What Does It Take To Be Happy?
When people find out that I spend my time writing and speaking to people about happiness, they ask one question.
‘So what is the secret. What does it take to be happy’?
They think there is some secret formula. That if they had enough money… enough love… enough things they would automatically be happy.
The way that they speak of happiness and ask the question indicates that happiness isn’t something they have considered deeply. They haven’t considered it deeply, because they believe that there are so many other things they have to do first before they can be happy.
But because they aren’t happy, life is so much harder than it needs to be. When happiness is your first priority, everything else comes easily. In a car oil smoothes the way for everything else. It protects the engine and ensures that it works without friction that would cause damage.
Happiness works in the same way for our lives. It makes our relationships, our work and everything else in our lives run so much smoother. This helps us to enjoy life more. Feeling relaxed, rather than stressed. In control rather than bounced around by outside forces. And with the space, energy and creativity to do what we want.
Just as your car can perform better, accelerate faster, drive more economically and run more smoothly, if you maintain it. So too can your life run more smoothly… if you take the time to make happiness your priority.
This leads us back to the question people ask. What does make us happy?
The answer is that it isn’t things or experiences that make us happy. Happiness is a choice we either make or don’t make. This sentence has many layers to it. Most people take it at the superficial level and can’t understand why they don’t feel happy.
It doesn’t mean that you go about your business, putting yourself in all different kinds of situations where you feel bad, see only ugliness and then choose to be happy. Of course that will not work.
At that level it is like being thrown in the sea with a lead weight and choosing to float. Words are far less important than what you really mean. If 95% of your thoughts and actions are directed to something other than happiness, but you say ‘I choose happiness’. You haven’t really chosen happiness… you have just tried to fool yourself that you have.