Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand on the drill.
I’m not talking about that type of happiness.
Or the one where you find two olives in your Martini when you’re hungry.
In today’s world we are conditioned to chase happiness, chasing that “good stuff “and good feelings that self help books and life coaches insist we deserve.
We’re always happy when we get what we want.
But like the Northern Lights, it lasts fleetingly, then vanishes no matter how much we “take”.
So if we’re always satisfying our needs and desires, why aren’t we happy for longer?
Why do we search for happiness today more than ever before?
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars
A recent study discovered that your emotional state pushes your immune system to either fight bacteria or viruses.
The study concludes that people who are happy but lack meaning in their lives share the same gene expression patterns as those fighting bacterial infections.
It turns out that our bodies take clues from our lives, and depending on the balance between happiness and meaning, decides whether we are facing a bacterial or viral threat.
If you face long periods of adversity, you face a bigger risk from bacterial infection but when you’re feeling well, happy and interacting with lots of people, you face higher threats from viruses.
“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness”.
Victor Frankl, an eminent psychiatrist and neurologist, lived through the Nazi concentration camps and concluded that the difference between those who survived and those who didn’t came down to one thing:
In his profound and widely acclaimed book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he says,
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of the human freedoms. To choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Emily Esfahani Smith combines the research on meaning and happiness with the core of Frankl’s teaching and concludes that meaning is healthier than happiness.
Being happy is about feeling good. Meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way.
Emily Esfahani Smith
In her article, “There’s More to Life Than Being Happy” Emily’s conclusion is that by putting aside our own interests to serve something or someone larger than ourselves, we express our fundamental humanity and thrive through meaning.
So make a start about getting excited about tomorrow.
One day, your life will flash before your eyes. Will it be worth watching?
How do you become the hero of your own story and make your life worth living?
Start by engaging the best within yourself, to push yourself to making a difference, contributing something so that you evolve into your highest self.
The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.
Lead A Riches Fulfilled Life
Use the list below to inspire you to engage with something challenging and make a difference to your life and even better, someone else’s life.
Start to experience a heightened sense of enthusiasm for life, one of purpose and meaning.
Here’s how to take action and make a difference:
- Choose one cause, action or activity from the list below
- Decide what difference you can make over a specific time period and how much time, effort and if necessary, money you’re going to invest in it
- Determine what outcome it is you seek – you don’t need to solve the world’s problems or boil the ocean.
- Just stretch yourself and engage in it fully
- Share your journey with your tribe and tell them what how you’re progressing. Inspire others by your actions.
- Share this article with as many people as you can and encourage them to take action.
Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.
Joshua J. Marine
The Life You Can Save – Give to Specific Charities
About 9.6% of the world’s population lives on $1.90 or less a day and 750 children an hour die from extreme poverty.
The cost of sanitation, education and healthcare for the world’s most desperate people is equal to the global spending on ice cream every year.
Giving helps the world’s neediest people and makes us happier by bringing us closer to the world we want to live in.
Fight extreme poverty through high impact initiatives that provide food, water, healthcare and education. If you can, start with 1% of your earnings.
Volunteer! Help Yourself By Helping
Sometimes it just feels good to be wanted and valued. Need to take a break from your life or get rid of stress? Volunteer to teach yourself new skills, network and socialize differently while helping others.
Want to make the world suck less? Join 4.3 million members in 130 countries working on 240 volunteer campaigns to make a difference.
Click to donate! It’s free – you don’t pay!
Care2 is an organization of 30 million members around the world who click free on petitions on various causes to either generate cash (paid for by it’s site advertisers) or rewards which can be converted to cash. Click on the image below to find out more.
Using a similar model, you can click once per day for additional causes through Care2, which uses advertiser money to fund organizations like Children International.
Sponsor A Youth Sports Team
Children’s sport is increasingly more expensive and you can contribute towards the costs of running a team by securing sponsorship. This guide shows you how to engage sponsors.
Recycle your cycle
If you’re not convinced about the damage we’re causing by creating waste , watch Steve Cutt’s satirical short video take on the damage we’ve caused our beautiful planet.
And if that doesn’t make your blood boil, spend a few minutes on these devastating images.
Want to know how to recycle to save our planet? Click on the button below. Please.
Support local businesses
A new trend is emerging that’s breaking the oligopoly of the huge retailers and it’s surprisingly offering more choice, better service and health benefits.
Small, niche local businesses offering everything from crafts, grass fed meats, organic produce to designer clothing are redefining what makes local communities unique by offering personalized service, better products and health benefits.
According to Sustainable Connections, successive studies are proving that campaigns to “Think Local, Buy Local and Be Local” have transformed towns and villages by encouraging the growth of small, local businesses which provide better consumer prices, wages for staff, lower city and state costs than big box chains.
Take a new look at your local business and help create something unique.
Take an online course and learn new skills
Do you remember those horribly long days in classrooms where you learned nothing?
What if you wanted to change careers now, impress your partner with new skills or just learn a new language?
Well, now you can learn anything from a “how to” to a Masters from your sofa or in the bathtub with this dazzling choice on online universities, websites and apps.
Go to this great site to choose from 37 of the best website to learn something new.
Animal welfare/ conservation
Take a career break or sabbatical and take part in a highly rewarding experience as a conservation volunteer and promote the quality of life of many endangered and mistreated animals.
Whether you help with turtle conservation in Costa Rica, conduct shark research in South Africa or regenerate precious wildlife rainforests in Borneo, combine your passion for travelling with making a real difference for generations to come!
Help the homeless in meaningful ways
Five year old Josiah Duncan made a whole restaurant cry by buying a homeless man a meal and sitting and saying Grace with him.
Research proves that intervening to help people wen they first become homeless can save the taxpayer between $5,000 and $23,000 and you can help either by joining campaigns or doing as many things as you can from this list of 35 ways to help the homeless.
Educate someone: Turn labour camps into Educational camps
Although Dubai sounds like paradise, the labourers doing hard labour on the sites can significantly improve their income by learning English.
See how Smartlife, created project Alphabet to educate 5000 workers and improve salaries for 37% of them.
End of the line – stop over fishing!
Almost 80% of the world’s fish stocks are fully or over exploited and in a state of collapse.
This creates two huge problems for us as humans:
- Many species and eco systems are being lost every day and
- A valuable food source is being lost
As we wipe out marine stocks, the increasing efforts to catch commercial fish is resulting in even more destruction of bio diversity as the consequence of bycatching and discarding (in some cases up to 80% of the catches).
Watch this harrowing film about how we’re destroying the last great resource on earth.
There are two things you can do that will really change this global disaster:
Eradicate a disease
Every sixty seconds, malaria kills another child and more than 500,000 die each year, 75% of them under five.
The Carter Center fights six preventable diseases using health education and low cost methods. This works better in resource limited countries and you can get involved either by giving or getting involved.
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, or worn. It is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.
Sponsor a child
Sponsoring a child is the most powerful way to help fight poverty because it’s not a handout.
Through a small monthly contribution, you’ll get to know, love and educate a specific child until he or she becomes self sufficient.
Make new friends at your local animal shelter
Volunteering at animal shelters has never been so cute!
Although there might be some unglamorous tasks you’ll also get to spend some quality time with some really loving, adorable animals, and nothing beats that!
Green your life
You can lead a happier and healthier life without having to use cloth toilet paper and wear lavender garlands.
Just stopping junk mail saves 100 million trees, reduces more CO2 than 9 million cars and protects our water supplies.
Learn 50 ways to help yourself and the world at the same time here.
Accept responsibility for your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.
Give up smoking for good
Within 20 minutes of quitting your blood pressure decreases and your pulse rate drops.
Develop the will to stop smoking permanently here.
If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.
Where money buys happiness – start an Extraordinary business
Two things are changing the world of business – technology has reduced transactional costs and more sophisticated data about people and things have made it the best time ever to start a business.
You could have the next Uber or airbnb on your hands, but eight out of ten startups fail.
Learn how to create an extraordinary business, one that turns your business idea into a mission with meaning and then set it up to succeed spectacularly, no matter who your competitors are.
Take the techniques from the world’s best companies and merge that with a proven approach that will guarantee that your startup will succeed.
If you’re brave enough to start and extraordinary business, people will follow.
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.
Take the challenge of your lifetime!
Want to get off the couch and do something right now?
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie, shopaholic, cyber fundraiser, socialite or just a social media expert, there are a hundred ways to start right now and raise money for a cause you’re passionate about.
If you really want to impress your friends by telling them how you climbed Mt Everest or took the husky trail through the Arctic for charity, try the following site, but you’d better be fit!
Get inspired here!
Brain the size of a planet? Teach a class and share your smarts
Is your PhD going to waste? Bored being the smartest person in the room?
If you’re lucky enough to be good at long division or skilled in Spanish conjugations, consider sharing your smarts with local students.
Many schools and after school programs would be happy to take on a volunteer to help students improve.
Read Elizabeth’s story on finding balance through part time teaching.
A year from now you will wish you had started today.
Write the book you most want to read. Yours.
You know as well as I do that there’s a book in you, this story that will become a bestseller.
The only problem is that it’s in that part of your head called “some day”.
Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
“Yes, I AM in shape! Round is a shape!”
Shifting to a healthy eating lifestyle based on decades of scientific research beats every diet in the marketplace today.
The team at AuthorityNutrition will show you how to make small but critical changes to your eating habits that will transform your health and fitness
Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.
Reduce your carbon footprint
No one’s suggesting you try and stop a tornado or a melting iceberg singlehandedly, but there are many ways you can reduce the amount of green house gases that scientists say is causing global warming.
Just buying food locally (food produced and sold locally travels on average 44 miles vs conventional retail stores where food travels on average 1,500 miles).
Packaging is out!
Since 1994, the EU requires manufacturing companies to take back and recycle at least 60% of their packaging waste.
Send a message to wasteful manufacturers by following these 15 tips to change your shopping and reduce excessive packaging.
Campaign for something you care about
Do you care strongly about something enough to start a campaign for change?
Campaigns really work when they resonate with people because you’re authentic about your cause, can define it’s goals and therefore get more people to share.
It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
Stop here – no further! Campaign against environmental issues
1,500 protesters risked injury by forcing the closure of a large, open cast lignite mine in Germany.
Join Greenpeace and Earthday to take action in protecting forests, defending oceans and promoting sustainable agriculture.
Donate your clothes
Clean out your closet by donating clothes you’re bored with.
Reduce waste – if not you, then whom?
Use this list of 101 ways to reduce waste around the home, office and garden.
Give away 50% of your stuff – be more with less
You might not need that table or lawnmower but there will be someone who really does!
Courtney Carver started Be More With Less after giving away 50% of her possessions and discovered that the more important things surfaced in her life.
One laptop per child
This organization aims to provide the poorest children in the world with a durable, low cost, low power laptop with specially designed hardware, software and engaging content to encourage learning.
Make ethical investments
Ethical investing allows an investor to earn returns by supporting companies that make a positive change in the world based on the investor’s values and beliefs.
Learn how you can benefit from socially responsible investing here.
Be a Befriender
There are many people who have dark thoughts and feel alone in the world and looking for relief from despair.
If you feel you can touch someone’s life when it really matters, then join as a volunteer.
Listen to Helen talking about what it involves.
There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
Lose those pounds!
Lose weight fast and do it safely here without resorting to expensive diets and fads.
Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
Thomas A. Edison
Stop overdosing on celebrity gossip and create space to create!
James Clear’s mission is to bypass the toxic knowledge called “news” that rarely informs and doesn’t improve your life in favour of using your mental space to create meaningful conversations, start a business or contributing to the world in some way.
Guilt free shopping!
Giving back is always stylish! Carry on shopping without the guilt by buying from brands that give back to worthwhile causes.
Cambio names 10 popular brands that contribute and Analisa Castillo highlights 7 feel good brands that give back without compromising on style and quality. Where will you shop?
Follow this simple 7 step guide to giving your body a break every once in a while.
“The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”
Although a complex problem, there are a wide range of conservation organisations that are working on protecting wildlife habitats and preserving endangered species. Find one that appeals to you here and get involved – every day matters.
Create a meaningful life for yourself
Trent Hamm found a way of dealing with the disenchantment of life that comes from getting sidetracked from his life’s purpose.
He created a life pyramid that led him to a “purpose driven life” and it’s an easy to follow and use model for shaping your life.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
Would you like a pumpkin with that? Plant your own.
Can you tell your chard from your pakchoi? I abandoned my Mac Book at the weekends last summer and grew my own vegetables last year.
Peas, tomatoes, peppers looked brighter, tasted better and who knows what I’ll try this year?
Pass the peas please!
Be a honey and keep bees
It’s often claimed that bees are responsible for one in every three bites of food we eat and many crops of fruit and vegetables only produce harvests because of bee pollination.
Our modern food system would collapse without them but sadly, because of the varroa mite, pesticides and poor nutrition, bees are at 45% of where they should be.
This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love; the more they give, the more they possess.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Start a part time business based on your interests and values
You don’t have to have a plan to become a millionaire tomorrow before you decide to start a business.
As long as you follow a successful formula for startups and you have access to the web and a few hundred dollars, you can start small and build from there.
Pat Flynn runs an amazing website called Smart Passive Income that can teach you everything you need to get started online.
Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
Sponsor a water project
Every 60 seconds a child under the age of 5 dies from a preventable water borne disease.
40 billion hours are spent every year collecting water in sub Saharan Africa.
Read Robira’s story about the challenges she faces every day.
Become a well builder and create ongoing access to a safe water source.
The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Support Fair trade
Fairtrade is a global movement that exists to provide better prices and working conditions for farmers and workers in third world countries by offering them fair prices for their products.
Fairtrade is 50% owned by the producers themselves and they reinvest the profits back into improving their local environments.
Join one of the 10,000 local campaigning groups calling for Fairtrade fairness.
Become an ethical consumer
If you’re against animal testing or sweatshop labour, make informed choices and use your influence as a consumer by using the simple tools that Ethical Consumer offers to see how 40,000 companies, brands and products measure up to your values and beliefs.
Build a House
Organizations like Habitat for Humanity offer businesses the opportunity to participate in construction projects that benefit disadvantaged residents.
The best thing about this type of volunteerism is that many builds are done on weekends.
Smile, be kind, speak to one stranger a day.
Need inspiration? Check out the Kindness blog and make a simple, small difference to someone’s life.
If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.
Avoid these jaw droppingly highly toxic food additives
There is a dark secret in your grocery shopping – most of the products on your supermarket shelves contain chemicals and additives that are proven to harm laboratory animals and humans.
If you do nothing else, memorize and avoid these 25 most toxic ingredients in your food.
It will save your life. And the lives of your family.
Write a letter and change a life
12 billion bullets are produced in the world each year.
An estimated 3.2 million people in prison haven’t yet had a trial.
76 countries criminalise sexual acts between adults of the same sex. Amnesty International fights abuses of human rights across the world and on many fronts.
They bring torturers to justice, change oppressive laws and free people who have been jailed just for voicing their opinions. Through petitions, letters, protests and campaigns Amnesty International identify violations and campaign for change. With just one minute, you can change laws and bring torturers to justice. Do it here.
“Building peace in the minds of men and women” is how UNESCO describes it’s work and with the heart wrenching pictures from around the world of cruelty, torture and murder carried out in the name of political or religious intolerance, UNESCO offers many programs to reduce intolerance of all types. Get involved here.
You get for what you settle for.
Generations before us had to build new societies and values after slavery, fight global depression, conquer fascism and bring walls down.
They put men and women into space, developed the airplane, internet and nuclear technologies.
The moral challenge of our generation is to reverse the damage to our planet and to take on the opportunities given to us to create solutions for so many problems.
Do something from this list and inspire just one more person to do the same.
Be the light that helps others see.
It is our time.
It’s time for change.