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By Tom Corley

Five activities that lead to true happiness

The pursuit of happiness is the one common denominator of all human beings.

People will spend their entire lives in the pursuit of happiness.

But, if you don’t know the true path toward long-term happiness, you can get lost along the way and pursue false paths to happiness.


Recreational drugs, alcohol, sex, excessive recreation/entertainment, and other similar pursuits can offer a temporary boost in certain neurochemicals (dopamine and oxytocin) which create a short-lived euphoria often misinterpreted as happiness.

Those chemically-induced false happiness activities always return individuals to their genetically-predetermined happiness baseline.

That return to baseline happiness, that crash, that reversal of euphoria, drives many individuals to return to those activities which caused the artificial spike in happiness.

Unless intentionally controlled, this pursuit of false happiness becomes a habit and a cycle of happiness-unhappiness that can lead to addiction.

There’s a better way.

In my study of the rich and poor, I discovered that there are five activities that lead to true, long-term happiness:

Doing something that you love

This could be the pursuit of a dream, sports activities, a hobby, exercise, music, art, etc.

When you engage in activities that make your heart sing, happiness follows.

Adding value to the lives of others

When you engage in activities that improve the lives of others, that satisfaction, that happiness, sticks.

Even better, when those activities can be monetized, you are able to build a career out of helping others and enjoy a lifetime of happiness.

Spending time with those you love

Spending time with our closest relationships gives us great satisfaction or happiness.

The more time we spend with our loved ones, the happier we are.

Happiness events

Weekends with family/friends, spending time with family/friends at your vacation home, a cruise, a trip to Europe, a night out with loved ones – all of these things represent happiness activities.

The more happy activities you can fill your life with, the happier you will be.

Removing worry from your life

Worry makes you unhappy.

Removing worries, makes you feel happy.

Example #1 – Financial Struggle: 

If your job does not generate enough income, you will struggle to pay your bills.

That struggle creates unhappiness.

Tax Budget Finance Money

So, you go to school at night and after several years get a degree or some certification that allows you to get a higher-paying job, ending your financial struggles.

That creates happiness.

Example #2 Obesity 

Your obesity has resulted in Type II Diabetes.

So, you decide to exercise and watch what you eat.

You lose weight and your blood sugar levels return to normal, ending your Diabetes and its associated health problems.

That creates happiness.

You might notice a common theme in the above – activity.

Always seek activities that create a sense of fulfilment and at the end of that activity, you will find true happiness.

About Tom Corley Tom is a CPA, CFP and heads one of the top financial firms in New Jersey. For 5 years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of wealthy people and people living in poverty and his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots” which culminated in his #1 bestselling book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals. Visit the website:

Example 1- Financial struggle is not simply fixed by getting a higher paying job. Being able to manage finances and expenditure is a real skill. That's why alot of lotto winners are broke again after a few years.

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