Something that I have become personally very clear about is my own take on the purpose of life .
Now, what I’m not saying is I understand the meaning of life (that’s a bigger question of which I certainly don’t know the answer).
But I am comfortable and confident that the purpose of life is for each of us to make intentional choices and actions that will help us to live a happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
In this post I want to, at least in part, answer the big question of how to be happy in life by referencing a number of the 9 inescapable truths for a prosperous life outlined in the Intentionomics Blueprint.
I don’t want to go down an academic regurgitation of what being happy actually means from a biological or psychological point of view, however, I do want to share what my on-going literature researching is validating for me as I continue to expand my knowledge and understanding of the impact of our intentions on living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
Let’s start with being happy and at least attempt to answer the question of how to be happy in life.
With some of the ‘happiness movement’ coaches running laughter classes, it’s easy to trivialise what it actually means to be happy. Happiness certainly is more than just a moment of laughter, because we can laugh at a joke and still not be happy in life. Happiness is that feeling we have when we have a sense of contentment with who we are; pride in our character; a conscious sense of gratitude for what we have and our possibilities in life; when we are ‘in flow’; when we have a sense of achievement; when we have trust in ourselves and loving and trusting relationships.
Happiness is certainly not just one thing, or one sense of feeling, it is without a doubt quite complex… but a great place to start is to ask yourself the questions “Am I happy?” and “What makes me happy?” and to think deeply about your answers.
Inescapable truth #1 in the Intentionomics Blueprint of 9 inescapable truths for a prosperous life is the need for you to Define What A Prosperous Life Means For You.
Let me divert this discussion to this notion of happiness being linked to prosperity for a moment.
What is prosperity? I wonder what it means for you?
Most definitions link prosperity with monetary wealth, and this has led me to revisit a question that Liz and I asked of ourselves many years ago. And the question is “How much monetary wealth is enough?”
When we first asked ourselves that question, it resulted in us making a list of things that we would like to acquire and experience together in the short, medium and long term. Most of these ‘things’ we listed required us to have money to be able to acquire and experience them.
With the help of a financial adviser, once defined (and this took some time to do), and once ‘costed’ in terms of how much money we needed to have and by what stage in our life we would be able to acquire them, it was simply (not necessarily always easy) a process of managing our cash flow, spending less than we earned, saving what we could (which in the early years at times equalled zero) and investing wisely.
And our real lesson that I wanted to share in this post takes us back to the question “How much monetary wealth is enough?”
What’s unskilled about this question is the word enough!
Let’s change it a little.
How much monetary wealth is enough to achieve specifically defined life goals? OK, this tells us that we need to have life goals, and that then we will be able to better answer how much monetary wealth will be enough to at least achieve those.
How much monetary wealth is enough to be happy?
This is where the question becomes really interesting because we need to know what will make us happy.
As I’ve written in previous posts, the latest research in the world of positive psychology suggests that around 40% of our overall level of happiness is determined by our intentional actions to invest our time and energy in experiences rather than just buying and acquiring things that will help us to keep up with the Joneses (whoever the Joneses are!).
And as I’ve been reflecing on this concept of prosperity, it’s become very clear to me, based on Liz and my personal experiences together, as well as on what science is now telling us, that …
Prosperity Isn’t Monetary Wealth.
Prosperity is using whatever wealth you have to invest your time in life experiences within your means that will help you to increase your own happiness and that of others around you. This is central to being able to answer and take intention action on the question how to be happy in life.
When Liz and I didn’t have any spare cash at the end of the week, we would always find something we could do together (or with friends or family) that didn’t cost anything, but increased our level of happiness.
While others we knew would choose to just stay in doors and do nothing because they couldn’t afford to do anything, that was rarely our choice.
Prosperity isn’t monetary wealth! Sure having more monetary wealth opens up more opportunity to experience and acquire more. However, what’s more important about living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life is to be grateful for what you have and to make intentional choices to experience what you can, within your means.
Inescapable Truth #2 of the Intentionomics Blueprint is to Take Stock Of Your Truth About You – this is about asking questions and self reflection on your character and the extent to which you’ve learned how to be happy with yourself. Self trust is the cornerstone of happiness and fuels the motivational fires that ignite you to take the intentional action you need to take, to be who you need to be to live a happy, flourishing and prosperous life. Self trust must be present before you can build intentional trust relationships with others and without intentional trust relationships with yourself and others, how can you possibly be living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life?
Defining what a prosperous life means for you and taking stock of your truth about you are two inescapable truths to help you answer what is one of life’s really important questions… how to be happy in life.