With Or Without Technology: 25 Things That Happy People Do

Note: This is a reblog from TeachThought. I have been tweeting and Facebook sharing article that I really like for the past few months, but this article was different. I just had to share somewhere else with a few of my own thoughts.

Smiling child peeking out of hay

Image: teachthought

Second Note: So, long time no see! It’s been about 10 months since my last post (shh, don’t tell anyone). I’m going to be intentional from here on out to blog more and also to expand this blog beyond technology and edtech. This may warrant an additional blog post, but let’s start with this first.

Below are 25 things that happy people do, with or without technology. This was posted to TeachThought by Terry Heick this morning (July 23, 2015), and I absolutely fell in love with this post. I already shared this on twitter, but I wanted to share it elsewhere. I needed to share it elsewhere. So many of these ring true to my own beliefs and I usually fall short of embracing each and every one of these, but oh boy―could you imagine what your life would look like if you lived out each one of these ideals?

Here’s an experiment. Hunt down 25 index cards and write each one of these on its own card. If you’re one of these techy people, copy and paste these into your Notes app on your iPhone. If you have an Adroid, I’ll pray for you. Next, make an effort to read these at least once a day and concentrate on one or two of these each day for a month. Then rinse and repeat.

  1. They connect meaningfully with other living things.
  2. They are playful–in whatever form they choose, they create and take advantage of opportunities for “Deep Play” (see Diane Ackerman).
  3. They control their thinking. Thoughts become beliefs, and beliefs lead to behavior. Beliefs also lead you to seek specific data that that fits your beliefs. In that way, you literally construct your own reality–and thus happiness or suffering.
  4. They see like a scientist (with an open mind and objective analysis), think like a farmer (with reverence and interdependence), and behave like an artist (with creativity and disavowment of convention).
  5. They know that happiness is a muscle. Neurology shows us that thinking patterns lead to more of the same, so establish that neural pathway. Flex your happy muscle even if you’re not feeling it at the moment. You won’t smile if you’re not happy; you can’t be happy if you don’t smile.
  6. They practice visualizing the things they want to achieve (as a teacher–delivering a lesson, collaborating with another teacher, talking with an administrator or parent, etc.) The law of attraction makes sense. See different, seek different, attain difference.
  7. They find comfort in new experiences and ideas. They don’t just accept them, but see them as opportunities (usually out of their control anyway).
  8. They find value in substance, and whimsy in recreation. That is, purpose and meaning can drive their behavior, but their soul is still playful with the universe around it.
  9. They are brutally honest with themselves and those around them. (That said, they also know the difference between honesty and insecurity.)
  10. They adapt their thinking and behavior to an elegant and sustainable scale. Not too humble (which sparks nothing), not too broad (which burns recklessly).
  11. They embrace ambiguity. There is no one way to see, understand, or do anything.
  12. They accept that the world, while flawed, is likely ‘better’ than it’s ever been. This is hugely debatable and another post of its own, but this is a thought that keeps creeping up on me recently. Yes, we have a long way to go, but the modern focus on equality and acceptance and social justice, while insufficient, is a trend whose value can’t be overstated.
  13. They trust others. Yes, people let you down sometimes; yes, people hurt you, but there is joy in human connections that can’t be found anywhere else in the universe. (See #1.)
  14. They serve others, and love ‘differences.’ Diversity. Change. They honor fear and (mild) anxiety, but understand that a fundamental law of the nature of all things is change.
  15. They believe in their own ability to positively impact their environment.
  16. They eat well–food that nourishes their bodies, and reflects their respect for the earth, and their own future.
  17. They exert themselves physically, whether through work, exercise, yoga, sports, etc.
  18. They honor the complexity of things. They assume that they don’t understand. When you assume that you do, you’ll lean towards judgment. When you assume that you don’t, you’ll lean towards analysis. One leads to suffering, one leads to something closer to wisdom.
  19. They make things–and wildly original things. There can be joy in execution (other people’s ideas), but creating something out of nothing is a uniquely human–and humanizing–concept. The more fully human you are, the more of an opportunity you’ll have for contentment, happiness, and joy.
  20. They restore things.
  21. They know that living is in the moment–everything else is an illusion. (And even living in the moment is problematic depending on how you’re constructing that moment through your own perceptions–see #2.) So find the texture in each moment. Within that texture is design, nuance, purity, and love.
  22. They grasp the various legacies they are a part of, and the ecologies that need their sense of living citizenship.
  23. They stop seeking and start accepting. Then, from a position of acceptance, they begin to see what they really need.
  24. They embrace the journey, not the triumph and suffering that happen along the way.
  25. They don’t seek happiness. They know that happiness is not a cause or condition, but an effect–the resonance of an alignment between your behavior and your belief system as a human being.
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