It is possible to live happily ever after, no matter who you are. You might scoff at this statement, for all kinds of reasons, but before you dismiss this concept out of hand, let me explain.
Of course you need to have a way of supporting yourself and your loved ones. That’s a given. And you have to be comfortable with who you are and how you go about living. That’s easier said than done, but it is definitely possible. It’s even possible to eliminate stress from your life completely. Yes, completely.
Here is how to live a magical life.
1. Be good and do good. I recently attended the funeral for a beloved aunt. One of her sons, when he got up to speak, said that his mother said this to him frequently as he was growing up: “Be good and to do good.” Sums it up nicely. When you work on being good and doing good, life repays you with good relationships and circumstances. Things work out better for you than for those who have no interest in being good or doing good.
2. Avoid those who are not being good nor doing good. In our teen years, this is particularly difficult, but it does pay off. Spending even a few hours with someone who is not being good or doing good means things can go entirely wrong—and can literally ruin your life.
It’s also difficult to avoid this type of person if you work inside a company and there is a jerk in your midst. If the jerk won’t be leaving soon, and the boss either doesn’t know or doesn’t care, it’s time to find another place to work.
3. Focus on the basics, then the fancy stuff. Shelter, food, transportation, Internet. With all of this handled, you can start saving 10 – 20% of every check you get. Just put it in a dedicated interest-bearing account and ignore it. It will continue to grow as the interest is reinvested, and one of these days, it will be real money. The further the wolf is from the door, the happier you will be. Surprisingly, you will be able to live off the remainder after you put that portion of your check into savings. This is the most dependable way to end up financially comfortable in your old age.
4. Be especially nice to those you love. It’s tempting to treat those closest to you less kindly than you do acquaintances. This is how good marriages turn into bad marriages. One or both people start to slide into a negative state of mind; assuming that the other person won’t understand or doesn’t care, and becoming bitter about it.
The happiest couples know that their marriage isn’t about “you” and “me”; it’s about building something new called “us.” They work at it. They give their all, they talk things over, they always give the other person the benefit of the doubt. They don’t fuss over the little stuff; if he really prefers that the toilet seat is up all day, well, you can put down the toilet seat when you go and put it up when you’re done. If you prefer to avoid spicy foods, he will be aware and act accordingly when he’s the cook for the night.
5. Be true to yourself. This actually has several meanings. You need to be honest with yourself about what’s really happening, and you shouldn’t be afraid to share that truth with others. You also need to take action when something or someone is taking you to a place that is contrary to what you know is right.
6. Be kind to yourself. Don’t put yourself down or discourage yourself. Replace that nagging, judgmental voice with one that is realistic but comforting.
7. Don’t be afraid to be happy. If you’re looking for it, there is beauty and kindness all around us. If you see it, others will see it too, which means that your eyes and heart will be recognizing and literally enlarging that beauty. Learning to laugh easily, even if it means laughing at yourself (don’t be afraid to be imperfect; we all are anyway), is also a great source of peace and comfort.
8. Ignore the negativity we see all around us. I read something recently that said that whatever you’re paying attention to is a form of worship. Interesting thought. (Seems like most of us spend a lot of time worshiping our smart phones . . . not to mention the “news,” which is really someone with a camera looking for people who are not being good nor doing good.)
9. Work hard. It’s true that hard work pays off. There is no substitute for it.
10. Do what you love to do. Yes, this has been said a million times by millions of people. But I truly believe that we are born with certain desires and talents, and we derive great satisfaction from doing certain things well; things that are unique to us. In addition to the love you bring to others, the love you have for what you are doing every day enriches the world. It’s how we “make a difference.”
All of these things, taken together, turn ordinary days into magical days. Magical days turn into weeks, months, and years, and one day you will look back and realize that your life has been a magical adventure. It’s a really good feeling.