Think Like a Dog and be Happy

Maximus as a puppy taking it easy and staying cool

I know it’s a bizarre concept to suggest that if we think like a dog then we could be happy but stick with me and you will see what I mean.

We currently have 3 dogs and I love them all to bits but my favorite is my Rottweiler Maximus. He is always so calm and happy and I spend a lot of time with him. When I got Maximus as a puppy I read a lot about dog behaviour and watched Cesar Milan’s program The Dog Whisperer on the National Geographic channel which taught me how differently dogs think to humans. I like to think I can now communicate a little bit and understand Maximus in his own language rather than the human language and personalities we push on to animals that they can’t fully comprehend.

In the last few weeks I started to wonder why Maximus was so happy and question what made him feel safe or content. Apart from the obvious that his basic needs are met, I realized that he lives almost entirely in the moment. To him there is no pondering about issues in the past or worries about the future he is just enjoying here and now; if it’s not in front of him, he’s not thinking about it.

Then I began thinking about how humans are constantly worried about “what ifs” that might (or might not) affect the future and past events we can’t do anything about. Our progress in life and our ultimate day to day happiness is constantly tainted, disrupted and held back by these concerns. The point is that these concerns and hang ups are usually long gone in the past and can’t be altered or they are events in the future that possibly won’t happen or will change because events beyond our control will improve or change these things between now and then.

I am just as guilty as the next person for not living in the moment enough and enjoying my life when I get the chance but I am in a position to do something so maybe I am more guilty than others? This whole realization has proved to me that doing what I love on a daily basis, having the freedom to enjoy life and being free of the 9 to 5 treadmill is so important to enable anyone to find happiness by living for now. For example I know if I have a 9 to 5 job I can’t just wake up tomorrow and decide my life would be better served that day by going to my friends house and discussing future investments or projects. I wouldn’t be able to that so I would have less freedom to live in the now and make choices about what’s best for me in the moment and change them quickly if necessary.

I know I have to consider how my families needs will be met next month but I can’t predict what good things or terrible occurrences will happen next year that will change my plans so why sit here getting worried about it? I trust myself enough to deal with things as they come up so should just enjoy my life as it is today. If you have a good full time job you can still get made redundant in a year from now because your employer was bought out or merged with another company, this is beyond your control but you can’t spend your life worrying about it.

I am happy to say I let go of my past issues some time ago and I rarely get bothered by my childhood, teenage years or much else since. I can’t do anything about them and I refuse to let any of this history adversely affect my life now or in the future. I can’t recommend this enough to others, let go of anything bothering you or holding you back from your past. Let it go, push it away or at if required use it as motivation to push yourself forward but never let it hold you back.

I also know we can’t live entirely in the moment with no consequences but with some basic tools, strategies, rules and manners that you can set yourself there is no reason why we can’t live for today a lot more so we can be happy more often.

For more concepts on happiness, changing your life, entrepreneurship and inspiration, have a look at my book How To Be Lucky.

Whatever you do; be lucky and be happy.
Matt Kinsella

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4 thoughts on “Think Like a Dog and be Happy”

  1. Maybe that’s why dogs are so loyal and forgiving. They don’t hold onto grudges or worry about what you might do. My favourite quote is ‘My aim in life is to be as good as my dog thinks I am’!

    You’re right about living in the moment but it can be a tough concept to grasp for many. I’ve been teaching this for years and sometimes wonder if it ever sinks in. People have to work it out for themselves once they become aware of the possibility of letting go.

    So your post is another breadcrumb that people can follow to a happier life.

    Thanks Matt

  2. I like your approach Matt. Dogs also feel grateful, for love and care they take and always reciprocate. This is one more thing we can learn from dogs.
    Sometimes, for getting the message not to be anxious for the future, we go through difficult conditions with our health and our lives are threatened. I had such experience in last 6 months and realized that life is too short to worry for the future and regret for the past. But why should learn this lesson in that way?

    1. I agree it is a shame that we often have to go through tough times to learn some of life’s lessons but the important thing is to take something new and positive from everything we go through and it certainly sounds like you have done that so the very best of luck to you in the future.

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