It has been described as an elusive thing, this thing called happiness. How to be happy in life? Some say it is a choice you make each day, others say you find happiness when you step outside yourself and give to others. Some even say that you need to stop “searching” for happiness to find it.
However you define it, take a few moments to take our Personal Happiness Assessment to see what you discover. You’ll need to open Notepad or have a pen and paper to tally up your answers, i.e., A, B,C, etc. For each question, select the answer that applies most accurately to you.
Personal Happiness Assessment
How do you feel about life?
A. Life is good. I have almost everything I want and have the ability to work for things I need.
B. Life is okay. There is no major problem, but I don’t feel upbeat either.
C. Everything is not right. I wish I can get out of this mess quickly!
How often do you keep in touch with friends and family?
B. When they contact me.
C. Hardly ever
What do you do when you are faced with a difficult problem?
A. I try to look at it from different angles to find the best solution
B. I try to do the minimum to get rid of the problem
C. Problem? What problem?
How often do you exercise to keep fit?
B. Once in a while
C. Hardly ever
Do you have a 5-year plan, a yearly goal, quarterly goal or daily task list?
A. Yes, and I refer to it regularly.
B. Yes, but I don’t remember what it is.
C. No, I do not believe in planning ahead.
You are looking for a job, and your skills match about 50% of the requirements. You are invited to an interview. How do you feel about your chances?
A. I am quite sure I will get the job if I put my best foot forward.
B. I will just attend the interview but be prepared that I may not be selected.
C. I don’t think my chances are high. Perhaps I should just skip the interview.
A friend has recently lost his job and decided to start his own business. He came to you for advice because you are a successful entrepreneur. What would you do?
A. Provide all the help you can so that your friend can start a business and be successful as soon as possible.
B. Answer only the questions he asked. You don’t feel obliged to provide too much information.
C. Decline the request to help. You do not need another competitor.
Do you like to acquire new knowledge, for example, learning to cook or a new language?
A. Yes, I enjoy learning new things.
B. Depends on whether it makes me money
C. No, I don’t have the energy to learn more.
You have received a promotion. How do you feel?
A. I feel very happy, honored and grateful. I will accept the greater responsibility that comes with the new job.
B. The increase in pay is good, but I fear the increased responsibilities will weigh me down.
C. It’s about time. Just a natural progression in my career.
When life gets hectic, what do you do?
A. Stay calm, breathe, focus and be mindful about what’s going on and find ways to cope.
B. React to problems as they surface, without thinking much.
C. Shut down and do not talk to anyone
Tally your answers up like this:
|Number of A’s|
|Number of B’s|
|Number of C’s|
Which answer do you have the highest count of?
A: Life is good – You are the happiest among the people around you. Enjoy, keep it up, and help others!
B: Feeling indifferent – You are not exactly unhappy, but at the back of your mind, you know you could do better.
C: It can only get better – You are not happy with your current circumstance. You feel that you deserve much better and it is about time you take action to claim your happiness!
In this section, we’ll examine the possible obstacles to the path of happiness. The various factors are presented in the form of questions. It may not be possible to answer all of them at one time, as you might not have considered these questions before. Provide an answer if you have them, and then a solution if you can. You may wish to consult a coach if you are in need of a solution.
- Do you know what you actually want or need to be happy?
- Do you place priority on your own happiness? For example, do you make time for yourself to do what you enjoy?
- Do you think someone else is to be blamed for your unhappiness? For example, spouse, parents, siblings, boss, colleagues, the economy, etc.
- Is your effort in achieving happiness actually preventing you from achieving it? For example, trying to make more money because it can buy the things that you think will make you happy, but ignoring family and personal health in the process.
- Do you think the happiness gurus are happier than “the rest of us”? For example, you think they are rich and famous for telling people how to be happy, so it is easier for them to be happy.
- Are there inaccurate beliefs about happiness that may be ruling your life? For example, “people are selfish and cannot be trusted.” “You can rely only on yourself”, etc.
- Do you put off important decisions or actions? For example, having a difficult conversation, sorting out your finances, organizing your home, etc.
- Do you have fears that if you appear happier than your peers, you will be rejected? For example, you join in gossip and complaint sessions just to fit in.
Do you think these are some of your obstacles? Do they serve your happiness? If they don’t, then it may be worth taking a closer look and finding some actionable ways to address them below.
Be kind to yourself
The most important first step towards achieving happiness is to be kind to yourself. Much of our unhappiness stems from being too critical of ourselves. Have you ever had thoughts that you are not good enough for a job, or too slow in reacting to challenges, or not witty in responding to arguments, or not making the best decision to close an important deal, etc.? Self-criticism is a defense mechanism to keep us alert and safe, but an overdose of it brings misery. Be aware of the chatter going through your mind, and eliminate negative self-talk. You wouldn’t criticize a child so harshly, would you? So you should be kind to yourself too.
Do you hear any negative self-talk going on in your mind?
What does it say?
Can you replace it with positive statements, affirmations or constructive ideas or solutions?
Appreciation and gratitude
Being appreciative of events and people calms the mind and brings peace. It can also provide a fresh view to help see things from a different angle.
Write a daily list of 3 things you are grateful for, and you will find there will be more to be grateful for every day.
Clarify your values
When you live by your values, there will be no ambiguity and inner conflict, and therefore greater peace of mind.
What are your values in these areas?
- Personal Development
- Leisure Activities
- Social Network
For example, if you place great value on family, and believe that family comes first, you will be happier with work decisions that allow you to be with your family more often.
Keep a journal of achievements
No matter how happy and confident we are, there will always be moments when we experience unexpected setbacks. I created a special book that I add to often called my “Kudos Journal”. I bring it out when I am feeling unsure and need to remind myself of my accomplishments. Keep a journal of your achievements and browse through them during such times. It will re-affirm your belief in yourself, and lift your spirit.
Make your own happiness list
This is the fun part. Many people keep a list of all the little things that makes them happy, and revisit the list for inspiration when they are down. Start with simple ideas like a walk in the park, snuggling with your significant other on the couch, eating ice cream, playing with your puppy, helping your elderly neighbor with their grocery shopping, etc. Start to include even bigger goals like traveling to a dream location, hosting an elegant dinner party, learning yoga, etc. How many items do you have on your list? If you list just 3 a day, it will be a long list of 1095 in a year!
What is the significance of all of this?
First, it is not hard to find happiness in little things.
Second, the longer the list, the more reasons you have to be happy.
Third, with consistent effort, the number of items in the list can exceed 1000 in a year.
Lastly, when listing happy items becomes a habit or even thinking about them does, a positive and happy mindset will develop that will begin to see happiness everywhere, and easily. You will attract more happy circumstances into your life, too.
Start and keep growing your list. Share your list with others on social media platforms so that it can help others too.
What ways have you found to cultivate and develop a happy mindset? Share your tips below to help others!