five young women wearing hijabs and dressed in very modern clothing such as jeans
Image by Chan Factory 

The six universal principles introduced by our great teachers provide a strong path to happiness and civility in our lives. Following this path leads to joy, peace, and satisfying relationships. If we veer from this path, we are more likely to experience sorrow, unhappiness, and troubled relationships.

These six principles produce greater happiness and also greater civility in our relationships. Happiness and civility are inseparably connected. 

Civility cannot be legislated, mandated, or enforced by governments—it comes from internalizing civil values in our lives. In other words, as we become happier, we also become more civil, and becoming more civil reinforces our happiness.

Figure I-1 illustrates the six principles in the path to happiness and civility. I will briefly review them here so you will understand what they are and how they fit together.

Figure I-1: A Path to Happiness and Civility

six principles in flow

1. Give Up the Ego

We all possess “two selves” in this life. One is our “true self,” which has tremendous potential to learn, grow, and obtain genuine happiness. The second is our “ego,” which develops based on our experiences, feedback from others, successes, and failures. In other words, it is a fabrication we carry around with us that isn’t who we really are or could become.

innerself subscribe graphic

This “egoic self” sets bounds and limitations on our lives and can highjack our happiness. Giving up this artificial ego opens our lives to greater growth and more authentic joy.

2. Refrain from Judging

We construct images of other people in the same way we construct images of ourselves. These perceptions are often based on rather superficial cues: color, race, nationality, physical features, education, livelihood, place of residence, and so on.

The problem is, our perceptions of others are often inaccurate and sometimes dead wrong. These biases we develop can lead to personal alienation, divisions between groups, and tension in communities. Overcoming our tendencies to judge leads to more satisfying relationships and greater happiness.

3. Do Good Deeds Daily

As we give up our egos and refrain from judging, we are more inclined to engage in good deeds in our relationships and our communities. Good deeds obviously benefit the receivers of the kindness, but they also benefit the givers.

Numerous studies show that serving others can significantly improve our emotional health, physical health, and even our longevity. In addition, doing good deeds helps us realize we have value and something to contribute to the world, which increases our feelings of self-worth and overall life satisfaction.

4. Forgive One Another

The more relationships we develop in life, the more likely we are to offend and be offended by others. Making mistakes is a normal part of our human experience. Holding grudges against people who harm us, however, can canker our souls—it’s like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Forgiving one another is a critical component for healing ourselves emotionally and increasing our personal peace.

5. Share Our Good Fortune

Craving for possessions can lead to sorrow when we don’t have them, but obtaining them creates a different set of problems: attachment, greed, hoarding, lust, and fear of losing what we have. None of our great sages taught that having material possessions, or even great wealth, is wrong. What is wrong is an intense attachment and love for these things.

Research confirms that attachment to material possessions can produce stress and frustration, while generosity is related to vitality, self-esteem, and overall quality of life.

6. Care for Our Needy

We are all connected as a human family and our actions cause ripples of reactions around us. Hence, if we take care of the needy, we are taking care of ourselves and our communities. When we mentor the poor in basic principles of self-reliance, household income goes up, nutrition improves, children are able to go to school, families are happier, and the economy of the community improves. Also remarkable, when the poor start developing modest means, they often become generous givers themselves.

When we strive to apply these six principles in our lives, we find that they build on each other.

As we give up our mortally constructed ego, we are less judgmental and more open to others.

As we refrain from superficial judgments, we are more inclined to do good deeds for people.

As we devote time to serving others, we are more forgiving when offenses occur.

As our relationships grow stronger, we are more likely to detach from our possessions and share what we have.

As our capacity to share expands, we find those among us who truly need our assistance.

If we continue to cycle through this process, the principles become a more permanent part of our lives. Our challenges will not go away, but we will be happier, have greater support in life, and be more resilient when hardships arise.


The Hindu sages, Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and various philosophers taught what they believed to be true principles. However, they didn’t ask people to take their word for it alone. Rather, they asked their followers to practice the principles to see if they worked. In other words, just do it and see what happens.

All of these leaders promise that our lives will start shifting from darker to brighter days as we implement their teachings. In Hinduism and Buddhism, this movement to greater light occurs through the law of karma. The underlying assumption is that everything in our world is connected and in constant motion. Hence, all of our actions eventually produce equal reactions in kind.

Harmful deeds yield negative consequences (dark karma), and good deeds yield positive consequences (bright karma). Jesus and Muhammad taught a similar concept of “reaping what we sow.” Good deeds bring forth good fruit, while harmful deeds bring forth corrupt fruit.

In addition to karma, Hinduism teaches that greater light comes as we move through three mental states called gunas: (1) Tamas is the lowest level of ignorance, insensitivity, unhappiness, and darkness; (2) Rajas is a state of striving that can be positive or negative depending on our actions; (3) Sattva is the highest level of goodness, harmony, and light. The Hindu promise is, “When sattva predominates, the light of wisdom shines through every gate of the body.”

All of us can obtain greater light in our lives if we follow the path to get us there. I like to compare this higher level of happiness to the brilliance of the sun. The sun is always shining, but we don’t always see its light—clouds develop, storms arise, and night falls regularly.
But if we board an airplane and fly above the earth’s surface, we see that the sun is always shining. All we have to do is raise ourselves to a higher level to experience its power. Likewise, applying the six universal truths will lead us to a higher level of joy and a much brighter countenance.

In conclusion, we live in a world that emphasizes differences between people, groups, races, religions, and nations. This fixation on differences has a purpose. It helps us understand our world, where we fit in, and how to behave around certain groups. However, a constant diet of differences can lead to distrust, separation, conflict, and marginalizing whole groups of people.

 More Similarities than Differences

We share far more similarities as humans than we do differences. We have common physical attributes, we share 99 percent of the same DNA, and we have similar emotions and aspirations for ourselves and our loved ones.

Focusing on similarities does not mean we are naive about differences among us, but it produces far more positive outcomes in our lives: it helps us eliminate our biases, develop deeper friendships, collaborate on challenges, and create stronger unity in our communities.

We are one people on one planet—we are all in this life together. My hope is that we can think more about similarities and how to make our experience on earth better for everyone.

Begin creating your own plan for increased joy and harmony. As the process begins to yield fruit, you will become a brighter light to others. As they follow your example, the principles will continue to spread. Eventually, this can impact families, communities, and nations—which is a goal worth pursuing.

Copyright 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Printed with permission.

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BOOK: One People One Planet

One People One Planet: 6 Universal Truths for Being Happy Together
by Michael Glauser

BOOK COVER OF: One People One Planet by Michael GlauserLife on Earth can be a beautiful experience, but it also comes with heartache, loneliness, and discouragement. Recurring problems cycle through every generation: discrimination, civil unrest, political hatred, and conflicts among nations.
One People One Planet lays out a clear path to help us all increase our happiness and live peacefully on this planet. The six universal truths presented-gleaned from the founders of the great world religions, world-renowned philosophers, and cutting-edge research in the field of positive psychology-can help us.

For more info and/or to order this book, click here. Also available as an Audiobook and a Kindle edition.

About the Author

PHOTO OF Michael GlauserMichael Glauser is an entrepreneur, business consultant, and university professor. He has built successful companies in the retail, wholesale, and educational industries and has worked with hundreds of businesses-from startups to multinational enterprises-in leadership development, communication, team building, and organizational strategy.

Today, Mike serves as Executive Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. He's also the Director of the SEED self-sufficiency program, helping people around the world to improve their standard of living and benefit their communities through entrepreneurship.

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