Part of growing up is maturing, learning more about yourself, and I guess, some basic life truths and it is safe to say that travel, in a lot of ways really helps you do that. I think (and I’m open to your thoughts on this) that travel makes you grow a lot of more because you experience so much more than you would if you stayed in one place. If you stayed at home for example, you’d probably be interacting with people who are quite similar to you (if not personality wise then at least culturally), you spend more time with people you understand and who understand you back and so are never forced to be in different (and sometimes challenging) positions where you don’t know how to act or what to do and so have to learn all these basic life skills all over again! Worse still, when you leave for somewhere new, the learning process begins again from scratch. #stressful

For all the stress and hassle, at the end of this, you start to develop some pretty amazing skills (and knowledge) not just about other people/cultures but about yourself! You start to realise how you react in certain circumstances and how to best adapt yourself to whatever audience you are speaking to. You genuinely becomes a more well-rounded individual. Anyway, I digress… the point is, the older your get and/or the more travelled you become, the more important lessons you learn about being truly happy!

Every single point may not apply to every single person but hopefully, this will provide you with some ‘happiness shortcuts’ so you don’t waste anymore time on things that don’t matter and truly follow your heart to your happiness!

1.) There’s something truly liberating about saying NO. This is easier said in some situations than other (if you ask me if I want cake, it truly doesn’t matter what kind of cake it is, I will never say NO) but it is in these hard situations that saying no matters more. This is a lot harder when the situation comes disguised as something you kind of want – a job offer that you know isn’t really you, a relationship you kinda know is doomed from the start, a pair of jeans that fit you almost perfectly but feel just a little bit tight – eventually, these things never make you happy and the little things you ignore become huge issues – like delicious food you’re allergic to – JUST. SAY. NO.

2.) Stop over-thinking “your next step”. It’s so easy to get caught up with the “What next?” question in life, whether that’s in regards to your career, education or even meals and while it’s great to have a plan of some sort, it’s sometimes so easy to spend so much time planning your next move that you totally forget to enjoy what you’re doing right now. ADVICE: Make the most of THIS moment.

3.) Try to avoid getting a sense of self-worth by your surroundings. “Surroundings” sound pretty generic, and intentionally so – it encompasses things like physical possessions you surround yourself with, the acquaintances you make at work/gym/social clubs or even more temporary things like the current holiday you’re on. Whatever the case is, your self-worth should be truly driven from within yourself. Identify what ‘this thing’ is and you’ll soon realise that it doesn’t matter what these people think because they can neither change what’s inside you nor can they be you. (You’re kinda special that way! 😉 ) These things/places/people don’t define you and more importantly, you shouldn’t let them. These ‘things’ also change constantly and so if you always look to derive your sense of self worth from everything else but you, you’ll find yourself chasing an ever-changing ‘goal post’ which is a recipe for disaster when it comes to your happiness.

4.) Worry less about money. To be fair, I’ve never really been one to worry about money. I’ve always seen it as a tool to help me get things done but never as a goal in itself yet, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of having it as some sort of benchmark or goal to aspire to (or even worse still, a source of worry if it appears to be running low). It’s sometimes nice to remember that while it’s great to have money (and it is important to have it so you can do thing for yourself and others), there are so many more important things in this world that one should worry about not having than money. Need an example? Your health for starters… aaawww heck, I’d even go as far as throwing in a good bit of sticky toffee pudding before money.

5.) You don’t always have to be liked by everyone. I’m not saying you should go out there and make yourself the symbol of hate and ‘everything-that-is-wrong-with-this-world’ but it’s important to realise that you don’t need to have everyone like or approve of you for you to be happy. In truth, you really don’t want some people to like you because if they do, then you’re probably doing something pretty wrong! Again, this boils down to the point earlier about where you get your happiness from and while people can sometimes be the greatest source of joy in our lives, it is important to realise that self-approval and self-love (not the physical kind 😉 hehehe ) is a much better path to your happiness and fulfilment. The skill here is to recognise the good and bad people in your life and focus your energy on those good people that truly matter to you.

6.) Spend more time doing silly things that make you happy. Skipping in the rain? Watching the cheesiest TV show in the world? Or even better, eating the cheesiest cheese in the world? (If anyone knows of such a cheese, please inform me straight away!) Whatever it is that gives you a bit of happiness, indulge in it from time to time and by indulging, I mean FULLY immersing yourself in the moment. Forget about everything else and get lost in the moment!

7.) Spend a bit of time being truly honest with yourself. Like really truly honest! Ask yourself what you truly want, what motivates you, what you really dislike, what makes you feel the way you do at certain times…etc and hopefully, in answering these questions, you’ll truly be able to live your life in  a way that truly IS you. This quote sums it up perfectly…

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.” – Mahatma Gandhi

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