How to become happier? 12 life lessons from Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of Tibet and is recognized by Buddhists, as being the re-incarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, and all Dalai Lamas are believed to be the manifestations of saints, who have chosen to be re-born, as human beings to serve humanity. Whether you are a Buddhist or not, or even if you are not even religious at all, the Dalai Lama has spent a lifetime in the study and contemplation of the human condition. His education for his role began at the age of six and not all of his teachings are based upon his religion. The Dalai Lama has written a lot about happiness and how to achieve it, and here we explore 12 Dalai Lama instructions for life and things that he has said that, perhaps, we could all learn something from:

‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – Dalai Lama

1. Be comfortable with your own limitations and you’ll get rid of your worries

‘With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.’ – Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama believes that anxiety is often related to a feeling of low self esteem. He feels that the best way to deal with low self esteem is to be honest with yourself and be honest with other people about your own limitations. You can be happier, when you are comfortable about your limits, while realizing your great potential, and you are able to admit that it’s OK if you do not know the answer to a question or cannot do something.

2. Try to learn one thing from everyone you meet

If you remember and use this tip, learning one thing from every person you meet, you will tremendously enrich your life, and your experience of communication with people will become more interesting.

3. Building good, deep and close relationships with other people contributes to a mental and physical wellbeing

‘We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection.’ – Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama does not live in solitude; he has close relationships with many people around him and has even said that he sometimes discusses matters of state with the cleaners who clean his floors. He believes that having close relationships with other people promotes a person’s mental and physical wellbeing.

4. Don’t hold on to negative feelings and thoughts, let them go and neutralize them by positive ones

‘My faith helps me overcome such negative emotions and find my equilibrium.’ Dalai Lama

The greatest obstacles to happiness are the feelings of anger and hatred, and when we are feeling those emotions, we often make decisions that only make situations worse. For peace of mind and inner happiness, it is best to try and remove these feelings from ourselves and focus on the good instead.

5. Accept change as a natural part of life, but stay faithful to your values

Nothing is permanent that is the nature of the world. We can’t be happy if we are constantly fighting change, because it is a futile exercise. We can direct change, to a certain degree, but, we can’t stop it and fighting it is just going to make us unhappy. Embrace and accept the change as a natural part of life, while staying faithful to your core values.

6. Cultivate your inner happiness and calmness of mind every day

External factors can only have a short term effect on our state of happiness; it cannot bring long term enjoyment. Winning the lottery, for example, will bring you an immediate rush of joy, but it is only a ‘high’ that will not last long. You can train your mind to cultivate calmness, a positive state of mind and remove the negative aspects, by spending some time alone every day, and this will bring you long term, sustainable happiness and peacefulness, so that you’ll be able to live more fulfilled and happy life. Remember that silence can sometimes be the best answer.

7. Learn from your mistakes; when you fail, don’t fail to learn the lesson 

We learn more from our mistakes, than we do from our successes. When we are unhappy or are suffering, as a result of a mistake that we have made, it is important to recognize the cause of the unhappiness and learn from it. The Dalai Lama has said that suffering is a kind of feedback on how we live our lives, which is telling us what we need to change.

8. Be compassionate and kind towards other people, and wish only the best for them in life

‘Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.’ – Dalai Lama

Empathy with other living beings, as well as the earth, is an important part of your happiness. If you can show compassion, kindness and a wish for all living creatures to live a life that is free from suffering, then you will gain the benefit yourself of the good feeling that you get from helping others.

9. Find your own spiritual path and enlightenment 

‘My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.’ – Dalai Lama

Spirituality is important to achieving happiness, but, that doesn’t necessarily mean following a formal religion. Spirituality can mean having and sticking to the basic human qualities of caring for one another, goodness, love, generosity and compassion. While the Dalai Lama does say that all the major religions can help you to achieve this level of spirituality, and thus, become happier, but it is just as possible for agnostics and even atheists to achieve it too.

10. Don’t dig into the past, while arguing with your loved ones, solve disagreements promptly; you don’t have to always be right!

‘Home is where you feel at home and are treated well.’ – Dalai Lama

In arguments and disagreements with your family and loved ones, deal only with the present situation and try to never dig into the past; forgive and let go of the past and focus on the current moment. Try to solve conflicts quickly and maintain a loving atmosphere in your home.

11. Look for the good in every circumstance

‘I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.’ – Dalai Lama

‘Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.’ – Dalai Lama

If you look hard, you can find some good in every situation, even in your problems. Rather than just looking at a negative situation, as being totally negative, look instead at what you can gain from that experience, what you can learn from that situation, how you can change for better…

12. Develop a long term outlook on life; discipline and train your mind to focus and dwell on positive things

‘It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come.’ – Dalai Lama

If we concentrate only on the quick fixes and the quick highs, it is difficult to cultivate the good habits that will lead to long term happiness. Obtaining happiness is a process of eliminating the things that we do and the thoughts that we have that make us unhappy, and replacing them with positive things that com from the states of love, joy, enthusiasm and compassion, but this can only be fully achieved over the long term period and practice.

What other things can we learn from the Dalai Lama?

Feel free to share your own life wisdom or life lessons in the comment section below.

Stay happy!


  1. Anonymous
    April 24, 2014 at 6:29 am

    The worst thing is to forget that happiness is that main ingredient of fulfilled life…

  2. Anonymous
    April 21, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Wow great tips!

  3. Marianna
    April 18, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Great life lessons!

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