Spending time in the village of Mahabana, Madagascar was an incredible experience. Despite extreme poverty they are incredibly happy, generous, and caring. They know how to attain true happiness. Here is what we learned from them: Pleasure is momentary, it has a beginning and an end. Satisfaction will endure and contribute to lasting happiness. How do you get satisfaction in life? You need to do these seven things.
1) Believe in Something Greater than Yourself
“Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice.” – President Barack Obama
Believe in something bigger than you. It might be a God in religion or ancestors in cultural beliefs. Do this and you will gain incredible psychological strength when dealing with problems. In the face of uncertainty, having a greater power alongside you will give you hope. No matter how dire situations become, you will never feel alone.
“a man’s search for meaning will elevate him beyond pain and pleasure.” -Tony Robbins
The thing that is going to make you happy is to step up, raise your standards and discover what you’re capable of. At that point you will feel the incredible power of pushing through whatever is holding you back. This will help you see more of your true self.
“always remember, your focus determines your reality.” – George Lucas
You need to have a clear and compelling vision of what your life will look like and what you want to accomplish. We interviewed a lady in the village and asked her what her dreams for her children are. Her response was incredible….“What is a dream?” The concept of thinking beyond today was not something she had ever been exposed to. Every day she dedicated 100% of her focus on one thing. Getting food on the table for her 6 children. For a single mother living in a grass hut, she was pushing herself beyond her limits every day and growing psychological strength. She is truly happy. There is incredible satisfaction that comes with pushing oneself beyond their own capabilities. This is her:
Her main fear was what would happen to her children when she got sick. tentree and Eden Reforestation Projects were happy to give her a full time job planting trees ensuring that her children would be taken care of.
4) Contribute Beyond Yourself
only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment. – Tony Robins
I think we grow so we are able to give and contribute more to society. We are able to share things we learn, donate money we earn, give our love to people, and we are able to support others going through tough times by being there emotionally. In a remote village where people can’t read or write, the elders are the most valued members of society because they have so much knowledge to share.
5) Be Thankful
“true forgiveness is when you can say, “thank you for that experience.” – Oprah Winfrey
Everyone experiences tough times. And while I know most people reading this won’t be going through the extreme poverty they are here in Madagascar, I know everyone reading this has had to push through some kind of adversity. How do you do it? Stop complaining about where you are. Be thankful instead. Say to yourself: I am thankful for this conflict. I am thankful for this opportunity. I am thankful for this training. I am thankful for this adversity and the opportunity to overcome it. I trust I am equipped with everything I need right now.
The people here have very little yet they are very thankful for everything.
6) Connection of Love
“love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” — Robert A. Heinlein
Love fully. These people know better than anybody that life is short and nothing is guaranteed. We must celebrate our time here together with our family and our friends. We arrived in Mahabana a couple days after 2 of our project leaders (also community leaders) had passed away. We were lucky enough to hear stories about them and enjoy time with their families.
7) Be Patient
“trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit.” – Molière
Be patient and strategic. Don’t try and control everything. You have to be patient and persistent. While you’re waiting patiently, what can you you do? Firstly, try something new. Go for new experiences, go to new events, find new energy in learning. Secondly, take care of your physical health / well-being. That means getting sleep, hydration, diet and nutrition, exercise. Lastly, control your workflow. That means take on projects you’re passionate about, experience flow so take something from beginning to end and see it evolve.