A high-quality life is our birthright. A life filled with happiness is a high-quality life. Yet, few people are happy. Most of the world “gets by”, plowing through life unhappily. Money does not automatically translate into happiness — otherwise the billionaires would be the happiest people and monks who renounced it all would be miserable.

A few changes can help increase the quality of our life over time.

Here are 8 suggestions we can incorporate to increase the quality of our lives

1 — Be Alert

The world is a dark place.

Yes, there is plenty of beauty around. Yes, there is goodness in copious quantities. Yes, we have more comforts that our ancestors couldn’t have imagined in their wildest dreams.

Dangers, however, lurk in all corners to trap the unwary. Modern day big tech companies design algorithms to breach into the loopholes of human consciousness. Advertisers lay a trap for the unsuspecting many. Society is waiting to induct us into a life of meaningless comparisons and minutiae.

Knowing this is half the battle won. Remaining alert is necessary to prevent ourselves from succumbing to these traps.

If we are not alert, our default response systems take over, which results in innovative and colorful messes.

Alertness, therefore, is critical.

2 — Be Kind

“Prahalad, your headline promised suggestions to help increase the quality of my life, how does this suggestion deliver the promise?”

Kindness is the balm that soothes our soul.

Something magical happens to our heart when we are kind and the other person feels good. Rinse and repeat this tens of thousands of times — we invite magic into our lives.

And what happens when we are kind but the other person does not reciprocate? In that case, virtue is its own reward. It is a worthwhile reward. Virtues for its own sake. And humanity is not all bad — not everyone will take advantage of our kindness. Most people will be grateful for our kindness and will reciprocate back.

Being kind is worth it any way we look at it.

3 — Cut Back Clutter

I am a perennial offender in this regard.

I am trying to turn a new leaf. Cluttered spaces are an indication of a cluttered mind. And getting rid of clutter is not easy. Evolution has conditioned me (and others) to hoard for a rainy day tomorrow. I have ample supplies for my rainy day — thank you very much — but I have a tough time trying to convince my mind.

I’m in the process of implementing Marie Kondo’s approaches. I’m making reasonable progress. When I get rid of clutter completely, I will (likely) report my findings.

For now, I believe clutter is evil and am waging a fierce battle against clutter as well as my mind.

4 — Get rid of Pre-conditioned Notions.

Parents, teachers and well-meaning adults have conditioned us with various belief systems.

They meant well. That doesn’t mean their worldview is in our best interest. For example, people in the 1960s believed that smoking is normal. Today, everyone recognizes the health hazards caused by smoking.

Our task is to think from scratch and get rid of pre-conditioned notions that don’t serve us well. 

5 — Reflect on Past Mistakes (To Become a Better Person Tomorrow)

I hesitated to include this point.

The past is a precarious place. It can take us into a rabbit hole of no return. It can dampen our mood and is a place that can make us sullen with no effort.

The past is also a great place to learn. Successful people learn from their mistakes and don’t repeat their mistakes. Sports teams analyze mistakes to avoid them going forward.

We can do the same with our past mistakes. We can learn from them to try and avoid repeating them. To become better human beings.

Careful — the past is a place to learn, nothing more.

6 — Be happy.

Being happy is synonymous with celebrating this one shot we have at life.

We humans have complicated life to an unimaginable extent. The caveman struggled to gather food for three square meals and protect himself from nature’s vagaries. These factors are not a problem for most humans today — we live a comfortable life. Yet, each of us is plagued with unhappiness arising from various reasons. And our reasons are all compelling. They don’t serve us well, though.

Marci Schimoff wrote a book titled Happy for No Reason. She interviewed 100 happy people, they reported being happy from within — they did not rely on external circumstances to make them happy.

Let us be happy — the alternatives are not worth it.

7 — Be cheerful.

Cheerfulness has intangible power.

Couple cheerfulness with enthusiasm, and we have something amazing. We all know that person who brightens up any room they enter — they bring life into the room.

They have discovered life’s magical ingredient: Cheerfulness.

We can take a page from their playbook and be cheerful.

And cheerful attracts happiness — and the goal of life is to be happy, isn’t it?

8 — Spread cheer.

Being cheerful is excellent.

Spreading cheer takes it one notch higher. We become that person who brightens the room. How cool would that be!

Spreading cheer has some counterintuitive prerequisites.

  • We should get rid of our ego — when we go “me, me me”, other people will look to get away from us.
  • We should take ourselves lightly — when we take ourselves too seriously, we drive cheer away.

Let us have a good time together for no other reason than why not?

Image Credit: Yannis Papanastasopoulos from Unsplash