Living a "rich" life is so more than the accumulation of money.
That's because money, as an end to itself, does not create a "rich" life.
A rich life exists only when we find happiness but happiness can be elusive.
Unfortunately, unhappiness can lead people to chase happiness in all the wrong places – such as by using drugs or alcohol or perhaps being unfaithful to their partner or gambling too much.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
In his five-year study of the habits of the rich and poor, Tom Corley, who is the co-author of my latest book Rich Habits Poor Habits accumulated an enormous amount of research data on the habits that are responsible for creating a life of abundance or wealth.
In his study Tom found that long-term happiness comes from within, not from external sources.
Some background on happiness
There has been plenty of research into happiness and one such study determined the following:
- 50% of happiness is gene-based
- 40% of happiness is activity-based
- 10% of happiness is circumstance-based.
Your genetic makeup determines your "happiness baseline", which is where you revert to before and after any happiness or unhappiness events.
And it's this baseline that's the reason why buying mega-mansions, expensive cars, jewellery, etc., doesn't create long-term happiness.
It's also the reason why events in your life that make you unhappy, such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, and failure, don't create long-term unhappiness.
Since eventually everyone reverts back to their genetic happiness baseline, the only true way to increase long-term happiness is to engage in activities that produce that state of mind.
And thanks to Tom’s research into the habits of the rich and the poor, he uncovered what some of those activities are.
The exciting part is all you need is one or two of these to increase your happiness baseline.
How to create happiness
1. Manage Expectations
All too often we look at life through rose-colored glasses.
While optimism is critical to success, the biggest cause of unhappiness is not meeting expectations we set for ourselves.
So what we really need when we pursue a big goal, a dream or our main purpose in life is a dose of reality.
When pursuing a big goal you need to break that journey down into manageable tasks that are 100% achievable.
What this does is guarantees that you will meet expectations and avoid unhappiness.
It also sets you up to surprise yourself by exceeding your expectations, which in turn creates happiness.
2. Exercise Daily
The world is getting fatter and possibly more unhappy because exercising is actually a happiness habit.
While the activity itself is not a happiness event, when completed, it creates a feeling of overall happiness.
We feel happy because we've done something that is good for our body, which means that the more you exercise, the happier you will be.
And at the same time happiness hormones - endorphins – are released, which makes you feel better
So instead of sitting there being unhappy, move your body and you'll soon find you're a little happier.
3. Learn Every Day
Too many feel that their learning ends when they finish high school or university.
But, believe it or not, learning something new will make you happier.
When we learn something new, the brain creates new neural synapses (connections), and this neural stimulation creates a physiological feeling of self-satisfaction and increased confidence.
We simply feel better about ourselves.
And this is not an accident... these physiological feelings of happiness are the brain's way of rewarding us for engaging in good brain behaviour.
The brain's secondary purpose (the first being to keep us alive) is to learn.
When we learn new things, we actually increase the mass of our brain (new neurons = new mass).
So the more we engage in learning, the more the brain will reward us with feelings of happiness.
Each time you learn something new, therefore, you are creating a happiness event.
By devoting 20 to 30 minutes each day to reading something that will help you in your job or increasing your knowledge in some hobby or passion you might have, you will become happier.
4. Associate with Happy People
We all know someone who is a glass half-empty type of person.
And I'm sure we all know someone who is a glass half-full type of person as well.
But it's important that you spend more time with the latter and not the former.
That's because birds of a feather flock together.
If you want to be happier you need to associate with other happy people.
You can do this by spending a minimum of one hour a week with happy people but conversely you also need to reduce the time you spend with unhappy people by the same amount.
When you make new acquaintances with other happy people, they will, in time, introduce you to their relationships, who also happen to be other happy people.
The more happy people you associate with in life, the happier you will be.
Smiley, happy people
While this is not an exhaustive list of how rich and successful people create their own happiness, it is a very good place to start.
By adopting one or two of these actions, you can soon turn that frown upside down and create your own happiness, which has a multitude of additional well-being benefits.
Plus, everyone likes a happy person, don't they?