17 Rules For Happiness

By Karl Moore

Every day, most of us focus on the grey clouds in the sky. Life is dim and gloomy, and showers are just minutes away. But we forget something. We don’t remember that just behind those clouds, the sun is beaming brightly – every single minute of every single day. These are 17 rules designed to shift your perspective, helping you to rediscover the happiness you may have forgotten.

Rule #1 – Stop Feeling Sorry for Yourself! It’s not going to help the situation. It’ll only help you to wallow in a state of apathy, playing the victim. The kind of person that things happen to, but that can’t do anything about it. By stopping feeling sorry for yourself, you can actually get on and DO something about it. If you want to be happy – stop feeling sorry for yourself. “Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.” -Helen Keller

Rule #2 – Be Grateful. Think of all the wonderful things you have to be grateful for right now. It could be your family. Or your health. Maybe your home. Your friends. Your brain. Your heart. Your spirit. We’ve all got amazing things in our own lives that make us smile with joy. And if we can count these blessings every day, we’ll discover a greater appreciation of the beautiful world we surround ourselves with. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” -Meister Eckhardt

Rule #3 – Say Yes More. We fight against what happens to us in life, rather than allowing it to be as it is. We resist it, rather than accepting it. We say “No!” rather than saying “Yes” – or even just “Okay.” By saying “Yes!” more to life, we go with the flow. Things become more enjoyable and positive, less stressful and anxious, and often the situation turns out for the better regardless. “I will say yes to every favor, request, suggestion and invitation. I will swear to say yes where once I would say no.” –Danny Wallace

Rule #4 – Follow Your Bliss. Bliss is what you’re doing when you’re wrapped up in the moment. When you’re so thrilled just to be doing it, it ceases even to be work anymore. Your bliss occurs when you’re living in the moment, and time doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not for the money, it’s for the pleasure. “When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors; and where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.” –Joseph Campbell

Rule #5 – Learn to Let Go. Remember, letting go doesn’t mean you “forgive” the person at the grocery store, or you “allow” that kind of behavior. It just means that you release the negative emotion inside of you. By releasing negative emotions, you’ll not only enjoy much more freedom in your life – you’ll also become more emotionally stable and less stressed too. “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.” –Lao Tzu

Rule #6 – Do Random Acts of Kindness. The more we give, the more we receive. A Random Acts of Kindness or RAK is a small act of kindness that you grant to someone else in the world – for absolutely no reason whatsoever, without expecting anything in return. Just throw a little extra kindness out to the world – and watch how you find greater happiness starting to flood back into your own life. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” -Dalai Lama

Rule #7 – Happiness Is Only Ever Now. We spend so much time waiting to be happy in the future, or worrying about the past, that we forget to live in the moment. But here’s the thing: Life is transient. The past has gone. The future is just a dream. The only time that truly exists ever is RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW is the ONLY time you can do or change ANYTHING in your life. And NOW is the only time you have. “Few of us ever live in the present, we are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.” -Louis LArmor

Rule #8 – Experience, Don’t Hoard! Investing in experiences rather than material goods created greater lasting happiness. It doesn’thave to be big and it doesn’t have to be expensive. And you can always do it on your own, too. By living, and truly experiencing life, we feel more whole, fulfilled and authentic. So, experience – don’t hoard – and you will be happy. “When youre curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.” –Walt Disney

Rule #9 – Appreciate Both Sides of the Coin. The truth is that in order for you to experience true happiness in your life, you must experience sadness. Without sadness, we really can’t even understand what happiness is. Just enjoy and embrace all your life adventures. And when seemingly negative things happen, remember that it’s just the duality of life. It’s just the other side of the coin. It’s required. It’s part of the equation. “You don’t know when you’ve hit a peak until you’re coming down. And you don’t know when you’ve hit a trough until you’re climbing out. It’s all good.” –David Brent

Rule #10 – Be More Social. Countless studies on the science of happiness have turned up one single characteristic of the happiest and most successful people in society. They have a large social network! Don’t just wait for interesting people to stumble into your life. Keep going and going. Expand your social circle as far as you can. Be the person that walks through town and bumps into a dozen friends. “Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” -Marcel Proust

Rule #11 – Love More! We must realize that we feel the most happy in life – when we are the one giving the love! The more we love others, the happier he became. The more we love the world around us, the happier we become. The more we love even our enemies, the happier we become. And best of all, WE can control the amount of love we give – and thereby control the amount of happiness we experience. “Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.” –Barbara De Angelis

Rule #12 – Have a Dream. Dream are critical. They light up life. Without them, we become bored, and tired, and apathetic. So, take this opportunity to really clarify your dreams. Take a pen and paper and spend an hour figuring out what you really dream about. But whatever you do, make sure you have a dream. They’re incredibly important. Dreams are the spark plugs of the spirit. Make sure yours are ready for action. “A person starts dying when they stop dreaming.” –Brian Williams

Rule #13 – Intention Sets Direction. Decide on where you’re going and how it’ll be for you – and it’ll happen. set your intention first. Make it clear that you’re going to have a great time, you’ll meet some fantastic people, and that it’s going to be wonderful. Set your general intention every morning and every night, too. The brighter and more positive, the better. Set your sunny intention – and you will be happy. “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” –Henry Ford

Rule #14 – Enjoy Simple Pleasures. It’s an attitude. The ability to appreciate the happiness, the beauty, the pleasure in the simple things around us. Remember the simple things that you truly enjoy. Then take time out to experience them again. Or even better, turn them into little daily or weekly rituals, filling your life with sunshine. Quite simply, enjoy simple pleasures and rituals – and you will be happy. “Simplicity is the essence of happiness.” -Cedric Bledsoe

Rule #15 – Accept What Is. By accepting, welcoming, embracing what is, you clear all of your emotions. Your thoughts gain more clarity. You become happier. You experience more freedom. If you can change things, after accepting them, you’ll have a sharper mind and more energy to do so. Pointless worrying – there’s nothing you can do about it. Shrug and smile about it, that’s life. “Happiness is a function of accepting what is.” –Werner Erhard

Rule #16 – Zoom Out and Don’t Sweat. You never, ever know what is around the corner. So, try regularly “zooming out” of your current picture, and realizing the true priorities in your life. If you can, do it every day – particularly when you return home from work. Then kick back your shoes, and enjoy some quality time with family and friends. Life is short. “If you do not raise your eyes you will think that you are the highest point.” -Antonio Porchia

Rule #17 – Laugh, Dance, Smile! Surround yourself with happiness – wonderful music, dance classes, evenings with friends. Take time to laugh at the craziness of life! Splash out and enjoy to the max. True happiness, self-development, freedom, comes from inside – and is expressed externally in bright faces, a big smile, and plenty of laughing. Laugh at all of the silly problems you’ve been holding on to, so very well, for so long. “A friendly look, a kindly smile, one good act, and life’s worthwhile.” -Unknown

Strongest Dad in the World

From Sports Illustrated, By Rick Reilly

I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots. But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.

Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars–all in the same day. Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?

And what has Rick done for his father? Not much–except save his life.

This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.

“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life;” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an institution.” But the Hoyts weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”

“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a lot was going on in his brain.

Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”

Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”

That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, it felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”

And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.

“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.

Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”

How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.

Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?

Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.

This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time’? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992–only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.

“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”

And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.

Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.

That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.

“The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”