If there was a magic pill for happiness, success and a fulfilling life, I would have taken it first. After all, isn't the whole purpose of life to find happiness? So in a real world where happiness is as elusive as a steadily growing bank balance, let me share with you some of the things that ensure happiness. Before you put on that smirk, I would say, try it out and see what happens. I tried it through last year (2014) and it worked like magic. So here are some things that work better than magical pills -
1. Work (and always) for a win-win partnership instead of me-win. If you win, I win and we both win. (Think how you can do that when you go for your next pitch, demo or even a family outing).
2. Small is big. Small leads to big and small will be your biggest strength. How do you become big? How do you achieve greatness? I don't know. But, one thing that makes big is doing the same small thing, everyday. Every single day. These same small steps every day, suddenly explodes into something big. Try it out, be it weight loss, more revenues, more customers, or in every walk of life, if you are doing the same stuff daily diligently and passionately, you will start seeing results. And, those results will surprise you. It sneaks on you while you are busy doing the same small things.
3. Nobody cares, truly. Nobody cares if you are upset, hurt or lying in the ditch. So why bother? Don't sweat over it and please, please don't brood over it. One thing you will learn the more you live and the more mistakes you make is that people (as a collective entity) are blessed with very short memory and in many ways, a forgiving memory. So why bother? Why feel upset? See how you can cut down on your ‘bad time’ feeling and use it to work on that dreadful presentation or just go for a run. Trust me, do it and experience it. Get seriously busy whenever that low feeling creeps in.
4. Laugh, laugh and laugh a little bit more. Laugh at your own self, laugh at your own mistakes, laugh at your competitors, laugh when VCs ridicule you, and laugh even when nobody is laughing with you. Laughing is a best therapy. I laughed a lot this year to the utter disgust and horror of my close ones. (Yes, I have a scary way of laughing and no scorn deters me to laugh just a little bit more).
5. Aim higher. We all know we need to aim higher, we all think we aim higher but actually life has a way of taking over this pursuit of ours. It comes in the form of daily work, immediate issues that needs to be resolved, family problem that needs to be addressed, targets that need to be met and so on and on. Also, the world is always watching with that smirk, ‘oh! let’s see if you can do it’. And then we get into the trap of living a life and dreaming a little less. Come on, it’s your life, you can climb the mountain, you can fall in the ditch with face smeared in mud, you can go naked and you can aim higher of ruling the world. It’s addictive. Start aiming for what the world sees as an impossible dream. And see how the magic starts.
6.Ask, beg and seek all the help. ‘Sorry, I don't know it, could you please help me?’ is probably one of the best lines you can speak throughout the year. What's wrong in not knowing it all and what's wrong in saying it loud? Let’s ask, ask and ask for help. 'I need your help, please help me,' is my favourite line. But let me add that the amount of 'no, I am busy' response I get is not funny. But I don't give up and then suddenly magic happens and from somewhere, someone just says, I will help you and that help covers up for all the 'Nos'. Please ask this year for help and please ask it loud and clear, and persistently.
7. Thanks, thanks and thanks so much. Thank when you get up in the morning. And thank when you are going off to sleep. Thank your family everyday and thank your colleagues, thank the one who is closest to you and thank your enemy. There is no more power bigger than the power of a genuine, heartfelt thank you. More than its effect on the other, it affects you tremendously. You are constantly practicing being happy and fulfilled. Please thank a lot in 2015 and experience its potency first hand.
8. Say ‘No’ everyday. My biggest challenge has been with saying no. It requires a lot of courage to say no. I don't want to hurt anyone and in the process I say yes to everything. Result. I hurt and disappoint a lot more people than I would have, had I said no in the first place. I have learnt to say No this year. It’s one life we have, if I say no to going out for a startup outing, will it give me more blessed time with my dogs? If yes, what do I want from my life, from my day and from my years which are fast passing by? Ask these questions and saying ‘No’ becomes easier.
9. Start enjoying being alone. If you are an entrepreneur or if you are planning to be one, one thing that will be your constant companion is an acute sense of loneliness. Why just entrepreneur, if you are you with a big dream and an unbridled passion to excel you will experience loneliness. I experience it regularly. Start enjoying that loneliness, that pain of not being understood. How? For me it was connecting with so many authors like Rebecca Solnit, Augustus Burroughs and reading their work. Somewhere I could connect to their experiences and know that somewhere, someone is experiencing exactly what I am. It becomes therapeutic. Start analysing, understanding and caring for yourself a little bit more.
10. Think about your story. What is your story going to be? It’s easy to get distracted, to start wishing differently and start seeing your story differently. What will be the story of you? If you had to write your own memoir of the year, what will it be like? What did you chase, what did you win and did you really win what you wanted to win? Start thinking about yourself. Start thinking about your story for this year. It’s amazing to have that mental clarity at some level. You will be surprised how you will respond to the media news of 100 billion valuations or for that matter someone shutting down shop.
Let’s make it a truly happy year. All the very best to you, me and us.
And here's an Infographic by the amazingly talented Anna Vital on 'How to have a Happy New Year' (Source)