In this article, I want to sidestep from the ongoing business development strategies I have been writing about and instead focus on one critical thing that so many entrepreneurs lose along the way to achieving their vision.
A famous philosopher named Aristotle concluded over 2,300 years ago that human beings seek happiness above all else.
In modern times, you’ll also hear many of the top entrepreneurs refer to this as “job satisfaction”
Whichever term you use, and no matter how advanced our technology becomes, absolutely nothing has changed regarding this point.
Everything you do is calculated to increase your personal satisfaction and happiness.
So, here’s the multi-million-dollar question…
If this is true, then why are so few people truly happy?
Why are there so many business owners out there that have pain, misery, frustration, jealousy, and dissatisfaction in their world?
Why do people do things that clearly won’t bring them long-term happiness and satisfaction?
Why is happiness so elusive?
Why are we sometimes attracted to the bad things and keep coming back for more?
Deception and fear.
We become deceived by things we think will bring us happiness, but in the long run they only make us more miserable.
Beyond this, we fear taking the big actions that are required to create true and sustainable happiness.
It is possible for you to remove the blinders of deception and fear and begin to experience more happiness in your life, no matter what circumstances you’re currently wrapped in.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Hard Now, Easy Later.
The majority of our frustration in life stems from the times where we pursue immediate gratification at the expense of true joy and lasting fulfillment.
We eat junk food, and while we love it in the moment, we absolutely hate how it makes our bodies look and how it makes us feel afterwards.
We lie to avoid consequences, which eventually always makes the consequence worse.
We also use our own “struggles” to justify our lack of success. I mean, as long as we’re in pain we have something to blame it on, right?
Victimhood in this sense is a very comfortable habit to get trapped in.
Ironically, all of this “gratification right now” mentality progressively makes us less and less happy.
It’s time to take personal responsibility for your actions and personal responsibility for your happiness.
A psychologist named Martin Seligman who specializes in feelings of positivity says there are three primary things that make people happy:
- Engagement (what is the depth of your involvement with your family, work, and hobbies?).
- Meaning (do your action serve a larger end?).
According to his research, he insists that pleasure is the least consequential to one’s happiness.
I tend to be in complete agreement with his outlook and have seen it in examples in real life with my own eyes.
When faced with a choice, always ask yourself which option will give you that immediate pleasure but ultimately let you down, versus the option that’s going to be hard at first but will bring you long-term happiness and fulfillment.
This is what I mean when I say “Hard now, Easy later”
Do the tough things that you know you need to do so that you set yourself up for success and happiness in the long-term and not just the short-term.
For example, in our industry, we know that staying consistent with exercise can sometimes be hard for people, but the long-term effect on your health and productivity makes your life immensely easier.
In contrast, the “Easy now, Hard later” approach gives you a road that looks like a short-cut, but, that short-cut just leads to you going through pain and suffering to try and get back on the road you were on in the first place.
2. Create Healthy Relationships
Another study done by Seligman reported that the most prominent characteristics shared by the top happiest 10% of his test subjects were their strong ties to friends and family and how actively they pursued spending time with them.
We are social beings and toxic relationships are toxic in many more ways than one.
Surround yourself with the people you want to be around and not the people who cut you down. Your personal happiness and the success of your business depends on it.
3. Write Down Your Happy Things
This might sound a little silly to some, but, have you ever really sat down and thought about what actually brings you the most joy in life?
Many people seek expensive cars, big houses, and giant diamonds and yet none of these things actually make them happy.
Here are some things that make me happy:
- Spending time with my family
- Working out
- Doing martial arts
- Engaging in productive conversations with intelligent people
- Getting enough sleep every night
- Eating right
- Feeling like I’m contributing to the industries I’m working in
- Playing my PS4 after a long day of work because I earned it
Among many other things.
What would your happiness list look like?
I’m sure it’ll be different than mine, but if you take the time to write these things down then you can create a schedule and a plan of action to start incorporating them a little more in your life.
4. Because Science Said So
It’s a little funny that I keep referring to studies and science in an article about something as subjective as happiness, but when the study designs are done well in account for subjectivity then I think they are extremely valuable.
Since this isn’t a psychology lesson, I’ll cut right to the chase and list the five things that are literally scientifically proven to make you a happier person.
- Gratitude journaling
- Journaling about your feelings
- Random acts of kindness
How many of those are you regularly ticking off?
Do you need to get one back in your life?
How could you do even better with the ones you’re already doing?
Explore these, because science said so.
The problem with chronically dissatisfied entrepreneurs is the fact that they are looking for satisfaction in all of the wrong places.
They sacrifice long-term fulfillment because they get conned into one of these “short cuts” that the BS business coaches of the world try to preach.
Don’t allow fear and deception to rule your life.
Use the perspectives and disciplines above to create more happiness in your life.
You deserve it.