Happiness leads to success, not the other way around. Make sure you love your job! Daily life can be made happier. It is a matter of choice. It is ourattitude that makes us feel happy or unhappy. It is true, we meet allkinds of situations during the day.
“Try to make at least one person happy every day, and then in ten yearsyou may have made three thousand, six hundred and fifty persons happy,or brightened a small town by your contribution to the fund of generalenjoyment.”– Sydney Smith
“Do what you love”. Passion is very important. It is important to enjoywhat you do. It will be great if we always get to do what we love. There is only one small problem with that. Most of us don’t know what is itthat we love.
Here are 20 simple rule for happiness and success.
1.) Stop Worrying About the Future
The older people get, theless worried they become. As we gain experience in the real world, werealize most of our previous fears were unfounded.
Actually, onlyeight percent of the things we fret and age about come to fruition! 40percent of the things we worry about never end up occurring; and 30percent of the things we worry about are in the past and can’t bechanged. We are our own worst enemies.
It takes work, but you canretrain your brain to have peace and trust — rather than worry — aboutyour future. You can have an absolute assurance that everything willwork out for your good.
Also read: 5 Things That Will Make You Happier Every Day
2.) Take an Ice-Cold Shower Every Time You Have a Negative Thought
So how do you train your brain toward the positive?
You protect the garden of your mind like a gorilla protects its banana. Yes, I really said that.
But seriously, your mind is a garden within a gate. You are the gatekeeperto the types of information that come into your mind. And theinformation, environments, and experiences you allow into your lifenestle themselves deep into the soil of your soul, informing who youbecome.
You can nourish these thoughts and allow them to bearfruit — whether that be weeds, thorns, or something actuallynutritious — or you can remove them entirely.
There’s a folktaleof a group of monks in India who, whenever they had a negative thought,would make a treacherous hike to large waterfall. They would standunderneath the pounding of the freezing water until the negative thought was washed away from them.
I’ve taken this clever story andadapted it to myself. But instead of taking a long sojourn to a distantwaterfall, I walk 15 feet to my bathroom and take an ice-cold showerevery time I have an unfruitful thought.
It works wonders. Feels good too!
Also read: How To Live a Better Life: 20 Ways To Be Happy in Life
3.) Spend Your First 10 Minutes of the Day in Prayer/Meditation, Gratitude, Laughter & This Question
The first 10 minutes of your day are, without question, the most important. They set the tone for how the rest of your day will be. They reflecthow you will show up to the world.
- Will you be proactive or reactive this day?
- Will you be in a hurry or purposeful?
- Will you be guided and inspired, or tossed to and fro with every email,phone call, interruption, and distraction that comes your way?
- Will you be in control of your time or will time be in control of you?
- Will you be a leader or a victim?
- Will you take risks or play safe?
- Will you attract abundance or scarcity?
- Will you be the recipient of luck and miracles or disappointment and disaster?
- Will you move toward or away from your hopes and dreams?
Robin Sharma, author of The Leader without a Title, spends the first 10 minutes of his day praying, laughing, and asking himself the question:
“If this was the last day of my life, how would I spend it?”
This question helps Sharma ensure his day is spent precisely how he feels it should be.
4.) “Wake Up With the Sun”
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” — Benjamin Franklin
There are endless scientifically-backed benefits of waking up early, including:
- Being a better student
- Being more proactive
- Being better at anticipating challenges and minimizing them effectively
- Being better at planning and achieving your goals
- Being more likely to exercise, which releases dopamine and reduces cortisol levels
- Better sleep
- Higher levels of optimism
- Easier commutes
- More family time because you’ve gotten your work done earlier and more focused than most
Extensive research highlights the fact that our willpower is like a muscle thatgets fatigued with use. First thing in the morning is when our willpower is rested and strongest. Consequently, the morning is the best time tofocus on your goals and dreams, which if postponed until the end of theday will probably never get done.
The early hours of the morningare when the world’s most successful people turned their dreams intoreality. You will never find better time for quiet, focus, andmotivation.
5.) Become Unstoppable at Setting & Achieving Your Goals (and “Experiments”)
You can achieve any goals you want, no matter how big. Seriously.
There is no right or wrong way to approach goal-setting, but science confirms that certain approaches are better than others.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The more clearly defined your goal, the more likely you will achieve it
- Write it down in detail
- Write it again
- Write it 15 times every day and in present tense
- Make your goal public to add some “positive pressure”
Give your goal a time-line. According to Parkinson’s Law, people fill the time allotted to them. So if you have a lot of time, you’ll wasteit. If you have a short amount of time, you’ll get to it.
According to psychological research, it takes 66 days to form a habit. So, doyour goal every day for two months, then it will take care of itself and stop requiring so much willpower.
Although common wisdom wouldsuggest having long-term goals, projecting your future more than a fewyears is little more than guesswork. Actually, to live at the razor’sedge of his potential, Tim Ferriss doesn’t have long-term goals.Instead, he does 3–6 month “experiments,” which he puts all of hisenergy into. He has no clue what doors may open as a result of theseexperiments, so why make long-term plans? He’d rather respond to thebrilliant and best opportunities that arise, taking him in nowunforeseen directions.
I’ve recently adopted Ferriss’ concept ofdoing short-term experiments. This has changed my approach to my work.For example, a few months ago I stumbled upon a personal developmentarticle that had been shared over 1,000,000 times on social media. Idecided to perform an experiment to attempt creating an article thatwould also get 1,000,000 shares. The result was this article.
Although the article wasn’t shared a million times, the results were profoundand unexpected. An editor at TIME asked if they could syndicate thearticle. Additionally, the article brought several thousand new readers(including some of my heroes) and subscribers to my blog. Lastly, itbrought on several new coaching clients.
That was just one shortexperiment that took a week to perform. Experiments are a fun way topursue goals because they allow you to get innovative and bold. Becauseexperiments are short-term — and thus relatively low risk — they shouldbe “moon shots.”
Why play small?
So take your goal and 10Xit. Make it audacious and even absurd. If it doesn’t excite and evenscare you, you’re playing too small. If you 10X your vision, don’tneglect 10X’ing your effort — which means overestimating what would berequired to achieve your goal.
What’s the worst that could happen? You waste a few months and learn a lot while doing it?
6.) Start Before You’re Ready
In a recent interview with Success Magazine, Marie Forleo told DarrenHardy that one of the keys to becoming successful is starting before you feel ready. Get experience. Make mistakes. Stop thinking about it.
Throwing yourself into the fire is the fastest way to learn and adapt tosomething. You’re immediately exposed and naked. You’re forced toquickly learn on your feet.
But most people hide until they feelready — which is far after they should’ve started. “Perfectionism” leads to procrastination and often never doing or trying. Paralysis byanalysis.
No more analyzing. Learn as you go. Then you’re learning will have concrete context rather than abstract guessing. You’ll neverfeel ready. You get ready through engaging in an activity — by gettingyour hands dirty — not by thinking about it.
“Every day you say‘No’ to your dreams, you might be pushing back your dreams a whole 6months; a whole year. That one single day. That one day you didn’t getup could have pushed your stuff back, I don’t know how long.” — EricThomas in Unbroken
7.) Spend 5–10 Minutes Each Day Visualizing Where You Want to Be
Michael Phelps visualized himself winning races every night before going tobed. Jim Carrey visualized himself becoming a successful actor.Amazingly, research has found that visualization is nearly as effectiveas actually practicing the behaviors we seek to perform.
ers, why not co-create your future together? To me, it’s the best way to remain aligned and not move in opposite directions. Mental creationalways precedes physical creation.
When visualizing your future,don’t visualizing what you think may happen. Rather, visualize what youwant to happen. As Abraham Lincoln masterfully stated, “The best way topredict your future is to create it.”
8.) Listen to Audiobooks on 2X Speed While Taking Notes in a Journal for 30–60 Minutes Per Day
Generally, I’d recommend reading for 30–60 minutes per day. But lately, I’ve beenlistening to audiobooks or podcasts on my iPod at 2X speed while takingnotes in journal. When you first try listening at 2X, it’s a littleweird. But you get used to it. Then, listening at normal speed feelslike slow-motion.
Neurologically, when you listen to something, adifferent part of your brain is engaged than when you write it down.Memory recorded by listening does not discriminate important fromnon-important information. However, writing creates spatial regionsbetween important and non-important pieces of information — allowingyour memory to target and ingrain the important stuff you want toremember.
Furthermore, research has shown the simple act of writing something down increases brain development and memory.
It’s becoming regular for me to have 15–30 pages of notes in my journalevery morning during my 60 minutes of audiobook listening.
9.) Keep A Journal of Your Dreams & Desires
If you aren’t keeping a daily journal, you’re missing out. There areendless benefits of journal writing. And it doesn’t need to be a longordeal. Actually, it’s recommended this activity take less than 5–10minutes.
And there’s no right or wrong way to journal.
Youcan use it to record your history, to write down your daily goals andaffirmations, to record insights and inspiration, or to clear youremotions.
10.) Spend 5 Minutes Each Day Purely Focused on Gratitude
Gratitude is having an abundance mindset. When you think abundantly, the world is your oyster. There is limitless opportunity and possibility for you.
People are magnets. When you’re grateful for what you have, you will attractmore of the positive and good. Gratitude is contagious.
Psychological research has found that people who practice gratitude consistently report a host of benefits:
- Stronger immune systems
- Less bothered by aches and pains
- Lower blood pressure
- Exercise more and take better care of their health
- Sleep longer and feel more refreshed upon waking
- Higher levels of positive emotions
- More alert, alive, and awake
- More joy and pleasure
- More optimism and happiness
- More helpful, generous, and compassionate
- More forgiving
- More outgoing
- Feel less lonely and isolate
Gratitude may be the most important key to success. It has been called the mother of all virtues.
11.) Work Toward Your Goals at least 3–4 Hours Per Day
“The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I’m notafraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be outworked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might besexier than me, you might be all of those things — you got it on me innine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there’s twothings: You’re getting off first, or I’m going to die. It’s really thatsimple.” — Will Smith
Genius equals redundancy and repetition.It’s not sexy, but monotonous and difficult. If you want fun and sexy,don’t try to become world-class at something.
Success is a numbers game. Time and again, the world’s elite performers are rarely the oneswith innate ability. Rather, they are the ones who spend the most timeon their craft. The famous psychologist, K. Anders Ericsson, coined theterm deliberate practice. His research was popularized by MalcolmGladwell and has become known as the 10,000 hour rule.
Essentialto sticking things out this long is having grit. Scientifically, gritdefines the degree, duration, and quality of effort you invest in yourgoals. According to a host of independent studies, people who are gritty exhibit the following behaviors:
- They take on difficult and challenging goals
- They consistently achieve their goals
- They have high ranking in their employment
- They seek new, fresh, alternative ideas and perspectives
- They are quick to re-assess, reroute or adjust their approach when it’s not working
- They put intense levels of effort into their goals for long periods of time
- They have high levels of engagement and focus in their activity, and are slow to be distracted
- They have high levels of tenacity, relentlessness, and fortitude
- They move up in their socioeconomic status
- They have higher quality of life and overall health
Although the science of grit is still in its infancy, there have been some findings on how to increase your grit, including:
- Being optimistic helps you be grittier
- Believing intelligence and skill are learnable — rather than innate — helps you be grittier
- There’s still lots to learn
My take— grit comes from consistently showing up even when you don’t feel like it.
12.) Fast At Least Once Per Month (preferably more)
One-day (24-hour) food fasts are a popular way to maintain health and vigor.Fasting leverages the self-healing properties of the human body. Radical health improvements occur when the digestive system is given rest andthe organs get ample time to repair and heal themselves.
A regular practice of fasting can:
- Improve digestive efficiency
- Increase mental clarity
- Increase physical and mental vigor
- Remove toxins
- Improve vision
- Give a general feeling of well being
Like all the other habits, fasting gets easier with practice. I’vebeen fasting for years and it’s one of the best things I have done formy health, intellect, and career. Fasting is also one of the mostrecognized techniques in religious and spiritual practices. I also usefasting to get spiritual clarity and refinement.
Honestly, I could go on for hours about this one. Give it a try. You’ll never be the same.
13.) Eat Smaller Portion Sizes
If you want to get more done in life, eat less food.
When you eat large portions of food, your body creates an overabundance ofinsulin which lowers your blood sugar. When this happens, you feelhungry — generally craving sugar — even when you’re really not hungry.
This is how people become overweight. More importantly, this is how peoplelose control over their energy levels which negatively impacts everyarea of life (e.g., sleep, work, & relationships).
Humanbeings are holistic. When your body is over-full, particularly onprocessed foods, your energy levels are low and your mind becomes dull.Conversely, research at Yale has found that being on an empty stomachhelps you think and focus better.
If you want to feel better andperform better work, eat smaller portions. If you want to take it to ahigher level, chew gum. Research has found that chewing gum can increase your concentration and mental accuracy. It also stops you from eatingout of boredom — which is the primary reason for most eating. If youwant to keep it even simpler, just drink more water.
14.) Eat Only Good Foods
The food we eat reflects our self-identity. Human beings are holistic. AsJames Allen wrote in As a Man Thinketh, “When a man makes his thoughtspure, he no longer desires impure food.”
Success is the product of having high levels of energy and vitality. Thus, in order to succeed on the level you deserve, you need to be healthy. It turns out,health — like happiness — comes first, and then good things (likesuccess) follow.
15.) Spend 30–60 Minutes Per Week Mentally-Mapping Your Week (this will save you hours)
“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we takejust gets us to the wrong place faster.” — Stephen R. Covey
A short planning session once per week can save you several, perhaps even dozens, of hours each week.
In order to maximize this planning session:
- Be in a quiet place where you can focus and be open to mental-breakthroughs.
- Spend a few minutes praying or meditating before you start to elevate your mindset and energy level.
- Examine your overarching vision to provide context and motivation for this week’s goals.
- Keep your week’s priorities/goals few. In other words, what one thing ifaccomplished would render all of your other goals easier or irrelevant?Focus on high impact — on effectiveness rather than busyness.
- Determine what needs to be done to accomplish this week’s goals.
- Who do you need to reach out to? (what relationships would rapidly move this process forward?)
- What’s a new approach or experiment you haven’t tried yet?
- What do you need to learn this week? (our learning should be relevant and applied or it is meaningless)
- Visualize yourself crushing it. Visualize amazing things happening for you.
- If you are open to prayer, pray for miracles to happen this week.
- Get your schedule in place, so you’re not scrambling each day.
- Make sure you put the “important” activities (e.g., learning, exercise, time with family) before the “urgent” activities (e.g., email, meetings,other daily obligations)
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!” — Benjamin Franklin
16.) Restructure Your Time & Priorities to Protect the “Important” from the “Urgent”
Most people prioritize urgent activities — like answering emails, workingtoward deadlines, going to meetings, and putting out the various firesconstant to life. The problem with this approach to life is that itspeeds time up (aka: busy-mode!). The emails won’t stop coming to yourinbox. The bills will always need to be paid. It’s very easy to get busy and wrapped up in the urgency of life.
But when you live thisway, it’s easy to forego the important but non-urgent stuff — like yourhealth, working toward your dreams, deepening important relationships,having fun experiences, and traveling. Busyness, at its core, is anescape mechanism for a frightened person whose hiding from what trulyneeds to be done.
“What is the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s howlittle time you spend doing what you hate.” — Casey Neistat
Highly effective people position their lives to almost exclusively focus onimportant stuff. They’ve automated or outsourced most of the urgent andbusy stuff. Their time is spent on activities that most fully reflecttheir innate gifts, talents, and ideals.
In my coaching work, this is one of the biggest challenges I see in people’s lives. For example,one of my clients has the dream of writing Hollywood scripts that aremade into movies. But he never makes time to write. Months and evenyears can quickly go by in the busyness of life without him doing anywriting at all.
In addition, his health has been steadily declining for years. But he hasn’t prioritized his health.
I recommended he spend the first 2–4 waking hours of his day focused exclusively on his health and script writing.
His phone must be on airplane mode, he can’t check his email, make phonecalls, pay bills, or do any other “urgent” stuff until after he hasspent sufficient time on those things which matter most to him.
And this is how most people begin the transition from a life structuredaround the urgent to a life structured around the important. They wakeup a few hours early to go to the gym, to create their life vision, andto take steps toward their dreams.
This is self-respect. This is building your life around your highest ideals rather than the other way around.
A key strategy for making this happen is, instead of procrastinating theimportant stuff, begin procrastinating the urgent. Put the urgent stuffoff until the very last minute. Spend as much possible time and energyas you can on the important. Put as little time and energy as you caninto the urgent. Interestingly, most of the urgent stuff will “take care of itself,” or stop mattering all together.
It’s a beautiful way to live. It’s the only way to live life on your own terms.
17.) Stop Living Like You’re Going to Live Forever: Develop the “Deathbed Mentality”
At the heart of living life in an “urgent” manner is the notion that today doesn’t matter, and that there will always be tomorrow.
Tomorrow won’t always be around. And waiting for tomorrow only guarantees wasted yesterdays.
If you believe most of your life should be spent “grinding it out,” that’s your reality. But it’s not the reality of highly effective people.Reality is perceived. We get to frame and reframe it. You areresponsible for how you see and live in the world.
But it is completely possible to live each moment of each day in away that resonates with your highest ideals. And yes, sometimes thatmeans putting out fires. Sometimes that means bad things happen that are out of your control (like getting rear-ended).
But you control what you can control. And it turns out, you can control a lot.
18.) Keep Commitments To Yourself: Do What You Said You’d Do When You Said You’d Do it
People with self-respect keep commitments to themselves. As Harvard businessprofessor, Clayton Christensen, has said, “100 percent commitment iseasier than 98 percent commitment.”
If you plan on waking up at 6a.m. to go to the gym, don’t press snooze. If you plan to spend 30minutes on Sunday night planning your week, don’t skip it for somethingelse.
In order to keep your commitments, you must have the courage and conviction to say no.
My favorite example of this is Stephen Covey. He had planned adaddy-daughter date with his 12 year old daughter, Cynthia. She wouldwatch the last hour of a presentation he was giving from the back row.At the end of the presentation, he would rush to the back withouttalking to anyone and they’d be on their way. Their elaborate nighttogether included plans of catching a trolley to Chinatown, eating their favorite food (Chinese), shopping for souvenirs, seeing the sights andcatching a movie. After that they’d grab a taxi back to the hotel wherethey’d jump in the pool for a swim.
They had discussed this all several times. The anticipation was part of the pleasure of it all.
Everything was going on plan, until Stephen ran into an old college friend andbusiness associate while leaving the convention center. They hadn’t seen each other in years. They embraced and his friend said, “I’m so gladyou are doing some work with our company now. We want to invite you, and of course Cynthia, to get a spectacular seafood dinner down at theWharf!”
Stephen replied, “Bob it’s so great to see you. Dinner at the wharf sounds great!”
But Stephen continued, “But not tonight. Cynthia and I have a special dateplanned don’t we?” He winked at Cynthia, grabbing her hand and ran outthe door to continue on an unforgettable night in San Francisco with his daughter, just as he’d promised.
19.) “Happiness is not something outside of me, but flows outward from me.”
Most people are chasing happiness. They believe it’s on the other side ofsuccess. That you must first do or have something before you can behappy.
Shawn Achor, a prominent scholar on the science ofhappiness, explains that most parents, teachers, leaders, and people ingeneral believe the following about happiness:
“If I work harder, I’ll be more successful. If I’m more successful, then I’ll be happy.”
The problem with this approach, Achor says, is that it’s “scientifically broken and backwards.”
Every time your brain has a success, you change the goalpost of success. Forexample, you get good grades, now you need better grades — you made agood income, now you need a bigger income. Every time you hit a target,the target moves. Thus, “if happiness is on the opposite side ofsuccess, your brain never gets there. We’ve pushed happiness over thecognitive horizon as a society,” says Achor.
But our brain worksin the opposite order. If you can be positive and happy in the present,you’ll actually show up better in life. Thus, happiness is what actually leads to success. No the other way around.
Stop trying to pursue happiness. You’ll never get there.
Instead, deploy strategies that will increase your brain positivity now. Whenyour brain is positively positioned, you have an increased flow ofdopamine which makes you happier and increases all the learning centersof your brain (e.g., creativity, problem solving, etc.).
Scientifically, the following behaviors have been found to create lasting positive change to your brain functioning:
- Write down three new things you’re grateful for each day. This will changeyour selective attention toward the positive in the world rather thanthe negative.
- Journaling about one positive experience you’ve had that day allows you to relive it.
- Exercising everyday teaches you that your behaviors matter — and that they dramatically impact you and those around you.
- Meditating each day helps you overcome the cultural ADHD of constant distraction. It helps you focus on what’s really important.
- Random or conscious acts of kindness every single day. This could be as simple as sending a kind email to someone, smiling, or giving a compliment.
By spending just two minutes per day on each these activities for 21 days, you can rewire your brain toward the positive. As a result, you willlive from a more optimistic and creative approach.
20.) “I fully realize that my future is bright and powerful.”
Free-will is a tricky subject. Both spiritually and psychologically, the whole notion is complex and conflicting.
Do we really have free-will?
To what extent do we determine the outcomes of our lives?
The majority of psychological theories would suggest that human beings donot have free-will; but rather, that we are nothing more than theclashing of genes and environment — no room for consciously decidingeither of those things.
In similar fashion, many religiousphilosophies promote a God hardly worthy of worship, who despite havingthe power to save all predetermines a select few — leaving the rest tospend eternity tortured without explanation or reason why.
Clearly, internal wisdom discerns both of these ideas as wrong, if not radically incomplete.
But is our ability to act absolutely independent? Surely not. If I were tojump off my back porch in attempts of flying, I would most certainly beacted on by gravitational forces. Indeed, there are constraints on ourfreedom to act.
However, the flexibility of those constraints isproving to be quite malleable. We can consciously change ourenvironments. And science is even coming to grips with the fact that wecan manipulate our genetic expression. Our free-will is contextual, yetwe have the power to manipulate the context (including our beliefs about that context); and thus, we have limitless options regarding the course our lives take.
In the movie, The Adjustment Bureau, the main character David Norris (played by Matt Damon) learns about ahidden society of “angels” (known as “the Adjustment Bureau”) who ensure every person’s life goes according to “the plan.”
According toDavid’s plan, he isn’t supposed to be with Elise, a woman he feels aninnate and deep connection toward. The members of the Adjustment Bureaudo all they can to ensure David and Elise’s paths don’t cross. But with a touch of luck, and dogged determination, David decides he’s going tohave Elise regardless of what “the plan” dictates.
After risking everything to have the person he loves, David inspires a member of the Adjustment Bureau, who then takes David’s case to theChairman — the creator of each person’s plan. David’s determination andlove inspire even the Chairman, who then makes David and Elise’s “plan”blank.
The film closes with the following narration by one of the members of the Adjustment Bureau:
“Most people live life on the path we set for them, too afraid to explore any other. But once in a while, people like you come along who knock downall the obstacles we put in your way. People who realize free-will is agift you’ll never know how to use until you fight for it. I think that’s the Chairman’s real plan: that one day, we won’t write the plan, youwill.”
Brilliant things begin to happen when you take extremeownership over your life. When you’re in complete alignment withyourself, you find that God has given you the power to choose foryourself. And if you so choose, that God will help you along your way.
Matured at this stage, you don’t need to wonder or worry about how your futurewill turn out. Instead, you are completely confident about certainrealizations. These realizations which you decide, although not yetmanifested, have already happened. Thus, they are as real as anythingelse. Your life then becomes the natural unfolding of something you’veconsciously created in your mind.