Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. – Dalai Lama
I was lost in a dark world. In fact, the sky was dark, too.
And it just so happened that the music I listened to switched to a dark song, A dark song like – Dragons It’s Time.
Now, that probably sounds dramatic and I’m not really a dramatic guy, but that’s how it was.
One day I walked to my school’s diner to get a very late dinner. I had spent yet another long day studying. I felt depressed.
I didn’t know what to do with life.
I was going along a journey that I knew for sure I didn’t like.
I planned on being a doctor, but I had shadowed doctors and I had the feeling that this life wasn’t for me.
And what made it worse was Asian parents pressuring me.
Plus, I put too much into my degree to turn back now (or at least that’s what I thought).
The alternatives weren’t that exciting either.
I had considered everything:
- Virology research.
- Animal research.
- Biotech factory work.
I was so far into my journey it seemed like I couldn’t change paths.
On top of that, my dating and social life were in the drain.
I didn’t know it then, but society brought me up to believe that happiness came from success, popularity, and beautiful women.
None of which I had. Those daily reminders made me depressed.
But Then, Things Changed For The Better
It’s funny looking back years later because I got through those dark times and I’m happy now.
After years of dark times, I read every book I could on happiness to try and make myself happier.
Everything compounded on top of what I described to a point where I had to figure out how I could be happier.
I got a ton of advice from people, but they were just opinions.
Some said turn to religion. Others said talk to a psychiatrist. Some said just smile.
I wanted the truth. I wanted rigorous, scientific information based on decades of testing on thousands of people.
I went through tons of books, tons of TED talks, and other information but I finally found what I needed.
I sifted through a ton of opinionated books with anecdotes. And I found some good books with extensive science on happiness. And that brought me to – gratitude.
The Power Of Gratitude
Gratitude is one of the fundamental things you can do to increase happiness. There are more, but I want to focus on just Gratitude.
Modern society has programmed us to believe that buying more stuff or having money and fame will make you happier.
They have an objective to do this: so they make more money. But the whole system is flawed.
Studies have shown that once you hit a middle-class first world income, the correlation between happiness and money becomes less and less strong.
You get much less bang for your buck the more you make. I’m sure you already knew this on some level.
Just go somewhere poor and you’ll find poor people who are pretty happy. And I’m sure you know at least one rich person who’s bitter or depressed. If not, trust me, they’re out there.
There’s plenty of podcasts and daily interviews with millions and you’ll find enough on there.
But practicing daily gratitude has been shown to be one of the longest-lasting sustainable ways to improve your happiness. Studies have shown that it produces tremendous results.
Keep A Daily Journal and Do This:
Everyday, I try to write down at least 5 things I’m grateful for. I try to go into detail to get more of that emotion.
It’s opened my eyes to all the things I lucked out on in life that I forgot about or overlooked.
I was born in a first world country. I have access to standard necessities like plumbing and water that most people don’t.
I have better entertainment and transportation than any other time in history.
I get to live longer than most people ever did thanks to medical advances. And I have the opportunity to do what I want.
In other countries, you’re screwed from birth. At least I have the chance to pursue my passion.
For self-development reasons, I also write down my #1 goals in life in the first person with extreme detail as if I have already accomplished them.
This helps me move forward to achieving the dream life that I want. I then set a goal to move there.
I have found that talking to at least one new person a week on LinkedIn and learning about their job has helped me explore my horizons.
I’ve realized that people can change jobs and career paths late in life. And it’s ok.
It takes time to try out different things and get a handle on it. It’s a fallacy to believe that you have to settle for a job you hate because – “it’s too late.”
Talking to people on LinkedIn and using a journal to remind myself has helped me learn about new jobs and industries I didn’t even know existed!
There’s all sorts of weird stuff like wedding planner, fashion designer, and copywriter.
It’s my mission in life to spread this message:
“Millions of dollars, fame, power, and status won’t make you happy. Science proves it.”
I am so compelled to express this message because I have realized how rampant this myth has spread globally.
Almost everyday, I see thousands of youth who believe this. And since I’m really into self-development, I consume interviews and speeches from successful people daily.
And it’s crazy how often they will say that they destroyed their health, family life, or something else in pursuit of a goal that ended up not helping that much!
Cara DeLevigne, Alicia Keys, and Lady Gaga are all examples of people who have come out and said this.
Today, I want you to start your daily journal by writing down one thing you’re grateful for. And one goal that’s not related to money or fame.
And If you have thoughts on overcoming depression naturally, share it!