Abraham Lincoln once said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
I couldn’t agree more. While many of us consider happiness to be something that simply happens to us, the truth is that happiness is an action.
Every day, you make decisions that either lift your spirits or bring you down. Every day, you get a chance at happiness.
So, how do you take that chance and live a happy and authentic life?
It boils down to 7 principles.
1) Your purpose is to experience life to the fullest
Happiness is about authenticity.
You weren’t born to impress other people, to keep up with fashion trends that don’t really speak to you on a deep level, or to pretend you’re someone else just to get in everyone’s good books.
You aren’t on this Earth to chase external validation, climb the ladder, and show off just how far you’ve made it.
You’re here to experience life to the fullest. Full stop.
We tend to think of “purpose” as something that makes us valuable to society, but we fail to recognize that we already *are* valuable. Every single one of us. We’re valuable because we’re here, thinking and feeling and experiencing.
Your value is in your humanity. As long as you’re experiencing your life in an authentic way, you’re winning. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
2) The only person you need to impress is your childhood self
If there’s one person you should strive to impress, it’s the child inside you.
Look at a photo of when you were little. The world seemed limitless, didn’t it?
You were brimming with dreams and potential, your imagination running wild, and you were so full of hope and life that you could feel it buzzing inside you.
Would that child be proud of you? Would they say, “Wow! I’m so cool”? Would they feel like all their dreams came true in one way or another?
And if not… are you avoiding fulfilling your true potential out of fear?
The moment you get in touch with your childhood self and live life according to their dreams rather than the expectations of anybody else is the moment you become free.
3) You only live once
Alright, I know. This one’s quite cliché. But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.
“You only live once” is a really good principle to live by because it’s a constant reminder that your life is precious, and you ought to cherish it in the best way you know how.
What’s more, it’s a great confidence booster.
Anxious about an upcoming date? YOLO.
Scared to go ahead and build a business? YOLO.
You can apply this principle to almost anything in life and use it to give yourself some much-needed courage.
Plus, this attitude also promotes authenticity because, well, YOLO, so… why would you waste the precious time you have left on someone else’s expectations of you?
4) It’ll be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end
Hear me out.
This sentence isn’t just something you can say to lull yourself into a false sense of security. It’s genuinely true.
Want to know why?
Well, look at it this way. Life naturally ebbs and flows. In the past year, there have been times when you felt amazing, only to encounter some kind of challenge or misfortune.
But eventually, you got over it. You got back on track.
You may have improved a great deal in one area of your life while putting another one to rest for now. Your priorities have probably been shifting month by month.
Thus the rule of life. Nothing is ever perfect; nothing only goes up. Life is a sequence of waves, not a straight line.
Therefore, if things aren’t okay…it really isn’t the end. Because better days are coming.
5) You are the co-creator of your universe
Some people think they’re in charge of everything that happens to them, which is why they overthink and cling to control a little bit too much.
Others prefer to live their lives thinking there’s a higher entity who knows best, and therefore they’re free of all responsibility.
The key to a happy and authentic life lies in the middle. Personally, I believe there *is* something higher than me. But I also know I’ve got to be an active participant.
I can’t just walk around praying that my ideal life will fall in my lap. I also can’t put so much pressure on myself that every time something goes wrong, I’ll think it’s my fault.
I co-create my life, therefore, I do my absolute best and let the Universe take over the rest.
6) So what?
Moving on to my favorite principle on this list, “so what” is an amazing way to reduce stress and gamify your life.
The date didn’t work out. So what? It was an interesting experience.
It started raining. So what? It’s just water.
A big opportunity didn’t turn out well. So what? A better one will come along.
We often think that the key to happiness is to get our game on and work really hard, but sometimes, it’s just about not taking yourself too seriously.
I mean, you live on a floating piece of rock. You might just as well have fun. If something sucks for a bit…so what?
A year from now on, I can guarantee you won’t even remember it.
7) If not now, when?
Look, you’ve already spent months and years waiting for the perfect time to start living your best life. It’s been long enough.
Stop waiting. Ask yourself, “If not now, when?”
I mean it. Why would next Monday be better than today? How is 2025 different from 2023?
You only ever have today. And “today” will always come with its pitfalls and hurdles, no matter if “today” is a month from now on or at this very moment.
If you’re not feeling up for doing the thing you know you should do right now… chances are, you’ll feel the exact same tomorrow.
So rip the band-aid off. If there’s one thing that’ll ultimately lead to a happy and authentic life, it’s to take action in the here and now.
Just do it.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.