How to be Happy in Life
We really want to be happy. That is our goal, but unfortunately we go about it the wrong way and that’s why we don’t find it. I want to discuss how to be happy in life goes back to Egypt.
Years ago when I was in graduate school at Princeton, I had the opportunity to go to Egypt in the Middle East for 3 months. While I was there, I was able to climb up all the way to the top to one of the pyramids and it was truly spectacular. You could see the other pyramids and it just really took my breath away. I truly loved it. And I don’t know if you know this but those pyramids have been there a lot time, perhaps even older than 4000 years. That’s a long time to be around and still standing. So how did they do it? How do those pyramids last so long?
Well, the key is geometry and this goes back to Euclid. If you have a square base and 4 sides and they go up to a point, that’s a very solid structure. Well, happiness is much like a pyramid. Let me explain. We really do all seek happiness, but unfortunately, even though that’s what we want we don’t go about gaining happiness in very wise ways. What we do instead is, we put other things ahead of our happiness. It’s like creating and upside down pyramid.
How to be happy in life involves prioritizing. If we are seeking to have a peaceful, beautiful lives, then that will take work. Our happiness needs to be the base of our pyramid. Our primary focus needs to be on being happy. If we make that our base of our pyramid, life is going to go well. Everything else is still going to be important, our careers, our relationships but if we make being happy, finding love, finding peace in the here and now, then that’s what we’re going to find because we’re putting effort towards that.
Our next priority or level of our pyramid after our own happiness, is maintaining a healthy relationship with our life partner. If we don’t have a partner, then finding a partner that we can spend our life with and have a beautiful time with here on earth should be our second priority.
Studies have really shown that relationships are important to our mental health and our own heart can tell us the same thing. Finding someone to journey with in life can be a beautiful experience, but in order to maintain that relationship it takes work, just like happiness takes work. We have to date our partner; we have to spend time with them. We have to make sure they know that we love them and care for them in order for that relationship to sustain itself and do well. It takes our effort too.
Next on our pyramid comes our extended family, like our children and our parents and our relatives. We need to make time for them. But sometimes, because of our pyramid, we may have to make our marriage and/or our happiness come first before we take care of our kids. It isn’t that we’re not going to give our children our attention. It’s just that we’re going to make sure we’re okay and not sacrifice our health on an ongoing basis for their happiness.
It is much like being a lifeguard. When they go out to save someone, they never give them their hand. Instead, they give them that red floaty because they want to be okay and be able to pull them back to safety. If we as parents put our energy towards our kids but do nothing towards our own happiness, they will just see through our modeling that life is miserable and there is no point of finding happiness in this life because that’s what we’re modeling for our children.
So, we make ourselves a priority. We make our partners a priority next, then our kids and extended family.
Next on our pyramid comes our careers. And I know we spend a lot of time doing our career and they are important, but we can be happy even with not the best jobs on the planet and of course, having a good job makes it even better. Unfortunately, what people tend to do is have their work come first. I called this an inverted pyramid.
So when we seek to be happy in life, we end up getting things all messed up. Our work comes first, then our kids, then our partner, and lastly ourselves. So all day long we are just crashing down because that is not a very solid pyramid, it’s upside down. And instead of lasting for thousands of years it won’t last for a day.
It’s important if we want to be happy not to be selfish but to make sure that we are doing things that create happiness. Unfortunately, what most people do, is create an inverted pyramid. They, for example, focus on their careers because they think, if their career does really well and they make a lot of money or perhaps even famous, then they’ll find happiness.
Or they think if they find that really great relationship, then they will finally be happy. Or if they have 2 great kids and they get into grade schools and they spend their lives focusing on their kids, then they will find happiness.
All these things are contingent on other things going well. But that’s the problem. We can’t control sometimes what happens externally to us. And so when our partner leaves us, our kids fail us, we get fired from our job, we go into bankruptcy, we lose our homes, or we get sick, we suffer. Because they are not at the base of our happiness.
The one thing we can control is our interaction with our own happiness. Again that’s what the Happiness Podcast is all about. How we interact with the world, our attachments, and expectations can cause us suffering. But thankfully, we can control our attachments. There are numerous Happiness Podcasts teaching us how to have beautiful lives. But they focus on us and not a great deal on the world around us.
Our happiness is a very solid base to go from, but we do have to start with that base. Are we spending time every day to make sure we’re in that good place in our hearts, so that when things hit us we’re good, that we’re going to do well and we’re going to roll really well with the changes of life? Because life is going to change. But if our happiness base is solid, there is nothing we can’t handle.
How to be happy in life is quite easy, if we build a solid pyramid. We can start today making our happiness base very solid. It takes time and effort. We have to take time and make effort to be happy.
So here is what I suggest to start building that solid happiness pyramid. When we get up in the morning, let’s listen to a Happiness Podcast episode and then when we go to bed listen to one more. And throughout the day let’s implement them and in the evening, let’s let our subconscious mind really absorb those thoughts until we get through all the Happiness Podcasts and then let’s do it again. Let’s do that for a month and see if we will begin to see some really radical changes. We can create beautiful lives. It just takes work.