The Happy Mind: A Simple Guide to Living a Happier Life Starting Today by Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie

The Happy Mind
The Happy Mind: A Simple Guide to Living a Happier Life Starting Today by Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie offers a common-sense approach to living a happy life. As a very happy person, I find their advice right on the money. Please share this with people you know who aren’t happy enough. Also, share with young people so they can learn how to be happy for the rest of their lives. Here is the link to the book and the link to their website.

1. The Search For Happiness

  • Start by taking some time to write down your definition of happiness. This is something you will come back to later in the book to adjust as you gain perspective. Since happiness is so subjective there is no one definition that applies to everyone. None the less, everyone agrees that it is important to be happy.
  • Next we look at different ways that people approach happiness. For some wealth is the driving factor even though it doesn’t guarantee happiness. These folks usually also seek status to make them happy. Some people think they will be happy only if they can change their location. Many seek happiness as they strive to improve their physical appearance. This may seem vain, but there is nothing wrong with caring for yourself. Many people see happiness sometime in the future or even the afterlife while others fondly recall the good old days. Happiness can also result from social activity and may rely to a great extent on a life partner. Social dynamics in the workplace bring happiness to some. All of these happiness influencers are external.

2. Happiness Is

  • 1. Thinking In a Different Way — Happiness exists in your mind so it is important how you think. If your thoughts aren’t making you happy you need to think differently.
  • 2. Assuming Full Accountability for Your Circumstances — You have to own your life and be responsible for what happens. That means you have to manage circumstances and not just let them happen to you. Your attitude is a choice and it can support or obstruct you.
  • 3. Enjoying Simple Things More — Small joys are endless as long as you look for them. Nature’s beauty can make you happier if you take the time to enjoy it. You also need to have gratitude for all the little things that make you happy as you push anger, arrogance, desire, indifference, regret, resentment, and guilt away.
  • 4. Owning Your Own Future — You need to own the situations you are in and don’t settle for helplessness. Adjust to new conditions and change the things you can change. Planning must be a priority if you want to accomplish your goals.
  • 5. Being Engaged In What You Do for a Living
  • — A job you love or at least enjoy most of is vital to a happy life. You should also look to make changes so that you like it even more.

  • 6. Invest in Your Overall Wellness — Taking care of yourself involves a healthy diet and exercise. Surround yourself with constructive people and reflect on good things. Stay curious and learn something new each day. Pay attention to your finances and spend less than you make. Be sure not to make any enemies.
  • 7. Having Constructive Relationships — Happy people get along with others. They also enjoy their own company as being alone isn’t being lonely. Carefully select the people you develop relationships with.
  • 8. Having an Optimistic World View — Optimistic people are happier. Leave the past behind and be quick to forgive others. Carrying grudges and being judgmental won’t make you happy. Try to see the funny side of life and be sure to laugh at yourself.
  • 9. A Day-to-Day Effort — Happiness is work. It’s easier to be miserable. You need to be committed and make a constant effort. (Doug: After a while, it will become second nature.)

3. The Origin Of Unhappiness

  • If you do the opposite of what is discussed in the previous chapter you are bound to be unhappy. Unhappy people freeze when they face challenging situations. They look for culprits rather than solutions. They don’t take responsibility for their fate and constantly blame others. They neglect their health and their finances and fail to build solid relationships. They focus on what they don’t have and haven’t done.
  • At the heart of this is the failure to use the thinking brain also known as the neocortex. Instead, they are likely to rely on the primitive part of the brain that makes knee jerk decisions and reactions. For more on this see my summary of Thinking Fast and Slow: How the Brain Thinks by Daniel Kahneman.

4. Practical Guideline, Thoughts, Suggestions & Reminders in the Interest of Happiness

  • Happiness is work, at least for a while until it becomes second nature. It should also be personal as you strive to find just what makes you happy. So make your plan and review and modify it from time to time. Learn to appreciate what you have along with the small things. Be sure to look for ways to spice up your plan and take advantage of situations that aren’t planned for. Keep it simple and travel light. A mindset of modest expectations fuels calmness.
  • The only life you can direct is your own. You can try to change others, but don’t count on it. (Doug: Don’t marry someone thinking you can fix the characteristics you don’t like after you are married.) Make sure the information you take in is nutritious. Try to focus on one thing at a time as multitasking is inefficient and leads to more errors. Be serious about your job and proud of what you do. Above all keep looking until you find a job you enjoy. Forgive quickly as you do so for your own happiness, not the happiness of those you forgive, and don’t carry grudges. Judging others can result in endless mental effort.
  • Sleep is when the brain repairs itself. Try to get seven or more hours and sleep the same hours every day. Be good to people in need. Performing an unexpected act of kindness and make you happier. Be cheerful and make time for laughter. The present is the only real tense. What you do and think now is what matters. It’s hard to be happy if your diet is bad for your body. Everyone wants to live in a neatly organized space so be responsible for yours. Craft loving relationships starting with your immediate circle. Take time enjoying being with just yourself. Try to make small daily shifts in the directions described in this book. Be frugal with your finances and decide that you are going to be happy.

5. A Few Last Words

  • Learn from hurtful events and you will probably have fewer of them. Workaround your weaknesses and optimize your strengths. Enjoy your own company and look after your body. Keep your word and know when to say no. Never blame, even yourself. Live every day as if it’s your last as one day it will be. Laugh a lot more than you cry and remember, you don’t have to be happy for the rest of your life, only now.

Kevin Horsley and Louis Fourie

  • Kevin is a lifelong student in the field of neuroscience. He is a World Memory Championship medalist and a two-time World Record holder for The Everest of Memory Tests. He is an international speaker, trainer, and consultant who helps organizations improve their thinking, creativity, motivation, and learning
  • Louis started as an economist in the South African financial industry and was one of the first winners of South Africa’s Economist of the Year award. He founded a leading South African wealth management business and acted a chairman for twelve years. He then founded The Logic Filter a consultancy group that mentors young professionals and advises emerging business leaders.
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