This Way to Happiness!

Published on November 11, 2012 by

Happiness isn’t an all or nothing proposition where you are either happy or unhappy—life isn't that simple. We are all on the continuum of what we call happiness and no doubt you are happy about some things in your life and not so happy about others. Wherever you are on your journey, there is always the room to improve your capacity to be happy with yourself, your life and your circumstances.

In fact, life is about discovery, growth and mastery—we are meant to thrive, not to just do “pretty good.” But how do we get to the level of thriving—and stay there? Good question!

There’s certainly no shortage of advice on how to get more happiness in your life. Some will tell you that happiness is your natural state and that you deserve to be happy. On the other hand, many are quick to say that life is difficult and your happiness will come and go depending on your circumstances.

Donald Trump seems to be happy with a lot of wealth, power and attention, while Bill and Melinda Gates are busy helping others have a better life. It begs the question, “Which way to happiness?” Will you be happier by getting more for yourself or by giving more? Or maybe that’s a trick question and increasing your happiness involves both!

What does it take to make happiness a way of life? Many of us think more money is part of the equation. Despite the evidence that money can’t buy real happiness, we still can’t keep from thinking of what it can buy—not to mention the bills it would pay off.

Some would tell you that if you downsized your house, car or wardrobe and lived the “minimalist” lifestyle, you would be happier. Their philosophy is “Less is more!”

On the other hand, the “health and wealth” evangelists proclaim that “more is better!” And if you’re not “religious,” you can check in with author and international speaker Randy Gage who will tell you that it’s a “sin” to be poor. And believe me, he gets some strong reactions to that statement!

Beyond the debate about money and possessions boosting happiness, many think the answer lies in finding their “soul mate.” There are plenty of books and coaches that will tell you finding the right person will somehow “complete” your life. If you find your soul mate, you will find your bliss.

But wait—someone else comes along and tells you that you aren’t happy because you’re self-centered—you selfish thing! According to this thinking, happiness is to be found in giving, not getting.  We all admire Mother Theresa, but I think there’s more to the story.

What about your own needs? We’ve all heard “It’s more blessed to give than to receive”—but what does that really mean? After all, burnout is a serious challenge for professional “caregivers”—therapists, physicians, nurses, medical missionaries and teachers. What’s up with that?

With so much conflicting and confusing information and advice out there, what can you do? Here’s what: You can figure it out for yourself… but you don’t have to do it by yourself. I’m going to help you rethink what you know about happiness and what it takes for you to thrive in life.

Begin by asking yourself if you are happy to the degree you know you can be and you know you want to be. My guess is you are happy to some degree but you intuitively know there is more to life than you have found. If so, here is a tip to create more happiness, fulfillment and meaning in your life:

Make a decision today to focus on increasing your happiness in life. Everything begins with a decision--a commitment. Happiness doesn't grow by accident--you have to be purposeful and mindful enough to prioritize it. Start there and keep learning and practicing the art of being happier today.

(From my e-book "Seven Secrets to Enlightened Happiness!"

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