Happiness isn’t merely “that time when…” or some fleeting feeling. It’s a way of living, a practice. Work, sport, traveling, and training in mindfulness have painted for me a direct link between happiness and the practice of it. So many of our commercials and metaphors carry within them the importance of practice and work ethic. Kobe Bryant not leaving the gym until he hits his 500th jumper, or the pianist waking every morning at 4am to squeeze in a lesson before going to work. Though it may be easier to literally see the results of practice in a physical endeavor, there is perhaps no practice more important than the practice of happiness. Whether we are aware of it or not, we all have our own ways. We all train in happiness. Here are 21 men talking about what they do and how they do it:
(1) “A day without tea is not a good day,” goes the loose translation of a Chinese proverb. Every morning I practice happiness in the early moments of my day by focusing on making and drinking tea. The tea is prepared in a traditional Guangdong style that assists in centering the mind on the moment at hand. Small cups, small amounts, focused intention. – Wilhelm Cortez
(2) I’m generally always happy although getting here took a lot of practice, patience and persistence.
We must constantly work toward happiness by strengthening our communication with ourselves, friends and partners. We must also consistently challenge our outdated behaviors such as anger, fear and hate. We must do these things in order to learn how to love, learn and grow as individuals and as members of the Tribe.
Happiness is state of mind that is not always attainable. You must realize you are special and have the power to make change. This can be a particularly tough time depending on the amount of toxicity and trauma one has experienced. However, I believe this power resides deep inside all of us. I spend at least one minute every day of my life acknowledging just how special our awareness really is. – Uzi Peretz
(3) What once caused me anxiety is now what causes happiness…meeting women. There is no better feeling than to get to know an amazing female where we once were strangers and now are something more. My love for women is what makes me happy. – Anthony Recenello
(4) Happiness for me comes when I know I am progressing. I wrote a checklist of about 12 things that if I am doing them.. I am happy. It serves as a reminder and a lifestyle checklist to keep me on track. The title of the checklist is “I know I am happy when I…” – Craig Williams
(5) For me it’s simple; happiness is a direct consequence of gratitude. It starts with me being thankful for all the things that I DO have in my life and not focusing on the things that I DON’T have. So every time something new comes my way, no matter how small, I consciously thank it, in this way there is an opening for more abundance and as a result happiness flows into my life. – Neil Hill
(6) I like to read the “Calvin & Hobbes Series” by Bill Watterson to practice happiness. The best thing about it is that it takes you back to days when you were young, when you hated studies and when you enjoyed playing pranks on people. Now, read what Calvin says about happiness:
“Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!”
Reading “Calvin & Hobbes” has been the most effective way for me to escape the stress of the day and wake up the child in me who doesn’t need to bother about anything. – Anant Mendiratta
(7) To find happiness I meditate for an hour and a half each day in the Falun Gong discipline, which is a Buddhist qigong practice from China. The difference in my clarity and insight is like night and day. Instant focus and concentration, and stress disappears. – Derek Padula
(8) Happiness is our nature. When you ask someone what makes them happy, and they mention puppies, or friends or a sunset or a dance, those things make them ‘feel’ happy because it brings them entirely into the present moment. It is only the mind’s incessant inner dialog about either regrets from the past or worries about the future that detracts us from being content. – Frank Huguenard
(9) My favorite tip (and corollary) for happiness:
Bringing out the best in people makes those people happier. Make the people around you happy, and you’ll be surrounded by happy people.
Incredibly Obvious Corollary: Most of us are happier when we’re surrounded by happy people.
As far as happiness at work, what I consistently find in working with people of all types in all different types of industries, is the key to true happiness at work lies in believing in what you’re doing, in buying into the aims of the organization and your personal goals within that organization. That doesn’t necessarily mean working for a charity or the U.N. It could just as easily mean working for a car company, as long as it’s one you respect, one that provides a worthwhile product or service, one that, while doing that, will help you reach your personal goals for your financial future and your aspirations for your family.
As far as I’m concerned, this helps explain why so many people aren’t happy at work. – Barry Maher
(10) Love what you do, improve lives and achieve great results. – Steve Anderson
(11) One key to happiness is being satisfied with what you have. So many people compare themselves to others from a financial standpoint, and this is a very bad trap to fall into. Remember, if you live in America, you already have more than the large majority of people in the world.
Another is to do what you love. So many people work five days to enjoy two, and 45 years to enjoy 10 or 20 (at a lower standard of living) – and most do something just to make money, not to pursue their passion. Take a risk and go for what your heart says you should be doing. – Dan Nainan
(12) My practice of happiness has everything to do with how I represent myself as a husband and father. Many men think the real “rewards” in life come from money, cars, or how fancy your corner office is. This couldn’t be any further from the truth. I’ve had a very wild career (from professional wrestler, to author, to clothing company owner) and hands down the single BEST reward in my life has been my wife and kids. My weekends are spent with my family, doing everything from playing outside, to playing dolls with my daughter and running around with toy cars with my son. My days are officially “done” when the kids go to bed at 8:00pm but I’ll take that over any late night bar outing any day. Being a real man is about being there for your loved ones. This is the ultimate way of practicing happiness. – Richie Frieman
(13) I practice happiness by practicing awareness of the present moment. What are the blessings of the present moment? What do I have to be happy about? I try to make a habit of checking in mentally and recognizing the good things that I actually have right now. This helps me appreciate how lucky I am to be healthy, to be in a good relationship, to have a career I enjoy, and to be able to parent my wonderful son. Remembering to acknowledge these blessings helps me be happy. – Jason Kurtz
(14) I practice happiness by regularly going to services at my Modern Orthodox synagogue. I’m happy because I am living a life of worship, fellowship with other men of strong religious dedication and study of sacred texts, lifting me beyond the mundane world to a completely different space. – Van Wallach
(15) Understand that work provides only a means to an end. Our core comes from family, friends and passions of the heart. Never give up one’s dreams! – Dr. Andy Rose
(16) I believe the best ways to practice happiness can be broken down into two techniques. The first option being meditation. Now I am not saying become a shut in and hum to yourself all day. However, five minutes a day to assess your “To Do” list, to come to grips with whatever emotion is controlling your thoughts that day, and to realize everything in your life that you are truly thankful for. The next practice that I have used is music. Music has a gateway to the soul, instead of hiding your emotion let your music choice flow and allow it to help you express yourself fully. – Joe Pepe
(17) Our greatest growth and self-learning comes about during periods when we are challenged. I focus on what I’ve learned during those times, not just on how difficult and painful they might have been. Practicing a more positive view of the world by focusing on gains rather than losses lends itself to a much happier state of mind. – Jim Duke
(18) The only person who can make you happy is you. We humans have the ability to decide our own mood. Even in the worst of situations you can choose to let it get to you or choose to find something good about it and be happy…because without the bad, the good would be worthless. – Adam Faigen
(19) For me, happiness all begins with gratitude. If I keep gratitude at the forefront of everything I do, I’ll always be happy. I always think about the basics — I’m fortunate to have an amazing daughter, supportive family, a fiancee I love to spend time with who makes me a better person everyday, and a boxer who’s always waiting for me by the door or window to get home each day. If I take a moment to reflect on this each day, I’m always smiling, and everything else is gravy. – Evan Balmer
(20) “Do what you love first. After that, nothing can touch you throughout the day.” By this I mean that you find the thing you enjoy, whether taking a walk in the woods or writing (which is what I do), and you get up early in the morning and give yourself the time to do that one thing. I have friends who paint and sculpt, but also friends who focus on a work project. – Terry Persun
(21) For me, happiness is a process and an outcome. Happiness is singing along to the radio, getting lost, seeing the beautiful views, fixing the flat tires, and reaching the destination. It’s leaning into the challenge of a daunting task or a difficult conversation and coming out a better man. It’s listening to and sharing stories. It’s being vulnerable and authentic. Happiness is holding my wife and feeling safe in her loving arms. Happiness is yes, and. Happiness is making my mind up and doing something through both failures and victories. For me, happiness is the adventure. – Kyle Ashlee
–Photo: Roy Sinai/Flickr