The 12 Laws of Happiness: The Keys to Joy in Life, Love and Work
Laws of Happiness (That Will Change your Life)
By Marc Chernoff | Marc and Angel
“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Some people appear to be happy on the outside, but they struggle anxiously behind closed doors and don’t give the matter much thought as to why.
Others make big plans based on what they’ve been told “should” make them happy: “I’m going to marry a good man, we’re going to buy a house, and we’re going to have three children and a house in the suburbs.”
As long as they’re busy doing whatever it is that distracts them from the truth – their truth – they’re like a boulder tumbling down a mountainside: they bounce and react impulsively to the surrounding environment, and they blunder onward with no thought as to where they’re headed. They get their house, sometimes a really big one, and they think that’s the meaning of life. And they never question it until they feel empty inside, often decades later. Yet their eyes continue to betray the sadness that they refuse to speak of, and perhaps don’t even know they carry.
So… Are you happy?
Knowing the answer to this question is important. Living every day in such a manner that makes happiness possible is life changing. Here are twelve basic laws of happiness we often cover with our coaching/course students that make life-long happiness a gradual reality:
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1. Integrity is the foundation of a happy, meaningful life.
- A lot of the everyday conflict that arises in our lives exists simply because we’re not living in sincere alignment with our core values – we’re not being true to ourselves.
- Wherever your heart is – wherever your truth is – that’s where you will find your reason to smile.
2. Happiness depends on being free, and freedom depends on being brave.
- You have to be willing to take a chance on what makes you happy.
- The only way to find true happiness is to be vulnerable sometimes and risk the possibility of being completely cut open.
3. Happiness is wholeness, and every step and experience is what makes you whole.
- Without each life experience, you are a blank page, an empty journal, an unsung lyric.
- What makes you ALIVE is your will to live through today’s challenges and then hold your head up high tomorrow with hope and determination.
4. A happy life story does not mean an easy life story.
- The best thing that you can do is to follow your heart. Take risks. Don’t just make the safe and easy choices because you’re afraid of what might happen – if you do, nothing will ever happen.
- You must work hard to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance through your imagination, while at the same time respecting each step along the way.
5. Happiness lives in all the small things.
- Subtract the obvious so you can see the meaningful.
- Rediscover the sensitivity of your childhood eyes. The eyes that saw life as it is – a beautiful compilation of tiny lives, each lived one at a time like snapshots in a family photo album. That saw beauty in flowers and rainbows and wild animals. That marveled at fireflies and sunsets and starry nights. That let you dream every instant with your eyes wide open.
6. Happiness is not some possession to be prized – it is a quality of thought, a positive state of mind in pursuit of meaning.
- The ability to find beauty in the humblest things makes a home happy, a relationship lasting, and a life lovely.
- One must find the mindfulness to truly appreciate the small things while chasing after the big ones.
7. The secret of everyday happiness is not in always doing what one likes, but in mindfully liking what one does.
- Be present with each step, do your very best, and let go of the rest.
- There is always, always, always some reason to be grateful and something interesting to learn along the way.
8. You can’t be happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes too.
- You can’t completely shield yourself from sadness without also shielding yourself from happiness.
- Light needs darkness to be light.
9. Happiness is an evolving mindset.
- Living a happy, positive life hinges on your ability to accept the fact that everything is constantly moving onward, away from everything that previously existed.
- No matter how good or bad you have it right now, it will change. That’s the one thing you can count on, again and again.
10. Happiness flourishes through detachment.
- Happiness grows in direct proportion to one’s acceptance.
- Happiness grows in inverse proportion to one’s expectations.
11. It’s impossible to build your own happiness on the unhappiness of others.
- Don’t put others down; lift them up.
- Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for acceptance, and your heart for love.
12. You are incomparable to everyone else, and so are your triggers for happiness.
- Social comparison never stems from a healthy, happy place. It makes no sense to directly compare yourself to someone who is NOT you, or worry that they are judging you for being YOU.
- If you feel called to compare yourself to someone else, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself, and admire how far you’ve come.
As I’m wrapping up this short post I’m reminded of a poem by Christian D. Larson that my grandmother used to have hanging on her refrigerator when I was a child. As soon as I was old enough to understand the poem, my grandmother made a photocopy of it for me, and, nearly 30 years later, I still have that same photocopy laminated and hanging on my office bulletin board…
To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
(Note: Angel and I discuss strategies for living true to these words in the Happiness and Self-Love chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)