In this book, Neil Pasricha presents his 9 «secrets» to live a better, happier life. He challenges the belief of those who think of happiness as an end-product of what they are trying to achieve. Most people think that if they work hard and achieve great success they will be happy (Figure 1). However, this is not always the case. According to the author, happiness can be achieved in the here and now.
How we think happiness is achieved:
How happiness is actually attained:
The first thing you can before you can be happy is to be happy first. Everything changes when you start by being happy. People are more productive if they are happy. People are more creative when they are happy. “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his atitude”, says American philosopher William James. This is secret #1.
Secret #2: Do this and criticism can't touch you
DO IT FOR YOU.
There is not a limit for the amount of external goals you can set for yourself. Tick a box, and another one comes up waiting to be ticked. When you reach your goal, you simply set a new goal. And it’s never ending.
Focus on yourself. Focus on internal goals. When you don’t feel like you’re competing with others, you compete only with yourself. And you do more. And you go further. And you perform better.
Secret #3: The 3 words that will save you on your very worst days
REMEMBER THE LOTTERY.
Be grateful that you are alive and breathing today. Being alive means that you have already won the lottery.
The odds of being alive are 1 in over 400 quadrillion. Nothing more improbable will happen in your life than the fact that you are alive today.
To put things into perspective, earning 5,000 dollars/year puts you in the top 50% of highest paid people in the entire universe. Earning over 50,000 dollars/year puts you in the top 0.5%. What else could you want? Are you still complaining?
Secret #4: The dream we all have that is completely wrong
What to live longer? Find an ikigai – a reason for waking up in the morning every single day. Find your «Why», your purpose.
Studies show that people who have an ikigai are more likely to be married, educated, and self-employed. Participants had higher levels of self-rated health and lower levels of stress.
Retirement is a broken concept. We don’t actually want to do nothing. Instead, we want to be productive. Retirement only works because most people don’t actually enjoy what they do. Find something you love. Find something you love and you won’t have to work a single day in your life.
Keep learning. Keep changing. Keep growing. Never retire.
Secret #5: How to make more money than a Harvard MBA
What does a Harvard MBA, Retail Assistant Manager and a Teacher all have in common? They all earn the same dollars/hour.
The way to make more money than a Harvard MBA isn’t to get your annual salary over 120,000 dollars. It’s to measure how much you make per hour and overvalue you so you’re spending time working only on things you enjoy. Spend your time wisely.
Secret #6: The secret to never being too busy again
(1) Remove choice. Fewer choices = Faster decisions. Decision making energy is limited. Reserve it for things that really do matter.
(2) Remove time. Move up deadlines. Create last minute panic. Work expands to fill the space available and the result is lower quality. Fake early deadlines to create more space. The less time we have to do something, the more focused and organised we are. Less time, more effort. More time, less effort.
(3) Remove access. Block access. Protect your brain. Choose what to focus on, aim your brain at the task, and then nail it.
Allow yourself to be «lazy». Take time off. Relax. Often our best ideas and moments occur when we are doing nothing.
Secret #7: How to turn your biggest fear into your biggest success
JUST DO IT.
There are two barriers we place in front of anything we don’t want to do: (1) “Can’t do it” and (2) “Don’t want to do it”.
You don’t need to know how to do something in order to do it. You can start by doing it. The skill, motivation and desire can come later. Start with «Do». Or with «Want to Do». Or with «Can Do». It doesn’t matter. But start.
Secret #8: The simple way to master your most important relationship
Your relationship with yourself is the most important relationship in your life.
If you can’t be authentic, you can’t be happy.
Follow your dreams. Fear regrets. Remember, “No one about to die talks about what they did. They talk about what they didn’t do.” (Gary Vaynerchuk)
Secret #9: The single best piece of advice you'll ever take
DON’T TAKE ADVICE.
Hear advice. But decide what to do yourself. For every person that gives you some advice, you will find someone else pointing you in the opposite direction. You are in charge. Not them.
There is no such thing as rock-solid advice. Everything is relative. Advice is never objectively true in all situations.
“Any cliché, quote, or piece of advice that resonates with you only confirms to your mind something you already know.” (Neil Pasricha)
Never forget that.