I came across an article by David Bach titled Five Principles for Happiness in 2007. I really don’t like to bite off of another man’s sandwich, but there is very good information in this article that I believe is important for everyone to know (or at least for those who are trying to improve themselves). I will give you the original principles from David’s article and then add some of my own thoughts as to how they can immediately apply in your life.
Principle 1: Give Yourself a Break
This is a principle based on the fact that you can’t move forward if you are constantly stuck in the past. This goes for people who have had a favorable past as well. When we are stuck living in past woes or glories we lose what is in front of us therefore letting opportunity pass us by. We have to be able to let go of successes as well as failures and give ourselves a break, start over with a new beginning every day. So, whether you just lost your job or you just made the million dollar deal, remember, tomorrow is a new day and another chance to prove yourself all over again.
Principle 2: Get Connected with Your Truth
If you have ever talked to any of the writers for Swim up Stream, you will know this as knowing your reality. This is important because we all have different truths and the more we try to align ourselves with someone else’s truth, the further we loose touch with our own reality. Your reality requires attention that is specific to you and it is your job to not only know what your reality is, it is your job to accept your reality. All too often we look at what other people have accomplished and then try and emulate their process for success. What we don’t understand when we fail is that there are circumstances (physical, social, emotional) unique to each individual that help play a major role in our successes and failures. When you know your reality, you can then plan for your success.
Principle 3: Stop Judging Yourself
Most of us are harder on ourselves than others are on us. We make mistakes and beat ourselves up until we are dragging our tails between our legs. This is not only terrible on our individual confidence, but detrimental to our path of success. In the field of Sport Psychology there is a simple technique called “self-talk”. This is the way we talk to ourselves throughout the day, and what we say determines in large part how we respond and act during the day. For most people this talk is negative (“I shouldn’t have had that for breakfast”, “I’ll never make it that for on the treadmill”, “I’m too tired to exercise today”, etc.) and pulls us into those negative self-fulfilling prophecies. When this talk is positive it helps us motivate and energize, it also helps us get over our mistakes and find new ways to not make the same mistake again. Failure is a fact of life, we will all do it at times, and it is the person who immediately looks at the way to make the failure a success that will be on top in the end. We can never find success when we are constantly judging and beating ourselves up.
Principle 4: Stop Judging Others
This is a very simple principle. When we are judging others we are giving them all of our attention, therefore neglecting ourselves. It is easy to look at someone else and make judgments on them; it makes us forget about our faults and shortcomings. What it doesn’t allow us to do is move on and enhance ourselves. It might make us feel good to be in the gossip corner talking about a coworker, but I promise you when you are gone people are doing the same about you. Judge yourself so that you can make yourself better. That will never happen when you are always focused on the actions of others.
Principle 5: Pursue Fun with Vengeance
This principle is not possible until you are able to complete the previous four. This is the principle of finding something you are passionate about and pursue it every day with a vengeance. This will change throughout life, as your reality changes, but to pursue a passion with anything less than pure vengeance is doing yourself and those you have the potential to influence a disservice.
When you look back on these five principles you will realize that they all involve your own personal commitment. That is because you can’t have a happier you until you have empowered yourself enough to feel good about you. Remember it isn’t selfish to focus on yourself first, because if you are no good then the people around you will suffer as well. Be good to yourself.
If you want to read David Bach’s whole article go to http://finance.yahoo.com/columnist/article/millionaire/18930?p=1