How to Be Happy: A Surprising Lesson on Happiness From an African Tribe

We would all love to learn how to be happy. And sometimes, the solution comes from a surprising place.

Let me tell you a story…

There was an anthropologist who had been studying the habits and culture of a remote African tribe.

He had been working in the village for quite some time and the day before he was to return home, he put together a gift basket filled with delicious fruits from around the region and wrapped it in a ribbon. He placed the basket under a tree and then he gathered up the children in the village.

The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of the fruit.”

When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group.

The anthropologist was shocked. He asked why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for themselves?

A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”

How to Be Happy: Ubuntu

Years later, the well known South African activist Desmond Tutu would describe the little girl’s thought process by using the word ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.”

Here’s how Tutu explained the concept:

Africans have a thing called ubuntu. We believe that a person is a person through other persons. That my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanize you, I dehumanize myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.

This is exactly the type of philosophy that our community embraces.

Community First

“Your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”

In our little community here, we each have our own goals and mission. Some of us are working to lose weight and get healthy. Others are striving to gain muscle and feel happier. But regardless of our individual pursuits, we are always a team grinding towards greatness. We are a group of people on a quest to make the world better, not just different. We support each other.

We believe that there is always room at the top. We believe in abundance and we work hard to make life great for everyone in our community. We walk to the tree and enjoy the fruit together.

Happiness comes from combining what we love to do with something that is meaningful. In this community, our goal is to improve your health and happiness so that you can do what you love and contribute something that is meaningful. We believe that we are here to make the world a better place, and we think that happy and healthy people have a better chance to do that than anyone else. That’s why we share ways to naturally lose fat and gain muscle, reduce stress and feel happier, and boost your energy and creativity.

If you choose to share your journey with us and work towards your goals as part of our team, then you’ll find thousands people who support you. That’s because we find value in community. We find our humanity in belonging.

7 Comments

  1. Phil Case says:

    Another awesome piece, James!

    • James Clear says:

      Thanks Phil! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

    • Nilakshi says:

      Really awesome. In sanskrit we say, “sarve bhavantu sukhina” — let every body be happy. Instead of cribbing and cursing someone, if we bless some body — our blessings come back to us in many folds — as told in Buddhism.

  2. Bronwyn says:

    If only we all could be as kind and caring towards others without being greedy all our wants and needs would be meet two–fold. Let us learn from this tribe.

  3. Kunderp says:

    So wise of them.

  4. Karen Schrock says:

    “Happiness comes from combining what we love to do with something that is meaningful.”

    I’m so grateful that I can live this phrase. I am a child, adolescent and adult psychologist….I learn more from my client than they learn from me. I have been very lucky to do something I absolutely love everyday and hope to contribute something meaningful.

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