10 timeless principles for happiness
Who doesn’t wanna to live forever?! It’s the alluring question with everything from fountains of youth to vampires, to selling your soul to someone, to dieting and so on. As you know, nothing lasts forever. But! You can make yourself last forever by “making a dent in the universe”! However small. This post originated in a friend asking me to write about this topic, and I think this will be both the hardest post and my personal favorite. Let’s get started.
Why live forever?
The first thought that comes to mind when thinking about living forever is WHY? Why do most of us humans want to live forever, to begin with? Isn’t 80+ years enough? To boil it down it comes down to fear! We are afraid of dying! Regardless of beliefs, no one can know for sure what happens (if anything) after death. In one of my favorite books of all time: Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill from 1937 (a classic! and one of our top 10 recommended books). Hill mentions the “6 basic fears” that all humans have!
The fear of:
- Ill Health
- Loss of Love
- Old Age
If you have not read that book, read it! Fear in itself is the most dangerous disease we have.
How you think about to death is important, your mindset. Make a choice to manage your thoughts – as an example, consider this: 2 exact similar persons (let’s say twins), one of them spends all waking time thinking about dying, the other one chooses to think about life and living, who do you think will be the happiest and live the longest? And since we can’t live forever (at least not yet), we only have a limited time here. Shouldn’t one of our main goals in life be; to be as happy as possible while we are here on Earth?? Isn’t it just more fun to be happy?
“the ultimate aim or purpose of human life is to achieve your own happiness.” – Aristotle
To emphasize: happiness depends on ourselves, more than anybody else. Aristotle suggests that happiness is a central purpose of human life and a goal in itself (from this post). So, what does happiness has to do with living forever? Relax.. we will get there! 🙂 Achieving your own happiness is the best measure of how well you are living your life and enjoying your relationships. You can learn how to be happier and more fulfilled in everything you do
Since everyone is different happiness in life is like a smorgasbord. We all understand that we all need different things to be happy. Just check out these three links:
- Mens health 100 ways to live forever
- Live Forever the movie
- How Stuff Works: Genetics how to live forever
Before we move on we have to mention “Blue Zones“, what are they? They are regions of the world where people live much longer than average. The term first appeared in the November 2005 National Geographic magazine cover story “The Secrets of a Long Life” by Dan Buettner. Buettner identified five geographic areas where people live statistically longest:
- Okinawa (Japan)
- Sardinia (Italy)
- Nicoya (Costa Rica)
- Icaria (Greece)
- Loma Linda, California.
He offers an explanation, based on empirical data and first-hand observations, why these populations live healthier and longer. In his book, Buettner have a list of nine lessons, covering the lifestyle of blue zones people, they are:
- Moderate, regular physical activity.
- Life purpose.
- Stress reduction.
- Moderate caloric intake.
- Plant-based diet.
- Moderate alcohol intake, especially wine.
- Engagement in spirituality or religion.
- Engagement in family life.
- Engagement in social life.
He doesnt specifically mention happiness, but as you will notice further down, most of these lifestyle choices overlap with our philosophy, except perhaps BioHacking, but that might go under many disciplines as well.
As of know, there is NO known way of living forever.. And since we all want to be happy (regardless if we are living forever or for a shorter time than forever.. How can we more happy, more frequently? Are there any universals to achieve happiness long term? Of course there are! How can we use the FLAWD concept in creating a more happy life, regardless of how short or long it is?.
Lets list them.
- Leave a legacy
- Help others
- Do what you love find your passion
- ASK – for what you want
- Dont be afraid of failing
- Do less, have less
- Continous learning
1. Leave a legacy
Ask anyone that has children, they will tell you that their minds shifted after they got kids, the most likely reason being that after having kids, all of a sudden, a responsibility to make this planet liveable for another generation has occurred. Why do you think that a lot of people give their names to libraries? Companies? Institutions? And donate money and create charities and organisations with their name on it, well except the feeling of contributing it is a great example of creating a legacy since nobody wants to be forgotten. Example: Donald Trump. His Trump empire will live a long time after his time has come.
No one likes being forgotten and everyone loves being remembered. The fancy name for this is: athazagoraphobia = The fear of forgetting or being forgotten about. We always remember the good people that has affected us in a positive way and “incidents”. As we discussed briefly in the post about evernote, once we leave this life there are 3 “treasures” that Jim Rohn talks about,
- Pictures (movies)
There are several benefits of journaling but one being that the people still alive can go into your mind and read what you experienced and your thoughts, isn’t that a great thing to leave to your kids and for coming generations? “Take the time to keep notes and to keep a journal. You’ll be so glad you did. What a treasure to leave behind when you go. What a treasure to enjoy today!”– Jim Rohn
2. Help others
To achieve happiness you must do things that has purpose. One of our human most basic human needs is to feel that we make a difference (however small or big). For a long time I did not believe this, but I realize more and more that the more service you give to others the better you feel and its like that famous quote from Zig Ziglar:
You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want. Zig Ziglar
Every coach (in all areas) and speakers, will tell you that helping others improve and be better gives you a true sense of accomplishment. It is the same with parents raising their kids, just ask any parents if they are proud over their kid or not? You could arguably say that the more you help others succeed, the better you feel about yourself, which inturn means that helping others is the most selfish thing you can do. But also the added benefit of making a difference.
3. Do what you love – find your passion
I really don’t like this one. I think that all this talk about passion is really hard for us normal persons to grasp and to really “find”. Some few people find their passion early in life and just do that, like Einstein, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Bill Gates and many more. However, don’t worry if you have not found it. Just keep helping others, keep a positive mind, keep finding solutions to problems, and do whats right. You will then have the basics of living forever. There is a great podcast: Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn that has an episode that could open your eyes where Pat and Dane Maxwell discuss: Building a Lucrative Business with No Ideas, No Expertise & No Money with Dane Maxwell from The Foundation. In the Podcast they discuss a smart way to help others. To boil it down:
- Select a market (or markets) you want to work in
- List companies
- Call them, ask what kind of problems they have
- Identify the problems, create a solution for them
- Offer the solution
There are some more steps with hiring developers, getting funds via offering a lifetime subscription for a fee. Great listen, it will open your mind for new opportunities. Moving on, I believe that if you don’t know your passion yet, don’t worry too much. Dig where you stand! Just do the best with what you got, and do it right now. Go to courses, take classes, read books, and keep improving. Why? Well, you don’t have to, but the more you know about a subject or topic, you will start to feel a sense of mastery, and with mastery comes so many other benefits, especially self esteem, and who does not want more self-esteem? Are you not motivated to do anything? What motivates you? Check this video out:
It’s a great video that explains what motivates us, and it is challenge and mastery, along with making a contribution. If you still want to really find your passion, check out this link by Izmael Arkin; 10 ways to derermine exactly what you should do with your life. A great article! One strategy that I try to do from time and time is: “Send an email “questionnaire” to loved ones – this will give you feedback – just ask them what they think you should do.” Asking and listening is key to happiness and hence; living forever. KEY!
4 ASK for what you want!
Mike Martens writes: A practical guide to having everything you want. He suggest that to have any control over the things that we bring into our lives on a daily basis, we must focus our thoughts on our true desires.
The average human brain has about 90,000 – 150,000 thoughts per day. 60-100 messages are bombarding our brain every minute. If we let every fleeting thought control our emotions we would be angry, thirsty, aroused and tired, all in just the next 30 seconds.
Steve Jobs view on asking
Only when we focus, we have a chance at getting everything that we want from life. To begin understanding how life on purpose will bring clarity, fun and excitement start asking the questions behind the question:
- What do I want more of in my life that I already have? Get out a piece of paper and write a list of everything that you are grateful for.
- What are 5 things that I have always wanted to do or learn?
- Where are 10 places that I have always wanted to go?
- What are the 3 material things that I have always dreamed of having?
5. Don’t be afraid of failing
If you ask a lot – you will fail alot. As we mentioned earlier, FEAR of failing is one of the basic fears. There are ONLY 2 fears that we have when we are born:The fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. These two fears are passed down from generation to generation through DNA. All other fears are learned as we grow up.This means that all other fears (Fear of failing, fear of death, fear of public speaking and so on, are learned) this also mean that we can Un-learn them right? Martin Haracz have written an article on how to understand and overcome fear. Almost everyone understands the fear of failure, but almost more inhibiting is: the Fear of success. This might be an even bigger issue than fear of failing, since it is harder to spot. I once heard from a superior: why do you always “foul” yourself out. And that sentence got stuck in my mind. This fear is the feeling that you don’t feel worthy of something, your subconscious will do everything it can to hide from it.
Marc McGuinness shares: Instead of thinking about change in terms of subtraction (losing your old self) think of it in terms of addition. You are about to discover and develop new facets to your personality — adding to who you are and what you bring to the world. Read more in his article. It really comes down to self-esteem to overcome fear of success.What causes limiting subconscious beliefs? This can be stemmed from your childhood, if you were made to feel important and special as a child, you are very likely to believe that you deserve success and happiness further in your adulthood, and conversely the opposite is true. If so, unlearn- and let yourself succeed. Enjoy it! Check out one of my all time favorite motivational gurus: Brian Tracy about the fear of failure:
Brian suggest that you should list down your biggest fear. Check out this clip: Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
It is One of the most impressive speaches I have ever seen:
Steve mentions a question he asks himself: “If today where the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today. And whenever the answer has been no for to many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” Steve carries on:
Remembering that all be dead soon is the most important tool I have ever encountered to make the big choices in life. Because almost everything, all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure.These things just fall away in the face of death.. Leaving only what is truly important. Remembering your about to die is your about to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to loose, you are already naked.There IS NO REASON NOT TO FOLLOW YOUR HEART….
No one wants to die! Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there.
He mentions that death is the single best invention of life. It is lifes change agent, to clear out the old for the new.Your time is limited, so don’t waste it, living someone elses life.
Brian Tracy suggests that the only decision you have to make is whether you are going to be a “master of change” or a “victim of change.” Are you going to be a creator of circumstance or a creature of circumstances? It will be one of the other, but the impact of change will be forced upon you, whatever you do. Limiting believes like fear of failure and fear of success are extremely common. ONce you start to work with your fears you will notice that another key of being more happy and living forever is forgiveness. First of all forgiving yourself for not being perfect and let go of the past.
Many people had difficult experiences growing up. They fell on hard times and became associated with the wrong people. But at a certain point in life, they decided to change. By making these decisions and sticking to them, they changed their lives. Remember, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; all that really matters is where you’re going.
This amazing post by Chinh Pham: 10 lessons learned from love, Chinh mentions: Forgive everyone. She carries on; let go of the blame, bitterness, and resentment. She are writing in relationship terms and she came to the conclusion that the persons behaved in the best way they knew how, and they didn’t realize the impact of their actions, and they never meant to hurt her. Which is a great observation! Everybody that you met does the best they can and they never mean to hurt you. This is very helpful in all aspects of life where you felt that you have been wronged, just forgive the other person, you don’t have to forget, but there are little to no point in having a grudge for a long time, it will only make you bitter and angry and waste energy. When I was younger I was eager to get revenge on so many things and people, and when looking back this only gave me more problems and made me more angry. So forgive everyone, and release it all. Afterward, you will feel an overwhelming wave of gentle peace, calm, and compassion.
7. Do less, have less – less is more
Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement. We live in a society that wants us to have a lot of stuff. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need. Tina Williamson writes about 8 benefits of minimalist lifestyle Biggest takeaway: Less fear of failure – “When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.” Which goes hand in hand with Steve Jobs speech above.
Daniel Branch has written an article about how to live a simplistic life, where he mentions limit your information intake, which we touched upon in the “offline” post at FLAWD. Daniel mentions Pareto-principle your relations, freedom, and one important takeaway:
Accept that there will always be newer, shinier, better-looking things that appeal to you. Most of these things are merely complementary or substitute goods and services.
Minimalism, are not only for things, it is also for decisions of life in general: Darren Hardy, the publisher of Success Magazine, writes that Success is Not about what you do, where he discuss that you have to manage what you say yes to. For everything you say “yes” to you are saying “no” to something else… and you only have so much time. For most people, the ability to do MORE is impossible; you are already overwhelmed and working yourself to exhaustion 24/7.
Minimalism also goes for meetings and work of course, there are no point in working long hours, since you will not be effective at all. Omer Khan writes: Stop working long hours
According to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who work more than 11 hours a day, have a 67 percent higher risk of heart disease. Another study of about 2000 British civil servants found that working more than 11 hours a day doubled your chances of developing depression.
Keep it simple, keep your life minimal if you want to live forever.
8 Continuous learning
Always learn something new from every situation in life.
“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” – Mark Twain
Why is this important for living forever? To be able to support yourself and help others you need to provide useful service. This means providing something that your competition are not providing. The best way do be more competitive is basically to have more knowledge. Brian Tracy mentions the importance of lifelong learning that we are living in the the information age, and your ability to expand your mind and strive for continuous education is critical to your own success. By dedicating yourself to lifelong learning, you can leapfrog ahead of your competition. Scott Young writes for Lifehack.org, 15 steps to cultivate lifelong learning, one of my personal goals is to be a better person today than yesterday so for me continuous learning is crucial.
“I don’t think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday.” – Abraham Lincoln
No need to discuss this part, but simply put, health are no guarantee to live forever, but an un-healthy lifestyle is guaranteed for a short one. For more information about why you should train, read this article: top 5 positive effects I get from training.
Jim Rohn mentions that one of life’s great lessons is to learn to be thankful for what we already have. “Learn to be thankful for what you already have, while you pursue all that you want.” – Jim Rohn. I believe one of the greatest and perhaps one of the simplest lessons in life we can learn is to be thankful for what we have already received and accomplished. My gratitude starts with my parents who raised me, gave me an incredible foundation that has lasted me all of these years and continues with the mentors that I’ve met along the way who absolutely changed and revolutionized my life. I am also very thankful for the people, the associations, my family and friends, all of that has brought me to this place, to this day. And I’m grateful for it all! To be honest, every day you are alive, is a big win! I mean What a unique opportunities we have, in this day and age, it is virtually limitless! If you really want to live forever, I am sure that you can do it! Just promise that you will be happy along the way!
The real aim of life is not to live forever. As you know when giving an assignment or task without any “deadline” (notice what I did there? Dead.. Line! 🙂 ) you simply will not have any kind of urgency to solve the task. We are here for a limited time and as one of my true heroes, Brian Tracy mentions in the end of his book: Psychology of Success
The aim in life is to develop character and substance as a human being…
To become a person of all seasons, a person of whom nature can be proud, can only be develop from experience, cold hard bitter experience.The interesting thing about negative experience is that they come unbidden.. Usually unexpected in spite in all our efforts to avoid them. And yet, if we could avoid adversity, we would never be available to fight on, persist and develop our character.Adversity is not to be feared and avoided – it is to be embraced and overcomed.
Now that you know, what it takes to live forever, what are you going to do about it? Let us know how you plan to live forever.
“You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction overnight”
– Jim Rohn
TED talk: how to live to be 100+