This One Advice Change My Life Forever

2 min read

a brick sidewalk with a yellow arrow painted on it
a brick sidewalk with a yellow arrow painted on it

“From the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep, you have the single most important responsibility: make yourself happy,” my spiritual guru told me nearly 20 years ago.

You might be compelled to fight this notion – I did – out of fear that it might make you selfish, egotistical.

But stay with me.

You know when you get on an airplane, you're told that in the case of low-cabin pressure, you place an oxygen mask on yourself first before helping others.

Do you know why this is?

It's simple, really.

If you are not breathing, you can't help others breathe either.

You can try it, but it won't work for long.

Then you'll start blaming someone else.

“If only I didn't have to . . .”

Well, you didn't. You made a choice.

Taking care of yourself, breathing easy and well, and living a life you love is the only way you can truly be helpful to others, freely and gladly.

Being responsible for your own happiness does not mean you infringe on others in any way. No, you let others be. You help if you can.

Responsibility for your happiness means you figure out what your most authentic self is, what living well means to you, what brings you joy, what needs to heal, and what you really want out of life -- and then take action to achieve it. This will inevitably require you to change, grow, feel uncomfortable and even get hurt at times. But that's the price of greatness -- responsibility.

And you have to choose it every single day.

Otherwise, victim-mentality, blaming, and shaming will kick in.

You have to choose responsibility instead of complaining and blame, even when the former is much harder than the latter.

You probably have plenty of reasons to feel justified in blaming God, your parents, grandparents, siblings, current and former friends and partners, your coworkers, and even the driver that cut you off on the highway for a whole range of unsatisfying and painful situations, circumstances, feelings, and experiences.

And you'd be right.

But this is where the rubber hits the road.

Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?

Blame, masked as righteousness, will temporarily make you feel better because you'll feel vindicated for a moment, which in turn will make you feel powerful.

But this does not last, and if you stick with it, the power you experience will turn into suffering and powerlessness, because in reality, you cannot do anything to change what has happened.

That “I am right” and “They were wrong” attitude won't do anything for you. You will only continue to relive the perceived injustices, which will keep you stuck and frustrated.

Thankfully, you can do things to make your future better by learning from those experiences.

Let's say, you have a bad boss.

Will mere complaining help make them better?

No.

But there's one person who can make things better.

That person is you.

It's always you.

In all situations in life, you can accept what is; you can try to change it; and if you can't change it, you can remove yourself from it.

All of these things are rooted in your choosing responsibility.

You will take responsibility for your life and your pursuit of happiness. You can be upset, bitch, complain, and resist whatever you want, but at the end of the day: you own it.

Things won't change unless you do -- and you won't change unless you take action.

GO for it, and watch your life change immeasurably.