“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton
“Life is a balanced system of learning and evolution. Whether pleasure or pain; every situation in your life serves a purpose. It is up to us to recognise what that purpose could be.”
― Steve Maraboli
How to feel happy – A lifelong quest for happiness
There is a lot of research and information out there on what makes us happy. There is even more info on how to lead a happier and more fulfilling life or simply how to achieve a state of wellbeing. From positive thinking to daily exercise, from productivity hacks to relationship advice and lifestyle advice, there is plenty of material to immerse ourselves in. Most of us subscribe to one method, one life strategy and follow it through. Most of us are on the right path, however there is always something missing. We do everything we can, read the latest research, follow the latest trends, meditate, travel, “working on ourselves” (whatever that even means).
I had two key issues with all the advice there:
- There were two many of them – I felt overwhelmed.
- When I subscribed to one thing, the rest of my life and issues were kind of neglected. When I focused on my body and diet, I rarely saw friends, when I focused on my social life and being part of a community, my physical wellbeing suffered. I’m sure this sounds fairly familiar to pretty much everyone.
Achieving happiness can seem like a hard quest with so much – sometimes contradicting advice – out there. Our lives have become so busy chasing financial gain and recognition as society suggests that money and looks is the key path to a satisfying and happier life. Yet, above average earner successful professionals of materialistic modern societies crave the simple mindful life that meditation and yoga can provide. They often spend their hard earned cash on investing in a simpler, more carefree life. All that popular online content proves that clutter-free, simple, modest life is one of the most desirable lifestyles out there.
So, if money and possessions and often even status isn’t everything, what is it then? What’s the key solution?
The answer is surprisingly simple and of course, incredibly complex at the same time.
After reading hundreds of books, articles, blog posts, watched numerous Ted talks, listen to podcasts from the best speakers, authors, big names in the field of positive psychology, happiness research and productivity, I do believe that I have a better understanding on whatever makes me – and quite possibly others – happy.
The answer is balance. A shocker, I know, however I don’t simply talk about life-work balance here. By balance I mean a harmony between mind, body, soul and the last key ingredient that is often either completely left out of the mix, or over-emphasised in a misleading way: purpose. A bit about purpose now – we often hear the phrase “do what you love and money will follow”. That’s the typical loud almost forced happy strapline of self help books focusing on a positivity entirely suggesting that a positive mindset will solve all our issues.
Like most research and trends, the positivity movement brings a lot of truth and useful info to the table. Reality, however can be harsh for many of us and positivity alone will not solve our problems or often devastating life situations. Not all of us are in the position of quitting our job and travel the world to become a full time travel blogger, no matter what those tempting Instagram ads may suggest. But we can still find a purpose in whatever what we do. Or we can find it outside of our work. We can find it in community service, charity, exercise. It may or may not bring money. Purpose is not about money. Purpose is something that is important to us, that defines us. And it is the fourth key element to achieving a balance of happiness every day, for the rest of our lives.
Happiness, it seems a state that we have to work on, have to build, but it isn’t as confusing as it seems. If we attempt to attend to all four elements equally on a daily basis, we experience growth. Instead of searching aimlessly, we walk on a path that may not be straight, may not be simple, but we walk it with a healthy mind, body, soul and clear, defined purpose.
So, what are these various aspects we should attend to? Is there a check list? There sure is. There are a few things we can focus on related to all four elements and the purpose of this blog is to share and discover useful, practical techniques, habits, practices and research on how we can achieve the balance of these elements daily.
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