The 10 commandments for happiness and success

Life is too short to be wasted, we all know that. Yet, most people live a default life, forcing themselves to think they are happy even though they are not. Why? Because, we let the society dictates how our lives should be lived and what success and happiness should be like. Things like money and prestige are given too much importance to the detriment of focusing on what is really essential to us: living a life in line with our inner values, accomplishing valuable things.

If I had to give an advice to anyone starting a life (my future child for example), these are the 10 commandments I would strongly encourage him/her to follow:

1/ Don’t compare yourself to others.

From the day we enter school, we are stimulated by the spirit of competition through grading, forgetting that the primary purpose of education is to learn. Parents want their children to be the first, or to be better than X because they want to be proud when meeting X parents at the school door. So we grow up with this mentality of wanting to be better  than others, instead of wanting to become a better version of ourselves.

2/ Only surround yourself with brilliant and positive people.

Negative and mediocre people are everywhere and their influence on you can be devastating. You might be a positive person, but if you let yourself listen to pessimism all the time, you might end up the same one day. Thus, the best way to avoid any negativity get to you, is to eliminate these gloomy people from your life. Of course, if you care about them, then you owe it to yourself to transmit your positive attitude to them.

3/ Don’t be afraid to fail, failure is the best thing that could happen to you.

In the eyes of  society, failing is the worst thing that could happen to you. Personal fact: I failed once, very hard. It could have had disastrous effects on my life, but instead, it made me much much stronger, not just twice as strong but in proportions you cannot start to imagine. The truth is that failure builds character, it makes you think about what went wrong and what you can change in your life to never ever be in that situation again. It is so easy to content yourself in a status quo, when things seem to be going well for you . Failure challenges that. If planes are as safe as they are today, it is because they have failed in many situations in the past. Similarly, if you look at all the great men and women in history, you will find that they have all encountered a severe failure at some point in their life. So don’t be afraid to try things and fail.

4/ Find your vocation and have pleasure doing it.

Everyday, I hear stories about people studying or working in a field they have no interest in at all. Most of the time, it is the result of the pressure exercised by their parents to choose a path that they thought was prestigious in the eyes of society. They wanted to be able to say: My daughter is a Doctor or My son is a lawyer. On a more general note, we are living in a world where appearances are all that matter, so we keep doing things we don’t like to be able to appear more successful in the eyes of our friends and family. Does it make us happy? I doubt it. When somebody asks you what do you do for a living, their intention is always implicitly or even explicitly to figure out whether you are doing something prestigious or not. How about just asking this very simple question: « Do you like doing what you do?« . This is the only thing that matters, because the only way to achieve something substantial in life, is through real passion.

5/ Be careful when listening to people.

Pretty much, similar to the previous point. People like to give advices based on their own experience, but their own experience will likely be different than yours, so don’t always listen to them and follow your own instinct instead.

6/ Be generous, share when you can.

There are many proven researches that demonstrate a direct correlation between generosity and happiness. The basic idea is that by helping others we are shifting our focus off of ourselves which makes us less vulnerable to our critical inner voice, by seeing the positive impact of our actions on someone else. This is a good article to read on the subject.

7/ Stay healthy, eat healthily, exercise and balance your life.

This is a no-brainer. It is in your best interest to stay healthy, in order to be able to accomplish more of your goals in the best possible conditions. Although, there are certain things we can’t control in life, it is obvious that we can avoid plenty of diseases by keeping good eating habits and by exercising regularly.

8/ Don’t be afraid to disappoint anyone.

Because if they love you, they won’t be. Some people are more fragile than others and tend to go through mental breakdown when facing adversity or any kind of pressure. Sometimes this is due to the fear of disappointing someone they care about in case of failure. Failure is good as stated above, and someone who cares about you will never blame you for trying. Similarly, don’t be afraid to disappoint your parents by choosing your own path.

9/ Don’t watch TV and don’t follow the media too much.

Their job is to frighten you, that’s how they make money. Besides, their second job is to manipulate you and distract you from real problems. If you don’t know them already, the 10 media manipulation strategy by Noam Chomsky is always a good read.

10/ Have strong values and stick to them, no matter what.

These are the values that will make you happy in life and be successful. Society values money and  social status. Let’s change those rules and let’s teach our children new values based on happiness.

Share this post if you agree. Debate if you disagree.

20 comments to The 10 commandments for happiness and success

  • Milas

    Very interesting… but according to the 5th statement, I shouldn’t listen to you and I must forget what I’ve read ;)

    But if I do that, I have to ignore the 5th commandment considering the recommandations again and again.

    You’ve written an article we logically have to read indefinitely. Great !

  • Amokrane CHENTIR

    Haha, exactly. I should have written it as the last point in this article, to enforce the fact that these are only my commandments for happiness and success based on my vision of life, and you could agree or disagree with them.

  • And I believe knowing what you want in your life is one of the thing that is missing from most of us. Even if we do, we need to be reminded of it.

  • Roach

    What’s wrong with drinking beer and watching Breaking Bad or Dexter? You take life too seriously.

  • tuna

    Starting a new vocation @ 42. Excelled in several areas spanning construction, info tech, automotive tech & now power management systems. Always had enough money to eat well, have a nice home & to give generously…in both time & money. I am less than a speck in the big scheme of things and guess what… that’s OK. I won’t be rich or poweerful like on TV but I sleep well at nght & I know I leave good memories wherever I go. The ladies may not find me irresistable but they always find me handy. That, for me, is more than enough. YMMV.

  • kris

    No TV! I gave up TV in 2000, and now when I have it forced upon me in waiting rooms, airports or bars, I clearly see it for what it is. Evil.

  • dj

    I’m conflicted on #2. Surround yourself by all sorts of people (to gain insight/ideas), but protect yourself/refresh yourself as necessary, and maybe some of those « negative » folks will learn and grow themselves. We want to lift as many people as possible up because it is better for all. I always thought #4 was the American dream — the possibility of doing good work you loved (or liked so you could pursue your love) and be able to live a sustainable quality life that fed your spirit and benefited you, your family, and your community. I like that #6 says « share when you can ». I’d add « what you can ». Agree with #8. There’s a name for parents that hover over their kids, helicopter parents. I would change #9 to be don’t watch junk TV, which I admit is getting harder to do. More channels with a lot less quality content. How do you stay connected to your community (local, state, national) without at least over-the-air TV? If you don’t go out or travel, for whatever reason, TV may be your source of entertainment/break from reality, but requires good time management. #10 I’d add something like do no harm, live in the moment, live a life of meaning, trust yourself, think for yourself, keep score your way. Thanks to Alan Alda and his books, « Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself; Never Have Your Dog Stuffed.

    I found components of the sayings below helpful.

  • Matt Gill

    Åll Commandments are highly subjective, and only apply to those starting a life in a specific and privileged environment. ’10 commandments’ for happiness and success need to be both relative and categorical imperatives.

    This is for rich kids who can deviate from a guaranteed future.

  • Fatuma

    i need people like you in my life.. Brilliant & Positive.

  • Peter

    « Only surround yourself with brilliant and positive people. »

    Like dumb dictators do? No real feedback! That would dusturb your happiness.

  • Sean Westfall

    like the first comment said, these commandments contradict themselves. According to this I shouldn’t listen to you (commandment #5), and what makes this form of media any better than TV (or any form of media for that matter).

  • Kad

    The first commandment is probably the best you can use. People who are less confident tend to look too much at others whereas they should try to become a better version of themselves.

    I think everybody is concerned I may focus on this. Thanks

  • Tomer

    I have never agreed with something like this. Great suggestions! Thank you.

  • God

    2.) Learn to live with all kinds of people, but don’t be afraid to leave those that hurt you. 11.) Be honest with yourself 12.) Learn to live with your feelings, don’t shut yourself out from them. 13.) Don’t be an ignorant prick.

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