• Why Aren’t You Outrageously Happy?

    outrageously happy

    I’d like to invite you to stop for a moment and check in with yourself. I know it’s unusual, and at first you might come up empty-handed, but try and persevere: Take a deep breath and ask yourself how happy or unhappy you are right now, at this moment, without having to think about it. This is about feeling.

    What was your answer? Was it a 5-star review, or more like a “meh” one? The truth is that most of us don’t feel outrageously happy the majority of the time. We’re not exactly unhappy, either, mind you. But wouldn’t it be nice if we could dial up the happiness meter, so to speak?

    Let’s take a closer look.

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    Why we feel “meh”


    At first glance, it seems unreasonable. Barring serious physical and/or mental illness, which some of us suffer from and which can really mess with your emotions, the majority of us live lives our ancestors would have dreamed of, if they could have imagined them.

    We have shelter and comfort. Our food supplies are so abundant, we needn’t worry about ever going hungry. Most of us also have a family and friends we love and who love us. We have more options in terms of fulfilling leisure and sports activities than any generation before us.

    We’re living the life of Riley. We should be jumping with joy all day, every day, shouldn’t we?

    Then why aren’t we?

    There are a lot of reasons, but I’d like to pull up the most common ones.

    #1: Negativity Bias


    The first would be the evolutionary negativity bias we all carry around with us. I’ve published an entire video episode on the subject recently, so I’ll give you the link here and leave it at that.

    It’s fairly obvious why this would dampen your mood, isn’t it? If you have ten good things going on but your genetic programming forces you to hone in on the one problem, it’s bound to affect your happiness levels.

    #2: Habit


    Number two is a little more subtle. It may sound strange, but we’re prone to defaulting to the mood that has become a habit.

    I often say that being unhappy is just as much of a habit as being outrageously happy, and if you look around, you’ll see a lot of people just living out their lives without ever experiencing either extreme. We’re surrounded by “meh” people – often in our families, as well as the outside world – and so this is what we learn from childhood on.


    #3: Upper Limit

    Gay Hendricks describes the “upper limit” of happiness people subconsciously allow themselves. Apparently, the habitual (see my previous point) level of feeling just about okay, feels safe to us. It’s familiar and therefore, comfortable.

    This inner thermostat prevents us from feeling very happy – or very unhappy – for any extended periods of time. According to Hendricks, if something wonderful happens in our lives, we might feel overjoyed, but after a while the discomfort from being beyond our own Upper Limit kicks in and we subconsciously create or attract a situation that’ll regulate our happiness levels down to what we’ve come to see as “normal”.

    Acute versus habitual (un)happiness


    To avoid misunderstandings: I’m not saying we should always be blissfully happy. In fact, I’ve argued that that would be detrimental and unhealthy.

    Going through happier-than-usual and also very unhappy periods in life is completely normal. If you’re in mourning or have just lost your job, got divorced, or are struggling with any misfortune in life, it’s normal and even good for you to fully experience the associated emotions.

    Similarly, if you’ve just fallen in love or landed your dream job, you’re bound to be overjoyed for a while. Neither of these emotional extremes are better or worse than the other. What they have in common is that they’re bound to a particular situation or event in your life. As such they are also temporary.

    What I’m talking about in this article is the way we feel outside such extraordinary circumstances. When our lives are ticking away, we still have a lot of reasons to be happy, objectively, but we might not feel the matching levels of happiness.

    How to be happier outrageously happy


    Now if you look at the above, you might notice that a lot of the things that makes us feel “meh” are fairly natural: habit, evolutionary burdens, the things we learn from the people around us from childhood onwards. By now, it should be fairly obvious that there’s nothing wrong with us if we’re not feeling happy all the time.

    The point is that it’s possible to turn up the thermostat, to raise the Upper Limit and to create new, happier habits. It’s not something you learn overnight; instead, it requires a long-term commitment and many small steps. Here are a few to get you started.

    1. New and shiny

    Asked about the times they were the happiest in their lives, most people talk about special events such as getting married, travelling the world, having a child. It seems that humans thrive on the extraordinary and new. Therefore, make sure you do something new regularly! Try out a new hobby. Meet new people. Learn a new skill. It keeps you on your toes, preserves your mental flexibility, and it quite simply makes you outrageously happy.

    outrageously happy

    2. Passions

    Do what lights you up. One of the reasons I centre my work around passions is that they are a key to everyday happiness. If you do something that gets you into the “flow”, that makes you forget time, it’s almost like you fall in love: You’re floating on a cloud and your happiness is off the charts.

    3. Helping others

    There are few things more fulfilling than helping our fellow human beings. We’re social animals, after all! Volunteer your time, get involved in a good cause. You needn’t limit yourself to humans, either: working with animals is immensely gratifying, too. If you’re short on time or opportunity, support a cause through online activisim or donations. I often help provide loans to woman in third-world countries through Kiva, and it gives me so much joy to read their success stories afterwards.

    4. Wooing your senses

    Make a conscious effort to indulge your five senses. Listen to your favourite music. Redecorate or create a corner in your house with all your favourite colours. Dress in natural fibres and enjoy the feeling of the textures on your skin. Wear your favourite perfume or get flowers whose scent you love. Eat and truly taste your favourite foods and drinks. There are few things that create more happiness hormones.

    Pick one or more of the above techniques and apply them regularly. The important thing is to set yourself reminders in the calendar or on your phone in order to make them a habit. Gradually, you’ll feel the difference it makes, and eventually, you’ll spend quite a lot of time being, simply, outrageously happy.

  • Learn The Fine Art Of Being Happy



    A lot of people glaze over when I tell them that my business is basically about creating joy and happiness (by means of prioritising passions and fulfilling one’s purpose). You know how to be happy, right? It’s not that hard!

    In fact, it turns out that it is. Hard, I mean. Ask yourself how you feel right now. Then think over today, and yesterday, and the day before. How much of the time did you feel genuinely happy?

    Your mission today is to learn how to be happy.

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    Task 1: Habit versus happiness


    It’s not a sign of failure when we realise we aren’t as happy as we think we should be. In fact, this is as it should be. It’s evolutionary.

    Historically, it was paramount for our survival that we detected threat and danger fast. We’re wired to focus on bad things, it’s not just our attitude. This means that in order to be happier, we need to consciously re-train ourselves and change our habits. It requires effort and persistence.

    In other words, being happy is hard because we need to learn it. It’s against our very nature!

    being happy
    Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on unsplash.com


    Task 2: Being happy bootcamp


    Here are some ways for you to train yourself to more happiness.

    • Gratitude. Once a day, write down or think of three things you’re grateful for. Really feel your gratitude.
    • Do something that lights you up every single day. Your passions deserve the effort!
    • Connect to another human every single day. If you’re home alone, have a conversation by phone or send them a heartfelt message.
    • Check in with yourself once a day. If you’re feeling less than happy, remind yourself of what went well in the past 24 hours.
    • Get in the habit of saying: “Thank you, life” (or God, or whatever you prefer) whenever something good happens to you.
  • Can You Endure Happiness?



    Whenever I bring up this subject, people are incredulous. “Give me happiness, I’ll endure it!” they laugh. In truth, nobody is happy most of the time, because how happy we feel is habitual. I’ve called it the “happiness thermostat” in the past.

    T. Harv Eker teaches something similar in terms of money. There’s a reason why 98% of lottery winners end up broke. They’re not stupid; they just don’t have their financial thermostat set to wealth.

    Your mission is to learn how to increase your happiness capacity.

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    Task 1: Determine your happiness level


    Remember a time when you were intensely happy. Maybe you fell in love with the partner of your dreams or you got a great job. Try and tap into the actual feelings of happiness then.

    Then try and remember how long these feelings lasted. You may still be happy in your relationship years later, and that’s great. But maybe something else went wrong in your life in the meantime?

    Be very honest with yourself and determine how much of your time you spend happy, sad, indifferent, depressed, moody, content…

    Task 2: Escape the tyranny of positivity


    I’ve talked about the tyranny of positive thinking before. It’s not a matter of never feeling any anger, sadness or disappointment. These things are part of life.

    We’re talking about a habitual state of mind here, which is much harder to pin down. You need to observe yourself, so this task goes beyond the video. Be sure to notice, but not judge when you feel bad.

    Photo by Tengy Art on unsplash.com


    Task 3: Steps to increase your happiness capacity


    Now you’ve got an idea on your own happiness level, here are some steps to increase it:

    • Read The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. Use his affirmation every day.
    • “Check in” three times a day, and consciously remind yourself of what’s good in life. Set reminders on your phone.
    • Establish a morning routine to set yourself up for a happy day.
    • Practice gratitude.
  • 3 Steps To Dialling Up Your Happiness Meter



    Have you ever wondered why some people seem happier than others? You may think, d’oh, they’re probably rich and healthy. But that assumption doesn’t hold up to research.

    If you’re like most people, you have experienced periods of intense happiness. However, that often doesn’t last, although circumstances might not have changed.

    Your mission today is to learn how to increase your capacity for happiness.

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    Task 1: The happiness thermostat


    “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

    I don’t think this is quite true, as happiness is not just a matter of the mind. However, it seems that we all have an internal happiness setting that we subconsciously strive to maintain. Gay Hendricks calls it the “Upper Limit”.

    Your happiness tends to follow the setting of your own inner thermostat. It works both way: If something happens to make you very sad, after a while you’ll return to normal. Similarly, if something happens which lifts you above your usual happiness levels, you’ll eventually return to your personal setting.

    Your Happiness
    Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on unsplash.com


    Task 2: 3 Steps to change your happiness habits


    It’s as simple and as difficult as changing the settings on your happiness barometer. Simple, because it’s not hard to understand. Hard, because it’s like pedalling a bike uphill. You could call it your happiness habit.

    Here are 3 steps to get you started:

    1. Pursue your passion. You know that one was coming, didn’t you? But you see, it works. It’s also an excellent way of detecting if something’s wrong.
    2. The Gratitude habit. Write down three or five things you’re grateful for every evening before you go to bed. Don’t just write it, though, really feel the emotion of gratitude.
    3. Get Coaching. Sound lame, coming from a Coach? I’m recommending it because Coaching is the best method for changing habits and sticking things out over the required period of time to make the change permanent.
  • Can You Have Happiness On Tap?


    When I started out on the fascinating journey of personal development nearly 20 years ago, my life evolved into technicolour. It was enriching and led to so much growth, I’ll be eternally grateful to those who first started me out on my way.

    A few subjects have the gurus divided, though. For example, most of them agree that in order to attract good things, you need to develop a positive outlook on life. However, some take it as far as saying that any negative feelings are detrimental and should be avoided at all costs. Others, among them psychologists, point out that to try and suppress feelings like anger and sadness can lead to serious mental health problems.

    In my experience both personally and as a Coach, the latter group have the right of it. There’s nothing wrong with negative emotions, they are part of life, normal and healthy. The important part is how you deal with your emotions, because that’s what determines actual levels of happiness. Wallowing in the negative and looking for the fly in every ointment is definitely not the way to go.

    There are certain, very simple steps anyone can take in order to be happier in life. A lot of them are easy to do but require you to form a habit. Therefore, I recommend trying any or all of the following for at least a period of several weeks in order to fully experience the increase in happiness.

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    Authenticity and positivity


    Instead of panicking whenever you feel something you don’t deem “spiritual” or “positive”, try and choose authenticity. Be completely honest with yourself and experience the full extent of your emotions. This may even require you to cry, or to grumble or even yell for a bit. It’s all good.

    Positivity comes in when the immediate emotional response has been dealt with. It’s not useful to wallow in your negative feelings indefinitely and won’t accomplish anything. When you’re ready, gently steer yourself towards pleasant thoughts and activities you enjoy. Surround yourself by people you love and by plenty of Self Care.

    Remember the movie “The Secret” where Rev Beckwith explains that a positive thought has a much stronger vibration than a negative one? So it’s not necessary to always be smiling. However, it’s a good thing to feel good more often on balance.



    You knew this was going to come up sooner or later, didn’t you? Indeed, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention passion. The simple fact is that nothing is more important than doing what lights you up when it comes to your personal happiness.

    There’s a reason why I talk about prioritising passion so much. It’s not just about making time for your passion (or multiple passions); it’s about radically putting it first. This results in a mindset shift which almost automatically increases happiness. It works every time and it’s like magic – try it!

    If you’re very busy, you may think you can’t afford to prioritise what lights you up, but I’m here to tell you: You can’t afford not to. Focusing on your passion creates space in your life for everything else. Dare to schedule in your passion(s) before anything else. If you’re struggling with this, consider Coaching. This is exactly what I specialise in.

    Happiness on tap


    As I mentioned above, happiness is just like any other habit, it needs to be practised for a while in order to become fully established. Here are a few shortcuts to help you along the way:

    Check in with yourself. At least 2-3 times a day, pause for a moment to sit still, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself how you feel. Really listen for the answer. Act on it: If you’re tired, try taking a nap, if you’re hungry, feed your body.

    Practise gratitude. Every day, list at least three things you’re grateful for. They can be tiny, or the same things every day, but be sure to list them and truly feel your gratitude.

    Look after your body. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise. In order to be able to focus on your passion and live your life to the full, your vehicle – your body – needs to be in top condition. Make sure it is.

    Have a little patience with yourself. If you stick with the above techniques, happiness is practically inevitable. It’s worth the effort!