Happy is a state of being everyone wants. But if you’re waiting for certain things to happen before you see yourself satisfied with life, you may never actually get there. Here’s what three experts have to say on the subject.
1. You’ll never change anyone
Every relationship you have in this world involves people who are not perfect. Whether it’s your closest friends, your significant other or the family members you spend time with, these people have flaws which can be annoying. Yet, according to Robert Greene, author of The Laws of Human Nature it’s better if you can accept people as facts.
The problem is that we are continually judging people, wishing they were something that they are not. We want to change them. We want them to think and act a certain way, most often the way we think and act. And because this is not possible, because everyone is different, we are continually frustrated and upset. Instead, see other people as phenomena, as neutral as comets or plants. They simply exist. They come in all varieties, making life rich and interesting. Work with what they give you, instead of resisting and trying to change them.
Instead, make understanding people a game. Observing people dispassionately in this way is especially helpful when it comes to people Green calls “inflamers,” such as narcissists and passive aggressors. “Each person, no matter how twisted, has a reason for what they’ve become,” he writes.
2. You need to identify your values and live by them if you want to live your best life
In 90 Seconds to a Life You Love, Joan Rosenberg suggests picking three to five qualities which you want to define how you and others see yourself. She offers this list of attributes to choose from: compassionate, engaged, expressive, forgiving, generous, grateful, humble, joyful, kind, loving, optimistic, patient, playful, fully present, respectful, responsive, thoughtful and understanding. “Going forward, make the decision to have all your words and actions reflect your values,” she writes. “Let no argument or situation elicit a reaction from you that is not filtered through these values or qualities first.”
3. Money cannot make you happy
Dave Asprey, in his book Game Changers: What Leaders, Innovators, and Mavericks do to Win at Life, cites a 2010 study conducted at Princeton in which researchers found that $75,000 is the annual salary at which people feel most sustainably happy. Beyond that point, regardless of how much more a person earns, happiness generally plateaus. It’s because once your basic needs are met and you don’t have to worry and feel stressed about making ends meet, true happiness comes from pursuing your passions. “The real thrill of business and life is the process, the quality of interactions and relationships, and the value you contribute to others,” he writes. He suggests thinking about what amount of money you need to meet your basic needs. If you were able to double that amount, how would you spend your time? Your answer to that question is likely an indication of what will make you happy and you should start doing more of it now.