Let us learn how to be happy by mastering the choices we have to a happier life. Here are some important factors that determine our happiness derived from the writings of Jonathan Lockwood Huie.

Have a Purpose - Our life doesn't have a purpose until we choose a purpose. There is a high correlation between life of high purpose and joyful life. There is also a high correlation between life without purpose and unhappy life. Creating purpose in life is not a moral dictum, but as a key element of a happy life.

Take Action, Be Bold  - Once we know where we are going, letís get started. A life of action is almost always happier than a life of procrastination and inaction. Even if we are unsure about what to do next, we have to do the best we can, make some progress every day, and celebrate even our smallest accomplishments.

Honor Yourself, Love Yourself as You Are - Honor, self respect, and self love are crucial to our happiness. Letís not confuse these essential attributes with pride, in the biblical sense of pride. We are perfect exactly as we are, whatever anyone else may say about us. Sometimes we choose to make changes in how we live. That's great but we never have to change anything in order to be a perfect person, a perfect creation.

Forgive Others  - Holding on to resentments, anger, and hatred only hurts ourselves and robs our life of its joy and happiness. Letís forgive everyone for everything that he/she has ever done or failed to do, that caused us pain. It is sometimes very hard to forgive, but total unconditional forgiveness is one of the great keys to our own happiness.

Forgive Ourselves - Why throw away our happiness on regret, guilt, or shame? Letís always do our best, our very best every time. But after it is over, let it be done, whatever the outcome. Letís learn lessons from our failures, but letís never label ourselves as failure. Letís forgive ourselves for everything we have ever done or failed to do that didn't work out the way we intended.

Have Gratitude for All of Life - Life is neither perfectly great nor perfectly awful,. We can choose to complain about life's seeming imperfections: from the long line in the bank, to the slow commute,the pain in our knee, etc. That is certainly one way to live. It's not wrong to live that way, but there is no joy in living with that attitude toward life.

We also have the choice of celebrating life, all of life. We can be profoundly grateful for everything we have, however little, not because we are supposed to be grateful, but because we will live a much happier life if we have a grateful attitude.

Be of Service to Others - Of all the keys to happiness, Service to Others is the big one, perhaps the secret of happiness. Without purpose we have no reason to live. Without taking action on that purpose, we are impotent. What is the characteristic of a life purpose that creates satisfaction and genuine lasting happiness is being of service to others.

There are many ways to be of service and they are all wonderful as long as we are sincere. Being of service allows us to live a larger life, to live beyond ourselves, to leave a lasting legacy. Let's consider including service as a key element of our statement of life purpose, and taking action on that purpose. We will be happier for it.

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.-The Dalai Lama

Tim