Happiness Hacks

Velly's Blog

Want to receive my weekly Blog via email? Let me know! [email protected] or call 0404766759

The Humility Journey in the 21st century

 For a 2 minute audio click here 

When Nelson Mandela was once asked what he considered his greatest accomplishments, he snapped, “Such a question is very important and should be put in writing first… They are not my accomplishments… Everything I have done has to do with the ANC.  I do not make decisions alone.  When I decide to act, it is something that we discuss.  I think it is a mistake to think in terms of the Mandela years.  It is the era of the liberation forces.”

The Hebrew word for “I” (Ani אני) shares the same letters as the word nothing (Ayin אין). Chassidic philosophy explains that the relationship of these two words serves as a reminder that my “I” is “noting” i.e. I am nothing by myself.

This is a form of humility that stresses that no matter my talents, abilities and past achievements, I recognize that they are G-d given, and I assume that another person with these very gifts would accomplish much more than me.  This sense of humility is the awareness of the Divine being the source of my life and my accomplishments. 

The ability to check our ego by the door comes from a place of strength and self-confidence.  This can be remarkably beneficial in business, relationships and wellbeing.  As Rambam warned, arrogance and inflated ego are the main obstacles to happiness. On the other hand, deflating our ego, allows for Divine inspiration, wisdom and joy that results from helping others.

Maybe this is why Golda Meir once humorously remarked “Don’t be humble; you’re not that great.”

We can never fully let go of our petty ego.  What’s beautiful about this sense of humility is that it’s about the process and the journey.  Humility is not a thing we cross off our checklist.  Humility is a character trait that we must constantly develop.

Humility is not false modesty.  On the contrary, when you are humble, you are clear about who you are and what your unique qualities are.  You don’t let people trample on you and you are still a force to be reckoned with. You are just not egocentric. 

The Joy of Purpose

For a 2 minute audio click here 

A certain Jewish leader had a private meeting scheduled with the Lubavitcher Rebbe.  Leading up to the meeting, the individual’s 13-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the Rebbe.  “Dear Rebbe, like many other righteous people, my father has a great wish to live in the Land of Israel…Please make my father happy by giving him your consent and blessing to make Aliya.”

The Rebbe’s response to the young girl was detailed and profound.  He validated her feelings, but at the same time explained the importance of her father’s communal work.  “… Knowing your father, I have no doubt that he will feel in his element only in a place where he can fully utilize his knowledge and qualities for the benefit of the many.  Based on this, you will surly realize that he will be truly happy if he continues in his present situation and country.”


There is a form of happiness that comes from fulfilling our desires and then there is true happiness that results from fulfilling our potential and becoming a channel for something greater than ourselves.

When we forget about our own pursuits and instead devote ourselves fully to a greater cause, it is then that we attain genuine happiness. 

Man is not a “needy” being but a “purposeful” being.  When we immerse ourselves into things beyond the self, we graduate from artificial gratification to authentic inner happiness.

In today’s era and society, the self dominates.  But self-absorption is counterproductive, because happiness lies not in meeting our needs but in achieving our purpose.  

The Art of Listening

For a 3 minute audio click here 

I remember hearing a story as a child about a king who was constantly unhappy.  The king’s advisors did everything they could and came up with all kinds of ideas on how to make him happy.  But nothing worked.  Nothing could make the king happy.

Then one day, the king was alone and came across an elderly person in need.  The king helped the person and for the first time the king was overcome with a sense he had never experienced before, happiness.

The king ultimately learned that happiness came when he brought happiness to others.


My previous blog posts have been about gaining more happiness in our personal lives.  But this one is dedicated to bringing happiness into others’ lives.  

With all the noise going on in the background of our lives, we have to ask ourselves the question.  Are we really listening to our spouses? Do we as parents truly listen to our children? Are we listening to what our friends are trying to tell us?

Judaism is a religion of holy words. Through words, G‑d created the universe and our ability to speak is what makes us human. Words create. Words communicate. Our relationships are shaped, for good or bad, by language.

Yet, at the same time, Judaism places great importance on silence.  The silence that counts, in Judaism, is a listening silence.

Listening lies at the very heart of relationships. Listening means we are open to others, that we respect them and their feelings matter to us. A good parent listens to their child. A good employer listens to his or her workers. A good company listens to its customers or clients. A good leader listens to those he or she leads. Listening does not mean agreeing, but it does mean caring. Listening is the climate in which love and respect grow.

5 Listening Exercises

1.  Make eye contact.
If you don’t look at a person while they’re speaking, you give them the impression that you don’t care about what they have to say.

2.  Don’t interrupt.
Halt any thoughts that come to mind and let the person say everything they need to say. The goal is to shine the spotlight on them, not you.

3. Don’t try to fix.
Don’t feel pressured to give perfect solutions, advice and answers.  Often times people simply need someone to talk to, not someone who will fix their problems.

4. Listen without judgement.
Withhold negative evaluations or judgements.  Be open minded.  After all, who wants to open up to a narrow minded person? 

5. Move to a congenial environment.
It can be difficult to listen to another when the TV is blaring or your phone is buzzing.  Finding a quiet place to listen makes it much easier to listen empathetically and it indicates that you put importance on the person and what they have to say.  

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.