In this century the concept of ‘success’ has changed. In the past financial independence and prestige represented success. In some cultures large families were regarded as a sign of success as well. Now it seems regardless of the amount of money we accumulate, the size of our families or the prestige we have: if we are not constantly enjoying our life we do not consider ourselves to be successful. By enjoying our life I refer to the elusive butterfly called ‘happiness’
There have been many books written on how to be happy; maybe you own one or two?
In our society people search for happiness as if it was something that you could wear. Many view it as a prize for working hard that seems just out of reach, like the gold ring on the merry-go-round of childhood, while others hope to attain happiness upon retirement. Books are written on this subject, college classes also. George Mason University offers “Happiness 101”, the University of Berkeley offers “Awakening Joy” taught by James Baraza. There are studies by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks, and their findings published in the book “How we choose to be Happy” and “Happiness is a Choice” by Barry Neil Kaufman.
What is most interesting to me is the notion that you can learn to be happy. The feeling of happiness is triggered by external sources and as with all feelings, will come and go. What you can learn is how to be less unhappy. However this is not the same as pursuing happiness or thinking that something is ‘wrong with you’ if you are not happy constantly. Most people do not feel any one way constantly.
Here are a few points that are common trends in books and classes offering behaviors to achieve happiness by making choices and creating strategies:
*Intention – Create peace within, this will allow you the feeling of joy. When feeling joy, unhappiness vanishes.
*Responsibility – By taking 100% responsibility for your actions, thoughts and feelings you can create the life you want to live.
*Elimination – No room for blame
*Authenticity – Be real and present according to your values. Be integral.
*Allow others to be ‘right’ – Knowing and understanding that others may have a different view than yours without the desire to convince them to see it your way.
*Flexibility – see life from multiple scenarios, and be open to different possibilities.
*Gratitude – appreciate deeply your life and those around you.