Friday Feels: Searching for Good Vibes

The fresh feelings are great to write, and honestly free and easy, when I’m bubbling with a good mood. This week though I noticed that I was comparably a bit more irritated than I normally am in other weeks. While it’s dope to give some focus on the good things when times are good, I think it’s extra-important to shed some light on them during those times that aren’t as great. Positive psychology isn’t just blind optimism, but rather accepting that no matter what, there will be good and bad- and it’s up to us to control how we perceive it all.

As always, gratitude is a great antidote and here’s my log for the week. However, this week I thought it would be pretty fitting to feature some feelings left by readers and friends, who have definitely helped out in giving inspiration for this segment.

1. When you find something you lost after you’ve already given up looking for it
-Brock Boyd

Losing stuff happens all the time and when it happens you often just try not to lose your mind as well. In our house of males, it’s not uncommon for something to disappear for a few months, seeming lost in the fray. But when that thing unexpectedly turns up, you turn up too- especially when you’ve already given up on it more definitely than the stupid Rubik’s cube that sits smugly on our coffee table.

Where the heck did I put that thing

2. When you meet new people and instantly click, and everything is easy
-Lea Riemeier

Science says that meeting new people can be some of the toughest things we have to do, so when you meet someone, or a group of people, that’s smooth like Teflon right from the jump it’s a great feeling. Life’s all about finding people who match our type of weird, that feeling of finding familiar weirdo’s can’t be overlooked.

Pro tip: don’t laugh at your own jokes just yet, I guess people think it’s lame

3. Getting a good hug from someone, when they really mean it
-Chalene Kuefler 

Anyone around my friend group knows that were pretty open with our emotions and hugs go right along with that. Yeah, we’re grown men and we like to show affection- that’s just love. As experienced huggers as we are, we can attest that some hugs just hit differently than others- this is a shout out to those hugs that are a little warmer, a little tighter, and a little better. Giving someone you care about a good squeeze is the bees knees (sorry for the Seuss-like line).

Live, Laugh, Love right?

4. Being told or telling someone you love them 
-Kellie Smith

We’re cruising down Emotion street so let’s just keep rolling. Verbalizing how much someone means to you or being told it by someone dear to you is without a doubt a warm, fuzzy feeling. A simple phrase that can just stir up a whole host of nice feelings when you hear it, love in any form will always be dope and should always be celebrated. 

Keep ’em on their toes.

5. The feeling of finishing a good workout or challenging physical task

-Philipp Kawaletz 

I’m a sweaty guy when I get up and go, so this feeling is likely a whole lot damper than yours but man, I’m sure we can agree on a solid feeling of achievement. This is the single best feeling of working out, in my opinion, and seeking it out does wonders for health. I get dirty, I get sweaty, and just bask in it for a minute before hitting a nice, cold shower. 

These days it seems like ‘pics or it didn’t happen.’

Start With 5: Give Me a Better Title!

Let’s start this with a party pickle

I like good feelings, you probably like good feelings. This series is all about giving those underrated, overlooked feelings the credit they deserve- maybe making us both feel nicer along the way.

I’ve been super appreciative of how this series has taken off. If you’re reading this as one of the people who give these posts some love on social media, this one’s for YOU.

I’m Jordan, and here’s this week’s Start With 5.

1. When you’re really sweaty or dirty and you step into that nice, refreshing shower

I don’t know about you, but I am fairly pathetic when it comes to being dirty. My mother will be the first to tell you about how even as a little toddler when I played outside I would come running back to ask her if she could wipe the dirt off my hands. Meanwhile, my little sister’s waist-deep in mud and laughing. So maybe it’s not as relatable for you as it is to me, but man that shower feels great and even more so after a long, dirty day.

This guy gets it.

2. That fresh smell after it rained

This one is pretty straight-forward, and if we were just talking about showering ourselves, then we can appreciate when good old Mother Nature does the same thing. The presence of water actually carries smells more, meaning that we’re actually just able to smell the earth a little better.

Can you smell it?

3. When you’re cutting wrapping paper and the scissors start gliding

How satisfying is it when the scissors just start sailing through the paper, smoothly and accurately? I’m not the greatest arts-and-crafts fella, but when this happens it makes me feel like some sort of talented craftsman (definitely not what’s going on, I can assure you of that).

Thanks, Google Images

4. Going to bed with fresh sheets

Whether in a hotel room or your very own, when you hop into bed with a fresh set of bedding it just feels much more relaxing than when you climb into a hot mess of blankets. As I live in a house with four other guys, we definitely don’t wash our bedding as much as we should, but this is giving me a little motivation to get fresh with it.

Pre-bedtime mood

5. When that show you love comes back, or your favourite sports season starts up again

If you like Pina Coladas… and getting caught in the rain several hours of binge-watching TV shows, then you’re as stoked as I am when your favourite show/sport is back in action. Later in the evening, when you’re unwinding from your day, having that one show to entertain you definitely makes the night better.

I’m talking THIS excited.

Honourable Mention: 

When one of your readers give you a much better title for your series on the good things in life. Only an honourable mention because it hasn’t happened yet but I bet it’s an unreal feeling. So please, if you think of anything let me know down below or on Facebook in the comments!

Why Is It Easier To Focus On Negative Things? And What Science Says To Fix It

It doesn’t take a genius to explain that being happy is much more enjoyable than being miserable but, mirroring how complex the human mind is, true comprehension of happiness is the type of lifelong stuff that we may never fully figure out. Yet the nature of it, at least for me, is so interesting and worthy of study that I naturally feel compelled to learn more- and like the Rock on his “cheat day” from his rigourous diet, I’m hungry. 

As you already know, the world can be a pretty negative place. 

People that seem to enjoy sucking the energy out of places, internet trolls, and don’t even get me started on the news. Negativity breeds negativity, or so the saying goes, and for some reason or other, it just seems like we’re naturally able to listen easier to that negative voice, feeling, or person, more than the positive stuff.


One of my favourite authors, Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor, explains why we as humans just can’t help but be drawn to the negative stuff sometimes and how it’s just flat out easier to feel negativity than it is to feel happy (or else I’m sure that we all would just choose to be happy).

He basically says that way back in the day, like way, way back in the day, all that negativity was actually super helpful in keeping us alive. 

In early human times, the fella that walked around in the sun thinking about how great everything is was much more likely to get devoured by some sort of vicious predator or ignore other signs of danger, like say walking off a waterfall (I don’t know, I wasn’t there- you come up with a better example).

So as a result, those that were able to focus more on all the bad things that could be around them lived more and the others… Died. 

This repeated itself over and over until the genes of all those negative people who were pretty good at singing Bee Gee’s songs lived long enough to pass down the habit to their kids and the others either learned quick or didn’t get the chance to even have kids.

When it comes to survival, that stuff makes a lot of sense. But the reality is now that we don’t have any real threats that are hunting us down and trying to kill us each day.

Since we can’t just give the habit back to whoever gave it to us, we as humans have an innate proclivity towards sifting out all those negative messages from the good ones, as those are the ones that can do damage to us.

A huge example of this is the news. Why do they report such negative content all the time? The answer is simply because they’re doing what every business tries to do: give the people what they want, so they can make money from it.

People are just naturally more interested to read or hear about that homicide that happened the other day, or whatever else happened that was horrific in some way. The interest comes from the simple fact that we focus on it more subconsciously because our instincts make us feel like it could possibly threaten us in some way.

It doesn’t look like this type of media is going to change either, after a Russian news site decided to pump out only positivity for a week and lost two-thirds of its readership in one day

Anyone in charge of anything at a news company will undoubtedly avoid making the same mistake. For myself, I chose to unfollow any news outlet or source of breaking information because I simply realized that internalizing all of that negativity is likely influencing me far more than being ‘in the know’ about the horrors going on. 

I also figured that if something was big enough to actually impact me, I would almost certainly hear about it from other people– and I really don’t care if I’m the first to know.

Another idea Achor explains is that to counteract these negative messages it takes a considerable amount of effort. 

Since we are predisposed to focus more on bad things, it takes 3 positive messages to counteract 1 negative message. 

An example of this could be at work, or school, or wherever you spend the most time. Someone could tell you you’re doing a good job or give you another positive affirmation of some kind, but if the next person told you that you’re useless there, the message from that person who’s probably just taking out some of their own inner turmoil out on you would stick with you for far longer than the person who told you’re doing good work. 

We’d wonder what that guy’s deal was and likely begin questioning if he was right or what exactly he was meaning.

The same goes for the rest of the negative messages in the real world. Since we’re just instinctively more concerned about negative things, we grant them way more of our focus than the others. 

To balance this, seeking out those messages of positivity can help train our brains to see more of what we’d rather see and not what our instinctive brain thinks we want to see.

Pointing out areas of gratitude is a great way to plug this in- it can really start by taking a minute every day to think about all the things you’re grateful to have and that you’d be upset if you didn’t have. 

As we know in this world, anything can change at any minute and that thing you took for granted every day can be gone in a second.

Gratitude doesn’t have to be for all of the best things in your life either. Do you have eyes in your head right now to read this? Sweet, that’s pretty dope. 36 million people in the world aren’t so lucky

If you’re scrolling on a phone to read this, imagine how difficult your everyday life would be without it, and the opportunities and ease it affords you. You get the idea, and the examples are limitless.

One could even say those tiny little things that make you feel good for a moment, or longer, are worth giving more attention to, and we as privileged humans probably overlook them on a daily basis. 

As I’ve explained in this article, it’s not exactly our fault (we can blame the ancestors and their knack for surviving).

I started out a series a couple of weeks ago, and it literally just gives a shout out to those good feelings we’re all familiar with that might slip under our radars if we let them.

If you haven’t already, you can check them out here and here.

As always, thanks for reading and your help makes a big difference in the growth for The Five You Need. We’ve eclipsed over 2,500 followers across all platforms and I’m super grateful for that.

If you think anyone else might like to read about this study, you can send it to them directly with the buttons below.

The next goal is getting to 1,500 likes on the Facebook page (currently at 1,283). We’re almost there! Help a guy out and give some love to anything you see on Facebook from The Five You Need, it helps Facebook see that what the page is sharing is worth showing to more people. 



  • Achor, S. (2010). The happiness advantage: The seven principles of positive psychology that fuel success and performance at work.
  • Achor, S. (2013). Before happiness: the 5 hidden keys to achieving success, spreading happiness, and sustaining positive change. First edition. New York: Crown Business.

Start With 5: What Feelings Do You Overlook?

I’m feeling something good coming. Not only is this series super fun to write, I feel like it’s some of my better work, and the responses have been great. The best part about it all 

is that I get to write straight off the cuff, providing a voice for the thoughts tapping around my head. In case you missed it, here is the first piece where I describe some 
super underrated feelings that probably get overlooked. This is purely just about giving some well-deserved appreciation to feelings that just slip right past our radar sometimes.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s Mambo Number 5*(*underrated feelings)

1. That ‘AHA!’ moment you finally remember the word that’s on the tip of your tongue

It’s like a floodlight that surges with power before the huge shine of light and man, does that ever feel good. The longer you spend wrestling over what simple little word was on the tip of your tongue, the greater the rush pumping through your veins momentarily. Am I exaggerating this a little? Maybe, but when this happens to me I am way too excited for a second and I’m hoping there’s at least a few other people who can relate. Who knows, maybe this will be the best parts of my day when I’m much older and wiser yet still approaching senility. As an old man, I’ll make a point to still get fired up when it takes me a little too long to remember what I ate for breakfast, but I remembered nonetheless.

2. When you find a new song and instantly fall in love with it

I might be just impressing my own personal pump up package with these feelings, but here’s another thing that gets me jazzed up (not a bad pun, but certainly a welcomed coincidence). I cycle through music pretty quickly and pretty regularly, yet finding new songs with HEAT are still few and far between for the most part. When you find that song with some fire though, those first few listens are like an audio-espresso in the ear-drum. I then listen to them until the wheels fall off and then wonder why I have a tendency to just way over-do things. I guess that’s why I can’t have nice things.

3. Not being allergic to peanut butter

Man oh man, if you are reading this and you are allergic to peanut butter, I am so sorry. That creamy, peanut-y goodness is just different- healthy, tasty, and addicting. I probably slap way too much of it on my little pieces of toast, but it’s only to keep me from just eating it straight from the tub. If you don’t think peanut butter is that big of a deal, I bet if you couldn’t eat it for the rest of your life you’d miss at least a little bit (and if you still can’t agree to that, then maybe go eat some more Brussels sprouts or whatever else you’re probably into, I don’t know).

4. Driving past a cop and then almost freaking out because you realize you’re cruising a little too fast, but it’s all good because he’s in a good (or lazy) mood

So going back to number 2, finding that new tune can lead to number 4- and that stroke of luck followed by a wave of relief is a pretty good feeling. It happens, sometimes you just don’t realize you’re into that zoom zoom mode and when your friendly neighbourhood police guy let’s you off the hook it feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

5. When you wake up wondrously rested and ready to go

As an avid sleep fanatic, let me just start this by saying that this doesn’t happen a whole lot for me, so when it does, it’s a pretty special feeling. Sometimes I ruin it by going right back to sleep, but sometimes I get up feeling pretty charged up for the day. It definitely helps when you have some good stuff to look forward to, but either way when this miracle happens I do not take it for granted.

*Photo to illustrate that even when I wake up energized, I’m still a baby*

That’s it for this week. Using one of these buttons down below would make me a happy guy, mainly because I had to figure out a bit of coding just to add them. Let me be the first to tell you, that stuff is not easy. Have a good week!

Have a feeling that fits the topic? Maybe I’m overlooking it- comment it below or send me a message and I’ll feature it!

The Formula for ‘Being Happy’ (Achor)

If everyone could choose to either be happy or be sad, I’m sure there would be a clear favourite from the two options. It’s obviously not as simple, and involves so many things that make it complexly different for each person. I’d like to think that most people know what gratitude is, and the impact that it has every single day. I’m sure everyone could easily explain what it is, wrapped neatly in well-thought out answers, in different amounts of depth and in different ways. After all of this considered, I just wonder why it isn’t talked about more, or why we don’t see more of it in every day life.

I’m sure anyone who took the time out to explain what being grateful meant could do a great job at it, and could logically infer that having more of this is better for happiness. And if they can’t, they should.

The greatest motivator that had biggest hand in restructuring the way I saw the equation of productivity and happiness was best explained by Shawn Achor, the author of the Happiness Advantage (also the single most influential book I’ve ever read). I’ve written about this topic in a dialogue sort of way, and if you haven’t checked it out already and are interested, you can click here.

Basically, the author (Achor), explains that there’s a bit of a misconception around productivity, success, and happiness. Most people see it like this:

People work tirelessly to become successful, with the ultimate goal of being the happiest they can be. Which is what everyone is ultimately trying to do right? At the end of the day, we all have stuff that make us happy, and it’s the pursuit of this that keeps us going (shoutout to Will Smith).

However, while it’s great and all to have this end goal in mind, the biggest message from Achor’s philosophy is that it’s backwards. I like to think of an analogy of waking up in the morning, since it’s something I used to be terrible at and am now somewhat manageable at. When I’m happy or excited, for whatever reason at all, it’s fairly easy to spring out of bed and get going with whatever’s got me fired up and ready to go.

When I’m not-so-happy is the time where this gets way to difficult. I linger, procrastinate, debate what I’m going to do, or just waste some time away on my phone. I’m sure someone can relate to that.

This is the same for productivity and success, which is better illustrated like this:

If I can get to that place of happiness and excitement beforehand, I’m way more inclined to get stuff done and my overall productivity sky-rockets. It isn’t much of a surprise that people get more stuff done when they’re feeling good, yet it still isn’t enough of a commonplace at work, school, whatever. Google is all over this idea and has been for years, evidenced by the puppies in the office, nap pods, frequent breaks, and anything that will boost the morale and mood of their employees. They know that happy workers means more results.

Now obviously, moods aren’t able to be controlled on demand like Pay-Per-View (anyone still use that?). If everyone could click to be stoked and happy, like already stated, they would. This is where gratitude comes in, and acknowledging things around you is the vehicle to get there. By making a point to appreciate what’s already here, the habit of satisfaction in the present moment is found. I was laying in bed last night and thought of a situation wherein I was genuinely concerned for my safety, and from that small flashback I was overcome with some appreciation for being safe and comfortable where I was- something usually super easy to overlook and something I’ve probably overlooked hundreds of times. Thankfully, it’s something I usually don’t ever have to think about- but it doesn’t mean it’s not something I can’t appreciate. I can think of dozens of things that I overlook on a daily basis that I would miss should I not have it, and this is the central theme around gratitude. Why wait until something’s gone before truly appreciating it? Reordering these appreciations really makes me feel luckier and can usually always improve my mood.

Gratitude is everywhere, and if someone doesn’t think they have anything to be grateful for, they might be doing it wrong. Some days without a doubt will always suck more than others and nothing can change that, but appreciating something when you have it feels a hell of a lot nicer than appreciating it while it’s gone. Practicing this daily has become routine, and like any skill the improvements result in it becoming easier and more natural, creating a more effortless pathway to gratitude.

You Can’t Always Choose Life, But You Can Choose Gratitude

Gratitude comes at me in so many different ways it’s not even funny. It’s easy to be grateful for family, friends, achievements, and stuff like that- because those are some of the best things in life. Naturally, we like these things.


Today though I found myself feeling gratitude for an event that could’ve been immensely worse had the dice been shaken differently and thrown a different way. The kind of gratitude that left me with something I cherish deeply: life.

Taking things back a bit, and I’m cruising through Thailand on a bike I rented from the mountainous Pai area to head back down to the bustling but charming city of Chiang Mai. I had trekked up about a week prior and now it was time to head south again to move on to the next leg of our journey, back down the mountain highway.

Winding through the road with the smell of a jungle-y forest and the remnants of the rain that had swept through an hour ago made for an unreal ride. After about a quarter of the way down, we stopped to grab a tea as these two particular Canadian boys had somehow already become climatized enough that temperatures in the mid-to-low twenties were actually making us chilly, in lieu of the usual high thirties.

Not even an hour after sending my mid-journey snaps and messages to people back home, winding around the corner I caught a blanket of gravel while trying to hang the curve to the right.

It didn’t work so good, and in a split second, I spilled over top of the handlebars and onto the highway, crashing to the ground.

I immediately jumped up, in a daze while I tried to make sense of what just happened. Braden had slipped in front and hadn’t seen me tumble.

The tingly-sensation of shock crept across my body as I instinctively screamed his name, hoping he would hear and come back for me.


I began to feel out of body as I looked over my wounds, looking but not really seeing them. Noticing the shock in my body rising, I began reassuring myself despite the fact that the pain hadn’t set in yet- this concerned me.

I watched as a few cars drove past me, my wounds beginning to bleed and my shredded poncho reduced to just a symbol of what had happened. On queue, Braden raced around the corner, and a local pulled over and ran to my assistance. I’m not even really sure how everything happened from there on, but the bike was pulled from under the guard rail and I was loaded into the local’s vehicle- a man named Te (who had at some point also enlisted the help of another local woman, who climbed in quickly to take me to the hospital. I could feel my bearings coming back to me, and while this was nice, this was accompanied by the corresponding pain.

Three doctors hurriedly but meticulously cleaned the various wounds ranging from my shoulders to my feet. Braden and Te made sure to capture the whole encounter through photos, as Te was incredulously and affectionately calling me Superman as I refused to take a photo without smiling. Albeit some were downright forced, as the skin in the right side of my body were scraped and scrambled like ground beef cooking over the stove.

Slowly, in between the winces the whole ordeal slowly crystallized in my mind. The bike jammed into the metal plated guardrail, the way I fell off the bike and protected my head, and the local who found me and came to my rescue instantly, loading me into his car, blood and all.

Sitting there finishing getting cleaned and sterilized, and the bandages relieving some of the pain, I realized how lucky I was.

Not going to lie, tears formed in my eyes.

Te waited for the duration until I was cleared to leave the hospital, and while his English was a little less developed, he understood enough for us to embrace each other and revel in the moment.

I sat there with the most tremendous and profound gratitude for life and the way I had avoided being closer to an encounter that jeopardized it. Reality hits me in different ways, but nothing could stop me from the thankfulness for the severity of the situation and the kindness shown from absolute strangers.

Toughness is a quality I’ve been both unpacking and exploring lately, and even on the ride to the hospital, however delusional it may be, I was thankful for the opportunity to show myself that I was tougher than this event. Someone dear to me explained the beauty in adversity, and how in these moments we find out who we really are and in turn presented with an opportunity for growth.

I can definitely be a big baby some times, but through this I was excited to dig down and power through it. A little unorthodox? Maybe. But after today there’s no other way to frame it.

I’m sure I could look at it all from a different lens, criticizing the roads, weather, luck, or maybe even my driving. But truthfully that sounds like such a bizarre concept that accepting that is less likely than me getting my damage deposit back on the bike I just crashed.

Not a freakin’ chance.

I’m going to keep loving life, loving today, and carry it with me tomorrow.

What about you? Leave me a comment and tell me something you’re grateful for!

Te, left side in the red shirt. The doctors/nurses who mended me. And the woman who guided Te to the hospital!

I Took A Whooping From An Eleven Year Old, And It Won’t Be My Last…

With the game tied up and two points away from being decided, I look at my opponent in front of me and know in myself that it’s game time.

He drives around me, crossing over before scooping the ball through the hoop while going off the opposite foot.

Okay, one more point and my game is over. This is fine though, I’ve been here before.

I pass him the ball for the final, game deciding possession, and he dribbles and crosses over to attempt a similar move- only this time he sneaks around to the other side for a reverse lay-up, gently spinning the ball off the backboard and through the hoop.

Before shock even has time to fully sink in, the loudest squeal of joy can be heard from him as he runs off the backyard court and into the house faster than I can even make words come out of my mouth.

My eleven-year-old little brother Austin just beat me one on one for the first time.

I stand there a moment, wondering how I got myself into this position before walking up to the house to find my brothers animation is somehow filled with more excitement and emotion then when the Warriors won the NBA championship less than a month prior.

As someone that means the world to me, seeing the joy on his face somehow lessens the competitive blow my ego just took, and I sit there and accept his energetic elation without making excuses in front of my bewildered family.

This kid has shown day in and day out uncanny similarities between us, and the gratitude I have for him is immeasurable. While we aren’t identical, looking at him and seeing qualities evident from our brotherhood is something I cherish and hold close to me. I know that through him, I can walk along life beside him and find solace in the fact that I can support him through struggles and challenges I faced at the same ages.

For better or for worse, my brother emulates me and this is something that I will never take lightly. I love the relationship and how complacency is no where to be found, because of how highly improvement is viewed by both of us. Life and growing up brings many mistakes accompanied by lessons, and to be frank, the plentiful mistakes I’ve made have thankfully afforded me with countless lessons- and the age gap between Austin and myself means that I have the luxury of helping him through similar times.

The awareness of this fills me with happiness and relaxes me, while also adding another dimension of fulfilment to my life that helps validate my worth. My internal compassion develops by helping him, because making a habit of putting someone else first is a humbling element of selflessness that can grow into other areas of my life. For as much as I’m helping him, I truly believe he’s helping me. 

I’ve talked a lot about gratitude in previous posts, and how this magnifies when talking about living, breathing, people in your life is immense and should never be taken for granted. Having appreciation for those around you is one of the most important vehicles of your own wellbeing. Assuming someone will be there regardless of what happens is an easy trap to fall into, and in doing so it robs you of truly appreciating them and what they’re worth. Taking time to fully value and appreciate the people around you will ensure that you’re always spreading the compassion you need to the people you need most. While obviously this element of gratitude is consistent with all members of my family, this post is for Austin and this feat he managed on his birthday.

Pretty soon he won’t be proud of beating his big brother in a game of one on one, so maybe I should be the one cherishing the moment!

Congratulations, Austin. I love you buddy.

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What I Saw While Dirtbiking Around the Coast in the Philippines

I was driving a dirt bike up a sandy coastal road in the Philippines when I look over and see a clearing just below, with a cluster of shacks with mud for floors and enough for maybe the basics of living. There’s not a chance that there’s power in the huts, and as I look to the left I see a woman washing what looks like children’s clothes in a basket.

My glance is met with a glowing smile, and a wave.

I kind of feel like a jerk because the amount of concentration and balance needed to manoeuvre the bike through the slippery, sandy, dirt hill is enough to make me sweaty, and because of this I can’t return the gesture.

The wheels I took around the island

Over to the right are kids running around and playing together, and sounds of laughter are heard throughout the little pasture of dwellings.
No phones, no roads, no appliances- all of them living more minimal than most people in North America do when they’re camping.

But no happiness? It’s infectious and found mostly everywhere you look. While riding on past, all I see are people smiling, socializing, and truly seeming to be content with the moment they are in right now.

You might think that this is something atypical, lucky, or even rare- but that’s just not the case over here. While I didn’t have the luxury of time to travel the country entirely, all of the places I did go had the same thing in common.

These people truly epitomize happiness and connectedness. The former concept is joyful, but the way these people value communion and social interaction is admirable. Each individual can attest to the way they feel connected to those around them, and the results are living right in front of you. While a vast majority of people from the Western world would view this minimalist lifestyle as torturous and unpleasant, the people here who are immersed in this way of life are living a life with tremendous gratitude for what they have, and who they have.

In the same way that Western culture has placed an importance on capitalism and making money to be successful, this little region of Pacific culture has cultivated a priority on community. The proof is in our backyard too: Filipino’s have created their own communities and do a pretty good job of orchestrating groups and leagues by which they can all gather together with.

I think it’s amazing. To have a culture so warmly embrace togetherness is inspiring, and the results can speak for themselves. The social structures connecting everyone are found everywhere, and the sense of community is unparalleled in our culture. We live in a world where all of us feel like there’s always something we need to be happy, perpetually seeking the next thing and the next dollar.

“Once I can afford that car, then I’ll definitely be happy.”

This goes on and on forever, steadily keeping pace with you and the next thing you want, only resulting in endless dissatisfaction.

Learning to be happy with what you have, and letting gratitude be at the forefront of your life will pay you the biggest dividends. The Happiness Advantage is an eye-opening book that truly instigated this paradigm shift in me, and the fact that is the one I chose to bring with me to read while travelling through the Philippines is astoundingly coincidental- and to this day, still blows my mind. One of the main themes of this book is the concept that money and success will bring you happiness, when in reality it’s not true. Constant hunger for more stems from this, and happiness will always elude you as you race towards the illusional rainbow.

Instead, the truth is that happiness is what fuels success, and focusing on your own happiness will actually make you more creative, motivated, and energetic.

My belief is that adding gratitude into the equation will compound this even further, because allowing your happiness to rely on what you already have rather than what you want is the key to being in love with the moment and the life you are submersed in.

For me personally, the proof is in the country and culture I was lucky enough to experience overseas. This was the main trait that was consistently found; people wrapped up in gratitude for what they have and the community around them.

Allowing yourself to let your motivation come from happiness rather than “more” is the rewarding experience you deserve, and what ends up happening when you become happier is amazing. Everyone deserves to be more motivated and energetic, and the byproducts of these two qualities will naturally bring you more. There’s nothing wrong with getting more, it’s simply the prioritization of acquiring more that is counter-productive, and will end up making you less happy. This ends up causing a chain reaction, in turn making you less motivated, with less energy, while your creativity dwindles. It’s a vicious cycle, but adjusting this to be centred around happiness allows you to snowball in the direction you want- naturally attracting more and more to you instead.

It starts with the little things; smiling at people, holding the door for someone, or even waving at someone.

Unless you’re biking up a steep hill.

If you’d like to give The Happiness Advantage a read, scroll down to the bottom of the page.

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