Tag: happier

How To Be Happier

I’ve just heard from my publisher that my book How To Be Happier has now sold over 50,000 copies. Okay, it’s not quite in the Dale Carnegie league, but it’s a significant number of books. And the fact that it’s the most successful of my self-help titles suggests there are a lot of people who feel they’re not as happy as they’d like to be.

I’m reminded of the board game Monopoly where you get given a certain amount of money right at the start. From then on you can sit on your money or you can make an effort to increase it. In real life, happiness is much the same. You start out with a genetic inheritance that gives you a certain level. That comes for free, as it were. If you want more you have to make an effort.

Where happiness is concerned, the first step is to make the commitment that you’re going to make happiness rather than, say, money, or power, your goal. You have to make the decision that you’re actively going to do things to make yourself happier (and avoid, as far as you possibly can, the things that will make you unhappy).

As to what those things are, well, the book is full of ideas. I don’t believe anybody could work their way through it, following all the practical suggestions, without being happier. If you’re one of the 50,000 I’d love to hear from you how you got on. Just click on ‘comments’ at the top of the blog.

How To Be Happier

I’ve just heard from my publisher that my book How To Be Happier has now sold over 50,000 copies. Okay, it’s not quite in the Dale Carnegie league, but it’s a significant number of books. And the fact that it’s the most successful of my self-help titles suggests there are a lot of people who feel they’re not as happy as they’d like to be.

I’m reminded of the board game Monopoly where you get given a certain amount of money right at the start. From then on you can sit on your money or you can make an effort to increase it. In real life, happiness is much the same. You start out with a genetic inheritance that gives you a certain level. That comes for free, as it were. If you want more you have to make an effort.

Where happiness is concerned, the first step is to make the commitment that you’re going to make happiness rather than, say, money, or power, your goal. You have to make the decision that you’re actively going to do things to make yourself happier (and avoid, as far as you possibly can, the things that will make you unhappy).

As to what those things are, well, the book is full of ideas. I don’t believe anybody could work their way through it, following all the practical suggestions, without being happier. If you’re one of the 50,000 I’d love to hear from you how you got on. Just click on ‘comments’ at the top of the blog.

How Not To Be Unhappy

There are plenty of books giving advice on how to be happy. I’ve written one myself (Teach Yourself How To Be Happier).  But there’s a tendency to ignore the corollary, how not to be unhappy. I’ve been reflecting on the importance of this following a big fire near my home in Spain.

How did that fire start? The authorities are sure it was a cigarette end, tossed from a car window. That simple, thoughtless act destroyed something like 13,000 hectares of forest along with wildlife, farm animals and homes. Some people were seriously burned. In another nearby fire on the same day two people died as they tried to escape down a cliff that proved too steep. That second fire was started in the same way by a discarded cigar butt.

I don’t know if the people responsible are aware of what they’ve done. If so, they must be feeling terrible. But it’s certain their actions have caused a lot of misery to others.

Those cigarette and cigar ends are symbols. So much of life is like this. People literally hurl tobacco into their own lives and set them on fire. It’s a fact that around half of smokers will lose two decades of the lives they would have had. And yet there’s no evidence at all that smokers are happier than non-smokers. Smoking is a huge risk with no upside.

Alcohol is similar. There’s zero evidence that drinkers are happier than teetotalers. Okay, a small quantity can make you feel good for a short while, but serious drinking is a threat to long-term physical and mental health.

What about driving too fast? What about the quick, unprotected bonk with someone you hardly know? What about getting sunburned on holiday then going out the next day and getting even more burned? What about fooling around with drugs?

These are all examples of happiness being sacrificed for a transitory thrill, or less. If you want to be happy, don’t make yourself unhappy. Think through the consequences of your actions.

What Makes You Happy?

As a result of some valuable new techniques I learned recently I’ve begun work on a follow-up to How To Be Happier. But I’d also appreciate some input from you. Do you deliberately use particular techniques to make yourself happier and, if so, what are they? Do you favour the idea that true happiness comes from inside? Or from outside? Or do you just let whatever happens happen? I’d love to hear from you. In fact, I’m sure we’d all like to hear from you if you’ve got some techniques that have worked for you. Please click on the word ‘comment’ below and share your thoughts in the box.

Happiness In The Face Of Criticism

How to be Happier

This morning I was checking my books on Amazon and noticed that How To Be Happier was by far the most reviewed, with 28 entries. So that has to tell me something. Most of the reviews were favourable, some of them extremely so, but I also seem to have reduced a couple of people to a state of near apoplexy. Far from being happier they were utterly enraged. And it’s quite instructive to look at why.

One criticism was that my book contained much the same advice as other books on happiness. Now, few people could be buying more ‘how to’ books than me. I have books on how to ski, snowboard, climb, ride, surf, dive, sail, have sex (two shelves) and all kinds of other things. And you know what? All the books on, say, snowboarding, give me the same advice. So far, not one of the books has suggested I should strap the board to my head rather than my feet. I find it reassuring that all the experts are agreed on that point.

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