This is not a short article, be warned.If you truly understand & put into action the points contained in this article, you can entirely reverse your existence. I can guarantee this.
If you lack the time now, shut this window and come back later.
I want your undivided focus & attention.
If you’re still reading– great!
There are only a few critical reasons you’re unhappy.
If you can identify them, then attack their roots–you’ll liberate yourself.
The purpose of this email is for you to pull yourself out of this miserable state of existence- once and for all.
So that you never fall back into it.
“Why is the stress of this article unhappiness?”
“Because it’s mainly for the unhappy soul-who can’t easily picture what ‘happiness’ looks like.
He’s so used to being unhappy that it’s become his default state of BEING.
First, he will need to understand how he has reached this state.
Then alone can he arm himself with the right knowledge so that he can start unshackling himself.
“But is this for me? I’d say I’m already quite happy with my life”.
Yes, it is.
You will become aware of what you must avoid in life and what you must definitely do or continue to do to remain happy- for most of your time out here on this planet.
Happiness is not something in itself to strive for consciously.
Happiness is a “state of well being”.
I’d prefer not to get into a philosophical treatise on how it’s different from “inner satisfaction, contentment & fulfillment”.
I’d like to define happiness as a noticeably upbeat and optimistic attitude towards life.
This kind of existence doesn’t just happen automatically.
It comes from a life lived intelligently.
And as simple as it sounds, when we live life unintelligently we become unhappy.
For the purpose of being totally clear— let us also use the following words to describe ‘unhappiness’: Dejection, gloominess, despair, depression, sadness, downheartedness, cheerlessness.
This article is mainly(but not only) for this unhappy soul who is suffering this existence.
Disclaimer: If you are unhappy or depressed because of a medical condition you are aware you are suffering from-this article is not for you. Please seek medical intervention.
Now let’s move on.
Each of the points below follows a particular format as follows:-
1. Each Subtitle-It is the key concept which you need to imbibe, with a quote underneath it.
2. Reality-Explains why you are unhappy. How you have/may have lived because of which you are unhappy.
3.Why-Explains why I suggest what I suggest.
4. How-A few action points to get you acting. Remember only outer actions AND inner attitudes cause change. And you are looking at changing your existence.——————————
1. Obsessively focus only on what is in your control i.e yourself
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference ”- The Serenity Prayer.
Reality? You are obsessed with things outside of your control-What they think of you, how they look at you, what they said to you, whether your business will take off, when and how you will die, whether you will get the job, whether you will figure out your purpose in life, and it goes on.
Your limited energy is focused on things outside of your control. You feel a decided loss of any personal power. If the majority of your focus in life is on things outside of your control- you will be unhappy.
You must genuinely realize (as cliche as it sounds) that you can only control your own thoughts and actions.
Why? By obsessively focusing on only what you can control, you simply find that you have no time to focus on things outside of your control.
Your new freed up focus and energy increase your initiative.
You begin building, creating. And as you build, unhappiness is shown the door. In short, you begin shaping your own destiny -without worrying.
Why? Because worrying is future-oriented. And the future is out of your control. By genuinely living this concept -you will basically end worry, or reduce it by a huge percentage.
And that is only one disastrous emotion you will almost nullify. Almost all the negative emotions are rooted in the past or future- both of which are out of your control. Just this one powerfully simple secret creates a massive impact on your happiness levels. This is one main secret to ending unhappiness.
How? Meditate on the simple wisdom of this unarguable concept. Read books on the philosophy of Stoicism. Start with Seneca. To put this concept into action, an attitudinal shift is needed. This is not easy. But I never said it was easy. Things really worth obtaining aren’t ‘easy’ to obtain. Aim to reach a stage where you have NO TIME to think about what you cannot control. Remember you cannot change the past, and the results of the future are not in your hand.
2. Produce more, Consume less
“We live in a culture that encourages us to consume far more than we create. That’s a dynamic that directly undermines both our health and happiness”- The Living Experiment
Reality? You consume too much. More than you produce. You consume to experience momentary ‘
Pleasure as a distraction is healthy. The danger begins the moment it becomes a goal in itself.
Pleasure’s deepest roots are found in laziness, slothfulness, and hopelessness. It’s marked by a lack of any self-effort.
Too much pleasure over the long run finally leads to pain- a kind of inner spiritual emptiness- a pitiful state of existence.
You aren’t producing or building anything of value.
Or not significant enough.
You’re self-worth and self-respect are therefore compromised. This is why you’re unhappy.
Why? 24 hours a day-you sleep for 8 hours. You’re left with 16. How much you produce vs how much you consume is up to you. By choosing to produce more you have Less time to watch Netflix, less time to binge eat, gossip, and take part in frivolous ‘pleasurable’ activities.
Production means providing value.
The amount of value you provide corresponds directly with your own level of self-development.
To move from consumption focused to production focused, you will need to develop knowledge and/or learn/improve new/existing skills.
This means there has to be an exertion. Exertion involves stretching yourself.
By definition, by stretching yourself you will pull yourself out of laziness and inactivity. By becoming useful and thus making a contribution, you will pull yourself out of this state of unhappiness.
“Oh but I’m happy being lazy, I am happy just sitting around and chilling?” You’re not. You’ve numbed yourself. That’s it.
How? Decide what kind of contribution you would like to make. Start with your immediate environment. Ask “What self-development would I need to make this contribution?” Then go about learning what you need to learn to be able to contribute what you want to contribute. The more value you add, the happier you will feel.
You can start by making any contribution- in whatever state you find yourself in. Your contribution must improve something outside yourself. Use this test alone.
It could range from something as simple as helping a blind man cross the road, to something as complex & challenging as finding the cure for cancer.
It may even mean lending a listening ear to a friend. Start with small things. Slowly build up your own value so you can increase your contribution. Make a bigger dent.
It could be writing a book, starting a business. You get the point.
The idea is to produce something which others can consume instead of the other way around.
Use your human potential. Don’t let it rot. Don’t waste your precious existence.
3. Fix your health
“Health is the greatest possession”-Laozi
Reality? You are sick and tired.Of course, you are unhappy. Negative emotions lead to this physical state and this physical state leads to more negative emotions. A heartless self-feeding loop of unhappiness. You just “feel” terrible.
Why? Fix your health → feel better. Need I say more?
How? Get Sleep 8 hours of sleep, exercise daily, get sunshine, eat whole nutritious food. Get the basics right.
If you still do not feel good- you need to take a much deeper look at your hormonal health or brain chemistry for any other underlying diseases you may have that need immediate attention.
I’d highly suggest you read this book on neurotransmitters and how they color your internal world.
4. Take tough decisions. And take more of them, more frequently“The best way to create the future is to create it”- Peter Drucker
Reality? Indecisiveness is paralysis aka stagnancy. Stagnancy is a breeding ground for unhappiness. You’re not taking some decisions you know you need to take. You also distract yourself with the unimportant- you are unhappy.
Why? The tough decisions we take today shape our future-which we should actively create.
Taking important decisions today is in our control. We have a tendency of leaving important things to chance and destiny because we are actually afraid to confront them. Because tough decisions are by definition risky. We then begin worrying about the future. The objective is to take decisions actively today and then move onto the next decision without further worrying about the implications of the earlier decision. Keep making decisions consciously.
This is the only way we can move forward. This is what momentum is.
And Momentum kills unhappiness.
How? You will have to learn the art of Decision making. (I am launching a separate e-book on this topic soon. Stay tuned)
5. Form and nurture intensely close relationships
“85% of your happiness will be determined by the relationships you have.” — Brian Tracy.
Reality? You either have no friends, or you have many friends but are still lonely. Inner Loneliness(no real inner connection with another human) is making you unhappy. You don’t even have one real relationship. You, in fact, may have many toxic relationships. How can you not be unhappy?
Why? Close relationships are special because they are rare. Intimacy cannot be created with everyone you know. Spend your time wisely to form or/and maintain a few real, intimate relationships.
How? Nurture your relationships. Identify your true friends. If you don’t have any, develop new ones. Find like-minded people, connect. Share your life and insides openly with those you consider close. Ruthlessly cut people off from your life who drain and sap your energy levels. If you’re in a toxic relationship- end it. There’s no use surrendering yourself to a life of prolonged, endless suffering.
6. Work towards goals which are meaningful to you
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” Victor.E.Frankyl.
Reality? If you do not actively work towards goals that hold special, personal meaning to you, besides not feeling fulfilled your progress also will be stunted. you will not be happy.
Let’s break this down. There are 2 parts to this. The first part deals with deliberate, consistent action which creates forward movement. The second part deals with consciously picking only those goals which hold personal meaning.
a. Lack of forward movement means stagnancy. Stagnancy is an unhappiness breeder. The purpose of life is to evolve continuously. Life is a constant work in progress. Live life according to life’s purpose, i.e constant evolution. You must do all you can in your power to move forward on a daily basis. Unhappiness sets in when you stop growing over an extended period of time.
b. Few things in life are more pitiful than having the brains and the energy to build and sustain momentum– but realize(and thus get disillusioned) later on that what you worked so hard to achieve never held any real personal meaning for you in the first place. Millions of smart (not so smart), efficient people fall prey to this.
These people fail to consciously deliberate upon what they alone want. They commit to goals not really chosen by them.
If you make progress towards goals that hold no meaning for you, you will if not now, later on be unhappy.
Did an MBA to keep your parents happy?
Took up a job against your liking?
Dated someone to impress another?
Starting a business you had no interest in?
All causes of unhappiness & future regret that you wasted your time.
Why? The second you decide your own set of personally meaningful goals and get working on them -you produce highly positive energy.
The self-effort along with the hopeful possibility of achieving your goal- will ensure a positive state of mind most of the time.
“What about if I’m failing?” Remember that’s not in your control?
How? Find goals that give you a sense of meaning/purpose at the current stage of life you find yourself. As time moves on, your ‘meaning’ will keep changing more often than you imagine.
What is meaningful to you today, will not be tomorrow. Consciously write those goals down that excite you today & begin the work.
This will shift your current state of dejection to a sort of permanent hopeful excitement.
If being among a group of driven, action-oriented, committed men around the world excites you, you should check out the Fatehshernu Community I’ve created.
7. Contemplate death and meditate on gratitude. Daily
“Be thankful for today because in one moment your entire life could change”-Anonymous
Reality? You take your life for granted. Never have you consciously contemplated death. Hence you have never lived intensely.”But why would I think of death? That’s so morbid!” Morbidity provides a tremendous sense of perspective and motivation.
You find the time to complain, moan and bicker about stupid trifles. You lack the attitude of gratitude.
Why? Death reflection enhances gratitude. It creates a sense of urgency to do things you think you can’t do. Thinking about the thoughts you will think on your death bed create within you a sense of complete abandon and fearlessness. This propels you to act. You start wishing that you’ll be proud when you “look back”. You begin making decisions that minimize future regret.
Gratitude is the king of positive emotions. You cannot be unhappy if you are the least bit grateful. Gratitude immediately shifts the mind from scarcity and lack of abundance and joy.
How? Spend a minute a day contemplating the past death of your loved ones. Think about how they were living breathing human beings who don’t exist anymore in the world you live in. Consider how you too are headed in exactly the same direction. How would you like to look back at your life when you grow old? What would you like to be remembered for?
Write down 5 things every day in a journal you are grateful for in life. This will bring an immediate shift of energy from negative to positive.
8. Build Character and resist the urge to be bad
“A good conscience fears no witness, but a guilty conscience is solicitous even in solitude. If we do nothing but what is honest, let all the world know it. But if otherwise, what does it signify to have nobody else know it, so long as I know it myself? Miserable is he who slights that witness“- Seneca
Reality? “I’m still depressed since my divorce”. You lack character. “I’m still depressed since my father passed away”.You lack character. “I’m still depressed since I got laid off.”You lack character. Since life goes on, you too will have to learn to move on. At some time or the other. If you are continuously depressed for an unreasonable amount of time, you lack character.
And this is why you’re unhappy.
You have stolen, cheated or lied. And you’ve done this many times. Unless you’re a hardened criminal, your conscience is gnawing at you- you’re unhappy. Guilt will press you deep into the pit of unhappiness.
Why? To be able to bounce back after life hits you hard, which it will one day- in one form or another…To at least maintain sanity during those tough times…To be able to carry on, without being permanently becoming depressed after a divorce….after the passing away of a very dear one…This requires the development of key virtues i.e Character.
You must also do all you can to stay guilt-free. A guilt-free life that allows you to keep a clean conscience is a happy life indeed.
On a practical note here– you don’t necessarily have to be ‘good’- just try not to do bad things. Unless you’re a hardened criminal. you will not be happy. This is guaranteed.
How? Focus on building virtues like equanimity (equal mindedness in good and bad times), emotional resilience (emotional strength to maintain a sense of calmness amidst a storm & even hit back).
“How? Doesn’t this come naturally? Can these things be learned really?”Of course. Immerse yourself in spiritual literature. Understand the game of life. Study the inspiring lives of great men and women- how they bounced back from untold difficulties. If you don’t, sooner or later you will not be able to face life and will collapse as time moves on.
Actively resist the tempting path of lying, cheating and stealing-your conscience will drive you crazy.
For actionable ideas you can immediately put to use, you may like to check out my book on building character.
As I mentioned in my last email, it’s currently priced at an unreasonably affordable rate.
I would like to conclude by saying never chase happiness is an end goal. It is a by-product of a life lived well and lived intelligently. Replace the word happiness with meaning, fulfillment, satisfaction, and purpose. Happiness will come sooner than you realize.
The rest is up to you.