The Art of Non-Conformity

Thinking differently, questioning assumptions, and living a life of grateful adventure

When You're Happy You Don't Have to Tell Anyone

Real happiness is evident without words.

“If you really want to be happy, no one can stop you.” -Anonymous

As I was editing a new book manuscript, one story caught my attention. A man makes a lot of changes in his life. He adopts a new lifestyle, sells his possessions, and spends his time on intentional experiences. So far, so good.

But then, he doesn’t just make the changes—he wants to tell people about them. He tells everyone he meets, even people who are busy with their own lives and don’t want to hear about it.

He’s so happy!

Finally, his mother says something to him in a phone call. “John, when people are happy, they don’t have to tell everyone about it. They’re just happy.”

The man realizes that she’s right. He doesn’t need to persuade anyone to adopt the same lifestyle. He doesn’t need to scold or criticize anyone who doesn’t think as he does. He just needs to live according to his ideals.

***

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There’s a wonderful freedom in living life by your own design and making choices for yourself. When you first create this freedom—for freedom is usually created, not merely found—you may find yourself like John, wanting to tell everyone about it.

You become an evangelist for this way of life. You want to show everyone that you’re happier. You want to help them to be happy too.

Yet you may discover, as most evangelists do, that the rest of the world is not always eager to hear your message.

Your happiness may lie in going against the grain of opinion or preferences. But sometimes, you should just go with the flow once you’re there. Let it settle in. Enjoy it for yourself.

Those who long for the same discoveries will seek them out. Those who are envious will never understand anyway. Everyone else can just live their life as they see fit.

If you’re happy, you don’t have to tell everyone about it. You’re just happy.

Chris Guillebeau travels the world and writes for a small army of remarkable people at chrisguillebeau.com.

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