4 Steps to Happiness

What makes you happy?

This 4-word question has led to many sleepless nights. The pursuit of happiness is one of the most powerful drivers for us all. It’s what gets us up in the morning. It’s also what causes us to make drastic decisions like quitting our job or robbing a bank. Being happy is something we all deserve, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to find. It’s hard to find because we are looking in all the wrong places. To quote one of my favorite books — The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck…

Our culture today is obsessively focused on unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest. Be smarter, faster, richer, sexier, more popular, more productive, more envied, and more admired
– Mark Manson

Ironically, he calls being happy unrealistic. It’s unrealistic because we think the only way to achieve happiness is being, seeing, doing, and having MORE. The reality is — happiness is all around us and can come in very small, hard to find packages.

The pool cover kinda kills the scene ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

While I still have a day job as I’m building this company, I’m lucky enough to work remotely most of the time. As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in the backyard of my parents’ place by the pool. Music playing, sitting in the sun, the gentle sound of water in the background, and working on a business I’m passionate about. I think to myself, “In this moment, I’m happy”. It’s an incredible feeling that I want to be able to repeat indefinitely. That made me think of an exercise I would like you all to join me in completing. It’s really simple, but I think it will help us realize what makes us happy. Follow these steps…

  1. Next time you feel a sudden wave of happiness, write down exactly what you were doing in that moment. No matter how subtle the feeling, no matter how insignificant the action, write it down.
  2. Each time this happens, write it down and keep a journal of each occurrence. The more detailed the better. Take a photo if you can.
  3. Analyze the list daily. What things seem to repeat themselves? Do you see a lot of entries that involve nice weather? Do they include a specific person? Location? Action?
  4. Think of ways you can put yourself in constant contact with those triggers. If your journal includes occurrences of happiness when you’re around a loved one, how can you spend more time with that person? How can you make that time more meaningful? If your occurrences of happiness include being outdoors, how can you make a small change in your life to allow you to spend more time outdoors?

For me, I’m happiest when I’m working on a something I’m passionate about while spending a significant amount of time outdoors. Therefore, I’m working on a way to quit my day job, work on my business full-time, and move to a warmer location.

What makes you happy? Take this 4 step challenge and share what you discover in the comments.