5 Simple Tips to Begin Feeling True Happiness

Are you looking for true happiness?

Nowadays, it’s more difficult than ever to see the big picture. Especially, with so much information being thrown our way. Our hope is that somewhere in that big picture, we will find our happiness. Listen, I know it’s hard. There’s so many stressors we have to deal with day-in and day-out – Our jobs, our boss, the kids, our health, the news, and so many other things that make us just a bit crazy. But I’m preaching to the quire here, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. What if we’re all going about this all wrong? Maybe. Just maybe, our true happiness is already part of our lives and actually close enough to reach. Here’s a list of 5 simple steps to help identify and pursue what it is that will bring you true happiness.

#1 – What gives you fulfillment? 

I put this first, because the word – happiness – can mean many different things to different people. What I really prefer to call it is, fulfillment. But let’s face it, not many people are going to look up what makes the feel fulfilled. So true happiness is in finding that sense of fulfillment.

How do I find fulfillment?

Figure out what it is that you do everyday that makes you feel fulfilled. You shouldn’t make this harder than it sounds. However, don’t confuse what makes you feel fulfilled with what makes you happy. What do I mean? Well, what makes you feel fulfilled can and will lead you to true happiness. The reverse is not always true – what makes you feel happy (at the moment) will not always lead you to the feeling of fulfillment.

Here’s an example from my own life. I’m still working my 9 to 5 (yes, I’m still on the grind like most folks reading this,) but though my job does provide an income, and security, it doesn’t necessarily provide me with that feeling of fulfillment. What is fulfillment? It is that feeling of accomplishment, like you did something that feels like it should be recognized by others because you put your heart and soul into it.

#2 – Maximize Your Drive

So if not my job, then what is it that makes me feel fulfilled? Of course, this will be different for everyone – I find joy in building things that solve my or other people’s problems. This is anything from developing a point system to help my kids complete their chores, or even building shelves to solve my wife’s issue of having too many books. I even feel great when I build an excel sheet for work that makes my job easier. Every time I finish a project, and it’s something functional that works, I take a step back and feel like this must be the reason God put me here! And it feels good!

What gives us the feeling of fulfillment?

What is that thing that you do in your spare time that doesn’t feel like work because you love doing it? What is it that makes you feel like the best version of yourself when you’re doing it? When you identify what that is, pursue it! Because that, my friends, is the first step to finding true lasting happiness!

What this looks like in my life – I truly enjoy building things, including this blog! And I believe that this thing, this gift, that was granted to me that drives me to solve problems and build things, is what’s going to lead to my success, and ultimately, true happiness. 

Once you figure out what it is that fulfills you, you now know what will drive you to succeed. Maximizing our drive simply means – now that we know what it is that will lead us to happiness, we have to pursue it to the ends of the earth! Well, to not sound too dramatic, we need to make this pursuit of fulfillment the force that drives us to want to be the best version of ourselves.

This doesn’t mean that things won’t come up. Adversity is always right around the corner, and it will knock us on our butts! We can all agree that the worldwide pandemic that we all know as COVID, completely turned our lives upside down! Admittedly, there was a point where I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. So many things took place in our lives in these past few years that we can’t forget. Tragedies, heartbreak, and heart ache. But, we made it through, and will continue to do so! Our drive to be our best selves and pursue our dreams is unstoppable because we know without a doubt that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So really, maximizing your drive translates to maximizing your faith.

#3 – Mind the people around you

People. They’re all around us! We are, by design, made to live in community. Given these communities aren’t always as harmonious as we prefer, but, finding fulfillment and true happiness, will be tied to the interactions we have with others. But, and this is a big but, we have to choose wisely who gathers around us.

What kind of people should I have around me?

Become a magnet of people, and draw those near to you that will help you on your journey of growth and finding happiness. Build a network of friends and acquaintances that challenge you and provide a system of accountability. We humans are social creatures, so we need connections with others. When those connections are with a group of people that have goals and are driven, that tends to rub off on us. They say that we are the average of the five people that we hang around with. That means, choose wisely who you decide to have in your social circle. Find individuals that are farther along in their journey than you. This helps give clarity to what you should be doing. You can start out with just someone that is a few steps ahead, and then keep expanding and networking after that. Once you choose the right people, your social circle will speed up the process and get you to your goals faster than you could ever get there yourself.

What kind of people should I stay away from?

 DO NOT surround yourself with negative people that will drain you. This means even those that are related to you. Listen, every family has one or two of this type that always see the cup half empty (some families are made up only of these people!) You can’t let yourself get sucked into that whirlwind. If you need to leave your current circumstance because it’s toxic, then do it! And if it’s about guilt, don’t feel guilty! In fact, you should feel compelled to leave, even obligated to leave. If it’s a loved one that you’re leaving behind, once you better yourself, then you can come back and lend a hand to those you left. Think about it like the safety announcement on an airline. They tell you, in case of an emergency, first take care of yourself and secure your oxygen mask, then and only then, help those around you. Because, how can you help others if you yourself are gasping for air? That’s not going to help you or anyone else.

#4 – Prioritize Your Health and Wellbeing

C’mon, you knew this one was coming! Without making our health a priority, finding happiness can and will be much more challenging. Our eating habits, our physical wellness, our mental health, and even your spiritual health, all directly affect your quest for fulfillment and true happiness. If your state of being is not in good shape, then the journey will be that much harder. I’m not going to get into the specifics of what foods, workouts, or mental and healing techniques work best here, but I’ll have an article for that soon enough (for starters, eating whole foods, walking 20 minutes daily, and meditation can go a long way.)

Generally speaking, health and well being should be a priority for all of us, but it can look different based on your body type, gender, and genetics, and even culture. Also, my top shape may be different from yours, so we can’t ever compare ourselves to others. However, we can use others’ achievements as inspiration. Our ultimate goal is to achieve true happiness and be better tomorrow than we are today. This can be quite challenging though. In this day and age, we live in a world where we can have almost anything we want, seemingly instantly. However, just because we can have anything we want, doesn’t mean we should go after it. My purpose here isn’t to shame you in your way of life, in what you eat or spend time doing, but I do want to open your mind to a different way of thinking. And I’m not talking about going on a diet (because we know how well those work,) I’m talking about changing your lifestyle and reconditioning your mind. 

What that looks like in my life – I live in the good ole’ US of A, and was brought up, for the most part, eating the same things most American kids eat. That means fast food, candy, donuts, cookies, ice cream, pizza, hotdogs, fries, and the list goes on. On top of that, I’m Puerto Rican, which means that growing up, more than half of the foods I ate were fried! Even though I’m older, and fully aware that there’s a different way to live, it can still be a challenge at family gatherings. Speaking of family, another big challenge growing up was that my family drinks a lot of alcohol when they come together. Naturally, I followed a similar path, because I just thought that’s how things were. Jump forward 15-20 years later (and several life-changing events) – I eat nearly no fried foods (noticed I said nearly,) and I haven’t had alcohol in more than five years. I went through similar changes regarding my physical health, mental health, and spiritual health.

Do I have to change my life drastically?

Now, I’m not saying we have to do something drastic like quit drinking, or cut out sweets completely. Drastic changes like that rarely last if you’re not the type of person that can do that (some can.) What I’m hinting at is to change our mindset, or our way of thinking. All of our habits, up to this point in our lives, are just the product of years of conditioning. We have been trained since childhood, to act a certain way, think a certain way, and even eat a certain way. We can’t go blaming our parent’s right away though, it’s not completely their fault. They were trained the same way and just passed down to us what they thought was right. The good news is, if we were conditioned then, we can absolutely recondition ourselves now. Now there’s not an excuse, because we know there’s a different way (now you really can’t blame your parents.)

It’s not a perfect process though, I’m still a work in progress, and still working on renewing and reconditioning myself. I wanted it bad enough that I changed almost everything I previously thought was right. Today, healthier habits come naturally to me, where before reconditioning, self-destructive and unhealthy habits came naturally.

How long will it take to recondition myself?

You should also be aware that reconditioning is not something that happens overnight. Essentially, you’re trying to rewire your brain to fit a new reality. That being said, this takes work! And you just have to do that, work at it. If you mess up, just pat yourself on the back, celebrate your wins, and keep going. If you’re trying to lay off sweets, for instance, and you go a whole 5 days, and on day 6 you succumb to the power of Oreo cookies (my favorite,) don’t beat yourself up! You just went a whole 5 days! And who left the Oreos on the counter anyway? We all know that they’re almost impossible to resist! 

I screw up every now and again, but it’s become far and few as time goes by. My point is that we’re not looking to be perfect, just to be better tomorrow than we are today. However, if you don’t even try, then you’ve already failed. In a later article, I’ll go more into detail on how to beat temptation.

#5 Learn, Learn, Learn!

I can’t say this enough! One of our greatest gifts as humans is our capacity to learn new things! Because of this wonderful gift, no matter how many ways we fall, we can learn a dozen more ways to get back up. All it really takes is an open and receptive mind. Once we have that, our God-given curious nature takes over, and then we’re off on a quest to soak up all the knowledge we can.

And what a great time to be alive for all us learners out there!

We’re living in a time where it’s easier than ever to soak up as much information as we can. Nowadays, you can learn by watching videos on Youtube, reading a blog, asking Google, and a plethora of other digital ways. All we have to do is dig up that handy smart device from our pocket.

Hitting the books Books

But, let’s take a step back. Learning was’t always done on smart devices.

One of the best ways to learn is still the old-fashioned way – To get your hands on a book and get to learnin’! There are (literally) tons of books out there that will help us do what we want to do, or become who we want to be. The challenge for many of us is the actual act of picking up a book and investing the time to read it. We can even argue that it’s better the old-fashioned way – because if you use your smart device, you’re more prone to get distracted. And man, there are so many distractions when we use technology! We have social media, streaming services, our email, the news, our own personal lives, work, and everything else that creates a notification. Luckily, books don’t come with these issues, and, no battery to go dead!

What type of book should I read?

Well, reading fiction books can be fun, and a good way to pass the time, but not great if you’re looking for something to fill you with knowledge. Here, we want to go with nonfiction books. Something with substance that’s going to grab our attention, and force us to look at life from a different angle. If you’re not sure what to read, I’ll have a list below of some great choices to start with. 

But reading a book takes forever. How will I find time to read a book?

Just start by reading a few pages per day. After a week or so, increase it, or leave it the same, however you feel comfortable.

Maybe this will change your perspective on reading a book:

At some point in time, Someone decided to spend 30 years of their lives trying to get something right. They tried one million and one ways to get it right, but found one million ways to do it wrong. Now, they put these 30 years of heart-wrenching research in a book that takes you roughly a week or two to read.

What does this mean? It means you get to bypass the one million wrong ways, and just skip to the one way to get it right! It means you just gained 30 years of knowledge in a week or two. That, my friends, is extremely powerful!

Online Learning

Books are great, But we live in a time where information is right at our fingertips. How many times in the past week have you used google to find information on something you needed. The internet is full of knowledge that can help us! But, it’s also full of things that will do the exact opposite, so we have to learn the difference between the two.

Where can I go to learn online?

One of the best free places to learn online is YouTube. Millions and millions of video tutorials on how to do almost anything! It makes it so the only excuse to not learn something is just pure laziness! You want to learn another language? Learn how to interview? Learn how to make money online? If you can think it, chances are, there’s a video on YouTube that can help you.

It’s not the only way though. Here’s a few more places to learn online:

  • Khan Academy
  • Skillshare
  • Udemy
  • MIT OpenCourseWare
  • iTunes U
  • TED

And many more…

So, really, there’s absolutely no reason to not learn something. There is enough information out there for free that rivals the best universities. But heed this: Knowledge is NOT power in itself. Putting the knowledge you gain into action – now that’s power! And knowledge and knowing how to use it wisely to aid you in your life is a sure path to happiness.

To recap, finding true happiness takes work, and some simple, yet worthwhile steps. First find what fulfills you, and then maximize the drive to pursue what fulfills you. In addition, mind the people you surround yourself with, because you can either have people you build you up, or tear you down, and you don’t want that latter. When you have that figured out, remember that your health and wellbeing are an absolute priority. The last thing I talked about was to make sure you are always soaking up knowledge, and executing the knowledge you gain.

Just remember, finding true happiness doesn’t happen overnight, it will take some work. And it is absolutely worth it to go after it. So even if you don’t follow all of these tips, even if one thing stuck out, just use that, and then pass it on to help someone find their true happiness. Live well friend!

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