Do you ever wonder why some people are
happier than others? How did they get that way?
People at every age, and every walk of
life, list happiness as one of the things they want. Everyone wants
to be happy. So, most people get busy trying to figure out what
will bring them happiness. They start looking to their friends,
hoping they will make them happy. They buy toys and luxuries,
thinking these material things will bring happiness TO them. Some
people believe their activities, like sports and hobbies, will
satisfy their need for happiness. And then there’s always the
hope that more money will make life fulfilling.
But all of us know people who have a ton of
friends, or expensive toys, or lots of activities – and
they’re still not happy.
All of these strategies are based on a
common success theory that’s a combination of “IF and
“THEN”: IF I get a promotion, THEN I’ll be
happy. IF I get my spouse to change, THEN I’ll be
happy. IF I get a new car, THEN I’ll be happy.
Basically, we believe that IF we achieve success at something, THEN
we’ll be happy. So why are so many successful people unhappy?
And why are people only temporarily happy when they get a
promotion, a new wife, or a new car?
Answer: Because the Success = Happiness
formula is a lie!
That’s right… success is not
the way to happiness. In fact – let this thought sink in for
a minute: “There is no WAY to happiness; happiness IS
the Way.” (Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen
What does THAT mean? It means that
happiness is a choice people make. It is a way of thinking and
acting every single day. Most importantly, success tends to
follow happy people, not the other way around. You’re more
likely to be successful once you decide to be happy!
Over 200 research studies have shown that
happiness leads to success in school, friendships, sports,
business, and marriage. If you’re looking for some tips on
how to do that, here are five strategies that the researchers at
the National Institute for Mental Health discovered:
- Write down three things that went
well at the end of every day.
- Be thankful for three things every
day and keep a Gratitude Journal.
- Write a “Forgiveness
Letter” to someone, even if you never send it.
- Use an optimistic style of
explaining the unfortunate things that happen.
- Set aside time for meditation or
These techniques really work if you do them
every day. You’ll still have some bummer days, but
there’s a reason why some people are generally happier than
others. They choose happy, and everything from their smile to their
swagger says it most of the time.
The choice is yours. You can choose
“unhappy”, or you can choose “happy”-- and
endure, or enjoy, the results. William James said, “I
don’t sing because I’m happy. I’m happy because I
It’s time to start singing!