What Makes You Happy?
Money? Success? Sunny weather? Spending time with your family?
While all of the above items may be able to temporarily make you happy, I doubt any of them would bring eternal happiness to your life. I am sure you have gotten a raise at some point and felt elated about it. How long did that feeling last? If you have ever watched the show “The Lottery Changed My Life“, you know that even massive amounts of money cannot make you happy for forever. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have the money! I am not suggesting that success, family time, nice weather, and money should not be sought after. I am however suggesting that you should not chase these items expecting happiness to follow.
So if money can’t buy you eternal happiness, what can?
Isn’t that the million dollar question?
As hippy dippy as it sounds, I believe that to attain happiness for the rest of your life, all you have to do is CHOOSE to be happy! “But Greg, I am in debt, my kids are running around like crazy, I am overweight, and my spouse is leaving me, how in the world can I choose to be happy!?”
That’s a tough one, but I believe that every emotion that you feel is a choice. You choose to be happy, mad, sad, exciting, elated, confused, etc. The way you respond to a stimulus or circumstance is a choice. I don’t believe that you should ALWAYS be happy. That would just be weird. There are certainly appropriate moments to feel certain emotions; sometimes you need to be mad! Feeling mad may be the emotion that you need to drive you to action or change! Although I don’t believe one should always live in a state of happiness, I do believe that we should not let external factors dictate our emotions. For example, it’s super rainy here in Dallas this week. I could either let the weather dictate my mood and actions, or I could take responsibility for my thoughts and feelings and attack the day with as much energy as if it were a nice sunny day.
Bad stuff is going to happen. You are going to get stuck in traffic. It’s going to rain. Your kids are going to be shit heads. Your boss is going to send a passive aggressive email. It will be hot. It will be cold. These are all external factors that we too often let control our mood. The fact is, you don’t feel upset because you’re sitting in traffic. Feeling upset is simply the way you are choosing to react to traffic. I get it, traffic sucks! However, in that moment, there is nothing you can do to change the fact that you are in traffic. What does being upset solve? Nothing! The next time you are stuck in traffic check your negative emotions and just pretend to be happy! Think about something that makes you smile. Hold your face in a smile even if you don’t have anything to smile about. Fake it ’til you make it baby!
You can go through life letting other people and other things effect the way you feel or you can take control of your life and decide for yourself how you are going to feel. Do you want to be more confident? Decide right now that you are going to at minimum, pretend for 30 minutes a day that you are the most confident person ever! Walk tall, hold your head up, speak as if you are an important person. You will totally be faking it at first, but eventually it will become way more natural for you to feel confident. Do the same for whatever emotion you would like to feel. When “bad” things happen, take note of how you react. If you react negatively, simply take note, take a deep breath and move the heck on!