One of the greatest feelings you can possess is happiness. When you are happy, people want to be around you. It’s a simple attraction principle; when you are happy, you attract other happy people. Happiness can spread quickly and is very contagious when gratitude, generosity, and positivity are added to your relationships.
Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the positive effects and health benefits of being happy. It’s hard to argue with the facts — a happy you equals a healthy you. Although I have always considered myself a happy person personally, as I have developed my professional life as well, I have discovered that the happier I am, the more successful my business became too.
Here are five rules to help you live a life of happiness:
1. Don’t Take Life So Seriously
As I was growing up my dad would always have to remind me that worrying about things that are outside of my control was harmful to my attitude and ultimately challenging my ability to be happy. Plus, I had no control so I should stop worrying. He’d continue by saying that worrying about something within my control was not needed since I had the ability to fix the problem by taking action. Our time on this earth is limited, and it’s extremely important to make the most of it while we are here. Look at life as a dress rehearsal — even if we mess up our lines, we can stop, take some advice from the experts that support us and guide us through it, and get back to the show.
2. Define for yourself what success means.
Don’t let others define what success means to you. Success to you might be a filled bank account, fancy automobiles and material items. To others it might mean free time, lots of family gatherings and plenty of staycations. Professionally, success to me means working for myself, never having to hire staff and creating my own products and services. Personally, it means loving and being loved while enjoying the time I have in this lifetime. Someone else might define success as being CEO of a Fortune 500 company, having hundreds of staff members and having a corporate Amex card. You have the ability to make your own goals, dream your own dreams and define what success means to you.
3. You have an unlimited amount of do-overs.
About 40 years ago, my brother and I would play ping pong in our rec room. To the right of the ping pong table stood a rubber tree plant. When the ball either hit the rubber tree plant or came too close to make a return shot, we’d yell “DO-OVER!” As an adult we have unlimited do-overs. As your professional career evolves, if you don’t like the direction you are going, take a do-over. Nearly three years ago, at 48, I decided to take a professional do-over, reinventing my professional life to where it is today as an author, speaker and business consultant. I have never been happier in my life and while there have been some very scary moments, it has also proven to be one of the most rewarding directions I have ever gone, making me extremely happy.
4. Worry less about what they think.
Who the heck is they anyway? And honestly, until they are paying my bills and living my life, “they” don’t know what is best for me. I get to define my happiness and determine what life is all about for me. What it really comes down to is this: you have to deal with the consequences of your actions and “they” get to walk away. There will always be a court of public opinion and you will never be able to please all of the people in that court, so you may as well make decisions and take action based upon what works best for you and not “them.”
5. Play by your own rules.
There is nothing worse than a static policies and procedures manual. Sure, there are some rules that are very important to follow. I usually put them into the category of common sense. Rules like, “Don’t harass your coworkers,” or, “Physical or verbal bullying will not be tolerated and subject to termination.” People breaking these rules need to get a life and should actually try to harness that negative energy into something positive, lasting, and beneficial to the human race. Happiness is created by treating others fairly, doing what feels right, making a positive impact on the planet and by following what you are passionate about.
When I originally sat down to write this blog, I was challenged by the idea of creating a set of rules pertaining to making rules for your life. Use these rules as guidelines and suggestions. Keep in mind, these are the rules that apply to my life and are “serving suggestions” for you. If you don’t like them, get your own set of rules and start getting your happy on, today. I know it will be worth it and will ultimately, your happiness rules will make you very happy.
Published in HUFFPOST on August 10th, 2015.