Whenever I travel, I try to learn about what defines happiness in a particular culture. In Bali, they bless both the good and bad in life, while in Italy they take great pleasure in the act of doing nothing at all. So, when I went to Hawaii earlier this month, I was curious the locals’ philosophy on the topic. Well, I quickly learned they had a lot to say.
Unlike the English language, Hawaiian is filled with a number or words to describe all aspects of happiness, fulfillment, and peace. Even simple phrases like “Aloha” have a much deeper meaning to them. Discussing feelings and focusing on the foundation of happiness is just as much a part of the daily discourse as saying “Yo! What’s up?”
Fascinated by the effortless use of such impactful words, I decided to do a bit more digging and found a few words that stood out to me. Here is Hawaii’s secret to happiness in 5 words.
Hawaii's Secret to Happiness:
1. Manawa: “Now is the moment of power”
Our lives are broken into three sectors: past, present, and future. The Hawaiians believe the most powerful of three is the present. While they are a culture of tradition and honoring ancestors, they don’t believe the past necessarily determines who you are right now. We often use our pasts as excuses to behave a certain way currently, but your future starts with your next thought. Every second is a new moment of creation and every habit can be changed. That’s more powerful than anything that’s happened to you in the past.
2. Makia: “Energy flows where attention goes”
This may be a philosophical principle, but it makes total scientific sense to me. Just as a conduit harnesses electricity and allows it to flow in a particular direction, so your thoughts are harnessed and directed by your ability to focus. If you choose to focus on the negative things in your life, those negative feelings will only increase. But, if you choose to focus your attention on being grateful and your passions, those feelings of positivity will only grow.
3. Niele: “Be curious”
The Hawaiians believe everyone has a purpose in life; that’s a given. So, it’s important to be curious and explore different avenues to figure out what that is. This sense of curiosity makes the present moment more exciting as you’re constantly on a journey of finding fulfillment.
4. Mahalo: “Be grateful”
You’ll find locals dropping “mahalo” constantly. While it is used as a common “thank you,” it has a much deeper meaning of being grateful. Be thankful for every breath, every interaction, every relationship, every opportunity, etc. The Hawaiians are in a constant state of thanks. Feeling grateful for what you already have is the richest we can ever be.
5. Hamau: “Be quiet”
I found this one to be particularly interesting. So often we fill our lives with noise whether form technology or people or even our own voice. The Hawaiians believe that your path and your purpose are deep within you and if you don’t take the time to hush all of the extraneous noise, you’ll never be able to tap into that. Only when you are silent can your intuition speak to you.