All my life I’ve been interested in how humans self-actualize. How we can achieve success in everything we do, become the best versions of ourselves and generally — how to live the best life.
That’s my thing, my mission. It’s why I am here.
And as long as I remember, I always had the problem with the word – happiness. What is happiness? What does it actually mean? You can’t achieve something, if you don’t know what success looks like, right?
“Happiness” — is a vague term. People use it all the time, but just as with “love”, “personality” and “entrepreneurship” — everyone seems to have their own idea about what it should and should not mean.
Last year I started working with a new client — life coach, and for 9 months me and my team were creating and putting content for his YouTube channel. We did interviews with people of various backgrounds: entrepreneurs, artists, corporate managers, life coaches and we asked them the same question over and over: What is happiness for you?
As an executive producer, I was present at all interviews. And, as a result, I’ve heard some very different answers to this question. But one answer stuck in my mind — and I always refer to it whenever I think or talk about the subject of human happiness.
Happiness — is a combination of micro and macro happiness.
It turns out that “happiness” itself can be broken into smaller pieces, two in fact: micro and macro.
The first part of happiness is micro-happiness. And it’s all about the little things.
It’s watching the sunset.
Cooking for your loved ones.
It’s the first taste of coffee in the morning.
It’s the smile and the way your love partner looks at you.
It’s the taste of fresh air in the morning when you go for a run.
It’s the excitement you get when you finally achieved what you wanted.
Oftentimes we got so caught up in the big things and our anxiety about achieving them that we fail to notice the little ones.
But noticing the little things is an essential part of happiness. We all have them. We just have to start being aware of them and cherish them.
Micro-happiness is about being grateful for the little things life gives us.
One of the things that me and my girlfriend are doing every night, before we go to sleep — is say 3 things we are grateful for during that day. This practice is extremely simple and it takes only 30 seconds or so for each person. We have been doing for over a year now and it really helped us appreciate the good things we have in our life, even when the times are tough.
You can do the same thing with your partner — or do it by yourself, in your journal. The key is to consistently be aware of the good little thing that are part of your life.
But our lives are not all about small pleasures. We have goals to achieve, desires to fulfill and a life to live.
That’s why the second part of happiness — macro happiness — is as essential as the first one.
Macro happiness is all about knowing where you are going. It’s about having big goals and big ambitions. It’s about seeing that what you do, every day, gets you 1 millimeter closer to where you want to be in life — eventually.
Human beings are all “achievers” by nature. We need a big goal in front of us that drives and inspires us.
Life is not whole without this big goal. So what’s yours?
Take the time every day or every week to review where you are, related to your big goals.
Is what you are about to do today leading you towards your dream? Are you happy with your current direction?
If the answer is ‘no’, it’s time to think about making some changes.
I was very stressed out during most of last year working on my business. In fact, I had 2 partners and they knew nothing about it. I woke up every day, opened up my MacBook and worked. It was my business, I was making money — but in the back of my head I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life.
In reality, all I wanted to do was write.
And every time I did write, I felt and enormous wave of energy and motivation to continue. I was inspired. I was driven. But every day in which I did not write and solely worked on my business, I fell asleep feeling depressed, stressed out and exhausted.
Feeling exhausted — is one of the key indicators that you are doing something wrong.
I didn’t think about what I wanted to be doing. I didn’t make a plan. I didn’t have a goal. I was going through the motions, day in, day out.
I exited my business, moved to London and now I have a plan. I know that every post on Medium — even if it’s not read by anybody, leads me towards my BIG goal of becoming an inspirational writer. And it makes me happy.
So take the time to understand what you want out of life. Don’t rush it. Don’t feel guilty and self-indulgent. If sometimes you need a day or two to make a big decision, the decision of who you actually want to be may take a week, a month or even a year.
Give this time to yourself. Understand your big goal. Let is inspire you and drive you. And work towards it every day. That’s the second part of happiness — macro happiness.
Now that you understand what micro and macro happiness is, it’s time for the secret sauce.
It’s really simple.
Happiness — is the combination of both macro and micro happiness.
You won’t be happy (or, a better word — fulfilled) without one or the other. You need both. At the same time. It’s pulling from both sides that makes a diamond.
Focus on the good little things that happen in your life and have a big goal you are working towards every day. That’s the key.
Better word than ‘happiness’
But in truth, even though now I know what it means, I still don’t like the word ‘happiness’. For me, a much better would be fulfillment. Or, as greeks liked to call it — eudaimonia.
The closest translation of eudaimonia is ‘the feeling of happiness and welfare’.
The difference between it and the word ‘happiness’ is that you don’t always have to have a smile on your face. Sometimes things get difficult — and that’s OK. In fact, most of the goals that humans have, do require a bit of struggle.
I don’t feel like writing sometimes. Some days I am scared, bored, tired. But I still sit down and write — because that’s what gives me eudaimonia.