We all want to live a more meaningful and happy life. That is for certain.
But what does that actually mean? And how can we go about achieving it? Below is a simple formula for living a meaningful and happy life that will get you started on the right track.
There are many different ways of measuring success in life, but there’s one thing we all know: We want to feel good about our lives at the end of the day. The problem is, what makes us happy varies from person to person, so there’s no easy answer as to how to achieve this goal.
Does your 75″ TV make you happy? What about your new car? Sure they do, when you first get them. But happiness from material things isn’t long-lasting. A good way to measure success is whether or not you have contributed positively to the world around you, and the people in it. In other words, have you lived a meaningful life?
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In order to contribute positively to the world around us and the people in it, we need to find out what makes us happy. There can be no doubt that everyone’s “happy place” is different, and in order to achieve a meaningful life we need to find out what our own personal happiness is.
Once you have an understanding of what makes you happy, it’s important to apply that knowledge in your day-to-day life by being proactive. There are several components to being proactive and I’ve set out below a simple formula for living your best life
- Live beneath your means
- Return everything you borrow
- Stop blaming other people
- Admit it when you make a mistake
- Respect yourself for who you are
- Give clothes not worn to charity
- Do something nice and try not to get caught
- Listen more, talk less
- Every day walk for at least 30 minutes
- Strive for excellence, not perfection
- Be on time
- Don't make excuses
- Don't argue
- Get organised
- Be kind to unkind people
- Let someone cut ahead of you in line
- Take time to be alone
- Cultivate good manners
- Be humble
- Realise and accept that life isn't fair
- Know when to keep your mouth shut
- Go an entire day without criticising anyone
- Learn from the past & plan for the future
- Live in the present
- Don't sweat the small stuff
- Live intentionally
- Final thoughts
Live beneath your means
There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.-calvin coolidge
We live in a world where we are constantly pressured into buying more and more stuff. Because of this, we get into more and more debt just to show off the ‘things’ we own.
Living beneath our means is one of the simplest and most effective ways to live a happy and meaningful life. When we’re not constantly trying to keep up with the Joneses, we’re able to focus on what’s important to us, and what really brings us happiness.
By foregoing material things that we don’t really need, we free up our time and resources to do things that we actually enjoy.
It’s important to remember that happiness doesn’t come from having the newest phone or most expensive handbag – it comes from living a life that we’re proud of, and that makes us happy. Start focusing less on the ‘stuff’ we own, and more on what makes us truly happy.
Return everything you borrow
It’s better to return a borrowed pot with a little something you last cooked in it.Unknown
Borrowing things from people is a great way to slow down the number of things coming into your home and it reduces the need to buy things you’re likely to only use a couple of times.
But when you borrow something from someone, it’s important to remember to return it as soon as you’ve finished using it. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it also helps to maintain healthy relationships with the people in your life.
Borrowing something from someone implies that you will return it at some point in the future. If you don’t, not only are you breaking a promise, but you’re also damaging the relationship you have with that person.
This doesn’t just go for physical items, but also applies to borrowing money. While you may not be in a position to return all the money straight away, come up with a plan whereby you are paying a small amount back each week or month. That way, you are acting in good faith, and are not trying to take advantage of the person who lent it to you.
Stop blaming other people
You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.john wooden
Out of all the things we can spend our time doing, blaming other people for our misfortune is one of the least productive. We all have things happen in our lives that we don’t particularly like. We’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our lives, and it’s a difficult habit to break.
Start by taking an honest look at the life you’re living right now; is it really you that wants things to be different? Or is there something or someone out of your control that you’re blaming for the situation you find yourself in?
When you start blaming other people, it prevents you from taking responsibility for your actions. And by doing this, you’re not only hurting the people around you but also preventing yourself from making changes that will lead to a happier life.
Admit it when you make a mistake
Be humble to see your mistakes, courageous to admit them and wise enough to correct them.amine ayed
We all make mistakes. No one is perfect.
When you make a mistake, it’s important to own up straight away. By admitting your wrongdoing, not only are you saving yourself from future heartache and further hurt, but you’re also helping the people around you understand what happened.
In life we’re going to make mistakes – some bigger than others. Whether the mistake you make is small or large, by owning up to it and apologising, people will respect you for being honest and accountable.
By learning how to admit when you’ve made a mistake, you’ll also be more open to listening to others’ apologies and accepting them. This means you’ll be less likely to hold a grudge against someone who has apologised for their wrongdoing.
Respect yourself for who you are
Respect yourself and others will respect you.confucius
It’s easy to get caught up in what we think other people expect of us. However, if we take a moment to really think about what it is that makes us happy, we’ll often discover that the path we’re on right now isn’t really what we want.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses; it’s about finding a place in life where you can harness your strengths and adopt other people’s weaknesses as your own.
Spend some time thinking about what you really want down the line, rather than what you think society expects of you. While it’s important to have goals that are achievable, just remember that what is most important is finding a path in life that makes you happy.
Once you’ve identified your strengths and weaknesses, look for ways to improve yourself. Maybe there are some skills or talents that you’re not using right now but would love to. Maybe there are some things you’re doing every day that is making you unhappy or causing unnecessary stress.
When you begin to respect yourself for who you are, you’ll discover that living a meaningful and happy life is much easier.
Give clothes not worn to charity
Deeds of giving are the very foundations of the world.unknown
We constantly find ourselves in a vicious circle of buying more stuff, getting rid of them, and buying more stuff again. The clutter is never-ending and we don’t seem to learn the valuable lesson that we don’t need all this stuff and there are others who are much less fortunate than us out there.
If you’re anything like the average person, you probably have clothes hanging in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn for some time (or ever). Instead of throwing them out or even selling them online, donate to charity so someone else can benefit from them and give your clothes a new lease on life.
Even if it’s just one bag of clothes or shoes that you’re donating, if everyone did this it would make a huge difference and the world will be a better place.
This addition to the simple formula for living a meaningful and happy life is a very small step, but one that can make a big difference.
If you’re ready to start decluttering your home, start with these helpful articles.
Do something nice and try not to get caught
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wastedaesop
A random act of kindness goes a long way. For someone else, it may put a smile on their face and that’s definitely something. For you, it will show you that you’re capable of doing nice things without expecting anything in return.
Once you’ve done something kind for someone else, don’t be tempted to shout about it from the rooftops or post a status bragging about how great you are.
When we do something nice, it’s important to simply be modest and humble about it. You don’t want to turn into one of those people who are constantly in search for validation in the form of likes and shares.
Instead, focus on doing good things for others without expecting anything in return. Let the reason you have done something nice be that it was the right thing to do and not for the attention it brings you.
Listen more, talk less
Listen more than you talk. Nobody learned anything by hearing themselves speak.richard branson
Another wonderful lesson in this simple formula for living a meaningful life is to take the time to listen to others more. We all want to be heard, not just listened to.
If you’re willing to listen more, it shows respect, which in turn creates a better relationship between yourself and others. When you listen more to others and show them respect, they’ll be more inclined to listen when needed.
You’d be surprised just how much you might learn about someone else and the world around you. When you do speak, make sure that you’re respectful of others and offer a voice that adds to the discussion, rather than derails it.
Every day walk for at least 30 minutes
In every walk with nature once receives far more than he seeks.john muir
The regular walking that you do can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing.
Just 30 minutes of walking every day, where possible, will not just help improve your overall fitness levels, but it will also have an effect on your mental health too.
There are many benefits when it comes to exercise that you might not know about.
If you’re not the most active of people, start small and increase your activity levels little by little until you get up to a 30 minute walk.
Strive for excellence, not perfection
Strive for excellence, not perfection, because we don’t live in a perfect world.joyce meyer
It’s important to understand that perfection is an impossible task. Striving for excellence, however, is something that’s achievable and will leave you feeling more accomplished.
If you’re constantly chasing after perfection, you’ll never be truly satisfied with your work or your life, for that matter.
When you commit yourself to excellence, it’ll be much easier to achieve when compared with the strive for perfection.
There is no such thing as perfect and it’s important to remember that.
Be on time
Punctuality is not about being on time, it’s about respecting your own commitments.unknown
Nobody likes to be kept waiting and it’s disrespectful to show up late for a meeting. Other people’s time, as well as yours, is valuable and should be respected.
If you’re often running behind it may be due to your lack of organisation skills or that you don’t manage your time properly, so get started on fixing this.
If you’re constantly late for meetings and events, people may begin to distance themselves from you. Show up on time and others will do the same for you.
Don’t make excuses
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.benjamin franklin
One of the best additions to this simple formula for living a meaningful life is by not making excuses. Excuses are something that we all make at one point or another, but it’s important not to let them hold you back.
You’ll never be able to start living the fulfilling life that you’ve imagined for yourself if you’re always making excuses.
By not making excuses, you take responsibility for your actions and will begin to feel happier with yourself as a result.
Instead of making excuses, focus on making a change.
Arguing with a fool only proves that there are two.unknown
Arguing rarely gets us anywhere. If someone is being disrespectful, then it’s time for you to distance yourself from them rather than argue with them.
Try to resolve issues calmly and respectfully as this will be more productive for you.
Arguing with others is a waste of time and energy. Once the argument is over, nothing has been achieved or learned from so it’s best to leave it at that.
Being organized isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or trying to become a different person. It’s about living the way you want to live, but better.andrew mellen
This one is all about streamlining your tasks and commitments to avoid feeling overwhelmed. When you’re unorganised, it’s easy to feel stressed and be more likely to fall into the trap of becoming lazy and unmotivated.
Clear your head and your space by decluttering your home. Ridding yourself of clutter will help you to clear your mind and clear a path for new opportunities to come in.
If you’re unorganised, it’s likely that your time isn’t managed effectively and this will leave you feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Take the time to organise yourself and all tasks and commitments so that you stay on top of everything.
Planning ahead will help to organise your life and cut out any unnecessary stress that you might be feeling. If you’re finding yourself constantly stressed, it’s time to take a step back and try organising your commitments and tasks.
Be kind to unkind people
Be kind to unkind people. They need it the most.Ashleigh brilliant
In your life, you might come across some people who are rather unkind, but that doesn’t mean you should treat them in the same manner.
If someone is unkind, it could be that they have suffered something that’s made them unkind. You never know what people are going through, so treat everyone the same way – the way you’d like to be treated yourself.
Even if you don’t have a great relationship with someone, you can still act respectful and courteously towards them. It’s important not to lower yourself to their level and you should always treat others the way that you would like to be treated yourself.
Let someone cut ahead of you in line
Kindness begins with the understanding that we all struggle.charles glassman
This small act of kindness could mean so much more to someone else. The next time you’re waiting in line for something, let someone go ahead of you.
Especially if you have a full trolley and the person behind you just has a couple of items, let them go before you and this will give them a little joy in their day.
Doing something as simple as this could make someone else’s entire day. Even if it only makes the other person’s life for those few minutes, you’ll be surprised by how much of a difference such a small act has on others.
That one person you let cut ahead of you in line could be so happy about it that they go and do something nice for another stranger!
Take time to be alone
Alone is when I distance myself from the voices of the world so I can hear my own.oprah
Being alone can be very beneficial. Spending time with yourself, especially if you tend to avoid it, will allow you to reflect on your life and approach situations logically.
Spending time alone will let you sort through your thoughts without any other influence. This means that you won’t have to deal with the clutter of other people’s thoughts and opinions.
We spend time with others to get to know them better, so why not take time to be alone so you can get to know yourself a little better?
Cultivate good manners
Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.Bill kelly
You may think that your mannerisms are not noticeable, but people will notice if you have bad manners.
We live in a world where good manners seem to have been forgotten, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any.
A ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ goes a long way. Being polite and courteous to others will not only reward you in return, but it’s just a nice thing to do for another person.
It’s amazing what something as simple as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ can do. You’ll find that people are more likely to say it back to you and when they do, it just makes your day a little bit brighter.
Things like holding a door open for someone or offering your seat up to someone in need will go a long way in making the person feel special and it just shows good manners.
Being humble means recognizing that we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others.gordon b hinkley
It’s so important to remain humble in everything you do. Just because you’ve done something amazing, it doesn’t mean you need to be boastful and showy.
Good achievements are meant to be shared with the world, but boasting about them makes people feel small and unnoticed.
If you continuously brag about your achievements, people will start noticing that you’re a rather self-centred individual.
Always be mindful of other people’s feelings and remember to stay humble.
Realise and accept that life isn’t fair
When you realise that life isn’t fair, you don’t act out, you don’t get overly wasted, you don’t get self-indulgent, you just move forward.david hasselhoff
Life is a short and fragile thing. No one can escape death, no matter how rich or happy you are in your life.
Even when we finally think we have everything under control, life will always have its surprises ready for us. The sooner you realise that life isn’t always fair, the easier it’ll be to accept the challenges that it throws at you.
When you accept that life isn’t always fair, you can come to terms with any challenge in your life. Remember not to let these challenging times take control of your happiness and keep pushing forward till you’ve overcome them
Know when to keep your mouth shut
Knowing when to keep your mouth shut is invariably more important than opening it at the right time.malcolm forbes
Trying to always say the right thing or knowing when to keep your mouth shut are two key skills that everyone should have.
There are some things that people don’t want to hear, no matter how well-meaning you are. It’s one thing to share what’s on your mind, it’s another to be ignorant and hurt someone with your words.
Learning to stop talking before you say something nasty is a wonderful quality. You don’t always have to express every negative thought that you have in your head – be kind and wise with your words.
Go an entire day without criticising anyone
It is much more valuable to look for the strength in others. You can gain nothing by criticising their imperfections.daisaku ikeda
We are always ready to criticise people for doing something wrong or even for just being themselves. We need to stop looking at the world in terms of good and bad. People are only doing what they think is right – they’re not always trying to offend someone.
Often we criticise someone else because we ourseves are unhappy with who we are.
Being able to go an entire day without criticising anyone is a sure-fire way of improving the happiness in your life. It’s okay for you or others to be unhappy with things, but when you openly criticise them, it hurts people.
Learn from the past & plan for the future
Learn from the past, live in the present and create your future.joel brown
It’s so important to take the time to look back on any mistakes you’ve made in the past and learn from them.
At the same time, there’s no point in getting stuck in the past. We need to plan for our future goals and dreams. Both past and present are equally as important in this natural cycle of life.
Just by learning from your past and constantly planning for how you want to live your future, will improve the happiness in your life.
Live in the present
The great science to live happily is to live in the present.pythagoras
While we should learn from our past and make plans for our future, the present moment is all we ever have.
When you stop worrying about the past or thinking too much about your future, you’ll be able to enjoy the present moment with the people who are here with you now.
So often in our lives we are either living in the past or thinking about our future that we forget to actually appreciate all of life’s little things happening around us.
Living in the present is an essential part of a happy and meaningful life.
Don’t sweat the small stuff
Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.richard carlson
We get so caught up in the little things that we forget to enjoy the bigger things. We need to stop sweating about everything and appreciate how lucky we really are.
While you shouldn’t ignore little problems when they arise, at the same time try not let them get you down. Realise that there are bigger problems in the world, so stop sweating it over minutiae.
By not sweating the small stuff, you’ll be able to enjoy life’s little pleasures. It also helps reduce your anxiety levels and stops you from worrying about things that aren’t worth getting worked up over.
To live intentionally implies that it is not going to be always convenient, but it is what will take you to significance if you do not give up.sunday adelaia
It’s not always easy to live a meaningful and happy life, but it is possible. It just takes intentionality—thinking about what you want from your life and then going after it.
Too many people just don’t think about their lives enough or take the time to figure out what they really want. But once you get started on this path, there are some simple ways to make sure that you stay focused on living a full life with meaning and happiness in it every single day of your life!
When you live intentionally, you are in control of your own life. You decide what’s important to you and what you want to achieve, and you make a plan to get there.
This can be a very empowering way to live, because it means that you are always in charge of your own destiny. And when you are in charge of your own destiny, you are much more likely to be happy and fulfilled.
Read also: An Effective Guide To Setting Intentions
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The simple formula for living a happy life is just that – simple. It’s finding the courage to live your own truth, deepen your self-awareness and cultivate mindfulness by living in the moment.
It’s about finding the time to evaluate where you are now and then taking action. It’s also about knowing that mistakes in your past are okay—so long as they don’t define who you are.
Living a meaningful life with happiness in it takes effort, but it is possible. And if you follow the above simple formula, you’ll have all the tools you need to start living a happier life now.