The Secret to Living a Happy Life at Home and Work

I’m confident that I’ve found the secret to living a happy life. I’m serious. I really do think I’ve figured it out.

You see, I know many people who are unhappy since they spend most of their lives at jobs they don’t like.

These people get that empty feeling in the pit of their stomach around 3:30 PM every Sunday as they think about the commute into the job they’re completely bored with and/or in some cases flat out hate.

It’s Not Quitting Your Job

And while I’m personally drawn to the entrepreneurial life not everyone is.

So the “secret” isn’t to buy some Internet marketing get rich quick eBook that promises to teach you how to work from home 4 hours a week whilst raking in piles of money. That’s a bunch of hogwash.

It’s Not Getting Rich

Furthermore, making lots of money isn’t the “secret” either.

In fact, I know some extremely wealthy people who are miserable. Sure they drive awesome cars and lived in mansions… but they’re not happy people.

It’s Not About Family Time

Now this one is tricky… since, for me, nothing is more important than being with my wife and kids. Nothing.

But, just the same, not everyone has a spouse and children… thus the “secret” I’ve discovered isn’t about spending more time with them.

You see the secret I’ve discovered applies to every living person on earth – from the new born baby to the elderly person nearing the end of their life.

The Secret Is…

So what’s this secret you ask? Do you have any ideas?

I thought about ending the article at this point to hear everyone’s thoughts but have decided to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag. Here goes.

The secret to living a happy life is right in front of you. Literally. You see the secret to living a happy and fulfilled life is to constantly learn.

Yep. That’s it. The secret is to never stop learning.

If you hate your job/life chances are you haven’t learned anything new in a long time.

And if you happen to like your job and feel as if you’re living a happy life it’s my guess you seek out new things to learn on a consistent basis.

This Explains Job Hoppers

I recently spoke to a person who said they can only work in the same job for a few years before they “have” to move on.

And while they didn’t say this I’m guessing the main reason they seek a new job is because they want to learn something new.

They may not realize it but boredom, at its core, seems to be more about the lack of learning and growth than anything else.

Constantly Seek Knowledge

So, no matter what you’ve been called to do in life one thing is certain. You should never stop learning.

You should seek out new knowledge and skills at your job, at home, and at church if you’re a person of faith.

You see, the minute you stop learning at your job, at home, or at church is the beginning of the end.

What makes this so hard is most leaders of people don’t understand this secret so you’re going to have to manage up a bit. That’s the bad news.

The good news is once you’re successful managing up these leaders will be happier people as well which is a fantastic thing for all involved.

Do You Agree?

Now, obviously, there are other aspects that must be in place to live a happy life.

For example, being with people you genuinely like, taking care of your health, and earning enough money to provide for yourself and your family are, of course, important. But, without learning, these aspects alone will falter.

Do you agree?

15 Comments

  1. Erin Lewis

    April 27, 2011 - 9:13 am

    I really had no idea where you were going with this but have to say I cannot refute your hypothesis.

    As I look at myself inthe mirror I realize that the times in my life where I have not been as happy as I’d like to be were the times when I was not learning and growing.

    This even applies to my personal relationships. Perhaps the spark we all feel when we first date someone is due to the fact we are learning new things about this interesting person. And when the spark begins to falter chances are good the learning and discovery of this person has slowed.

    • Ron Pereira

      April 27, 2011 - 12:18 pm

      Wonderful analogy, Erin. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tim McMahon

    April 27, 2011 - 11:20 am

    I agree. I think when you stop learning you start looking. Looking for other things to do. Generally, people want to be stimulated and engaged. Humans are not programmed for boredom.. The technology changes in the last 50 years has really all centered around our thirst for more information. Ron, maybe you can share some ways you keep learning.

    • Ron Pereira

      April 27, 2011 - 12:18 pm

      Great idea for a future post, Tim. Thanks!

  3. Jeremy Garner

    April 28, 2011 - 8:00 am

    In my opinion the only thing as fulfulling as learning is helping others to learn. I almost enjoy the “same old stuff” with a new appreciation when I see the light bulb in someone’s eyes. It is our human irony that clings to the familiar while we groan for freshness and change. That is why my faith has provided such “fullness of joy” for me because it is a never ending discovery of things wonderful and new!

    • Ron Pereira

      April 28, 2011 - 8:26 am

      Wonderful insight, Jeremy! I too love to see others flourish no matter if it is grown person during a week long kaizen event or a 7 year old child on a soccer field learning to dribble the ball. The joy of learning knows no boundary!

  4. Brandy

    April 28, 2011 - 1:21 pm

    I do like to learn, and the things I have learned at my current job have contributed greatly to my skill set. However, I have paid a price to develop those skills at this job. The price? My happiness.

    Thanks to the misery my job has put me through, I have decided (or ‘learned,’ if you will) that, to be happy at any job, I need to have: demonstrated respect and civility from the folks I interact with as part of my work; trust in the security of my job and in the organization’s goals; and the feeling that I’m getting out of my job at least the equivalent of what I’m investing.

    Learning is great, but it can’t always make up for other factors in your environment that drag you down.

    • Jeremy Garner

      April 28, 2011 - 3:07 pm

      I agree Brandy! The only teacher that is more effective than “time” (which eventually kills all of it’s students) is pain. A painful lesson is not quickly forgotten. Nothing motivates learning quite like pain.

    • Ron Pereira

      April 28, 2011 - 3:13 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Brandy. I am sorry to hear of the bad situation you have been in. And you’re 100% right… if a basic level of respect for the individual isn’t present happiness of any kind will be hard to come by. Hopefully the things you have learned on your own will enable you to find another job where things are better. Wishing you the best of luck.

  5. Michael Lomb ard

    May 5, 2011 - 3:08 pm

    Ron, I wholeheartedly agree. The amazing thing about learning is that it affects my happiness both directly and indirectly. Directly, I feel the little moment of joy when I learn something new; this happens just about everyday. Indirectly, good things seem to happen when I devote myself to learning; this usually happens in spurts every so often in my life. For example, I wanted to learn Spanish and expose myself to a foreign culture, so I spent a long time in the Yucatan and ended up meeting Mariana, my beloved wife.

    I remember when I first read The Toyota Way, which was the first time I had heard of Lean. That kicked off a learning surge that surpassed anything I experienced in college, and that gave me direction and purpose in my career. Before that period, I was miserable at work.

    • Mark H. Davis

      May 9, 2011 - 8:55 pm

      Michael, I think you said the key word: “purpose.” For me, this is the “secret” that Ron writes about. No purpose, no learning. What would be the point?

    • Vijay pawar

      May 31, 2011 - 11:19 pm

      I fully agree with Michael, It is true to leran something different in day to day life and feel joys.
      But it is very diificult to deal with human being and it is very esay to dael with pyhsical world.

  6. Janar Eit

    June 1, 2011 - 8:18 am

    You have hit the sweetspot for me with this approach to happiness and work-personal life balance. I totally agree with your idea about need for learning new things all the time makes you more happy.

    I have lived according to this approach for some 7-8 years now and I am totally happy with the feeling that I have both at work and at home.

    I hope I can learn new things my whole life:)

    Thanks again for great post Ron!

  7. Jeff Theobald

    June 1, 2011 - 8:39 am

    I couldnt agree more about learning and its direct relationship to happiness. Lets face it, happiness is a little over rated. When people talk about being happy or finding happiness it reminds me of people who bounce from relationship to relationship trying to find there true “soul mate”. Lots of things in life can leave you feeling empty with one exception, learning. Learning gives us many things, a sense of control, peace, love, passion and a way to get lost in something or some subject. When we stop learning we are on the edge of giving up.