What makes people happy

Many researches were undertaken to find out what makes us happy. Still the number of unhappy people is increasing day by day. Whatever we do or whatever we want to do is to become happy, but still even after million years of human evoluation we are still wondering on the basic question of life “What is happiness?” The answer of this question cannot be found in science or externally. We need to go within to find the truth of happiness.

“Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you”.  Nathaniel Hawthorne
Recent survey shows that people believe that happiness comes when they achieve some goals. Certain goals like getting rich, getting promotion or buying a house makes them happy. We always tell to our self and to others that we will be happy after we achieve something in future. We all know that the happiness we feel when we achieve something last only for few days or for few moments. During my visit to Tokyo, I wanted Playstation portable (PSP) desperately and thought that I will be very happy when I will buy that. Finally I bought my PSP from airport and was very excited, but to my surprise this happiness lasted only for few days. I forgot that things or matter cannot give me happiness; it can just give me pleasure.

“If you search the world for happiness, you may find it in the end, for the world is round and will lead you back to your door”.  Robert Brault

We often get confuse between pleasure and happiness. They look similar but they are different. The main difference between the two attributes is that pleasure is external and happiness is internal. Person can be unhappy even if situation is pleasant and person can be happy even in unpleasant surrounding. We can be unhappy even after eating food in the 5 star hotels. Pleasure is an event, while happiness is a state of mind.

“Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude”.
Denis Waitley

Last year on the eve of Christmas I and my wife visited one old age home. Our only intention was to give them some happiness , but I didn’t know that I would learn the biggest lesson of my life. We met one lady who must be in her late eighties. She was handicapped by hands, legs and she was not able to see also. We asked her how is she feeling and she told us “I do not regret for anything, I am happy because my Jesus is with me” That sentence brought tears in our eyes and we could not say a word. She continued and said “God bless you”. You must be surprise that how she can be happy when everything is wrong with her. Her family left her, she is handicapped, she has to depend on others for all small things and yet she is happy. She has found the true happiness for herself and she gave the message to us that happiness lies within.

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence”.
Aristotle

Few days back I came to know a word called “Sahajanand”. This means one who has natural joy in oneself. Sahajanand is our true nature. When we remove all unnecessary emotion then we are left with happiness. We have forgotten the happiness in search of pleasure. Bhagwad Gita also says that the last state to achieve by human being is “Ananda” which means inner happiness.  Real happiness means developing a state of life in which we are never sad because of problems and where just being alive is a source of great joy. This state remains no matter what we might be lacking, or what might happen around us. We feel the inner peace where everything is perfect and everything is achieved.

Just remember that we all are blessed with happiness.

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Pay yourself first

One of the oldest and the most important rule of personal finance is “Pay yourself first”. Every book on personal finance says the same. All the blogs on personal finance I have read, says the same. Even our parents and grandparents made wealth by using the same principle.

So what does “pay yourself first” mean?

It means that you need to keep some portion of your net income aside before you pay your grocery bills, before you pay your phone bills, before you pay your credit card bills and before you pay for anything else. It is as simple as that. Most of the time we fail to do that as we never plan for it. We plan when we want to buy gadgets, cars, but we do not plan to save money. The biggest problem is that we try to save whatever is left after all the expenses.

Save a little money each month and at the end of the year you will be surprised at how little you have.
-Ernest Haskins

Many people do not save because they think that little amount of money will not get them fortune. They try to climb mountain in one day and end up spending their whole life at the bottom. To achieve every big dream you need to start with a small step. It is better to take many small steps in the right direction than to make a great leap forward only to stumble backward. Start saving from today, even if it is just a penny.

Benefits of paying yourself first.

Paying yourself first is the best personal finance strategy. You will get the same advise even from the top personal financial planner.

  • It brings discipline to saving. – When we start paying our self first, we keep saving as our priority.   This is the first step towards abundant wealth.
  • We save money from spending on things we do not need – Many a times we end up in spending money on things we do not want at that time, just because we have money in our pocket. Sale effect, peer pressure and many other factors are responsible for the same. If we start saving before spending then our money will start creating more money for us.
  • Power of compound effect – I consider compound interest as an eighth wonder of the world. You can’t even imagine how much you can earn by saving early. Use this calculator and see what would be your future wealth.
  • Using saved money for better purpose – You can use the money for emergencies or to buy a house or to pay for child’s education or even for your world tour.

You must have thought that you will start saving after your income reaches to a certain amount. Believe me you will not be able to save anything. Ideally our saving should increase when our income increases, but most of the time our expense increases when our income increases. It is always advisable to start saving as early as possible.

So the next question comes “How to pay yourself first?”

If you want to save with discipline then the best thing to do is to make it automatic.

  • For those who want to go for risk free saving, can ask their employer to increase their contribution towards Provident fund or 401k account. This will be deducted directly from your salary.
  • The best way to invest is through SIP. You can start SIP for mutual funds and can make arrangement with bank for ECS through which your money will be debited from your account every month.
  • One can also start recurring account with the bank that is giving highest interest rates.

You must be wondering what percentage of your income you should save. There is no fixed ratio, but 10% of your net income is a good number. If you cannot save 10% then start with 1% and then over a year increase your contribution.

Believe me if there is any real secret to become financially independent, it is “Pay yourself first”.

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You are responsible for your life

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.” Wayne Dyer

“You are responsible for your own life”. Your whole life will change when you understand and accept this basic principle of happiness and success. We always blame other people or situations for whatever bad happen to us.

I was not born with the golden spoon or my dad didn’t help me or I am screwed because of my wife, you must have heard these statements many times or might have spoken also. Many times we also get lost in the dream world where we try to change our past and imagine our current improved life. What a waste of time? We all know that we can’t change our past. The only thing we can change is our present and through which we can make our better future.

I read this short story somewhere and I liked it very much. “In an office everybody was very disappointed with their appraisals. After sometime their boss came and told them that there is a picture of a guy in the canteen, who is responsible for your bad appraisals. Everybody went to the canteen in anger to find out who is that guy. To everybody’s surprise there was a big mirror and everybody saw their own image in that”. So why do people blame others for their life, because it is easier to blame others, rather than taking the responsibility. It is easier to blame others, but is it going to solve your problem.

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.”

Person who takes the complete responsibility of his life always experience joy and control of circumstances. He knows that he has the power and he is the only one who can make his life better. We become helpless when we are dependent on others. We keep on waiting for situation to change, whereas responsible people change the situation. They are able to make decisions, because they know that there are only responsible for their decisions.

Even when situation is not in under control, you can at least control your reaction. You can make a situation either a disaster or you can use it as an opportunity to learn, to grow and to become a better person. It is not your fault that you were born in a poor family, but you are a looser if you didn’t take any action to become rich.  Can you imagine what would have happened if Bill gates had this thought “Hey, I was born in a family of farmer. I can’t become the richest person in the world”

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

How to take the responsibility of your life?

The most important aspect of taking responsibility is that your life is the result of choices made by you. No one else can live your life.

  • Stop giving excuses all the time. Do not blame the fast food for your over weight, it is you who chose to ate that.
  • Observe what you say. Whenever you find that you are blaming others, stop for a moment and rephrase your sentence by adding “ I am responsible”
  • If a person whom you respect says that you give excuses and blame others, accept the feedback seriously. Stop your defensive attitude and understand the issue in depth.
  • Start taking the responsibility of your small actions first. Life is made up of each day and not just the big events sometime in the future. If you reach late in the office, do not blame the traffic. Instead take the responsibility and work hard to fulfil for the lost time.

“Responsibility is the price of greatness.”Winston Churchill

I know it is very difficult to do this because of our old belief system, but there are many benefits to it.

  • You can take better decisions when you know that you are responsible for them.
  • Your self esteem and self confidence increase because you know that you control your own life.
  • Taking actions becomes your habit and not just onetime event. New options become available for you.
  • You also start getting the respect from others. World only respect those who take the charge of their own life and becomes the winners.

Taking responsibility does not mean feeling guilty whole life about your mistakes. It is about learning from your mistakes and not to repeat them again. So from today stop the self defeating behavior and take the charge of your life and become the successful and happy person.

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It’s all about loving yourself

We spend our whole life in search of love from others. We wish that true love will find us and that special love will change our life. If you don’t find the love then you fall into the valley of emptiness and feel lost. We always tell our mind that if I get true love then, I will be the happiest person on the earth. Actually it works the other way round. You need to love yourself to get love from others and you need to love yourself to give love to others. How can we give something to others which we do not have.

Many emotional problems come because of the lack of self love.  Depressed people think that they are not worthy to live in this world. They hate themselves and because of which they take the option of suicide. I agree that sometimes circumstances make you feel worthless, but if you truly love yourself then you can face any situation in life.

“Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers”Veronica A. Shoffstall

Normally lack of self love comes from two ways, what others tell you about yourself and what you tell about yourself. We have very deep impact of what others tell us about our self, especially our friends and family. In the childhood if you repeatedly hear from your parents that you are very bad and you are not worthy of anybody’s love then your entire life goes with that belief. After some time, you also start telling the same story to yourself. Guilt is also the biggest enemy of love. You might have done something wrong in the past because of which you cannot forgive yourself. Let bygones be bygones, we need to start to live in the present. Do not repeat those negative karmas and forget about all those negative beliefs about yourself. Start loving yourself and start telling yourself a new story that “I Love Myself”

“Had we not loved ourselves at all, we could never have been obliged to love anything. So that self-love is the basis of all love”Thomas Traherne

To love yourself also means to accept yourself as you are. It means to give you respect, a positive self-image, and unconditional self-acceptance. Please keep in mind that it does not mean being arrogant, egoistic and think that you are better than anyone else. It just means to give pure love to you and to others. We need to understand that no one is perfect except God. We all have strengths and weaknesses and we should work to improve our self. We all are unique and has specific talents and abilities to offer. We all are here in this world to serve a purpose. We can only know our true purpose on our life when we start radiating love to our self and to others. You do not need approval from others to love yourself.

“To love yourself right now, just as you are, is to give yourself heaven. Don’t wait until you die. If you wait, you die now. If you love, you live now”Alan Cohen

Self loving people always keep happiness as their priority. They feel fun and enjoyment in everything they do. You always want to be in their company. You feel peace and harmony with them. They radiate love to everybody all the time. As a child we always loved our self but as time pass on we start creating negative beliefs like we are not good or we are losers, etc. Children know at birth that they are loved by God or are accepted by the Universe. Why do we forget such a great truth when we grow up?

“Do you want to meet the love of your life? Look in the mirror”Byron Katie

Let’s do an exercise through which you will come to know how much you love yourself. Louise Hay, the author of bestselling book “You can heal your life” gave us a very good exercise called “The mirror exercise”. Go to the mirror in your house and tell these words “I love you (Your name), I love you very much”. What do you feel? Do you feel good or you feel resistance or some bad memories flashes on your mind?  Mirror has a great power; it shows you what you are. It just does not show you how you look, but it also shows you how you feel about yourself. Even if you are not good looking, but if you love yourself then you will feel good when you see yourself in the mirror. Just imagine how you will feel when you look in the mirror that the face looking back at you is someone you truly love. This is a very good exercise to improve your self-esteem. Every morning just after you wake up, go to the mirror and repeat the golden words “I love you, I love you very much” Believe me your entire day will go with full of energy and you will feel wonderful because you start your day with the most amazing feeling, Love.

To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

Oscar Wilde.

Some more exercise to find self love.

  • Create a success notebook. Start making the list of all your successes instead of failures. Give pat on your back whenever you do something good.
  • Take good care of your physical body. Everyday do some kind of exercises. E.g.: Yoga, Gym, Martial arts.
  • Stop criticizing yourself. Transform your inner critics to your inner coach.
  • Take the responsibility of your mistake and learn from that instead of feeling guilty.
  • Take out some time to do things you love. E.g.: Buy a guitar for yourself and don’t think that you are not young enough to learn that.
  • Sometime treat yourself with luxurious things. If you like watches then gift yourself a Rolex watch on your birthday.

Always remember that you are special.

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How Positive thinking works

“Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day”. 

“Think positive and everything will be fine” This is the most told and the best advice ever given to us. Do you really believe that it works? Why do people tell us to think positively? What difference does it make to our life or our problems? Just hang on there and I will answer your questions.

Positive thinking is not a hypothetical concept, but it is a proven science. Study has shown that positive attitude impacts all the aspects of your life. The logic is simple. Thought comes before action.

Before you eat, you think that you are hungry and you want to eat. Before you walk, you think and decide mentally that you want to move from place A to place B. So thinking is base of all your action. To make your base strong, you need to have strong positive thinking.

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Henry Ford

The most common thing between all the successful people in the world are that they thought that they can get success. Most of them didn’t know how they will achieve success, but they knew they will. They were successful inside before they became outside. Who has more chance to win? One who thinks that he stands no chance or one who thinks that he can win?

Positive thinking is not a onetime event; it’s a practice of lifetime. It is a thinking pattern we develop over a period of time. So how do we do it? Try this exercise every day. Put a reminder in your mobile for every hour till the time you are awake and whenever it rings just ask yourself what you are thinking now? Is it a positive or negative thought? Is it helping me or it is destroying me? If you come to know that you have negative thoughts, then intentionally think something positive, something which makes you happy. Think about the happiest moments of your life or think that you have achieved your dreams or be just grateful for every good thing you have in life.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

Thinking in a positive way can change your entire life. Your perception towards everything changes. Can you imagine how would it be when you only see good in everything? It is just like admiring the beauty of rose instead of complaining about thorns. It is just like thinking that glass is half full instead of glass is half empty.  World is beautiful, we just need to develop positive way to see it. They say that life is too short; I would say it is short for negative thinkers. People who think positively lives and enjoy every moment of their life. Your world becomes what you think.

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