A Creed for the Third Millennium
Here Is a Creed for the Third Millennium
Mankind has never been short of written guides instructing the various races, cultures, and religions how they should live their lives: from the 10 Commandments (almost identical in both The Bible and the Quran), to the teachings of Buddha, Confucius, Gandhi and other spiritual leaders.
Below is a creed, or set of rules, that I have compiled that I feel would make our lives happier and more fulfilling in this third millennium.
- Creed: "A set of beliefs that influence the way you live."—Cambridge Dictionary
- Third Millennium: January 1st, 2001 to December 31st, 3000 in the Gregorian Calendar.
12 Rules for a Better, Happier Life
- Always Be Grateful
- Fill your life with love and give praise where it is due
- Find your purpose in life
- Appreciate what you have and stop comparing yourself to others
- Practice forgiveness every day
- Surround yourself with happy and inspiring people
- Look for the positive in every situation
- Embrace your inner child
- Do good and don't be a hypocrite
- Keep an open mind, don't judge and discriminate
- Live for the moment
- Don't worry or stress about the future
The Rules Explained
1. Always Be Grateful
Often to appreciate true gratitude, you have to first have experienced hardship. For example, having lived in poverty, or overcome a serious or life-threatening health problem.
Every time I start to feel bad about my situation, I think about how lucky I am that things are not worse. I focus on everything going right in my life (instead of everything that is going wrong). You too can train your mind to count your blessings in life every time your thoughts starts to drift towards negativity. Happiness becomes immediately accessible to you even in the toughest moments of life.
Despite the tough times, I realized I had so many blessings like my health, my wonderful family, my true friends, my pets, my writing, and so forth. For me, gratitude has become my magic formula for happiness.
2. Fill your life with love and give praise where it is due
There are 24 hours in every day. To achieve true happiness, you need to fill as many of those hours with love, be it for people, passions, work, hobbies, or even pets. Love fearlessly and unconditionally. Try your best to do what you love for as many hours possible every day. I love writing. I love my family. I love my friends. I love my dogs. I love movies. I love reading, I love sport. I try to spend as much time as I can on those.
Praising others is a part of showing love. If someone deserves to be thanked for their efforts, actions or words, don’t hesitate to praise them and show them how much they are appreciated.
A lot of things in life are beyond our control, but we can control how much love we embrace in our lives.
3. Find your purpose in life
I was 50 before I realized that writing was what I was meant to do. When you find your true purpose in life, everything starts to make sense. You stop living for the weekends, and thinking about what you are going to do after work. You stop getting the Sunday night blues and Mondayitis.
If you examine the happiest people in the world, there are no artificial boundaries between their personal life and their work life. Life is just life. You can find purpose in different situations at different points in your life.
When my kids were growing up and going to school my purpose was to provide for them so they could achieve their goals and we could lead as happy a life as possible. When my elderly parents were ailing with failing health it was my purpose to try and help them and care for them as best I could.
Today, one of my purposes is to love and care for my wife, and my other is one that ignites my soul. My mission in life is to encourage, inspire, and entertain through the power of the word. To try to educate people on the inequalities of income, gender, race, education, and human rights throughout the world, and to spread the word on the urgent need to protect and nurture the environment.
Deep in my soul I feel I have been put on earth for this purpose. You need to find yours if you haven’t already.
4. Appreciate what you have and stop comparing yourself to others
When I was much younger, I would often compare my level of success with my friends and acquaintances, or even celebrities. I would contemplate how much money I was earning, how much I had saved, how prestigious my job was, was my house stylish enough, and everything else. I will tell you that it brought me nothing, but discontent.
I'm now older and wiser, and realize that what others are doing in life has absolutely NOTHING to do with YOUR own happiness. True happiness comes by doing what you love with people you love. It is becoming the best version of yourself possible. Each of us has a unique destiny and has to follow a different path.
You will never be truly happy if you keep wishing you had things you don't. The grass always seems to be greener on the other side but that does not mean it's actually is.
If you keep comparing yourself to others, wishing your life was like theirs; your face and body were like theirs; your family was like theirs; your partner was like theirs, you will feel forever jealous. Instead, try to live simply and appreciate what you have, acknowledge that everyone is different, and stop comparing yourself to others. Then, you will experience joy and happiness in everyday life.
We all have our unique gifts, talents, and opportunities and we have to make the most of those. Happiness stems from living an authentic life that ignites your soul. Everything else is meaningless. Happiness cannot be measured by bank accounts, elaborate houses, or fancy cars. Happiness is found within, not without. Discover what makes you great and live your life fulfilling that.
5. Practice forgiveness every day
It is easy to harbour resentment and hold grudges. We can even beat ourselves up for silly mistakes that we’ve made or things we could have done differently. Forgiveness is the elixir of the soul. Forgive yourself. Forgive others. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes.
Forgiveness takes strength. Only the weak cannot forgive. Ironically, when we carry negative energy in our hearts towards others, we can never be truly happy. So, forgive everyone who has wronged you. Forget everything that has brought you misery. Let go of those negative emotions. Embrace all these as lessons learned, and look toward the future with hope.
6. Surround yourself with happy and inspiring people
It might sound harsh, but you need to eliminate negative people from my life or at least reduce the time you spend with them. Those who complain about how unlucky they are, how they have been wronged by someone, how the world is unfair, or how their life is horrible.
Negative people are always blaming others for their problems, and 99% of the time, they are the direct cause of their own problems. Life is too short for negative people who cause you problems. If you allow negative people in your life, you will become negative and attract more negativity. The opposite is true too. Surround yourself with happy, inspiring people who live with gratitude and you will see that your life will be happier too. Happiness nurtures happiness. Positivity nurtures positivity.
7. Look for the positive in every situation
You will always run into unfortunate situations in life that are outside of your control. You can choose to feel sad, annoyed, angry, or stressed about the situation or turn it around and focus on the positive. You can choose to be stuck in a bad situation or let go, move on, and start afresh.
Learn from a failure or a bad experience and never repeat the same mistake. Every setback and bad situation in life teaches you something. Growth doesn't happen in comfort. Take it as an opportunity to train your mind to be stronger, more resilient, and more equipped to be able to deal with things life throws at you.
8. Embrace your inner child
As children, we are full of love, innocence, wonder, dreams, goodness, and imagination. Nothing is impossible to children, and no one is evil. Yet, somehow when we become adults, we lose that magic.
My close friends and family will tell you that I am still just a big kid at heart. I made a decision never to let life’s problems and worries conquer my inner child. I love jokes and playing pranks. I love to fantasize and dream, I love joining in my grandkid's games. I believe most people are good, and I believe nothing is impossible. I admit, I have had more than my fair share of bad luck, loss, misfortune, and failure. However, I choose to protect my inner child and live as freely as possible. It would be sad if we all let the bad things and bad people in our lives destroy our inner child and belief in the goodness of the world. Life is beautiful.
9. Do good and don't be a hypocrite
Always give more than you take. One of the lessons promoted by Jesus in the Bible is that “ You reap what you sow.” I believe that, and that by sowing goodness in the world we reap an abundance of good things in return. Also, when we do good, it fills our hearts with happiness and satisfaction.
Toss some spare change to a busker, or homeless person. A cup of coffee or a burger may mean more to them than a three course meal at a swanky restaurant for you and me.
Doing good, often requires us to move out of our comfort zone and to think of the needs of others before ourselves. This isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning when you may not have an abundance yourself, but it doesn't always have to involve material things. You can give your time, effort, and advice. Maybe you just need to lend an ear to someone who is lonely or in distress, or offer to do a grocery pick up for someone who is invalided or housebound.
Don't be a hypocrite by only doing and saying good things when you think you will be rewarded or because others are watching. Mean everything you say and let your actions demonstrate that.
10. Keep an open mind, don't judge or discriminate
Having a narrow mind can hurt you more than you think because naturally we as humans don't like being disapproved of. We don't like the feeling of being wrong because it makes us feel rejected and unaccepted.
Being narrow or closed-minded means you stand firmly on your beliefs and ideas and oppose others who think otherwise. You will feel agitated and uncomfortable when you are confronted by people with different beliefs and ideas.
On the other hand, if you have an open mind, you don't mind hearing about the different beliefs. In fact, you will embrace the difference, want to understand it better, and become adaptable and flexible in your approach. You won't have a problem or feel guilty about accepting others. You'll feel at ease with differences and embrace change.
11. Live for the moment
I believe that one of the reasons little kids are happy and dating couples are happy is because they live for the moment. They focus on what is happening in front of them at the present and pay attention to the person or people they are with. When you live in the moment and do your best, you just feel happy. Why wouldn't you? You don't worry about the future, neither do you feel sad about the past.
Take every waking hour as it comes and do what you are supposed to do and complete what you're supposed to complete. Stop over analyzing or trying to predict and plan things too far ahead. The only constant in life is change. Just live in the moment and do your best.
For me, happiness is not a destination. It is not something to pursue. Don't wait for happiness. Don't chase happiness. Happiness is a choice you make to see the beauty in every day. Happiness is a conscious celebration of the precious gift of life and all its blessings. Happiness is the journey.
12. Don't worry or stress about the future
Many of us worry. We worry about our career, health, finances, and about the people we love . . . and about our future. We worry because we are scared or anxious. However, worrying doesn't make anything better unless we stop stressing and start taking actions towards our goals. If you're worried about your health when you get older, then you should start eating healthy and exercising regularly. If you're worried about your finances, then you should start saving up for the rainy days. Take action now, and let the future sort itself out.
If you're worried about your kids, then encourage them to take actions to help you ease your worries. Stressing about your loved ones doesn't actually make them better. It only affects your health and your blood pressure. Your children will need to make decisions themselves. All you can do is to encourage them and help them move in the right direction.
Off the Shelf
Tomorrow's America is a cold and ravaged place, a nation devastated by despair and enduring winter. In a small New England city, senior government official Dr. Judith Carriol finds the man she has been seeking: a deliverer of hope in a hopeless time who can revive the dreams of a shattered people; a magnetic, compassionate idealist whom Judith can mold, manipulate and carry to undreamed-of heights; a healer who must ultimately face damnation through the destructive power of love.
Although this novel was written in 1985 it is set in the “not-too-distant future“ and looking at the current United States political and social climate it appears very relevant/topical right now. A very interesting read.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 John Hansen