A Simple Way to Be Happy

Everyone, of course, wants to be happy. People do all kinds of things to achieve that. But I believe that there is actually a simple way to be happy. If you do it, you are pretty much guaranteed to be happy.

Do you want to know what it is? Simple: Be grateful for what you have.

You might have heard this before. In fact, you might have heard this so often that it begins to lose its meaning.

But think about it. Where does unhappiness come from? It most likely comes from thinking about what you don’t have. You think you need something in order to be happy and you don’t have it, so you become unhappy. You say something like, “If only I have <something you don’t have>, then I will be happy.”

It’s a never-ending cycle though. When you get what you want, you will be happy for a short while, but then there will be another thing you want, and another, and another.

The good news is that if thinking about what you don’t have will make you unhappy, then thinking about what you do have will make you happy. You just need to make the mental switch.

The bad news is that many people do that only after they have lost the thing. They don’t appreciate what they have until they have lost it.

It happened to me once. I didn’t really appreciate being healthy, but one day I got ill. I couldn’t eat or sleep well for a few days. At that time, I wanted one thing and one thing only: to be healthy again. That experience taught me the value of being healthy.

There are other seemingly simple things you should appreciate in your life. Here are some:

  • Living in peace. I read stories about war. It’s terrible. You constantly live in fear, not to mention the horrible things that could happen to you. Living in peace is a great blessing.
  • Having the necessities of life. Don’t believe me? You have the Internet access to read this. Millions of people don’t have access to clean water and food, let alone the Internet.
  • Being with your loved ones. Many people are separated from their loved ones for various, insurmountable reasons. If you are with your loved ones, be grateful.
  • Having friends. Many people are lonely, so don’t take your friends for granted. In fact, you could go further: be a friend to someone who needs one.
  • Living a convenient life. Believe it or not, your standard of living is higher than many royalties in the past. They didn’t have the Internet, but you do. They didn’t have bright light at night, but you do. They couldn’t fly to faraway places, but you can.

These are just some examples. I’m sure there are many more (don’t hesitate to share them in the comments!).

The point is that it’s simple to be happy. The key is to appreciate what you have, and don’t take them for granted. As a wise person once said:

Happiness will never come to those who fail to appreciate what they already have.

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Are you looking for a dose of inspiration? Check out Wisdom of the Ages, a collection of the best quotes I have found.

7 Comments

  1. Such a simple message, but oh so powerful: “Be grateful for what you have.” Thanks for reminding me!

  2. Thanks for such a simple but powerful post. You are absolutely correct. All it takes is for us to focus on what we have and be grateful instead of comparing ourselves to others and wanting all the things we do not have.
    Although very simple, it is difficult to do though. Can being grateful for what you have prevent you from becoming ambitious? What I mean if you are contented with what and where you are won’t it hinder your progress?

    • I believe you can be content without hindering your progress. Being content doesn’t mean just settling where you are. You still want to move to the next level, but the motivation is not to make yourself happy (because you can already be happy with what you have). Instead, the motivation is to reach your full potential, to be the best person that you can be.

  3. Godfirst Chukwuma
    Godfirst Chukwuma

    Simple and strategic if followed. I love the post sir, it made me had a rethink. Thnks alot!!!

  4. Donaold,

    I think the comparisson thing is quite important. We need to know when we have enough, enjoy that and know we don’t need any more.

    One helpful method I have for this is to think about the real cost of material items. Many colleagues would spend lots of money on fancy cars. This meant they were even more tied into jobs they didn’t like.

    Me, I saved by cycling to the office (on a basic bike) and now have the opportunity to spend some time away from office life.

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