Who is the most powerful man who ever lived? No, not you Mr. President, and that wasn’t even a good guess. The most powerful man who ever lived was the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius. At age 40, in the year 161 AD, he was the most powerful man on the planet who ruled over more lands and more people than anyone to date. But he didn’t reign with greed and anger. He reigned with wisdom, justice, and integrity.
I was watching this video from Andrew Kirby who broke down 10 suggestions from Marcus Aurelius on how to be happy. Let’s look at the first five today…
1. Life is opinion. Life is shaped by your perception.
We don’t see life as it is. We see life through our own perceptions and belief systems. Over the years, we have formed our own belief systems on how life should be, what is fair and unfair, just and unjust. We have established paradigms through which we view everything we experience. If you want to be a happier person, you have to try to see life as it is and change your paradigms and belief systems to more positive ones. No easy task for sure, but with work, you can!!!
2. Never Complain
I use to read a quote every day to myself, “Never condemn, complain, or criticize.” My goal was to embed this in my head, so that when I saw it happening I would not join in or I would stop if I was the one doing it. Negativity never breeds anything positive, so complaining really holds no true value. You may think it makes you feel better, but it is short lived. Real growth comes from positive change, never complaining. So, do your best to avoid complaining at all costs.
3. Contemplate Death
This can be morbid for sure, but the point is to know that you have a limited amount of time on this earth. Use that time to do good and don’t waste a single minute. Each minute should have a purpose, so make good use of each one.
4. Do Less
We tend to try to do too many things and not do any of them well. One of the secrets to happiness is doing less. The less you do, the more of it you can do. The more of it you do, the better you will be at it and the happier you will be. The secret is less, not more.
5. Give With No Expectation
I have heard it time and time again. “You can have everything you want in life by helping other people get everything they want.” This may sound corny, but I truly believe you get what you put out in this world. I also believe that giving starts the receiving process. So, do everything you can to give to others. Give of your attention, your money, your time. I promise that this will lead to a happier life.
Happiness is something that you do, not necessarily something that you are. If you do all the right things, you build this aura of happiness and joy around you that bubbles up and appears to be natural. But it is really just doing the right things and having the right perceptions. This list of five are a great start to get you on the road to happiness. Next week, we will finish the last five, but you don’t have to wait until next week to start using these. It’s a new year, so get started now applying these five suggestions to your life and integrating more happiness in each day.