Smile more, Stress Less: The 5 Factors of Happiness

“Happiness is not something already made. It comes from your own actions.” –Dalai Lama

Most people when asked what they want out of life will ultimately say, “to be happy.” With so
many people wanting the same thing, why is it that so few actually achieve it? You may ask, “Is
there a way to ensure happiness in our life? Is there a system or structure that we can follow?”
The answers is YES! And it’s your hands. When I began writing this blog, I would say I was a
“happy guy”; naturally optimistic and energetic. But after doing countless hours of research,
analyzing those who are most successful vs. those who are happy, I discovered some very
interesting things—especially regarding my own happiness.

I believe happiness is determined by the amount in which you feel fulfilled. It is when you align
your purpose with something bigger than yourself. When your actions have meaning and
positively affect others, happiness usually follows. When we purchase or receive material items,
such as a new car or fancy clothes, we may feel a sense of happiness. When we post on Insta’
and get more likes than usual, we feel that dopamine release and deem it happiness. The problem
is making that feeling last amongst the endless natural human aspirations that we have. Most of
us seek more. We make money, we seek more. We achieve an award for our efforts, we want
another. We get a promotion, we look forward to the next one. Many people have a list of things
they want and wish to accomplish. Now I’m all for progress, but the question beckons, when is it
enough? When can or will you be happy and fulfilled with what you already have? What is the
magic number in your bank account that you believe will result in your happiness? As we have
seen, having money won’t automatically make you happy. Yes, it will ensure your basic needs
are met, but then what? After you have a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and clothes on
your back, what is it that will make you happy? As stated in “The One Thing” by Gary Keller
and Jay Papasan, “Happiness happens on the way to fulfillment.” Truthfully, happiness comes
from within. There are many falsified ideas and definitions of happiness. But throughout this
book we’re going to explore deeper how we can get (and stay) in that blissful state.

Right now, I want to share with you the five factors that contribute to our happiness, according to
Dr. Martin Seligman, past president of the American Psychological Association. Fear not; there
will be few psychology references in this book but this one is spot on and important…

The 5 Factors of Happiness
1) Positive Emotion & Pleasure
2) Achievement
3) Relationships
4) Engagement
5) Meaning

Positive Emotion & Pleasure
If positive emotion and pleasure contribute to our happiness, then how do we guarantee we are
finding it every day? Let’s begin by identifying what makes you feel positive and what gives you
pleasure. Does waking up at sunrise with the birds chirping and the ocean breeze blowing release
this emotion? Does a delicious, warm cup of cafe con leche bring you pleasure? Pleasure can
come in many forms other than an orgasm, my friends, although that is one solid form, indeed.
When we start to recognize what gives us positive emotion and pleasure, we can then include
more of it into our lives.

The following exercise will help in identifying positive emotion and pleasure for you.

Spend just a couple minutes right now writing down 3 things that make you smile
organically. Not a fake smile. Not what you think should make you smile. Actual things
that make you smile, whether you try to conceal it or not. For me, when I see someone
give to someone else, I smile. Maybe they give a bouquet of flowers. Maybe they just
give the other person the jacket they left on the bench, I smile uncontrollably. So for me,
I know the one thing that fills me with positive emotion and pleasure is the act or
witnessing the act of giving. Sure, it’s a little cheesy, but it’s true. Think about this for
yourself, then write down 3 things that make you genuinely smile. If you don’t want to
write in the book, grab your journal (ps: journals are the shit, if you don’t have one you
should) or simply create a note on your phone or computer.  Just make sure you keep
your journal/note taking device handy, as we will have quick Happy Hustle questions and
exercises throughout the book.

3 things that organically make you smile:

Now that you have the 3 things that make you smile and release positive emotion, spend a couple
more minutes thinking back to yesterday. How many times did you uncontrollably smile? I
promise we won’t be doing exercises throughout the entire book. Before we can learn how to
Happy Hustle, we must first identify what happiness is for each of us. Think about it, did you
smile 5 times yesterday? Maybe only once but it was a knee slapper funny meme? Write below
how many times you organically smiled yesterday and what caused at least one of those smiles.

Quick Tip: Smile More, Stress Less.

# of smiles yesterday: ________________
One external reason you smiled: __________________________________________

If you did not find anything to smile at yesterday, well we got some work to do… but that’s ok,
you’re in the right place! I’m here for you. We are going to create happiness together. And we’re
going to start today!

Now, let’s dig deeper. The question remains: Write down one thing that brought you pleasure
yesterday? Did you exercise? Or even sexercise? Caution: There may be questionable jokes
throughout this book, they sounded funny at the time. But seriously, ask yourself this question
and write the answer below.

What did you do that brought you pleasure yesterday?

In order to measure your current level of happiness, we had to ask those questions. We now have
an idea of what gives you positive feelings of emotion and pleasure. Your answers are the key to
finding out what contributes to your own happiness. If you know that having a healthy plate of
food placed in front of you delivers you a smile, then make a point to eat healthy every day. If
you know that being around animals contributes to your joy,  you could start to volunteer at a
local animal shelter regularly. It seems quite simple, but the truth is, many of us fill our days
with other people’s priorities rather than our own. Make your happiness a priority. By using
the list you just created, you can then schedule three things that make you smile, and the one
thing that you know brings you pleasure. Don’t miss another day of happiness. Start now!

It is safe to say that we all feel happier when we achieve the goal that we set out to accomplish. I
know, for me in particular, that achievement is one of the biggest contributing factors to my
overall happiness. When I feel productive and accomplished, I feel happy. I wake up (even better
when I do it the night before) and write in my journal every morning and break my thoughts
down into 3 categories. “Attitude of Gratitude”- things I’m grateful for.  “To-Dominate”- things I
plan to accomplish for the day. “Positive Quote”- a phrase or sentence that inspires me I read or
created myself. I then get to work on tackling the To-Dominate activities. My happiness at the
end of the day is largely correlated with how many of the activities on my To-Dom list have been
accomplished. Now it’s not dependent on the achievement of these activities as I know there is
ALWAYS more to do. But I feel a sense of pride and peace when I can look back on the day
knowing I achieved what I set out to accomplish. What do you wish to accomplish today?

Multi-gazillionaire Warren Buffet is infamous for the next exercise I want to share with you to
help clarify what is most important to you. To paraphrase, he suggests you write down a list of
the top 25 things you want to accomplish in your life. Buffet then has you draw a big red X
through numbers 6-25 as you won’t have time to master or achieve nearly all of them, forcing
sole focus on your top 5. Write what you believe to be your top 5 things you wish to accomplish
in your lifetime. If you are unsure, write down your top 5 in which you believe to be true at this
present moment.

Top 5 things you wish to accomplish in your lifetime
1. __________________________________________
2. __________________________________________
3. __________________________________________
4. __________________________________________
5. __________________________________________

These are the things you want, right? What are you doing each day to achieve the list above?
Achievement, according to Webster’s dictionary, is “a thing done successfully, typically by
effort, courage, or skill.” What percentage of your effort are you currently putting into achieving
your number 1 goal? How much courage have you put forth towards saying NO to distractions
that don’t serve your top 5 goals? Yes, that includes saying NO to Game of Thrones marathons
or reality TV watch benders. But seriously, what skills have you learned or begun to master,
knowing it will aid in the process of achieving your goals?

Effort, courage, skill. These three words resonate deep within me. Not because I am doing all
three of them at the same time, but because I know this is what it will take to reach true
achievement. Decide to incorporate 1 action oriented shift that aligns with each of those words
into your daily routine. You’re on the path towards accomplishing your goals.

# 1 Goal: Finish and launch my first book
Why: I have a message to share and wish to become an author
Effort: 2 hrs. of energy in my day allocated to accomplishing my #1 goal
Courage: Hide my phone and reject social media, emails, calls, texts, or other distractions while
Skill: Learn to type faster by taking a typing class

I know that I said this isn’t a goal setting book, but I promise if you follow along and stick with
me you will be happy that you did.

What is your # 1 goal and why? It is important to list your WHY.  This will give you the
necessary fuel for achievement along the way. Write down a sentence for each of the following
lines that will help you achieve that goal. Go for it now.

# 1 Goal: _________________________________________________
Why: ___________________________________________________
Effort: __________________________________________________
Courage: ________________________________________________
Skill: ___________________________________________________

Take the time to do the exercise. If you skipped filling in the blank portion and are reading this,
go get a pen and piece of paper OR your journal OR your phone and DO IT. No more funny
business. Enough procrastinating. Put in the effort here and now and get er’ done! This book
wasn’t written to just TELL you about how to create your own happiness, it’s here to
ACTUALLY HELP you create it! But, that means you must participate. Success is not given, it
is earned. The same goes for happiness. Earn your happiness. Put in the time and make that shit
happen. Smile because it’s about to get real!

Ahh, relationships. Let’s begin with the age old saying, “Your NETWORK is your
NETWORTH.” Relationships make up your network. Believe it or not, people prefer to do

business with people they know, like, and trust. The same goes for being happy. People are
happiest around others they know, like, and trust! Who do you know, like, and trust?

Write 5 names down now, only 1 of which can be a family member.
1. _________________________________
2. _________________________________
3. _________________________________
4. _________________________________
5. _________________________________

Now, when was the last time you corresponded with these individuals? Even a text message.
Think about it. How often do you see these people?

Now, I want you to think of the 5 most successful people that are in your network? This success
doesn’t necessarily have to be financial success, but these individuals should be doing or have
something that you respect and desire. How well do you actually know, like, and trust them?
Even if you are just Facebook friends or met them briefly at a party, think about who these
people are.

Write the names of these 5 individuals now.
1. _________________________________
2. _________________________________
3. _________________________________
4. _________________________________
5. _________________________________

How many names do you see on both lists? Maybe none? Maybe all? These are the people that
you need to be building relationships with. The people who you respect who are out their
crushing their goals and making moves.

“You are the sum of your 5 closest relationships.” –John Lee Dumas.

Who do you spend the most time with? Are you rounding up or rounding down? Start to get to
know, like, and trust these 5 individuals by asking yourself, “How can I add value to them?”
Always lead with value first. Do not ask for anything in return until after YOU deliver. If you
know one of these individuals has a podcast that you want to be on, instead of leading with “Hey,
great podcast, can I be a guest?”, introduce them to someone in your network that could be
valuable to them. Build the relationship first and foremost. If one of them has a business that is
thriving and you want them to mentor you, ask them if you can volunteer your time working in
some capacity. Think of how you can add unique value. Then, reach out and follow up.

Following up with relationships is essential. I would say that 1 out 10 people I meet and
exchange contact information with actually follow-up with me. Sad, but true. Pending it was a
positive interaction, I will give my card or contact info, and then I never hear from them again.

I once gave a speech (in spanglish, mind you) to a group of students in Guatemala on the topic of
personal development and striving for their dreams. The students seemed passionate on the
subject and I had dozens of questions from the crowd but but not nearly enough time to answer
them all, so I boldly declared my personal email through the microphone and wrote it on the
board. Anticipating a flood of emails, I opened my inbox the next day to find not even one
question or email from a single student. I was a bit shocked. I was ready to personally help
whoever did reach out. Truthfully many established professionals who are where you want to be
are more willing to help than you think. Most just want to see perseverance and grit when
reaching out and following up. How many follow ups have you not pursued out of laziness or
fear? Don’t let that be the case any longer. A Happy Hustler follows up! You’ll stand out if
you do and you will build lasting relationships in the process.

I created an opportunity to interview and hangout with Lewis Howes (entrepreneur, author,
podcast host of The School Of Greatness.) years ago. After the interview, I followed-up! I
continued to offer and add value however I could. I now have a good friendship with him
because of it! Follow-up even when you don’t get an immediate response. As “they” say (I’m
guessing a car mechanic), the squeaky wheel gets the grease! That’s how you Happy Hustle
relationships, mis amigos.

When you are engaged, you are setting yourself up to be happier. Not in the sense of “engaged to
be married” as we are well aware that 1 out of every 2 marriages ends in divorce (I swear I’m not
a pessimist and do believe in true love). I mean engaged in doing something that you want to do.
Something that you are passionate about. Something that brings you joy. When I am playing
soccer, nothing else is on my mind but the ball, the game, and potentially who I am going to slide
tackle next. Side note: I may or may not hold my highschool record for most yellow cards in a
season.I don’t play dirty, I just play hard. 😉

Regardless of what went on with my family, school, work, etc., I love the act of playing so much
that nothing else matters. I become completely immersed in the game and what I am doing at that
exact moment. There is no room for anything else. Can you think of something that captures
your attention this deeply? What gets you completely engaged and makes you happy in the
process? Write it down below.

I am completely engaged when I am ________________________________________.

Now, how often do you do the thing you listed above? If it makes you lose track of time, forget
about eating and rest, then you are engaged in it. When we are engaged in something we like, we
are happy. It is something we do to feed our souls. Something that if we don’t do, we yearn for.
If we don’t do, we can feel depressed and lost. Discover what makes you engaged and build it
into your Happy Hustle.

Most of us seem to be on the quest to live a life of meaning. What exactly does that even mean? I
believe meaning is the definition of our true existence. Who we are deep down (our soul) and
what we stand for (our actions) determines the meaning for our lives. Meaning and purpose are

often parallels. And in order to have purpose, it must be driven by passion and love. **When
you align your true self with your passion driven purpose, you will have meaning. I love
that sentence and I hope is resonates with you. I’ll say it again, When you align your true self
with your passion driven purpose, you will have meaning.

As cliche as it sounds, I feel a deep sense of meaning when I am helping others. I am honestly at
my happiest when I am volunteering by helping others who are less fortunate than myself. I
regularly volunteer my time to read to children at a local orphanage. These children are either
seized by the state due to parents who provided unfit living conditions (drug problems, abuse,
incarcerated, etc.) or parents who have to give them up for adoption for a number of other
reasons. Most children (and adults for that matter) desperately crave to feel loved and safe.
Unfortunately, many orphanages do not have nearly enough resources and many of which only
have one dedicated employee for every twenty children. Volunteers visit these children for just a
few hours each week. During these moments, the meaning of my life is to give them a reason to
smile, read to them, encourage them, and just be present with them. It lights me up when I can be
the light for others in need.

When we find something that gives us meaning, we should do more of it. I’m sure you have felt
a sense of meaning in your life. Can you recall what it was or still is? If so, write it down. When
we write it, it becomes finite. Out of our heads and into reality.

I feel a sense of meaning when ____________________________________________.

Meaning is a CRUCIAL contributor to our happiness. With purpose, we feel fulfilled. Without it,
we feel empty. Do something that has meaning for others, whether big or small, and I guarantee
you will find this sense of fulfillment. In the words of Tony Robbins, “The secret to living, is
giving.” How can you give more today and in your life as a whole? What do you give that
creates meaning for you? Do this more and more every day and I bet you’ll be happier in every

There ya have it! These are the five main factors that contribute to our happiness.
1) Positive Emotion & Pleasure– How will you find pleasure moving forward?
2) Achievement– What is your #1 non-negotiable goal to achieve?
3) Relationships–  Who do you want to know, like, and trust that will elevate your level?
4) Engagement– What can you fully engage yourself in that allows you to forgo any other tasks,
worries, or distractions?
5) Meaning– What meaning will you seek to give others?

Now that we have identified and clearly articulated how each of these factors relate to you and
how it affects your overall happiness, you can begin to incorporate these things into your
everyday life. Think about these 5 main contributors while Happy Hustlin’ from this moment
forward. Implement them into your life and thrive in a state of consistent happiness.

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