How to Make 2013 The Happiest Year Of Your Life

How to Make 2013 The Happiest Year Of Your Life

 

Hey mate,

I hope this finds you better than ever.

This is a blog post about your happiness, how to identify what that really means to you, and then go after it.

At the end of the year I received this from someone I consider one of the smartest people I know.

My older sister, Liana, who is helping us put a little foundation together (more on that later) and therefore has got thinking a bit lately, on the topic of happiness.

This very much got me thinking about my own happiness.

I want you to read it, and then think about yours too.

 

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A letter to Chris the Kiwi, from his big sister, Liana.

The topic: Happiness

 

Hello Chris,

Here are my personal thoughts on happiness. It’s curious, because although the experiences of happiness and unhappiness are intimately familiar, I haven’t thought in depth about the concept before.

Happiness means many different things to different people. There is no single, all-encompassing definition, and yet every human being intrinsically desires some form of happiness (and the absence of suffering). It is something that links us all, regardless of age, gender, race, colour, culture or creed – a wonderful thought, no?

Both Aristotle and the Dalai Lama believe that the purpose of human life is to be happy.

It goes without saying that certain basic needs must be met before happiness becomes meaningful. A person has other priorities if they and/or their family are dying of starvation or thirst, subjected to violence or threat, or seriously curtailed in their freedoms. A.H. Maslow’s well known hierarchy of needs comes to mind (see the Wiki Commons image below). My thoughts in what follows therefore are about happiness once basic survival, security, and freedom needs have been met.

 

 

Figure 1 Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs © Factory Joe (Wikipedia)

Here are some forms of happiness, based on what I’ve read and my experiences. Obviously categories like this are not hermetically sealed, they affect each other.

Do any of them resonate particularly strongly with you?   (Chris note: these get more interesting as you go down).

 

Affluence/Financial Security:

A gracious life of ease, comfort, and luxury, free of financial care. Prosperity, security, the good life. Having everything you desire that money can buy. Many people long for enough money to achieve this in their lives, and believe it will bring them happiness.   (Chris note: I would probably refer to this more as financial freedom, or the freedom to choose how you spend my time, since financial basics are met).

 

Pleasures:

Positive stimulation of our senses (taste, touch, sound, smell, sight) and of the body as a whole organism. For example, by food, sex, sunshine, the great outdoors, music, dancing, beauty in all its forms, physical exercise and sports, enjoyable activities, exciting or thrilling activities, endorphins, drugs, addictive behaviours.

“Happiness consists in frequent repetition of pleasure.” Arthur Schopenhauer.

“If more of us valued food and cheer above hoarded gold, it would be a much merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

Health, well-being:

The sensations of physical and mental well-being and positive energy that arise with good health and fitness. The absence of pain, anxiety, and suffering.

 

Laughter, fun:

The physical, emotional, and mental pleasure of humour and high spirits. Glee, delight, cheerfulness, brightness, exuberance, hilarity, gaiety, jollity, excitement, Santa!

“There’s nothing like deep breaths after laughing that hard. Nothing in the world like a sore stomach for the right reasons.” Stephen Chbosky

 

Figure 2: Happiness is…..  Laughing.  © Marck Kjerland (Flickr)

(Happiness is… Laughter with Loved Ones: Caught here hosing my little sister with water . Laughing makes me happy – every time.) 

Figure 3 Chris © Liana Ashenden

 

Acceptance by others:

Popularity, inclusion, praise, being liked, status and recognition, being perceived as successful (in whatever form that takes, i.e. wealth, possessions, body shape, attractiveness, relationships, brainpower, wit/humor, career, fame, virtue).

 

Good fortune, luck:

Unexpected positive events such as winning the lottery, getting the job you want, meeting someone special, remission from disease.

 

Achievement, attainment of goals:

Completing and succeeding at a task that is important to you, overcoming challenging personal hurdles, conquering fears or weaknesses.

“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”  Theodore Rubin.

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

 

Figure 4: Happiness is a sense of ACHIEVEMENT –  Mo Farah: Smashing a DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL at the London 2102 Olympics  © Tab59 (Flickr)

 

Positive relationships:

The joy that friends, lovers, spouses, children, family, other people close to us, and animals can bring. This happiness arises through love, companionship, kindness, and connection (sharing ideas and emotions). Loving and being loved, understanding and being understood, by people who are important to you.

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

 

Figure 5:  Happiness is….. A Family dinner picnic © St Pete Clearwater (Flickr)

Figure 6: Happiness is…. Giving and Receiving UNCONDITIONAL love. Gemma and Zoe © Chrisna Herbst (Flickr)

 

Being in love:

Often akin to a pleasurable delirium, being in love can bring intense feelings of delight, elation, enchantment, exaltation, exhilaration, jubilation, radiance, rapture, ravishment, and sexual ecstasy.

 

“What can I do with my happiness? How can I keep it, conceal it, bury it where I may never lose it? I want to kneel as it falls over me like rain, gather it up with lace and silk, and press it over myself again.” Anaïs Nin, Henry & June

 

Wider love and compassion:

Putting other people before yourself, accepting and understanding those who are different, cultivating a warm, compassionate, genial heart, and helping to improve the lives of others generate feelings of happiness and well being.

“The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater our own sense of well-being becomes.” Dalai Lama.

“…the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.” Martin Luther King Jr

“Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those who are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.” Gordon B. Hinckley.

 

Figure 8: Happiness is……. Caring for others.    Dalai Lama © Christopher Michel (Flickr)


Attitude and gratitude:

A state of mind that brings contentment and satisfaction through being thankful for what you have right now, appreciating and taking pleasure in small things, being present. The practice of mindfulness, hopefulness, optimism.

“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” Dale Carnegie.

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig.

“How simple it is to see that we can only be happy now, and there will never be a time when it is not now.” Gerald Jampolsky.

 

Congruence, authenticity:

The deep contentment, satisfaction, and peace of mind that arises from being true to yourself, listening to the ‘inner voice’, following your calling, living the life that you believe you were meant to live (and not what others believe for you). It feels right, is it you.

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Gandhi.

“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” Aristotle.

“Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still, small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times before, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you.” Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art.

Happiness is……. Being TRUE TO YOURSELF 

Figure 9 Colours © Camdiluv (Flickr)

 

Purpose and meaning:

Following a higher calling, your life is inspired by a purpose greater than yourself.

“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great.” Willa Cather.

 

Bliss, oneness, transcendence:

Spiritual ecstasy, blessedness, rapture, enlightenment, religious revelation, self-actualization. Awakening, insight, liberation from the self, union with the whole, timelessness, a sensation of infinite love, compassion, and wisdom.

“This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern-to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal.”  Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory.


 

In summary:

Consider your own happiness deeply and ask your readers to do the same.

  • How satisfied are you with your life overall?
  • How happy are you in your moment to moment experiences? (The two things are different.)
  • How would you describe happiness? What does it mean to you?

As human beings are so different and complex, the forms of happiness that resonate most for one person will probably be quite distinct from what resonates for another. I think they are all important and valid. Personally, I believe happiness is not an end in itself. Rather it is a consequence of right living – of being grateful for what we have right now in the present moment, loving ourselves enough to stay healthy, being true to our innermost selves and thereby discovering a higher purpose and calling, and being generous in our love and compassion. I think happiness follows from these things.

 

How about you, Chris?

Love you,

Liana, December 2012

************

I have a very strong focus on health.

Having lost it, I realized that for me, a lot of my happiness began from being in a place of physical health, feeling strong and energetic.

I am also well aware that for many terminally ill or unhealthy people, they can and frequently do achieve happiness without health. There is more to happiness than health, I just believe that for most of us, it starts there.

I have NEVER yet seen someone who has doubled their energy for example, NOT get considerably happier. (The term, “a new lease on life” comes to mind – see image below, I know exactly how this feels).

Taken from our Facebook page, Ardis took a focus on Health and found increased HAPPINESS as a result (Athletic Greens was only a small part of it, it was the FOCUS that mattered.).

 

 

Figure 10. Happiness is….. Helping Other People Be Happy

Most importantly, you better believe that reading this made me very very happy.   :)

I think it is very important, but I do believe there is more, a lot more, to happiness, than phenomenal health.

How would YOU describe happiness? What does it mean to YOU?

I want you to think about it, really think about it, then aggressively take ACTION and GO AFTER IT.

Here is a toast to all of us MAKING 2013 our healthiest, happiest, best year ever.

 

Cheers!

“100% Focus On Happiness”

That is my mantra, and I promise you that in 2013, more than ever, I will absolutely live by it.

Best,

Chris “the Kiwi”

 

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About the author
Chris 'The Kiwi'
So named because he comes from a little country in the Pacific called New Zealand where a small, fat, quasi-blind, and largely defenseless bird by the name of “Kiwi” is the national animal, and what we are called when we land in other countries. He is focused on using what he can remember from his studies for a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science and his cumulative years as a nutritionist and strength coach to help other people enjoy amazing levels of health and energy. He enjoys ticking through his list of life goals and meeting new people.
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    • christhekiwi

      Thanks Chad and Matt!

  • Amy

    Yay! This makes me happy.

    I’ve been on the greens for a few days now and I can already feel the difference. It makes my cells smile :)

    • christhekiwi

      Thanks Amy!!

      Yes it does make your cells smile (GREAT analogy!) :) and we are happy to have you.

      C

  • Linda Dye

    This took me back to college days, and studying psychology. I ran across an interesting quote about Maslow’s heirarchy, which was about how self-actualizing people were less likely to stay in bad relationships, and how they could move on. At the time I thought that appeared selfish, but now I realize that not only did they free themselves, they freed the other person to find happiness with someone they were compatible with. That said, the happiest people I know may or may not have all those things, but they have a relationship with God and/or a spiritual life of which gratitude is a large part.

  • DK Fynn

    This looks like an awesome post, man! I’ll share it on Facebook.

    • christhekiwi

      Thanks DK!

  • Randy Bartlett

    Mahalo nui loa/TYVM for sharing!-) Hau`oli Makahiki Hou 2013!-)

    • christhekiwi

      Thanks Randy!!!

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