Do you want to be happy or successful? Because you can be both.

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The highest form of happiness is to be present. The logic goes that when you are truly present, truly living in the moment, then you realise that we are actually sitting up very high in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that life is pretty good. We’re free. We’re safe. We belong. And we have everything we need.

Maintaining worries and concerns does the opposite. They create separate threads in our brain that divert our thoughts from how well off we actually are and that makes us stressed. Lying does the same thing actually on a very base, obvious level. Think about how uncomfortable it is to maintain a story you know is untrue and how that nags at you.

Your desires do the same thing. When you desire something you’re basically promising yourself to be unhappy until you satisfy that desire. So you need to choose what you want and what you desire very carefully too. Just flipping through life consuming every marketing message you see and building a huge shopping list in your subconscious is quietly going to drive you crazy. It’s also diverting your attention away from things you are more consciously trying to achieve. Whether you realise it right now or not, your ill considered goals, or goals that are not really yours are anything but healthy.

When something feels good you generally want more of it

When you are healthy there are two big advantages. When you’re laying in bed in the morning, trying to be present, thinking about all the good things in your life and how grateful you ought to be, then your health is a big one to be grateful for. And it’s a pretty big one to play down if you’re not healthy. Settling into that pleasant realisation that life is actually very good is much easier when you feel good physically.

When you are healthy you also feel more energetic. And when you feel energetic you’re in control. A lot of what we’re talking about here is just self discipline and discipline is very dependent on energy. You have the energy to get those nagging jobs out of the way first thing in the morning – which feels great. You have the mental discipline to disgard irrational worries and fears. You dismiss unfair self criticism and take more from all the things going right in your life. You just feel good.

When you’re fit you feel light of body and light of mind. Feeling fit and healthy and care-free: this is basically where you want to be right?  

We’re conditioned from a very early age to work hard and to look forward. I’m OK with half of that. If you have a habit of working hard that does improve your life and it has a very positive impact on those around you too. We’re also conditioned to believe that success will bring us happiness though which it will not. Not success alone in any case. I totally disagree with the notion that you can’t be happy and be successful at the same time though.

I have a great trick you can use to remind yourself of how capable you are and how happy you can be, and it really works. Take some time out for yourself right now. Really, right now, think about three big achievements in your life. These can be any kind of achievements – personal, career, financial, physical – but yours, not someone else’s. Three things you knew were tough but you did it anyway and you are proud of yourself. Now doesn’t that feel good? It should feel great simply recognizing how strong and capable you are. It’s too easy to forget this.

Getting a healthy body and healthy mind is the key to happiness AND success. And you can have both. And you can do it. No matter where you are right now or what’s going on, you’ve already achieved so many things to be proud of. Look after your self. Look after your body and your mind first. And give yourself a big pat on the back – you’re doing great!

Have a fantastic start to the week.

Ash

Feel better. Move Better. Live Better.

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