I love self-help books. Self-help books about happiness, self-confidence, mindfulness, and productivity – you name it. At the moment, I’m reading Neal Pasricha’s The Happiness Equation. As any other good book about happiness, it mostly reminds you of things you already know but don’t pay attention to, but it also gives you new ideas on how to increase your happiness in everyday life.
For example people in Okinawa live up to average of 7 years longer compared to Americans. There are several reasons for that but the most substantial ones is that, they all have ikigais. Ikigai means “the reason to get up in the morning”. Such a simple thing. The thing that drives you the most in your life and makes you wake up determined in the morning. Pasricha says that when he found out about ikigai, he got his wife an ikigai card for Christmas so she could write down her reason to wake up in the morning and have the card next to her on the night stand in the mornings.
The other good point in the book is creating space in your life. Pasricha divides everything we do into two categories: thinking and doing. If we are constantly thinking and doing, we end up burning out. That’s why we need to balance thinking, doing, burning and creating space. Creating space is a complete holiday from active thinking and doing. And it’s usually the area where we’re the most creative because we don’t have to force our brain to come up with new ideas or solutions. But how do we create space? For example by removing choices and making decision easier. No one cares if you’re wearing the great or white shirt today, and after all it’s a super small decision in your life. Rather put time and effort into the decisions that will effect your life.
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.” Said Gandhi. Meaning that happiness comes from finding your authentic self and staying true to it by being self-confident. And happiness comes from doing things for yourself, not for others. For example studying things I’m really interested in makes me happy and motivated. But whenever I start studying just to aim for a good grade, I don’t get the same kind of satisfaction from it. It just feels like I have to force myself to do it and I’m only doing it to be criticized or evaluated by others.