4 Exercises for Success and Happiness

1. Calmness: Develop the mental habit of centeredness: Remain always centered in your spine; stand and sit upright; keep your emotions calm by not reacting emotionally to anything. I don’t mean to be apathetic. Rather, don’t let your feelings become excited. You will find yourself feeling things more deeply when your emotions are calm.

2. Non-competitiveness: Every day, select a different person of whom you are not fond. It may even be someone of whom you are anything but fond. Look for some good quality in him or her, and make it a point to praise that person for this quality. No one is without some redeeming features. Back your praise of that quality with a sincere smile of thanks.

3. Concentration: Make it a point for at least five minutes every day to fix your mind firmly on one object—let us say, on a flower—without allowing yourself the slightest mental fluctuation. Since perfection in this exercise may prove impossible for you, be satisfied if you can become relatively better at it every day.

4. Will Power: Think of something—a different object every day—that you find repugnant or unpleasant. A particular food may be a good example, or wearing a particular shirt that is somewhat unpleasant, either in feel or in color. Taste or wear it for a time—the actual time should be chosen by you. Christian ascetics used to make it a practice to wear hair shirts, and make themselves indifferent to them. A hair shirt may be too unpleasant for you, but to eat a little of something healthful that you don’t like: this should be relatively easy for everyone.

From: Right Action for Achieving Success and Happiness, by Swami Kriyananda. (AKASH) (2011)