Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
Happiness is something everyone wants to achieve. While on the surface people may seem to be looking for money, recognition, or other things, what they actually seek is happiness. Unfortunately, many people never reach the level of happiness they desire.
While I can’t claim to be the happiest person in the world (I wish I could 🙂 ), I do learn something about it. So here I’d like to share 20 ways to find happiness in your life.
But, before we start, we should agree on something: our happiness is our responsibility. Your happiness is your responsibility. Don’t blame outside condition or other people if you’re not happy. While things around you could change and go bad, it is you who decide how you will respond to them. You can decide to be happy.
With that in mind, here are 20 ways to find happiness in life:
1. Stop comparing yourself with others
Comparing yourself with others won’t do you any good. You will either feel proud when you are above, or feel jealous and frustrated when you are below. None of them brings true happiness. So stop comparing yourself with others and simply be your best.
2. Count your blessings
There are so many things we should be grateful for, but we often forget them. When you realize how blessed you are, you will certainly be happier.
We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
You can start with some simple things we take for granted.
3. Find your inner voice
To find true happiness, you must first find your inner voice. Slow down and take some quiet time for soul searching. What will make your life meaningful? What is true happiness for you? By knowing what your heart says, it will be easier for you to align with it.
4. Reconnect with your childhood dreams
Your childhood dreams can give you clues about your true calling. So discover them and reconnect with them. Get them back into your life. Childhood dreams are important, which is why Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture is entitled Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.
5. Help someone
Giving is an essential key to happiness. While we often think that we will be happier when we receive, the truth is we are happier when we give. This is also one of the most difficult things to apply.
You can apply this by finding someone in need and lending a helping hand. The person could be your family, friend, or even a stranger. You could also donate to a charity.
Happiness is like a kiss…you must share it to enjoy it.
6. Spend more quality time with your loved ones
Relationships give us happiness more than any material in the world. So spend more quality time with your loved ones. In such moments, be sure that you devote your attention to them. Divided attention (with your work, for example) will decrease the quality of the time.
There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.
7. Apply the five languages of love
Love is an important way to happiness, and the five languages of love is a helpful concept to help you apply love. By understanding yours and others’ languages of love, you will be able to build better relationships.
8. Appreciate nature
The beauty of the nature can give you peace. Go out and see how beautiful the nature is. Watch how the birds sing and the sun shines, and let you be happy once again.
9. Pray or meditate
This is one of the most effective ways to calm your mind and get inner happiness. When you feel overwhelmed, a session of praying or meditation could help you clear your mind.
10. Know yourself
You will be happier if you understand who you are. Taking personality tests or drawing a simple life map could help you recognize who you are.
11. Say thank you
Sometimes we are so accustomed to people around us that we forget to thank to them. So take a little time to do that.
Smiling is a very simple thing to do, and yet it has great effect. There mere act of smiling can brighten your otherwise dark day.
13. Listen more than you speak
You will feel happier not only by understanding yourself, but also by understanding the people around you. One simple way to do that is by listening more than you speak. Try to understand what the other person means before speaking out your thoughts.
14. Stop judging others
Judging others will give you bad feeling toward them and there’s nothing good about that. Instead, you should look at the positive side of them. Sometimes it’s easier to see the others’ weaknesses, but looking at the positive side will brighten their day and your day.
15. Focus on what you can control
Trying to change things beyond your control will only frustrate you. Recognize what you can and can’t control, and focus solely on the things you can control. For instance, you can’t change how people around you behave, but you can change yours. So focus on changing your own behavior instead of changing theirs.
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will.
16. Forgive yourself
Have you done mistakes in the past? We could be intimidated by our past mistakes that we can no longer live to our full potential. But you aren’t perfect, and neither is anyone else. So forgive yourself and release the burden.
17. Forgive others
Besides forgiving yourself, you should also forgive other people who did wrong to you. Not forgiving them will only hurt you. Again, you should release the burden so that you can find happiness.
To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.
18. Accept yourself
You may have some personality traits that you don’t like. For instance, perhaps you are an introvert and you wish you are an extrovert. Or you wish you were born in a different background. This is one thing you can’t control (see #15), so just accept yourself as you are. You are unique, and that’s something you should be grateful for.
19. Know how to deal with problems
Problems will always come your way, so your happiness depends not on whether or not you have problem, but on how good you deal with them. Knowing how to stay calm and how to overcome failure will be helpful.
20. Be a promise keeper
You will find happiness if you stay true to your heart and one way to do that is by being a promise keeper. The more you keep your promise, the more you will be aligned with your conscience and the happier you will be.
While I’m still far from perfect in applying them, I can attest how these ideas increase my happiness.
Do you have other ideas to achieve happiness? Feel free to share them in the comments.
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Photo by Sukanto Debnath
* Accepting self, people the way they are and the way they are not.
* Being in present.
Funny thing I did this list and now I’m just the smiling idiot who still lives off of anti-depressents
I’m a product of a broken family.Finding happiness was never been easy. I often smile and solve my problems with determination. I was never been a Rebel coz i have so many dreams to achieve.
thank you. I should stop comparing myself to anybody for me to move on! I know in my road to success I will find the true meaning of HAPPINESS :))
Very nice concise post! I have been writing a series on ‘Secrets of Wellbeing’ at GoodlifeZen which looks at the various facets of happiness.
I think there are some aspects of happiness that are worth thinking about. One is that it is a subjective experience. That is, two people might have the same life circumstances but rate them differently, ending up either unhappy or happy. So one thing that helps people to be happier is to change the way they view their life. Here is an example: I was just listening to a tape made by a young woman who recently died by MS at age 37. She recorded the tape some years earlier when she could still speak. At the time she was in hospital after an MS ‘attack’. She said, “This may sound strange, but I feel happier than ever before.” A few weeks ago I spoke to her parents who loved her deeply and accompanied her right through her illness. The father said to me: “My daughter and all of us family member would agree that her illness was the best thing that could have happened to us!” I reckon that for many families this suffering would have been rated as a life circumstance that made them deeply unhappy.
Another aspect I’ve been exploring and writing about is the strange fact that we are really really bad at predicting what will make us happier in the future. I’ve written an article about this in my ‘Series of Wellbeing Series’ on goodlifezen.com (I only mention this so that we can maybe start a wider discussion about happiness).
PS I have subscribed to this really interesting site!
GREAT!!!! Thank you very much.
I agree Mary. It’s amazing how often two people have the similar things happen and yet one person is happy and the other sad or angry.
Michael J Fox is another Prime Example of this. In his book ‘I’m a Lucky Man’, that’s how he thinks about himself even with such a debilitating illness as Parkinson’s Disease. In fact he actually states that PD is one of the best things that’s happened to him.
Personally I’ve found that has I’ve got older I’ve really acknowledged and put into practise that I have choice about how I respond to situations. It’s not about anyone else and how they may or may not view things or what they may or may not have done.
Plain and simple, my happiness is my choice!
The best advice in this article is to stop comparing yourself to others.
Be unique. Be who you are. That is the best way to be happy.
Personally, I pride myself on being unique. I found that to be a common trait among successful people i met while touring the country to interview more than 80 highly successful individuals in conjunction with my soon to be released third book.
Mr Positioning (Stanley F. Bronstein, Atty, CPA, Author and Professional Speaker)
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Thanks for stopping by everyone! I went out of town in recent days which is why I can only reply to your comments now.
I agree that happiness is a subjective experience, and you gave us a very clear example. If we have the mindset of seeing the positive side of things, we will definitely be happier.
It’s indeed interesting that people can respond differently to similar situations. Yours is a good way to put it: our happiness is our choice.
Yes, we are all unique. That’s a gift and we will be happy if we appreciate it.
Hey Donald. Great tips!
I’m a big believer in listening instead of speaking. When you listen intently to people you learn more, you engage the other person a lot more, and you become a much better communicator. All of which make you happier!
Thanks, Craig! It’s wonderful to learn about the importance of listening from a top motivational speaker like you. It makes me realize how important listening is if I want to become a better communicator.
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I think that you can not be happy in your relationships if you are not happy in your own.
I agree. If we aren’t happy, it will affect other things in our life including our relationships.
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This is some great info. Maybe you could help out at
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I really like the information that the website gives.
It helps me find the inner me… its not really workin now but as i try to follow the tips i can find happiness in my life
WoOoOoOoW i loved this topic so much
I completley agree with Mary’s comments about how happiness is all in how you see it. But, that is not so easy to do. 10 years ago, I took a good look at myself and realized I was desperatley unhappy. I was a pessimist, cynical, work-a-holic, who saw everything as a problem, yet I had little to really complain about.
I began at that point a personal journey that involved many big changes in my life (like getting a divorce, leaving my high paying corporate job and moving to the country). Even though the big changes helped, it was the little changes that made the biggest difference (like changing my own attitude about things). I now have plenty to complain about and many bad things have happened to me, but I am actually the happiest I have ever been. I know, it blows my mind too, but I sure ain’t going back to that other way of life.
They r very useful for right approach.
[…] that no matter what happens in live, I will continue to find happiness in everything I do. http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2008/03/19/finding-happiness-20-ways-to-achieve-happiness-in-life/ […]
Hi Donald, Liked your tips very much 🙂
I’m new to blogging… have written a piece on happiness too..it would be nice to have your feedback on it:
Thanks for such inspiring words. Has been feeling really low lately.
thank you for this great article. i agree with the above points however i would like to emphasize on the point “Find your inner voice”
in most cases this inner voice speaks to us but we don’t listen,thats what happened in my case until i had a big disappointment.thats when i started listening to my inner voice and i have never been at peace with myself than iam today.
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I am really appriciated with this great article. It’s very useful for all human beings who finding down happiness. Thank you so much.
i loved ur post
Nice website 🙂
you give me the truth of happiness
Thank you this page has just been my answer from a previous prayer. I have been depressed all day, once I read this I could not help but smile and appreciate my life and the beautiful things and people that surround me.
Thank you for making this page it’s helped me and I am sure I am not the only one.
Glad you find it useful, Brooks. I wish all the best for you.
its really nice.every human being must follow it. after that he or she will become role model for all.
it hard some times but you have to keep moving forward because life doesn’t stand still.
these are great steps to a start but u must do the work and i just wanted to add something i believe to help also…believe in yourself first, no one else has to look in the mirror and see what you do so forget your mistakes and choose to be better when negativity starts creeping up on your shoulder and realize that we are all here for a purpose and everyones purpose is different so the only shoes you are responsible for filling is your own so make sure they fit 🙂 may you all be blessed today and all days to come
Thank you for those words. I am searching the root cause of my depression and many things come up. Because of the load that has been sent my way, I realize after reading your words that I don’t believe in myself and feel less than adequate. That is a start. Thank you and God bless you.
thank you.all 20 points are great and well thought of.i feel man is the best judge of himself.no one knows you better than yourself.try to improve upon your good qualities and suppress those which you realise are your shortcomings.each one of us has something within us which keeps us bugging all the time,we must try to get rid of it.world is no doubt very beautiful.enjoy its beauty every moment b,cos each passing moment will never come back,so it is now or never.
God bless you all.
HAPPINESS – That’s all I ever wanted. I’m like a floating soul goin’ nowhere.
If the wish is to be happy, then why can’t we recognize that the same wish is of others too. This mutual consideration of being happy is the sole remedy for all the problems of this world. Likes all the 20 points and all can be applied , if one has real desire to be happy. The determination to be happy will make the 20 points will make the 20 points easier to apply. Thanks , a very nice read. 🙂
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