The A to Z of happiness they should teach in every school around the world
This story first appeared on the happiness blog by amarvani. Check out the blog for more on happiness.
What is the A to Z of happiness? Like everything else, happiness should have its own vocabulary and I am quite excited about writing this down. I wish they had taught me this in school, but they didn’t. By the time you are done reading this post, you would have an idea about the vocabulary and the letters of happiness. If you are looking for how to be happy, starting with the A-Z of happiness is a good starting point.
The whole point to write an A-Z of happiness is to have a reference source you and I can use whenever we need to know what is needed in life to be happy. We have read for years that attitude matters, but what kind of attitude matters for happiness?
Since happiness is the purpose of life, A-Z of happiness is also the A-Z of life itself.
That’s what we are going to learn here. Let us dive straight into the A to Z of happiness.
I wrote a post about finding happiness the other day on the blog. The first step to finding happiness in life is awareness. There is zero possibility that you can find true happiness in your heart without an in-depth awareness of yourself.
Self-awareness is a dynamic subject since we are constantly changing. However, I believe by the time we hit our 20’s, or 30’s, a core personality forms, and that doesn’t change for the rest of the life. We do change throughout our lives, but the core doesn’t go through a significant change. My core got built during my 30’s since I was living a directionless life before that, doing stuff that society considers valuable. I started doing things I really value in my 30’s. Now, I don’t think my core would significantly change.
So, if you want to be happy, you need to embrace the A of happiness- awareness, more specifically, self-awareness. It is the first step to becoming a happier person and I would never stop emphasizing it enough.
B- Belief in yourself
If you want to be happy, you would want to pursue your dreams- things that you love. If you are lucky, you would find people who would believe in you. However, if you are not that fortunate, you would find that sometimes you are the only person who believes in your dreams. That’s not a bad thing though, since your belief in yourself would keep you going.
However, if you don’t believe in yourself, you would not be able to go after your dreams and the possibility of finding true happiness would simply go away.
If you want to be happy, you need to embrace the B of happiness- belief in yourself.
One of the things that’s not often mentioned in context of happiness is conscience. Conscience is the inner voice that tells us what’s right or wrong. I don’t believe happiness is possible without following your conscience. If you intentionally cause harm to people for example, you conscience would not permit it.
Conscience knows that it is not right to cause pain to people, do bad deeds, be manipulative etc. If you don’t follow your conscience, it is hard to find happiness. So, conscience finds a place in the A to Z of happiness.
C2. Cancel comparison
I don’t get tired of saying this. Nature has made you into a different, a unique person. You have your own life story and it’s meant to be distinct from the life stories of your friends and peers. Since most people do not have the courage to follow their dreams and happiness, if you do, you would live a different kind of life.
Now, if you keep comparing your life to those of others, no matter who you are, you would struggle to be happy, regardless of what you have. Your happiness lies in watering your own grass, and not continuing to look at other people’s gardens.
Embrace the C’s of happiness- conscience and cancel comparison.
In the A-Z of happiness, I want to cover everything (almost) that’s necessary to be happy. You can’t be happy without discipline. What is discipline?
Discipline is a system of producing results. It has to be consistent, and it has to be a part of your routine.
The most important thing from the perspective of discipline is time management. How well you manage your time to achieve your goals, professional or person, would determine the quality of your results, and that of your happiness.
You also need desire to be happy. The desire has to be so strong that you cannot not chase your happiness- that is, you can’t compromise with an unhappy life. Most people compromise since their desire to be happy is weak, and their desire for social and parental conformity is stronger.
You can’t be happy without an intense desire to be happy, or you would just not make the effort.
D3. Do what and who you love
If I were to boil down happiness in one line, it’s this- your ability to do what and who you love would determine your happiness. The world around us isn’t built like that. Most people do things they hate for work, and have partners they don’t love. What a miserable world is that.
You want to be happy, and that’s why you are reading this. If you want to be happy, do what you love, and be with who you love. Figure out how to do that, and your happiness would be certain.
Embrace the D’s of happiness- discipline, desire and do what and who you love.
E1. Emotional awareness
What are emotions? You can’t be happy unless you understand your emotions and that’s why e is for emotions. Emotions are the output of life. If you feel happy right now, then whatever you have done in the recent past was right and it made sense. If you feel miserable, then you made mistakes that didn’t prove to be in the direction of your happiness.
Happiness, after all, is an emotion that you feel, and if you want to be happy, you have to be conscious of how you feel.
Now, it won’t be fair if physical exercise and meditation doesn’t find a place in the A-Z of happiness. I have had a tough life, for reasons I don’t know. Yes, I made mistake on the way, but then mistakes can only be understood in hindsight. When we take decisions, they seem fine or we won’t take them.
Regardless of what I have gone through, I have made it a point to workout, almost every day. Today, I worked out about 30 minutes, which is usually the least I do. Exercise and mediation have allowed me to stay healthy and resulted in joy that I would not have felt without it. Do not miss exercise, whoever you are, whatever you do.
Embrace the E’s of happiness- emotions and exercise.
You need a family to be happy. People who belong to happy families full of love are incredibly fortunate, since we don’t quite choose our families. You would need to invest time in your family- both that you were born in, and the one you create.
A loving family where members of the family care for each other is one of the most important muscles of human happiness, or the lack of it.
Man is not an island. We don’t live lives alone. Not that we don’t, we can’t quite live lives alone. Just like family, we need friends- people who understand us and who allow us to be us.
Ideally, in a utopian world, you would want to be have friends and family that you admire. However, as we have already seen that we can’t choose family, have friends who understand you, and whom you admire.
Embrace the F’s of happiness- family and friends.
You cannot be happy without grit. What’s grit? Grit is boldness. Grit is the courage to pursue your dreams and what you believe in, in spite of opposing forces. Grit is the ability is stand tall to the world, and say you don’t care what they think. People would always gossip and try to discourage others who pursue their dreams. In order to what you believe in, you would need grit. Without grit, you would find it hard to pursue your happiness.
You would be required to take several tough decisions on your journey, and grit would make it easier for you to take those decisions.
Gratitude is the ability to find joy in everyday life, no matter where you are. Your ability to cultivate and practice gratitude is an important measure of your happiness. People who are grateful, find happiness everywhere. People who are not grateful can’t find happiness in their heart, because they just don’t learn to be thankful for the bounties of life, no matter what they have.
Embrace the G’s of happiness- Grit and Gratitude
They say health is wealth, and they are damn right. You can’t be happy at all without being healthy. Health is usually narrowly understood in the society. It has several dimensions. There are 8 types of health, to my mind at the point of writing this. You need to be physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually healthy to start with, and then also look at other aspects of health which need to be in place for happiness. Try not being healthy, and you would know the meaning of health of our lives and to your happiness.
Look at the world around. It is quite a pretentious world. People do things they hate for work, don’t spend time with people they love, and then pretend that everything is okay. What a shitty way to live life.
If you want to be happy, you would have to find a way to be brutally honest with yourself. If you feel horrible- you would have to admit that you feel horrible, so that you can then fix the problem. If you don’t admit that a problem of unhappiness exists, how would you solve it?
H3. Hard work
Happiness is hard work. Hard work is one of the keys to life and to happiness. You know people may say why does happiness drift away? Just like motivation, we need it every day. Once you find your happiness, you would need to work every day to create it. If you are a singer, you would want to work hard to become a better singer every day. If you are a writer like me, you would have to work hard to become a better writer. Happiness is not possible without hard work.
Embrace the H’s of happiness- health, honesty and hard work
I truly believe that one of the fundamentals of happiness is inspiration.
The purpose of inspiration to push you to act.
It may come from inside of you or it may come from outside of you. There is an overlap between inspiration and motivation. I would like to believe that inspiration is more internal than motivation. Motivation inspires you. You need drive to pursue your dreams. You need to be inspired anyhow. That inspiration could come from inside of you, or it may come from outside, from great people who have achieved the goals that you want to pursue. Trust me, I am trying to inspire you to find your happiness here, and I am a consumer of inspirational content myself. None of us can find happiness without being inspired. So, if you don’t find inspiration inside some days, just find it outside.
Embrace the I of happiness- inspiration.
Now, what the hell is that, Amar? I know, you must be saying. See, the point is I want to show you hard how I have worked to create this A-Z of happiness. Everything has to be contextualized and the right word needs to describe what is needed in our lives to be happy.
Joviality means the quality of being jovial. Now, what does jovial means? Jovial means playful, humorous and just pleasant. Isn’t that a beautiful word? Now, when you hear of the word, you would have an image of some people whom you would consider jovial. Don’t you love to be around them? If you want to be happy, learn to be jovial. Laugh at life, laugh at yourself, make others a little happy, and you too would find happiness yourself.
Embrace the J of happiness- Joviality.
Kindness is essential to happiness. It had to be a part of the A-Z of happiness. People who find true happiness are kind, and purpose. A kind person not just thinks about himself, but also about those who are not as gifted in terms of resources, emotions etc. and thinks about making their lives better.
Kindness is important to happiness because it could help you find your purpose. We can only find our purpose when we think about the pains of the world and how we can make the world a happier and a less painful place. This is where kindness helps.
Embrace the K of happiness- kindness.
Love is one of the well-known secrets of happiness. You never really know what happiness could feel like unless you have fallen in love. This could mean falling in love with a person, or discovering work that you love. Love is a surreal experience we can get to have while we are alive. Where there is love, there is joy. Where there is no love, there is just dullness and monotony. If you want to be happy, fall in love.
Laughter is the expression of joy. When you laugh, in that moment, you are happy. Fill up your days with laughter. Find people you love to laugh with. Find people who may you laugh. If you can make others laugh too.
Just like sex is the celebration of romantic love at its peak, laughter is the celebration of happiness at its peak.
Embrace the L’s of happiness- love and laughter.
Does money make you happy? I have had different versions of that answers. In most part, when money is treated as a destination, which it is, by most people, money won’t make you happy.
However, money can make you happy and that is the dichotomy of money. When money is used in the right form that is as fuel, to live, to eat, and to fuel your dreams, to make the world a better place, money can make you happy, really happy.
Yes, mindful is so important to happiness that it has to be a part of A-Z of happiness of the components of happiness. Mindfulness is about learning to be mindful of the present moment and how to live in the present. It is so important to learn how to live in the present moment in the world of technology where everyone is distracted with their phones, tablets or laptops.
Learn to live mindfully. You would do yourself a favor.
Embrace the M’s of happiness- money and mindfulness.
N. Newness or Novelty
Yes, I struggled a bit to find something with N that’s needed for human happiness. Newness- we need newness or novelty to be happy. Why do you think you crave to do something new every now and then? It is because you get bored of monotony. If you find something new to do, new place to travel to, new ideas to try, there is excitement in life.
Every now and then, we need to introduce novelty in our lives to refresh life, and find a new sense of happiness. You need newness or novelty to be happy.
Embrace the N of happiness- Novelty
Optimism, just like gratitude is a basic of happiness. You can’t be happy without positive thinking and optimism, which is the same thing. One may joke about it, but an ability to see the glass half full rather than half empty goes a long way in allowing us to live happier lives every day.
Find ways to instill optimism in your lives and the lives of your children. I have never seen a pessimistic person who is quite happy. Have you?
Embrace the O of happiness- Optimism
Passion is love multiplied. When you are passionate about something, you want to give it everything. When you are passionate about your work, it doesn’t feel like work. When you are passionate about a person, you love to be in their company. Passion is one of the most beautiful things about life. You can’t be happy without passion. Why am I working so hard on this post? I have been working on it for the last 2–3 days, and I think it is one of the best posts on the blog, and on the internet. It will help people understand and find their happiness. I am damn passionate about it.
What are you passionate about?
Purpose is your reason for existence. Why do you do what you do? Unless and until you find your purpose, you would find it hard to weave the thread of why you do what you do. Purpose would help you find a common underlying thread beneath your life. Purpose will help you find meaning and happiness in your life. How do you find your purpose? Read the link.
You know, the journey of finding your happiness and reaching it is hard. Sometimes, I struggle myself. But then, here is the point- how long would you try to find your happiness?
My answer is forever- till the last breath of my life. Persist till you find your happiness, because if you give up on the way, the naysayers would prove to be right.
Embrace the P’s of happiness- passion, purpose and persistence.
Q- Questioning mind
You need a questioning mind to be happy. Question everything- everything I am writing here, me, your parents, your teachers and your colleagues. Question everything. Do not accept anything without analysing it yourself, and formed your own opinion.
If you let the opinion of others cloud your mind, you would not find true happiness. Your happiness would get attracted to your beliefs. Therefore, question everything.
Embrace the Q of happiness- question everything.
Resilience, simply put, is your ability to bear pain and recover over and over again. Life is not easy, and especially when you are not taking the crowded lanes. It will be tough, and there would be times you would struggle to get up after falling down.
Remember, nobody cares if you stay down.
Embrace the R of happiness- resilience.
If you want to be happy, you want to pursue selfishness. The world gives selfishness a bad name, because most of the people haven’t read the works of Ayn Rand. People who say that selflessness is a virtue are idiots. If you don’t care about your happiness, who will?
When you do what makes you happy, you don’t do anything for anybody else. So, you don’t favor anyone. Even you love someone, you do it for yourself. Selfishness a virtue and you need that virtue to pursue your happiness.
Solitude is choosing to be in your own company. I vouch for the fact that if you don’t make time for solitude, you won’t be able to understand the deepest questions of your life.
Solitude is not loneliness, and it is imperative to happiness. I travelled solo for years and that fucked me up and made me the person I became. I would never let it go and always crave for solitude. Make time to meet yourself- for the sake of your happiness.
S3. Stop caring about what others think of you
One of the ways, and an important way to be happy is to stop thinking about what other people are thinking about you. Most of the time, they are not thinking about you. If they do, most people don’t care that you have problems, and rest of them are happy you have them.
Only care about people you love, and those who love you. It will do wonders to your happiness.
Embrace the S’s of happiness- selfishness, solitude and stop caring about what others think of you.
Talent is of two kinds: a natural talent that you have been gifted with, for example, a talent for mathematics. As far this subject is concerned, there are 2 kinds of people- those who love math and those who hate it. I have hated the academic rigor of math all my life. It destroyed lot of happiness in my childhood, and made me under confident as a student. Those who love math, love it naturally.
The other kind of talent is developed. For example, I am a stand-up comedian, in addition to being a writer. It took me several years to get my first laughs. I didn’t have a natural ability for comedy, but I developed it, because the feeling of being on stage and making people laugh is just incredible. I couldn’t let go of it. So, I am passionate about comedy. So, passion made me develop the talent, in this case, although I can’t generalize it. However, this is a good example of developed talent.
You should do stuff you have a talent for, or you can develop it because of sheer hard work and passion. That is, if you want to be happy.
Embrace the T of happiness- talent.
U. Uniqueness or authenticity
This is important and it goes in line with some of the stuff I have said above. Be unique. Nature made you into a unique person, and therefore, it is your responsibility to yourself to preserve your uniqueness or authenticity.
Do not try to be like other people. They are not you. You are not them. Express your uniqueness, your authenticity and you would find joy.
Embrace the U of happiness- Uniqueness.
Values are things you place importance on. When you value something, you do things in the direction of what you value. For example, integrity is a value. If you value integrity, you would stand by what you say, and people would trust you, unlike someone who doesn’t care about his words. Other examples of values are freedom, love, independence etc. You read this post on values for a better understanding of what they mean.
Embrace the V of happiness- Values.
This is a no-brainer. However, most people get it wrong. Your work has to be a source of happiness for you, not pain. You spend most of your life at work and still you don’t care if it makes you happy? Isn’t that bizarre?
Find work you love. Do whatever it takes to find work you value, and then do it day in and out. If work is a source of happiness for you, life would be great, and happiness would never be a problem for you. Take my word. You cannot be happy without work. It is as simple as that. The purpose of our lives at a macro level is to make the world a better place, and we can’t do without work.
Embrace the W of happiness- Work.
You can’t find happiness alone. Honestly, I searched pretty hard for something that’s needed for happiness that starts with X. Only XOXO makes sense. You needs hugs and kisses on your journey of happiness.
I was listening to a speech by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the world famous actor, body building icon, and he said that people should call him anything but a self-made man.
We can’t do it alone, so please find your tribe. Find people who believe in you, and hold on to them for dear life.
Embrace the X of happiness- XOXO.
Yearning is a deep longing for something. You would find your happiness only when you can’t get it out of your mind. A lot of people compromise and sadness, assuming that happiness is not possible. You can’t be them. You want to be happy, because you cannot get the yearning for happiness out of your heart. Can you?
Embrace the Y of happiness- yearning.
Zest is life energy. You need zest to find happiness. Just look around- the world is filled with the living dead. They have assumed that life is pain and suffering. I don’t agree. I don’t think life has to be only pain and suffering. Why can’t we be happy? There are people who have achieved happiness on their terms and they exist around us too. So what is their numbers are a few? So what? Don’t you want to join them, or do you want to join the living dead?
Embrace the Z of happiness- Zest.
That is it. We found the vocabulary of happiness. This is the A-Z of happiness.
That is it. We found the vocabulary of happiness. This is the A-Z of happiness. The purpose of this post is to help you understand what it takes to be happy. Happiness is the only output of life. Everything else is an input. This is the ABC of happiness or the A-Z of happiness, I wish they had taught me in school. I wish you learn this as early as possible in your life so that you can lead a happy and meaningful life.
Thank you for reading.
If you enjoyed reading the post, and learnt something about happiness, please share it with others who may find it worthy, and clap for it. It helps, my happiness. Thank you.