I’ve spent the last few years learning about happiness, not because I’m an unhappy person by any means, I just want to be as happy as I can possibly be: I’m healthy and young and living in Canada…there’s no reason I shouldn’t be the happiest guy in the world, right? So I’d just like to share four ideas on happiness that have really stuck out for me:
1. Happiness, Regardless
Of all the literature I’ve read on happiness, these two quotes explain it better than anything else:
“Most folks are only as happy as they make up their minds to be” – Abraham Lincoln
“Happiness is a feeling of inner peace and contentment regardless of external circumstances” – Unknown
Read these ones a few times over. They’re simply saying that you don’t need external pleasures or possessions to be happy, it comes from inside.
Happiness, regardless of stuff. It’s a scientifically proven fact that you can just decide to be happy: you can choose to have a great day. It’s that simple. For example, just repeat to yourself for 30 seconds when you wake up tomorrow, “I’m going to have a great day.” It’s said that even just smiling for a minute regardless of being happy or sad can brighten your mood considerably. So let’s actively choose to be happy rather than relying on stuff to provide it for us.
2. Happiness with what you already have
It is my firm belief that divorce rates and unhealthy relationships have a correlation to our relationship with our stuff. Think about this, every three years (if that) we get a new cell phone- new features, slimmer, lighter, faster and so on. We get new clothes that are ‘in style’ for the year and we’re constantly upgrading to bigger and better.
So once we create that mindset for ourselves, how can we be fully content with the same husband/wife for 25+ years? Your brain has been programmed to expect a constant in-flow of newer and shinier- so the second we can let go of our obsession for more stuff and become content with what we have, the better off our relationships will be.
3. Happiness with what you’re doing
Facebook and social media allow us to instantly see all the travels and exciting stories of all our friends, which as we all know can be a bad thing. It has such a knack for making us jealous that it’s created a new term known as the “Fear of Missing Out (FOMO),” which I’m sure all of us can relate to.
It’s hard to be content and happy at your desk job when you look at pictures of your buddy sipping mojitos in South America. If you find this is the case for you, try deleting your Facebook. I promise you it won’t be detrimental to your social life. In fact, it makes you more interesting! How many people don’t have a Facebook account these days? You’re stickin’ it to the man, and I bet you’ll be happier for it.
4. Happiness as a journey, not a goal
It doesn’t matter where you are on the social heirarchy: millionaires are jealous of billionaires, skinny girls are jealous of skinnier girls, and even Michael Jordan, the best basketball player in the world wasn’t happy with being just that; he had to go play baseball!
If you let happiness become an end goal instead of journey, or base your happiness by comparing yourself to others, it’s going to be very hard to reach.