How To Find Happiness
Architecture is a tough profession.
We worked long hours, for years, with passion and dedication, to become architects. We struggled to launch our firms, often without the education or a firm knowledge of the basic fundamentals of business. We searched for the best clients and we serve them each, to the best of our ability.
Yes, architecture is a tough, tough profession… and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
We’ve chosen this life. We’re entrepreneur architects.
If we were employed by a larger firm, we would never have the flexibility or the freedom that we so cherish.
But even though we’ve chosen this path, and the life that comes with it, we sometimes question that decision. Did we make the right decision? Sometimes we wonder if we would be happier working for someone else.
Well, my friends, I’m here to tell you… happiness doesn’t come from a paycheck, or a great project, or great clients, or from living the life of an entrepreneur.
Nor does it come from living the life of a dedicated employee.
Happiness results from the choices we make. True happiness comes from the person we choose to be.
My 3 Truths For Living a Happy Life
I was listening to a podcast a few months ago and the host asked, “If you were on your deathbed and everything that you’ve created vanished… If you had nothing left to remind people of who you are or what you’ve done… If you had the opportunity to write down three lessons or “truths” to share with your loved ones or the world at large, before your died, what would you write?”
As I listened to that podcast, I thought to myself, “love, learn, share”. That’s it. That is what I would write. Nothing more. Nothing less. Those are the three things I believe to be the essential “truths” to living a happy life.
I believe that those three directives, “Love. Learn. Share.” are the answer to whatever question you might have. You know… all those, those big questions about life, about happiness, about success, about fulfillment. Love. Learn. Share. That’s the answer. That’s the answer to all the big existential questions we have in our lives.
Love, learn, and share.
It’s my daily mantra. It’s my rule book for life. It’s my secret to happiness.
These words may mean different things to different people, so I want to go through what this means to me, with hope that it may inspire you to love learn and share.
Love is a pretty deep word, right? It means many things to many people.
The kind of love that I’m talking about is mostly about respect. It’s about caring. It’s about supporting one another and encouraging one another. It’s about building others up. Not tearing them down. Its a simple rule. Love.
I’m not just talking about your spouse or your kids or your friends. I am talking about everyone… love everyone.
Help your fellow human beings. Help the people that you see on the street corner, or in the supermarket, who may need help. Don’t look away and avoid the situation. Maybe someone dropped something or they look like they’re lost. Or maybe they just need a smile. It’s amazing when you smile at somebody. A simple unexpected smile is a great way to love others. It acknowledges them. It shows people that they exist. That you care and that they matter.
Be patient and kind to everyone. How many ways could you find each day to be more patient? To be more kind? I see it every day. When I drive. When I walk. When I go into stores. Most people have little patience for those whom they do not know.
There’s an ugly term called Road Rage. When you’re in your car and another driver does something inconsiderate or without care. Maybe they cut you off or they forget to turn on their signal… and you blow up. You lose your mind. You do or say things that you would never do or say anywhere else, other than the safe confines of your car. There are no repercussions there. No one really gets hurt. Right?
But it does affect someone. It affects YOU. It changes who YOU are.
And let’s not even get into politics… We all need to love one another more there as well. Even in politics… Love, learn, share is the answer.
Love is contagious. Love leads to others feeling respected and heard. Love leads to others following your example. When you openly show respect and support and caring for someone else, they will be inspired to pay it forward and show that same kindness to others in their life.
Every day… love your family, love your friends, love the strangers you meet, love your enemies (even in politics), and you may be surprised by what you will experience. When you choose to love, your world will get better for you and for those around you.
That’s what I mean when I say, “Love”. When I say love, learn, share is the answer, Love is the first step toward finding your happiness.
Why are you part of this community? Why do you read this blog and listen to the podcast. My guess is that you have come here to learn something.
Learn… that is the second step to finding happiness.
When we focus on acquiring a new skill, our mind expands. We grow. We grow physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. We literally become better. We become better people. We become better parents, better siblings, better friends, better architects.
Imagine a life where you chose to focus and master, and I mean really master, the business of architecture. How much better would your life be? How much better would your life as an architect be? How much better would your designs be? How much better would your career be? How much better would your personal life be… if you chose to master the business of architecture?
So, the second step to happiness is to learn. Learn everything you can.
Set a goal to learn something new every day. Something small. And at the end of each day, before you go to bed, write it down. Make it a habit. Post each new lesson learned in a journal or a sketch book. “What did I learn today?” Be intentional. Make it a habit to ask that question each and every night.
I do this with my family. Every night at the dinner table I ask, “what did you learn today?”
If you are intentional and you learn something new every day, then every day you become better. Everything in your life gets better, because every day you’ll learn.
Maybe set some big, long term goals around learning. What can we do to to change our lives? What can we learn on a grand scale that might change our lives… or the lives of those around us?
I relaunched EntreArchitect on December 12th, 2012. I called it my 12/12/12 Project. When I decided to grow this passion of mine beyond a personal blog and I dedicated it to you, it was a big goal for me. It was something that was going to change my life and hopefully change the world through you, one architect at a time.
What is one thing you can learn that might change YOUR life?
What’s the point of learning? What’s the point of having all this knowledge if you don’t share it? If happiness is truly what you seek, keeping your most cherished knowledge to yourself will only get you half way there.
The greatest human beings of our time did not keep knowledge to themselves. They shared it with others. The more they shared. The greater they became.
The third step in finding happiness is to share. This is where the world begins to benefit from your love and learning. Share what you know.
Share everything. Share all the skills you’ve learned. Share all those little things that you learn every day.
As architects… share your secrets. Share your secrets to success. When you find something that works, go share it with another architect. Tell them, “This works. Do this. This is why I’ve become more successful… because of this.” With that new knowledge, they too may become successful… and they too will be inspired to share. This is how the profession will grow… especially for small firm architects. When we create a culture of sharing among our own community, we will all be more successful and the profession will thrive.
Share! It is the final step.
This step is critical to you finding your happiness. You can’t just love and learn. It doesn’t end there. The most critical step is to share. True happiness comes from the sharing.
The more we give away, the more we get. It happens emotionally and spiritually and financially. The more we give of ourselves and the more we share, the more successful we’ll become, the more fulfilled we’ll be, and happiness for each of us will be the result.
How do you find happiness? It’s simple.
Love, Learn, Share.
Write it down. Post it on your wall. Tattoo it mirrored on your forehead. (Just joking.) Make it your mantra too. Live your life by these three words and you will find happiness.
Question: What is one thing you learned today? Head over to our private Facebook group, The EntreArchitect Community, and share what you know.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Evgeny Atamanenko