I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately; actually, I guess I could say that I’m always thinking, which sometimes gets in the way of actually working. However, in this particular case I’ve been thinking about ways to make myself happier every day. The reality is that I know everything I need to be happy, but some of these things are elusive at times, while others I forget to concentrate on as often as I should.

I figure that if there’s a day where I should write a post like this, it’s a Sunday. That’s because more people are home and thus may have more time to read what I expect might turn into a long post. It’s one of the few times I’m setting out to write a long post, but I hope you stick with me and at least see all the headings because I feel I’ve figured out the 10 things we all need to have in our lives to be truthfully happy. And if you have other ideas, well, please share them later. And I’ll ask now for retweets, Facebook shares, and +1 shares as well; if you believe others might like to be happy for once, share.

Some of these might seem a bit strange; some might make you say “duh”. These aren’t in any particular order except the last one. No matter; let’s get to it.

1. Dreams. Everyone needs to have something that they want to reach or achieve in their life. Even when things are keeping you down you need to have something you’d like to do or have or become.

Some people think that saying “I want to live a comfortable life” is a dream; nope, not even close. That’s because it’s not definable; how does one really define comfort? If you want to be able to buy anything you want to do, not ever worry about having enough money to pay bills, always be able to afford food and clothes, maybe be able to go on vacation whenever you want to, you need to dream about it, see it in your mind, and dream big.

You always shoot for the moon, whether you get there or not. James Canfield of the Chicken Soup books talks about wanting to make $100,000 in sales the first year that book was out. The book ended up making $92,000; was he disappointed? Heck no! The idea is that if you dream for big things you’ll have the opportunity to achieve big things, even if you don’t get exactly what you want. My dream is to get $20 million in the bank; I’m not going to cry if I eventually get $1 million there.

2. Goals. Yeah, I know, I talk about having goals all the time. I talk about it because it’s true; if you don’t know what you have to do on the journey then you’re probably not going to get there. Think about Christopher Columbus for a moment. Sure, he set out to get to China and ended up in North and South America, but it wasn’t for a lack of having a goal that got in the way. Without a goal he’d have just stayed home, sailing the seas of Europe and not getting anywhere fast.

Goals do need to be measurable, but they don’t have to be big or audacious; that’s what dreams are for. If you want to be a dentist there are steps you have to take. First you have to graduate from high school. Then you need some kind of advanced degree. Then you have to go to dental school. In the previous two steps you need money to do it so you have to set a goal for how you’re going to get the money. You also need study time so you need to have a goal for how you’ll accomplish that.

Does it all look complicated? It’s supposed to be; sleeping eternally waiting for a prince or princess to come along and kiss you so you can live happily ever after isn’t going to happen. Very few people get “there” without any effort; goodness, even buying a lottery ticket takes the effort of leaving the house, going to the store, and pulling a dollar out of your pocket. Progress is success, and success is built by having goals and following plans towards those goals.

3. Humor. Very few people ever achieve happiness without a good sense of humor. Everyone has different levels of finding those things that make them laugh. Some folks laugh heartily if they watch the Three Stooges; some need something more subtle like Seinfeld. Some people are good hearing or reading a good joke. I tend to like certain comic strips and the Muppets.

Humor is not only something to wish for, it’s actually been proven to be healthy. There are studies showing people have been able to cure themselves by finding ways to relieve stress by humor. In the book The Primer Of Humor Research by Victor Raskin, there are numerous psychologists that give testimony as to the health benefits, both mental and physical, of humor and laughter throughout history, and even that sexual deviant Freud (kidding!) talked about the importance of humor for mental health.

Find those things that not only make you happy but make you laugh. I look for things to help me laugh every single day. I might not always be successful but most of the time I am. It’s amazing how much better a day seems to be with a few laughs in it.

4. Friendship. If you’re always happy and you’re alone, you might get put into a mental institution. lol The truth is that most of us are happiest when we get to hang out with our friends, or talk to our friends on the phone or on the computer or wherever. There’s something special about the bonds of friendship that are only eclipsed by one thing, which I’ll get to later.

Where the problem sometimes comes is when people don’t know how to evaluate friendship. On my business blog I’m always warning managers and employees the people at work for the most part aren’t their friends, and probably shouldn’t be. I tell other people that if someone doesn’t have your best interest at heart, they’re not really your friend.

Friends boost you up. They don’t even have to be there all the time for that. I have one friend from high school that I talk to maybe once every couple of years, yet when we talk we fall right back into our roles of kidding around with each other. We both know that we can call the other at any time if we need help or assistance. Yet we also know not to abuse it. I’m thankful to have some very long and very loyal friends, some more than 30 years, and I think of each and every one of them with a smile.

5. Love. I had to follow friendship with love because they’re two different things, yet they’re also related to each other. You can love your friends in one way but it will never compare to the love you feel for someone specific or even family members.

The point with love is that it takes risks, even with family members. Those risks include divulging secrets and emotions. They involve making sure you think of them most of the time before thinking of yourself. It involves sometimes having to tell them something for their own good without regard for whether they’ll accept it well or not. And it involves them deciding they need to be out of your life at some point, either temporarily or forever.

Yet, when you’re in love you’re unstoppable. You’d take a bullet for that person. You want to spend all your time with that person. You want everyone else to know this is the person you want to be with intimately and possibly forever, even if it doesn’t work out. That’s the thing about ultimate happiness; sometimes it takes a great leap of faith that might end in failure. But love, even for a short time, is worth it.

6. Health. No one is truly happy if they’re not healthy. They might put on a great facade of geniality but once you’ve left, you can bet it’s a struggle. Think about your own health; how happy are you when you’ve injured yourself, or feel bloated after a big meal, or get a headache because you’ve had too much to drink?

Here’s the truth; all of us know what it takes for us to feel healthy. If you have some kind of disease that’s incurable, that’s a different story, but even there you know the things to do to help alleviate some symptoms if it’s possible. Hopefully you saw my post a few days ago where I talked about losing 11 pounds (it’s now 13). The way I’m eating isn’t totally new. Back in 2002 after my dad passed away, I went on an eating plan and lost 10 pounds in two weeks. In 2007 I went on another eating plan and lost 21 pounds. Losing weight is easy; sticking to the plan and keeping it off… not so easy long term

We each get to determine how much we value our health. We need to eat better; we need to stop putting things into our bodies like drugs, alcohol and cigarette smoke that we know aren’t good for us; we need to cut down on how much processed food we eat; yada yada… I’m not really any better than anyone else long term because my history doesn’t prove I have the ability to sustain it; as I’m writing this I’m thinking of a Snickers bar (are there more candies other than Reese’s peanut butter cups as perfect as a Snickers?), but I’m also thinking about how bad I felt after dinner Friday night when I ate something on my night off that, before my eating plan, would have been considered a more healthy option than most anything else I’d regularly eat, but this time made me feel tired, stuffed, and cranky.

Remember what healthy feels like and how happy you are when you’re healthy because you can do anything when you’re healthy.

7. Wealth. I’m putting this here because it rhymes with health. 😉 It’s also very important for everyone’s happiness, even if we’re all happy with different degrees of wealth.

As I stated earlier, wealth is what allows us to live our dreams, no matter what they are. It also allows us to put the daily problems of things we need to take care of that involve money out of our minds as well, so we can concentrate on our goals and dreams easier. Of course there’s a symbiosis many times between goals and wealth but there doesn’t have to be.

As I said, wealth is a different figure for every person, and it might even be a floating figure based on circumstance. If you don’t have a job and your unemployment is running out, wealth might be any job that pays enough so you can live on your own and eat. Wealth might be enough money to buy and pay for your home. Wealth might be enough so you can travel, whether you have to save up for it or not.

People who say money can’t buy happiness either don’t have any or have too much for too long and are bored. Of course money can buy happiness; it can even buy happiness for others. With money you can donate it for good causes, or use it to help friends and family, even start businesses that help employ a lot of other people. Money buys comfort, comfort leads to happiness if you know what to do with it and how to figure out how to use it in the best way possible. I can’t remember who said this but if you don’t think money can buy happiness give it to me and I’ll let you know how it all works out. 🙂

8. Challenges. I know, you’re thinking this is an odd one to put in here. Yet, you need challenges for two reasons. One, without challenges you’ll be bored, and boredom is the antithesis of happiness. Two, without challenges you’ll never know what true happiness is.

Challenges don’t need to be things put on you by others. No one wants to have to deal with the challenge of finding a job because you’ve lost one. No one wants to deal with the challenges of getting over a broken relationship. Those things happen and sometimes it’s not our doing, but in these cases once we’ve overcome the challenges we’re happier for having gone through them and once again know what happiness is.

Other challenges are those you create by dreaming and then having goals via plans. If you want to be anything, dentist, pilot, gourmet cook, you don’t just fall into those positions. There are challenges to all of those things and more, but if you want them, you “volunteer” to tackle them. And when you achieve them (we’re not allowing “if’s” into this conversation) you’ll be a pretty happy person. What you do with it after that is on you, but you’ll always be happy at overcoming the challenges you put on yourself to be better, no matter what it is.

9. Serenity. Are you at peace? Are you calm? Have you found a way to deal with the stresses in your life, even if it’s only for a moment?

Without serenity you can’t be happy, but serenity isn’t always easy to get to. Even if you have 13 days in a row of peace and tranquility your next bad day or bad moment is just around the corner. Yet, there’s nothing saying you have to stay in that place.

The thing about serenity is that with a bit of concentration and focus you can get through it. Sure, I always say that if you’re feeling depressed there’s nothing wrong with wallowing in it for a short period of time, but you can’t stay there forever and ever be happy. If you believe being miserable or making others miserable brings happiness, you’re wrong.

What kinds of things can you do or bring into your life to help bring serenity, ergo happiness, into your life? For me it’s looking at pictures of scenes that make me smile, puppies and children mainly. It’s scented oils that I have going in multiple rooms around the house. It’s opening the curtains and letting outside light come into the house, even if I’m not in that room all the time, because I know at some point I will be walking by that room. There are so many things I can do to bring serenity into my life that I can’t name them all. What about you?

10. Perspective. Yes, this is the one I wanted to intentionally close with, because it’s the most important thing overall. Happiness can be big things or it can be small things. Happiness can be found even when things aren’t going great.

It’s perspective that determines how you’re going to decide to be happy whenever you can be, and how happy you’re going to be. In the movie The Secret there’s a scene where a woman stumbles out of bed, then gets to the bathroom to find she has run out of toothpaste. She allows these things to put her in a negative mood for the entire day. Then they rerun the scene where she wakes up and looks down before getting out of bed so she doesn’t stumble, and when she finds her toothpaste has run out she brushes her teeth anyway and is happy just doing that. Small things, but each one plays a big part in how one’s day will go.

Perspective colors everything all of us do. Perspective will make you decide whether this post is too long or long enough, valuable or a waste of your time. Perspective is how you see yourself; are you too heavy, too thin, pretty, unattractive, smart, dumb, charismatic, boring, happy…

Happiness, unfortunately, isn’t a 24/7 thing. However, each of us has the option of deciding whether we want to be happy most of the time. And most of us can control those things to help make us happier all the time as well. So, what are you waiting for?

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32 comments on “I’m Just Sharing 10 Things You Must Have For A Happy Life

  • When I’m not feeling as happy as I’d like, I reach out and help someone. Even if it’s a stranger. Reach out to a person that needs your help and your mindset will change just like that. You’ll forget about your world and be happier for creating a change in someone else.

    Looking at your list, for me, health is most important. When I awake and feel no pain I’m extremely happy. Health is vital to having the energy to accomplish everything else. My focus the last few years has been eating right, getting enough rest, and exercise.

    Right now, someone is taking their last breath. The rest of us are still here. So, don’t wait. Be Happy Now.
    Steve Borek recently posted…5 Skills Every Leader Must MasterMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Great stuff Steve; thanks for sharing it. Interesting how helping someone else could help make you happy; maybe that’s part of the perspective thing, eh? It is true most of the time that there’s someone else who’s worse off than you no matter what you might be going through so maybe that’s the way of thinking.

  • Well writ, sir!
    As they say, these are words to live by. And the pictures speak volumes (Hi, Mel!) 🙂

    I try to be happy every day. Only two things can upset me now, so when I see them coming, I consciously try to avert the “usual” reaction.

    #10 is the last word, but it’s first in my mind. And you described it perfectly. It makes all the difference.


    Mitchell Allen recently posted…Hey ShortyMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks Mitch. This post was a labor of love and reflection at the same time, and there is this thing that says many people aren’t happy but we all deserve to be. Guess I need to try to be you more often. 😉

  • Mitch,
    You’re right–it’s a LONG POST and while I admit I didn’t read it word for word, I got the gist of it and I see the “soul searching” in it.

    I can certainly relate to 1-10. They are all relevant and necessary in order to live. Like Steve said, health is very important to me–but he put it in perspective when he said “Right now, someone is taking their last breath. The rest of us are still here. So, don’t wait. Be Happy Now.” THAT’S DEEP AND SO TRUE. I NEVER thought of it that way.

    Right now my husband and I are dealing with the “distance” challenge (which has been going on since we got married 6 yrs ago). But when we put it in perspective, we learn to appreciate what we have in spite of it.

    Since I have the privilege of talking to you on the phone from time to time, I am reading between the lines here and just want to say everything happens for a reason and when you put it all in perspective, it will make sense. And yes, I will re-tweet it 🙂
    Beverly Mahone recently posted…What Does Your Publicity Barometer Look LikeMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks Bev; I appreciate that. Actually, it’s a lot of things that have me reflecting on this, as well as wanting to share with others. I want more out of my life, as I’m sure others do as well. I see others enjoying some spectacular things and I want to have those opportunities as well. Thing is, even if I don’t get to all of them I’d like the adventure, the process of giving it the best I can to get there. I’ve started on some of it but I have a very long way to go. And I figure why go alone, right? 🙂

  • Holly Jahangiri says:

    I concur with all of this. One expression I’ve always liked about money and happiness: “Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure does make misery a whole lot easier to bear!” 🙂

    I think money cannot make a negative person into a positive person, and you can be just as miserable rich as you can be poor. But if you have all the other things on this list – if you have a sense of humor, friends and loved ones to share and enjoy your wealth with, then it can, indeed, buy you some added happiness. But I think you have to be inclined to see the possibilities and capable of enjoying the happiness money can buy – if that makes sense. Because money can’t buy you a good attitude.
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted…Wake Me GentlyMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks for your comment Holly. I totally agree and that’s where perspective comes in. There are so many depressed poor people who, in my opinion, don’t have a clue as to how good they have it. They can always do something with it, help others, give it away, change their lives on a whim, and yet they hate their lives and do nothing; no sympathy for them. I think we can decide to be happy or we can work towards being happy, and often that’s enough to make us happy, and once we start being positive even better things come. I believe that and that’s the life I want to live. 🙂

  • This is a solid post. Nothing here that I can argue with. I’ve reached a point in my life that it’s no longer what possessions that I acquire that matter, but what achievements I’ve reached and what I’m doing to get to the other goals I have in my sights. When I go, I’d rather leave behind legacy than mere stuff.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out
    Arlee Bird recently posted…YouMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Lee, I’d like to have it all, but as long as I’m moving in the right direction then I can live with whatever comes. Still, I want that wealth part to come along with all the other stuff because it just offers so many more opportunities to do stuff, for myself and for others.

  • I agree with the point, but I think that If there is love probably the rest is coming much easier, but unfortunately love is fading and doesn’t have a constant value and as well it can really interrupt everything else.
    Carl recently posted…White Label SEO and BusinessMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      That’s the thing about love Carl. It’s the most risky and also at times the most damaging thing. But when it’s good it’s the most uplifting of all.

  • If someone not possess all that you mentioned,probably life has no direction. Another wonderful post Mitch, thank you to inspire us.

  • For me the only thing I need to be happy is health and to have my family around me. I’m not all that fussed about friends. I only go out to keep the wife and kids happy but I’d be quite content to stay at home.

    It’s not that I dislike it when I’m around mates just that I don’t need it to be happy. Also it’s not like I’m a recluse as I like to get out and catch a movie and I love taking the wife out for holidays and stuff, it’s just that I’d be just as happy if I wasn’t able to do that. Heck as it was my holidays were 10 years apart 😉
    Sire recently posted…How To Turn Your Blog Into A Cash MachineMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Sire, it’s not necessarily the thing about having friends around you all the time, because I certainly don’t. However, it’s very comforting knowing that I have a group of long time friends where, if I ever needed something, I could call any of them to ask for help, and they can call me and ask for help. That’s a great comfort in my life. Otherwise I’m kind of like you; other than my wife if I had the money to just come and go to eat out, movies, etc, I’d be a pretty happy guy on my own.

      • That’s true, although I’m not one for asking for help unless it’s from a family member. For some reason I don’t like asking friends for help, knowing how busy they are, but I’m always willing to give them a helping hand when needed.
        Sire recently posted…The List Is All About YOUR MoneyMy Profile

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        Sire, it’s not whether you’d ever ask your friends for help that’s important. It’s knowing that if you needed to that you could. I’ve never asked friends for help either but I’d be there in a heartbeat.

      • Mitch Mitchell says:

        That’s true Sire, around 5 years now at least, possibly longer. That’s kind of fascinating in its own way; would we have had the chance to be friends if it wasn’t a virtual relationship, based on your shyness?

      • Now that all depends on how we were to meet. Probably not as a one off chance meeting, I don’t think I have developed any friendships in that manner. However, if it were to meet on a more regular basis and discovered we had something in common then I reckon we would have hit it off.
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  • John Ernest says:

    This was a really wonderful post it is worth bookmarking. If you really want to have dreams, you should make sure that you are properly rested as your mind will only give you nightmares and elusive ones while you sleep. Now seriously I know that not the kind of dream you are talking about. But sometimes, it feels good to have a glimpse of what you want to accomplish even through night dreaming. Thanks for the post!

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks John. There are a number of people who say they don’t dream or don’t remember their dreams, so in a way it’s probably best to dream and dream big while you’re awake, giving you the opportunity to write down your dreams so you can crystallize them in your mind.

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks Allan. Perspective really does pull it all together, which is why it had to be the last point. Even when bad things occur, our perspectives can eventually pull us out of it or make us stay in that bad place for a long time. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever be upset with things, but hopefully we don’t stay in that place for long.

  • I’m glad I finally found time to read this post Mitch. It’s touched on a lot of the aspects of happiness I value too – phrased differently, but the essence is there. I’d add that movement (not necessarily exercise) is important – our bodies need it, it stimulates our brains and helps us function better.

    I attended a lecture on Happiness last week. A team at Deakin Uni has been studying certain aspects of happiness for many years. Their reseacrch showed that a certain amount of money is important to feeling happy (I don’t have the figures, sorry)then it tapers off and appeared that above a certain level (I think it was above 200K pa) any extra made no difference. A director of a company challenged the finding so they did further research and found that more money does add to levels of reported happiness but they suspect it’s more to do with a sense of superiority or entitlement.

    Last year I spent 3 days at the Happiness and its Causes conference in Brisbane. Some people scoffed, were scathing, and made belittling comments, when I mentioned it, yet it was one of the best, most challenging, thought provoking conferences I’ve ever attended and has had a positive impact on my life every day since.
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    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      That sounds like a great time Sue. I’ve never had the opportunity to go to anything like that, but luckily there are lots of seminars online, videos and the like, as well as lots of stuff one can buy or listen to from the library that helps motivate us and get us thinking about happy things when we need it. All we have to do is try, right? 🙂

  • Wow Mitch, what a fabulous post and I couldn’t have said this better myself.

    What a great list and of course, humor is my favorite one but all of them are really necessary in order to live a very rich and fulfilling life.

    Some of us may have to learn how to bring some of this into our life but isn’t that the joy of actually going after it. I mean overall I’m a very happy person. I’ve had my moments but it’s usually when tragedy hits that gets me down. But I’m just so blessed to have what I do including the people in my life so that makes me happy.

    Oh hell, I’m just happy to be alive.

    Love this post Mitch and will be more than happy to share it with my friends. They may need a little jolting too!

    Adrienne recently posted…What Is Posting On Purpose For ProfitMy Profile

    • Mitch Mitchell says:

      Thanks Adrienne. You know, I figure the list isn’t an absolute. After all, Sire says he doesn’t need friends to have a happy life, and I’m betting someone out there will say they don’t need love to have a happy life. Some people might try to argue that they don’t need money for a happy life, which we all know isn’t true because you either have money or you live off someone else’s money to survive. Frankly I want all of the things I mentioned, as much of each as possible, for a great happy life. The more I have, the more I get to share; what’s better in the long run? 🙂

  • A very popular prayer that Hindus use goes “”A life without poverty and an end that is peaceful. This is all I ask of you, Lord and unswerving devotion for you.” The idea being that if you have these all the in betweens is provided to you.
    Rummuser recently posted…Foster Home Update.My Profile

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