There is no trick to being happy.
Well, there is, but it has more to do with attitude. One can be a millionaire and be miserable. Money has nothing to do with it. Although, having money sure makes things easier. Still, as the old cliché goes, money does not buy happiness.
What about having the power to do just about anything? Will that bring happiness? Will that make for a fulfilling life—telling people what to do? I always thought those with the greatest power were those who served every day, unappreciated, ready and willing to surrender their lives for the downtrodden in society. At least, that is what I always thought.
I suppose there is more to leading a fulfilling life than having money and power.
There is, and it is much easier than you think.
Below is what has brought me to lead a fulfilling life filled with hope, joy and happiness. This five-point roadmap is not hard to apply on a daily basis, and its rewards are immeasurable.
1. Enjoy a Healthy Lifestyle
I get seven hours of sleep every night. I am talking about seven full hours of solid sleep without waking up. I never used to be that way. There was a time I only slept two hours a night. It was awful. Every morning I felt as if someone had run over me with a dump truck.
Paranoia also has a nice effect on someone who is an avid insomniac. I looked like a character out of a Tim Burton movie. Spiked hair, shadows under the eyes and pale skin that would make a corpse look good.
After several attempts at self-medication—not really—I took to changing my diet.
I went on a regiment of fresh fruits and vegetables, lots of fish, nuts, whole grains, and vitamin supplements. Slowly, the hours to my sleep pattern crept up to three, four and five hours nightly. I could not go beyond five hours until I introduced wine to my evening meals. Suddenly, I broke the five-hour barrier and blew past six to arrive at seven hours sleep per night.
With the added sleep, I found I could focus more, reason better, and do all the things I could not do, like, carry on an adult conversation; something my wife, Luana, now appreciates.
Oh, and before I forget, I drink lots of water every day—half my weight in ounces. Nothing oils the joints better than the wet stuff.
Once I stabilized my health, good things followed. The days were brighter and my attitude was warmer. I said goodbye to zombies and said hello to superheroes.
2. Do What You Like to Do Best
What other activity could bring fulfillment than to enjoy doing what you like doing best? Everyone is good at something.
It can be walking, running, crafting needlepoint art, singing, fishing, playing guitar, playing video games, watching the stars, listening to music, painting, playing soccer, or football for that matter, building things, traveling, relaxing on a beach; it could be anything.
For some, their job is what brings fulfillment. That is quite all right. Imagine having a job as a skydiving instructor. Would that not be the best job ever? I could never do it, but there are those who made their hobby a job.
If you could make your hobby your job, how cool would that be?
The point is, find what you like to do and do it. The joy of doing it is the reward.
3. Spend Time with Others
One of the biggest pleasures I have in life is to sit down with someone to share a meal.
The conversation can go back and forth between past and present, on common activities, or simply on family. The exchange of ideas is a thrilling thing to experience. A good conversation can bond people, create future dates for more conversations, and provide an opportunity to discover something new.
Sometimes, the biggest surprise comes when it seems you have exhausted all dialog.
In those quiet moments together is when you realize what the relationship really means to you.
The simple act of playing ball with them, or singing, or doing something crazy, like, setting up soda bottles in the backyard with baking soda at the ready to produce the most awesome rocket ship ever, can make it one of your happiest memories yet.
Besides, embarrassing moments are best shared among friends.
Then, should a lull hit your life, you will have those memories to draw on, to carry you forward, and lift you to your feet.
A happy and fulfilling life is more than the dinner entrée we serve our guests.
It includes our guests.
4. Do Good
Has anyone ever held the door for you? Do you remember how it felt?
Has anyone ever given up a parking space at the mall for you, just because?
How about at the grocery store checkout, has anyone ever beaten you to the front of the line but let you go first?
Imagine doing little things like that for others all the time. What would your life be like?
The old widow across the street would have someone to mow her lawn in the summer and shovel her driveway in the winter. Your neighbor could borrow your hedge trimmer without thinking that he owed you something in return. One of your friends could ask you for a ride to the airport without worrying about imposing on you.
Communities would flourish. Cities would not need the vast policing that it does now. And everyone would be nice to one another because it would be the right thing to do.
Of course, a change like that would be unheard of, unless…
…well, unless it began with ordinary people wanting to make a difference.
Part of that willingness to make a difference can involve volunteer work. Many organizations out there need help with initiatives tailored for the community, such as spending time reading to the elderly, feeding the homeless, or planting a tree for the future. Getting involved can be as easy as making a phone call or dropping an email.
Whatever you choose to participate in, recognize that your involvement will not only benefit those in need, but also provide you with the satisfaction of knowing you have done good.
5. Believe in Something Greater Than Yourself
A life with a purpose is a powerful thing.
People who do not believe in something will fall for anything.
I think that is a quote from somewhere.
Many of the greatest heroes of our time were the ones who believed in a cause. They saw something was missing and went ahead and filled the void. Sometimes, as is the case with Leonardo Da Vinci, who conceptualized flying machines, or Isaac Newton, who formulated the Laws of Motion, they end up changing the world.
That single belief in something greater than oneself made these people rich in knowledge and productive in life.
For some, it is the belief in a higher power.
What keeps me balanced is my belief in God and in his son, Jesus, who came to take away the sin of the world.
For others, it may be the belief in making this world a better place.
Having an anchor will keep you stable from the blowing wind that may want to take you away. That very same anchor may act as the cornerstone that will keep you grounded to your goal of pursuing your life’s calling.
Again, a life filled with purpose is a life fulfilled.
Believing in something greater than yourself will keep you fulfilled and grounded in a life bursting with purpose.