Click here to read an original op-ed from the TED speaker who inspired this post and watch the TEDTalk below.
I distain self-help books and avoid any article with a title like the one above. But I live a zen life of immense happiness, health and, quite frankly, bliss. And you can have it too -- today. It took me about 8 months to learn, but I found that the skills below only take commitment to be successful and are easily repeatable.
"Meditate" for 10 minutes everyday
I put meditate in quotations because the word scares people off. It sounds crunchy, religious and overly spiritual for most people. However, all you really need to do is sit quietly for 10 minutes each day.
Whenever you start to think about the past, plan for the future, or judge your current state of mind, pull your focus back to your breath and reconnect yourself with the present moment. All you do here is sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breath in and out through your nose. This alone will reduce anxiety, stress and help you start your day off right-- focused, calm and grounded in the present. It's been life changing for me. Watch this TEDTalk by Andy Puddicombe if you're not convinced.
"Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much" ~ Michael Pollen
Health and nutrition is a matter of getting the most nutrients out of the fewest calories. Green plants like spinach, kale and broccoli and grains such as quinoa, chia and millet provide the most nutritional benefit for your body. Period. You don't a complicated diet. You don't need to torture yourself by eliminating sugar, fat or any of your other favorite foods. Rebalance your diet to put plants and whole foods first, try not to binge eat and avoid processed foods as much as possible.
Give Money Away for Happiness
According to this research conducted by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton with the Harvard Business Review, "our intuitions about how to turn money into happiness is misguided at best and dead-wrong at worst." Buying gifts for friends and family, volunteering and donating to charities reliably makes people happier than spending that same money on themselves. Do you see what this means? Our pursuit of happiness and the American Dream is misguided. Happiness is a byproduct of helping others, not buying things. In short, gifting and donating your time and money will make you significantly happier than merely spending on yourself.
Take Risks, Break Rules and Take Action. Now.
Big rewards come from big risk. This isn't just about making lots of money. It's about having big impact, building the life of your dreams and unchaining yourself from perceived roadblocks. Life hacking is all about finding the path of least resistance to accomplishing your personal goals. Here are some examples of ways you can "unchain" from your blocks:
1. Make it your mission to contact and get a response from a thought leader, politician or CEO you truly admire.
2. Do something this weekend that you have been hoping to do for years, but for various reasons have put off. Go sky diving or camping, take a cooking class, rearrange your room, write a short story -- anything different than your typical routine will form new neural connections.
3. Start writing out a business plan for something you're excited about. Test the waters without taking much risk.
4. Ignore convention. Just because something has been done a certain way for a long time doesn't mean it will be that way forever. Change the rules. Be the spark that changes a paradigm.
Finally, follow James Altucher's Daily Practice. This daily program is the recipe for physical, spiritual, mental and emotional health. I follow this practice everyday and am constantly having new insights and ideas, feeling grateful, healthful and generally grounded, confident and happy.This is the best thing you can do for yourself today.
That's it! Hack away my friends.
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