically broken but I was in ecstasy when I passed the finish line!
Work towards freedom and independence
I believe one of the fundamental factors of happiness is the ability to make your own choices with a certain degree of independence.
What do I mean by that? We all need to be in control of where our lives are going. More specifically, we need to be able to make decisions without being constrained by factors that we can’t control.
For example, if my manager at the office is suddenly replaced by an absolute psychopath, I want to have the ability to walk away from it. Sure, we all need a paycheck to live our lives, I get that. But if you’re currently living paycheck to paycheck, you don’t have the ability to walk away from your job if the hypothetical shit starts hitting the fan.
Even if you truly love your job (more on that later), then you should still have some sort of financial cushion that will keep you afloat when things go bad. This is generally referred to as FU money. Now, I’m not saying that you should save every penny you can and live on a diet of rice and beans without ever taking a day off.
I want you to find a balance between saving for your freedom and living life now. Don’t overdo it.
Having even a little bit of FU money places you well above the average. If it wasn’t clear by now already, I’ll say it again: it’s not so much about the money, but much rather the ability to make your own decisions and a degree of independence.
Having the ability to say no to certain things – like being forced to do something you don’t like – is worth so much, you can’t put a price on that.
Find your personal “Why?”
This question is very common but makes you think about what you truly want out of life. How do you find out what your “Why” in life is? By asking as many questions as possible:
- Why do I do this?
- Why do I value this over that?
- Why am I not happy when X happens?
- Why am I stressed now?
If you keep asking these questions, it’s likely that you’ll eventually circle back to the same answer. That answer is almost always your “Why” in life. That’s the reason why you want to move forward in life. That’s what makes you unhappy if your current situation doesn’t align with your “Why”.
I believe every single person has a deep motivation that fuels their life in the grand scheme of things. Some people just don’t know what this “Why” is yet. If you keep questioning why you do the things you do, you will eventually find your own personal “Why” in life.
My personal “Why”?
To be worth everything that has been given to me, and to have as much of a positive influence on the world as possible.
Founder of Tracking Happiness and lives in the Netherlands. Ran 5 marathons, with one of them in under 4 hours (3:59:58 to be exact). Data junkie and happiness tracker for over 6 years.