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Live A Fulfilling Life | 3 Simple But Complicated Keys To Happiness | How To Be Happy


What does it take to lead a happy & fulfilling life?

It’s a question I’ve long pondered.

And if you’re reading this article, chances are you have too.

When you ask most people if they want to be happy the obvious answer is “yes, of course”

Yet studies show that only 1 in 3 Americans are actually happy.


Well, let me paint a picture for you.

You wake up with a million things to do.

Stress begins before you even get out of the door.

You spend your whole day trying to knock things off your to-do list while modern technology follows you around like a shadow.

New emails, phone calls, and appointments flood your inbox before you even have time to start working.

You end up never really doing anything you NEEDED to,  and now your list is twice as long.

You start to feel overwhelmed, but you hide it from people. You don’t want to appear weak.

You can handle it, you say to yourself.

This is temporary, it will subside in a couple months. You can stick it out.

You start to set some goals, knock things off the list. Maybe stress subsides temporarily, but then a new obstacle hits you again.

It seems like that “happy & healthy” lifestyle you set out on is fleeting.

Does this sound familiar?

If it did you’re not alone.

This is why 66% of Americans are unhappy.

Before we talk about what happiness IS, let’s first define what happiness IS NOT.

happy-gogglesHappiness is Not Feeling Happy-Go-Lucky All The Time

Happy people do not live in their own mental world of rainbows and butterflies.

They don’t wear “happy goggles” that block out negative events or feelings that may arise.

They do however tend to have an overall more positive outlook than a negative one.

This is partially genetic but also a skill that can be practiced. Positivity is easier for some than others.

For the people who naturally have a negative outlook, they can practice looking at things in a positive light and strengthen this skill, just like learning to ride a bike.

It’s a simple reconditioning of the mind.

A great place to practice this is on happify.

Happiness is Not Having an Endless Amount of Money

According to Princeton research, there is a threshold of income that you need to hit in order to be happy.

That number seems to be around $75,000 annually. People who earned less reported having more struggles, relationship arguments, and trouble meeting the needs of their family to generally live comfortably.

People who earn more than $75,000 didn’t report any higher levels of happiness either. They could just buy more things.

So why is that the magic number?

It seems that people at that income were able to avoid the struggles that came with lower income and comfortably focus on the other elements required to actually be happy…which we will get into soon.


Happiness is Not a Final Destination

Studies show that 40% of happiness is created by you.

10% is circumstantial and 50% is genetic and/or practiced.

If only 10% refers to your circumstances, that means 90% of happiness can be practiced and created by you.

It’s not a fleeting city on a hill that you can never reach.

It’s literally inside of you, you just have to create it.

But how??


3 Simple But Complicated Keys To Happiness

Let’s look at the research done by Diener and Seligmann (experts in the psychology of happiness over at

Their studies reported 3 elements that distinguished a particular group referred to as exceptionally happy people.

Surprisingly, it turned out none of their happiness was related to money, family wealth, or instant gratification, and the difference couldn’t even be correlated to a particular age range.

The 3 links to happiness were:

1) A Great Social Life

2) A Sense of Purpose 

3) An overall “Positive” Attitude Towards Life. 


Let’s break each one down into what that means.

A Great Social Life

When times get tough, having someone there significantly increases levels of happiness.

Studies also show that 6-7 hours of socializing per day with friends or family is the target for people to reach an optimal level of happiness.

It’s important to note that alcohol was not a key indicator in these studies either, but a social life that provided a rich environment wherein they could flourish.


A Sense Of Purpose

How do you know what your purpose is?

Simon Sinek says: Start with WHY.

What you’re doing isn’t nearly as important as why you are doing it.

Studies also show that a sense of purpose has been linked to a longer life.

People who feel meaning in their life tend to live longer than those who do not.

If you’re unsure about your purpose here are some helpful places to start:

  • What are you good at? 
  • If you could teach anyone anything what would it be? 
  • Does it provide value to people?Purpose

If you can find something that fits into all 3 of those categories you may be close to narrowing in on your purpose.

Other activities that have shown to give a sense of purpose are the following:

  • Volunteering
  • Religious/Spiritual practices
  • Fulfilling careers
  • Pursuing goals aligned with core values
  • Raising kids
  • Practicing meditation/mindfulness

Another bi-product of having a sense of purpose is gratitude.

When you know the WHY of your existence, your frame of reference tends to shift from “wanting more” to “wanting to give more”.

This is because most people’s “why” has to do with helping others.

This slight shift releases a grateful spirit for what you have, because you are now giving your time and energy to those who may be less fortunate than yourself.

An Overall “Positive” Attitude Towards Life

Another element that kept coming back in Diener and Seligmann’s research is related to the fact that exceptionally happy people didn’t necessarily show a higher level of positive emotions, nor a lower level of negative emotions when compared to the rest of the target group.

They showed lives rich in emotions, both positive and negative. A life full of tears, both of joy and of pain.  

What remained constant was their optimism and positivity.

Happiness is often times mistaken for having a life full of positive moments 24/7. Well, it ain’t.

What makes the difference is your attitude in life. That positive take through the ups and downs of life. That smile you wear every morning that radiates energy.


One way to increase your overall positivity is through gratefulness training.

Try waking up every morning for the next 30 days and telling yourself or a loved one what you’re grateful for today.

It begins your day on a positive note, rather than jumping out of bed stressed about everything you have to do.

Wake up about an hour earlier and have a morning routine that sets you up for positivity.

Final Words

Happiness is a practice. Every day of your life.

Happiness is a habit. During good and bad moments.

Happiness is harmony. With yourself and with others.

Be grateful, be kind, don’t be afraid to give to people. Good actions will heal your soul.

And by taking care of others, taking care of the ones you love, you create this nurturing space that will allow you to blossom tall, fierce, beautiful and most of all – happy.

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