In the fast paced and ever-changing world that our youth live in today, there are several things that get lost or perhaps that they get lost in. It is said that many Generation Z (born 1994 to present) and Millennials, are probably considered the most challenged and hard to understand youth population.
The numbers tell the story... I've been blessed to have trekked more than 3,000,000 miles and have worked with more than 300,000 youth in 30 countries in the past 30 years. In my professional assessment and observations when measuring success with youth, I've come to the conclusion that the one common ground amongst them is their pursuit of happiness!
Until this day my experiences have lead me to learn that there are 5 key virtues that youth need to work on to obtain an increased level of happiness. I've carefully gathered enough empirical evidence in my research to arrive at the following virtues that increase happiness amongst youth:
GIVING: This has been proven by researchers in several experiments. You can visit TED Talks on this subject. The act of giving immediately changes your physiology, especially when you give to someone who is clearly in need. The selfless act of giving without any expectation of receiving brings out an emotional energy that fills you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. The Dalai Lama notes that one's own happiness is dependent on the happiness of others. In his book, "Ethics for the New Millennium", the Dalai Lama observes that happiness does not come from material things but rather from a deep, genuine concern for others' happiness. In fact, the Dalai Lama contends that focusing on one's own needs instead of others' results in negative emotions that prevent true and lasting happiness for the self.
GRATITUDE: You cannot simultaneously hold emotions such as fear, jealousy, and hatred while also being grateful. If you are feeling stressed out, anxious, or generally down (all too common feelings with Millennials), the fastest way back to happiness is a deep focus on gratitude.
Your COMPANY: Surround yourself with happy people. Be clear... those who you hang with have more influence on you than you think! Be selective in the process of choosing friends, acquaintances and partners. Those in your network should add value to your happiness as much as how you add value to theirs.
Believe that your HAPPY: Proactively act happy and soon you won’t be pretending. Act the part, envision, believe it and become it.
Be a happiness VICTOR: More often than not, youth feel entitled. Entitlement leads to an ill feeling of victimization. The sooner you flip the switch from victim to victor you'll discover your victory!
Whether you're a parent, student or professional, practicing these virtues regularly will lead to a more balanced self. Always remember, begin with the end in mind and seek to serve others before self.