Why Happiness Is The Ultimate Currency

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My friend Avi is a great barber. His customers, myself included, refer to his golden hands — his ability to satisfy my son’s desire to look like Ronaldo, or a woman’s desire before her daughter’s wedding to look like Grace Kelly. Putting his phenomenal skills together with his sound business sense, Avi could have easily expanded his business far beyond his little salon.

So I asked him one day why he chose not to grow his business by adding a bigger place in a more central location in the city, or by opening other branches. Avi said he’d thought about it several times but in the end decided against it: “I asked myself, is this something I really want, or is it something others think I should do?” He went on to describe the can-must link that’s so pervasive in our culture: the belief that if you can grow, you must grow. But why?

Avi explained that over a decade ago, he understood that no matter how much he had — a bigger house, a faster car, a fatter bank account — he would always want more. He could choose to continue in the rat race and never satisfy his desires, or he could stop the race and be satisfied with what he had. He went on to quote a Jewish source, the Chapters of the Fathers: “Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot.”

Cutting hair in his small salon gives Avi the emotional gratification no amount of money could buy. His daily experiences were worth more than all of the gold in Fort Knox because happiness, not wealth or prestige, is the ultimate currency.

What, for you, is worth all of the gold in Fort Knox? Can you envision something in your life that would provide you with an abundance of happiness? To identify sources of the ultimate currency in your life, follow these four steps:

Step 1: Record your daily activities.

For a week (or two), keep a record of your daily activities. Throughout the day, write down how you’ve spent your time, from a twenty-minute session responding to e-mails to a night of binge-watching TV. This record doesn’t need to be a precise, minute-by-minute account of your day, but it should give you a sense of what your days tend to look like.

Step 2: Assign meaning and pleasure.

Once your activity list is complete, create a table that lists each activity, how much meaning and pleasure the activity provides, and how long you typically spend doing it. Indicate whether you’d like to spend more or less time on each activity by adding a “+” for more time or a “++” for a lot more time. If you’d like to spend less time on the activity, put a “−” next to it; for a lot less time, write “−−.” If you’re satisfied with time you’re investing in a particular activity, or if changing the amount of time you spend isn’t possible for one reason or another, add an “=” next to it.

Step 3: Highlight activities with high-yield happiness.

Which of your activities provide the most happiness in the least about of time? Are there things you don’t do now, but would yield significant profits in the ultimate currency? Would going to the movies once a week contribute to your well-being? Would it make you happier to devote four hours a week to your favorite charity and to work out three times a week? If you have many constraints and can’t introduce significant changes, make the most of what you have.

Step 4: Introduce happiness boosters.

What happiness boosters — brief activities that provide both meaning and pleasure –could you introduce into your life? If your commute to work is a drag but is unavoidable, try to infuse it with meaning and pleasure. For instance, you could listen to audio books or your favorite music for part of the ride. Alternatively, take the train and use the time to read. Then, as much as possible, ritualize these changes.

One of the many lessons I learned from my barber is that material wealth is not a prerequisite for the ultimate currency, and that dollars and cents are no substitute for meaning and pleasure. As the psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.”

50 Small (But Big) Changes To Become An Ultimately Happier You

See Author Article Here
Liza Varvogli

1. Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Select to wake up to your favorite song. Enjoy your coffee or tea in a special mug. This sets off your day in a whole different way.

2. Write down the intention of the day; “Today I choose to be happy,” “Today I choose to stay calm,” you get the idea.

3. Accomplish one small goal to set off your day in the right direction; for example, make your bed or wash your mug.

4. Read a book.

5. Declutter your living space.

6. Start small, by organizing your desk drawer.

7. Keep your brain and body hydrated; get a water bottle and aim at finishing it by lunchtime. Refill it.

8. Keep a gratitude journal and jot down three things that went well or were positive every day.

9. Go out for a 15-minute walk.

10. Follow positive people on social media.

11. Compliment a friend.

12. Cook a healthy dish for dinner; try a different cuisine.

13. Listen to some relaxing music on a daily basis.

14. Listen to podcasts on subjects that interest you.

15. Find a new hobby.

16. Start a collection.

17. Choose an art poster and hang it on your living room wall.

18. Choose to wear accessories that make you feel good.

19. Make a positive affirmation that works for you and keep repeating it daily; i.e., “I choose what I become.”

21. Write down your favorite quote on a post-it note and stick it on your bathroom mirror.

22. Use an inspirational quote as a screen saver; or set your smartphone to remind you of it several times during the day.

23. Make a playlist of ten happy songs that you like best. Listen to them at least once during the day.

24. Listen to TEDex talks on topics that interest you or topics you are curious about while doing chores or driving.

25. Commit to explore one new idea or do one new thing.

26. Remind yourself that you control how you feel by repeating often “I’m in charge of how I feel and today I choose happiness.”

27. Make it a habit to sit quietly and take deep, slow breaths.

28. Take a power nap or sleep 20 more minutes every night.

29. Make a photo album with pictures carrying happy memories.

30. Call, text, or email a friend that you haven’t seen in a while.

31. Sit in a quiet spot preferably outside, in nature, and do nothing for 15 minutes

32. Write down your three core values.

33. Write a positive comment or compliment someone inspiring on social media.

34. Watch comedies.

35. Read poetry.

36. Learn how to meditate and do it daily for 10-15 minutes.

37. Take a test to find your core strengths.

38. Next to each strength write down specific ways you can use it in your routine.

39. Sing your favorite song or whistle.

40. Go dancing.

41. Write down one important goal.

42. Now jot down three specific things you can do this week in that direction.

43. Tell yourself three reasons why you are happy to be alive.

44. Make a list of your “favorites” (dish, songs, books, films, travel destinations, anything).

45. Pick one thing and do it today.

46. Pick another thing from that list and do it tomorrow; you get the idea.

47. Identify five things that make you happy. Write down specific ways of how you can incorporate them in your day and do more of them.

48. Learn one relaxation technique and practice it daily.

49. Write a thank you letter to someone and be specific on what they did that helped you (you don’t need to mail it).

50. Remind yourself “I truly and deeply love and appreciate myself and I am invested in my personal development.”