How To Be Happy In Life & Why You Aren’t Already Happy
Hello, my name is Noah Elkrief. And in this video I’m going to answer the question – how to be happy in life? Before I get to how to be happy, I’m going to explain why the most common ways to make yourself happy won’t work, and will often create a lot of suffering. This video is going to save you a lot of time and energy in your life pursuing happiness from things that can’t make you happy.
What we are really saying when we answer the question “how to be happy?”
Commonly, we think of happiness as: If I get everything to be good enough out there, then I will be happy. But that neglects the most fundamental question, which is, what makes me unhappy? If you think a relationship will make you happy, you’re saying the cause of my unhappiness is being single. If you think success will make you happy, then you’re saying the cause of my unhappiness is not having success. If you think having a big house will make you happy, then you’re saying the cause of your unhappiness is not having a big enough house.
What really makes you unhappy… thoughts
But let’s take a moment and really ask the question – what makes you unhappy? You may think it’s very complicated, there are all different types of things that make you unhappy. However, it’s very simple, very, very simple. And the answer is – thoughts.
Thoughts create your worries about others’ opinions. When you’re not thinking are you worried about others’ opinions? No. Thoughts create anxiety about the future. When you’re distracted from your thoughts, is there any anxiety about the future? No. Thoughts create guilt about the past. When you’re not thinking about the past, is there any guilt? No. Thoughts create anger towards others, thoughts create resentment towards others, thoughts create arguments, thoughts create sadness about the past, disappointment, thoughts create your insecurities, your feeling of shame, thoughts create every piece of suffering you have in life. There is no bit of suffering not created by thoughts.
When you are distracted from thoughts, you are already happy
The proof is simply, when you’re distracted from thoughts, you’re already happy. Even if you’re, you may think your job is creating your unhappiness in life, but when you’re distracted from your thoughts at work, someone sends you a funny email or makes a joke, you’re fine. You’re still in the same job, the facts are still the same, but when you’re distracted from your thoughts, you’re already happy, right? So what that proves to you is it’s only thoughts that create your unhappiness.
No achievement can make you happy if it doesn’t delete your thoughts
So therefore when you’re pursuing a change out there, to make you happy, success, power, appreciation, purpose, meaning, love, kids, any of those things, what you’re essentially saying is getting that will eliminate all the thoughts from my head, or at least a large chunk of them. But can that really work? Take a moment and look. Will success eliminate my anxiety about the future? Will I no longer worry about what my boss thinks? Will I no longer worry about losing my job? Will I know longer have problems in my relationship? Will I no longer have insecurities about my personality, my appearance, my anything, my intelligence.
Every bit of suffering you have now, you will have then, except minus one thought that says my life isn’t good enough because I don’t have success. But you’ll have a bunch of new thoughts that creates suffering. Take a moment and really let that sink in. The only thing that creates your suffering, your unhappiness, is thoughts.
No activity will make you happy if it doesn’t delete your thoughts
So how to be happy? What will make you happy? Well, something that will get rid of your thoughts, right? Often times, when other people speak on how to be happy – they say you have to have hobbies, you need to have a passion, you need to have whatever. You have a hobby, it’ll distract you from thoughts a little bit, but then you go back to the same old thoughts that create your loneliness, your shame, your sense of lack, your everything else. So that can’t be the answer. Getting a relationship, will that be the answer? Well is everyone in a relationship happy? No. You have resentment, you worry about whether they’re going to continue to love you, you have jealousy, you have everything else that’s already in your life.
How to be happy? Stop trying to change external circumstances that aren’t creating your suffering
So what will make you happy? The real question is, how do I get rid of the thoughts that make me unhappy? That’s the question. And the first thing you need to do is, every time you experience any type of unwanted emotion, like anxiety, sadness, disappointment, any emotion. Our automatic reaction is something out there is to blame. If we’re stressed – I need to change my job, I need to change them, why is it like this? If we’re angry – they need to change, why do they do this? So the first step is, when you experience any type of suffering, any unwanted emotion, stop. What is the real cause of this emotion? Is it really something out there? Or is it a thought in my head? When I’m distracted from this thought, am I suffering? No. When I don’t think about it, am I suffering? No. As soon as I start thinking about it, what happens? Suffering.
How to be happy? Address the cause of your suffering
The only cause of your suffering is thought. So every time that you suffer and you try to change something out there, you’re not addressing the cause of your suffering. So instead, when you experience some sort of emotion that you don’t like, look, what stories am I telling myself? What thoughts am I saying? So if I have a job interview coming up and I have anxiety, I don’t say “Well I hope this goes right. Once the interview’s done, I’ll be fine.” You look, what story am I telling? The story is, it would be bad if I don’t get the job, right?
How to address the thoughts that make you unhappy
Once you’ve identified your unwanted emotion, the first step is to identify the thought, or story that’s creating your unwanted emotion. Once you identify that thought, then you need to question it, investigate it. Is it true? Because when you discover a thought in your head isn’t true, the suffering goes. Instantly, immediately. Not something you have to practice and master, or anything – instantly it goes.
An example to show you how to eliminate an unwanted emotion
If you have a job interview coming up, and you think it would be bad if you don’t get the job, that thought will create stress. If you want to lose that stress, you simply ask – am I sure? Do I know it would be bad for my life? I never had the job, how do I know I’ll like it? How do I know I’ll like my co-workers? How do I know I won’t get fired next week because I can’t do the job? How do I know I won’t be on my way to work one day and get hit by a car? I’m just saying, how do I know?
Or you can ask a different set of questions to disbelieve the idea that it would be bad if I don’t get the job. Well maybe if you don’t get the job, you’ll get another one next week that pays more and is a better fit for you. Or maybe by not working you’ll meet someone that changes your life. Or maybe you’ll read a book that makes you happy. I don’t know, but you don’t either.
Suffering is created by believing you KNOW what is bad
Any time you decide something is bad, that thought will create suffering. But, if you believe that anything is bad, it is because you haven’t investigated whether it’s really true, whether you know it to be true. When you discover that you don’t know whether something is good or bad, there can be no suffering. So looking at the job interview for example, if you don’t know whether it’s best or worst for your life to get the job, then there’s nothing to fear.
Facts can’t create emotions
If you’re angry at someone, or sad about something that happened, you look. It’s not created by what happened, because if something happened that was really bad, let’s say somebody got hurt or somebody cheated on you. If you didn’t know about it, would you suffer? No. It happened, but you wouldn’t suffer. Why, because you didn’t have any thoughts about it. But as soon as you start to think about it and you suffer and you think, “Oh, my sadness and anger is created by that.” No, it’s not. It’s created by the thoughts in your head.
Do you know what is bad?
If you want to stop feeling sad and angry, you just need to investigate whether the thoughts in your head are true. When you have sadness or anger, you’re saying something that happened was bad. But how do you know? Do you know all the future effects of that outcome? Do you know that there won’t be any good effects that come from it? When you’re saying something is bad, you’re saying it’s bad for my happiness. But what makes you happy?
If the relationship ends, you think that’s so bad. But the relationship couldn’t make you happy, couldn’t get rid of your worries, your anxiety, your shame, your insecurities, anything. So how do I know this will be bad for my happiness if it didn’t make me happy? It gave me moments of pleasure, but everything gives you moments of pleasure. Ice cream, TV, music, anything, a hobby. Anything can give you a moment of pleasure, but you don’t want moments of pleasure, you want to live with happiness. This is how to live with peace, live with happiness in every moment. You see?
How to be happy all the time
Any time you are suffering, the way to be happy is to simply identify the story or thought that’s creating your emotion, and then investigate whether it’s true. And in order to help your investigation, here is a link to a free web app that takes you through 5 steps that helps you to investigate whatever emotion that you have. You’re also welcome to look at my other videos to see how to address each type of emotion.
But just summarizing what we spoke about here, if you want to be happy, the first natural question you have to ask is, “What makes me unhappy?” Which is thoughts. Then if you want to know whether there is something that can make you happy – can success make me happy, can wealth make me happy, can purpose make me happy? Well, can it get rid of the thoughts in my head? Can a hobby make me happy? Can a passion make me happy? Well, I might enjoy it while I do it, but am I going to do it in every moment? Am I going to have anxiety when I’m doing it? Worries? Sadness? Any of that? Insecurities? Stop. If you want to be happy, you need identify and address the cause of your unhappiness, which is thoughts. That’s it.
Thank you for reading this blog post about how to be happy
I hope you enjoyed this video on how to be happy, or more importantly you recognize the obviousness of the truth. That simply, you want to be happy and thoughts create unhappiness. So you have to address thoughts – there’s no way around that.