“The on and off switches of your success and happiness lie in your mind.” – Edmond Mbiaka
Most people want to be happy. But they also want to be successful. And, while each person might have an individualized definition of just what each of those things means to them specifically, the overall desire to lead a life that’s free of stress, worry, anxiety and fear, while being replete with happiness and success, is constant.
There is a pathway to happiness and a highway to success. It’s just that many people choose not to travel along those roads. They are less traveled because they are harder to navigate. The beginning is always rocky and steep, enough to make most people turn back. And parts of the road are downright impassable. Although we might want to be happy and successful in life, that is often far from the case. Is this something that’s actually attainable in life?
When we talk about happiness and success, we are talking about two different things. What makes a person feel happy and what makes a person feel successful do not always coincide with one another. But sometimes they do. The thing about happiness and success is that, in order to achieve either of them, you first need a definition in place on what they actually mean to you.
Happiness can be described as a deep sense of ease and comfort. It is joy, and joy that is not fueled by external motivators. Right here and right now, happiness is attainable, no matter what’s going on in your life. Success, even though often described in terms of fame and fortune, is actually the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Either way, you will need to define what they both mean to you. Want to be happy? No problem. Consider what will make you happy, and write it down. Consider what will make you feel successful, and right that down too. This is a prerequisite for achieving either, without writing it down, they will remain in the abstract. Goals that remain in the abstract are always unattainable. So, put some definition behind them both. Once you figure out what both of those mean to you, you are already a step ahead. Now you need to add some fuel to that fire. You need to institute a few actions and create a few habits that will help to get you there. Here are 5 extremely useful habits used by happy AND successful people.
1. Focus on your health and well-being. Health and wellbeing are an important part of the happiness-and-success formula, and one of the biggest keys to achieving them both. The physical body houses the brain. The mental health and the physical are interwoven. In a busy life of family, work, commuting and socialising it can be put on the back burner. This is fine for short periods but exercising 3–5 times a week is essential.
We also need to be grounded mentally. We need to do things like meditatation and yoga. Take a yoga class or institute an exercise regimen so that you have something that starts incorporating healthy habits into your life. It does get easier over time as long you continue to repeat the right behaviors.
2. Manage your time effectively. Everyone has the same amount of time, 24 hours a day, which equates to 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. Not one person, no matter how rich or poor, tall or short, the color of their skin, their religion, or their geographic location, has more time than the other. It is the greatest equalizer in life. One habit that will influence both your happiness and your overall success in life, is the ability to manage time effectively.
Effective time managers have a handle on their obligations in life, and know just how to juggle things in order to get ahead. They focus on their long-term goals and prioritize the activities that will help move them forward instead of leaving them behind. To create and get real work done time blocking as a daily habit and technique that is worth developing. Block out time each day for the important projects and deep work that over time will create true success. But turning off your email, messaging and social media notifications is essential tactic to be effective and productive.
3. Gratitude. Happiness and success are preceded by gratitude. It is a matter of focus. What are we focused on in life? When we focus on what we do not have, we find ourselves in a state of lack. We realize just how much we are missing out on or how much we lack the resources to do the things that we really want. Everything about our focus shifts to a state of lack. Alternatively, when we focus on abundance, and being grateful for what we have, we live in an abundant state.
Take at least 15 minutes each day to write down what makes you happy. Writing out your desires takes them from the abstract into reality. It sets off a chain of commands in the neurons in the brain that lend itself to experiencing something in an entirely different way than just thinking about it.
Even if you think you have nothing to be grateful for, find something. You can be grateful for the ability to read and write, have reason and logic. Or for your friends, family members, pets, food on your plate, clothes on your back, roof over your head, running water and so on.
4. Be Present. There is nothing like getting caught up in the past or constantly worrying about the future that ruins the present moment. Unfortunately, many of us have trouble simple being in the here-and-now. What does it mean to be present? Being present is being grounded in the moment. We stop to appreciate the miracles that exist in every direction we look, the beauty of all the things around us, and the journey that we call life. It helps us transcend the fears of tomorrow and the regrets of yesterday. It does not mean that we get to ignore our problems. Problems are a sign of life. If you are thinking that you when you are happy or achieve success that your problems will disappear, think again. We will never be problem free. Ever. Being present acknowledges that we have problems, but it does not allow those problems to interfere with our peace-of-mind.
5. Persistence. Stephen King was once asked” How do you write a 130,000 word novel?”
His response, “One word at time.” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. The habit of relentless persistent effort and strapping yourself in and doing the work will produce a body of work that will define you.
You may have showed up here hoping for that prescription or template for success. The truth? There isn’t one. Just a few hints and suggestions that I have discovered on my journey. But for those willing to put in the work, those seemingly impassable roads eventually lead to easier streets. At first, navigating along them might feel treacherous at best.