Follow your dreams, never settle, and do what makes you happy.
Below is an unedited stream of my thoughts on happiness. I usually enjoy writing and publishing well-articulated thoughts, but my usual process felt wrong for the subject. Instead of outlining, drafting, writing, editing and proofreading an article about being happy and adventurous, I hammered away in a text document for a half-hour and straight-up pasted the resulting stream of conscious (with a couple line breaks and some bolding of course).
The best advice I've ever received was "do what makes you happy." The simple adage has become my manifesto. The things you do on a daily basis are going to be what matters in the long run, so enjoy every day.
Complacency is the enemy of adventure, innovation, progress, and fun. Chase your passion and your dreams. If you love what you do, others will love appreciating what you do. Learn new things. Explore.
Reflect on yourself. Feedback is one of the most important processes in creating anything great, and your life is no different. Take time to reflect on yourself, what you're doing and what you want to be doing. We inundate our days with menial (but often necessary) tasks like emails, laundry, calls, cleaning, etc. Stop focusing on the immediate problems and give the bigger picture some thought. Schedule time alone to think about yourself and if what you're doing is exactly what you want to be doing. Think about the things that make you happy and do them more often. Make changes in your own life. They don't have to be drastic (although they sometimes should be), but at least reflect and work towards what you want to be.
Take a moment and realize you're in control of your own life. Odds are, no one is stopping you from doing what you want. Stop going through the motions every day and take control of your life. Waking up at 8AM, going to work, coming home at 6PM, watching TV for 2 hours and going to bed is fine routine, but shake it up and get out of your comfort zone more often.
Don't ever settle. If you don't wake up most mornings pumped to be alive, you're doing it wrong.
Chase the girl you're secretly in love with, or if you already have her, stop letting other things take priority and let her know how you feel. Take her out, treat her right and travel the world.
Stop saving all your money for retirement. By the time you retire you won't be able to do half the things you want and everything will ache - do it today, just don't be reckless.
Learn to care less about what other's think. You wanna wear that blazer because you think you look like a boss - do it. You quietly enamored with the girl from finance - ask her to get coffee. Tired at 7PM - go to sleep. Not tired - get in your car and enjoy the night. I'm not suggesting you live by impulsive action, but be confident and fearless. Nobody laughs at someone who does exactly what they want, and if they do, it's to hide their jealousy. Stop striving to please others. Don't stress out about pleasing your parents, friends, family, teachers, or coworkers. Learn to make yourself proud and your success will be organic. You'll find you have high expectations of yourself for things you care about.
Find happiness every day. Focus on what makes you happy on a daily basis. Life is short, so enjoy it and never regret anything that makes you smile. What you did yesterday, determines what you're doing today, which defines who you are tomorrow.
Originally posted on my personal site on Feb. 22, 2012