Aim High for a Joyful Life
What is the secret to achieving happiness?
We all want it, yet so few people actually say they have it. You can listen in on conversations and pick up an undertone of discontent. In our abundant society, it seems even with all the advertisements promising that a new car will make you feel wanted, or the diamonds will make you feel special, our overall level of happiness is not one to write home about.
How do we find happiness?
I believe the key is to not make happiness a goal at all. Countless lives have been spent fruitlessly chasing happiness, never to find it in objects, jobs, and false hopes. The search for true happiness has led people to debt, multiple marriages, and risky behaviors as they look for fulfillment.
Where does happiness reside?
Happiness is a choice we create. Only you can choose happiness that you sit back and tell stories about. But, how do we measure our progress? I've spent a lot of time studying some of the best thinkers, writers and entrepreneurs to pull together this checklist and help you pull the levers of happiness anytime you want.
1. The relationships you form.
Our highest highs and our lowest lows in life involve others. Caring for and respecting our relationships—in particular our family, friends and loved ones, —leads to a truly useful life. At the end of the day, you won't be wishing for more cars, homes and presents, you will be wishing for more memories with loved ones.
2. The decisions you make.
Few things in life are as important for determining the direction you go than the decisions you make. Our lives are the culmination of all our choices. It's the choice to have one glass of wine every night for 2 years until you pack on 25 pounds or more or to skip the dessert every night, read 20 minutes instead, weigh 25 pounds less and be more creative so you can get ahead in life. All that matters in those choices are the values you choose and the discipline to live them. Discipline and decision-making complement one another and lead to a life of happiness.
3. The growth you gain.
I'm type A for sure. I'm always striving for achievement of some sort, but the day I switched my focus from just accomplishing things to a constant search for growth, it blew the lid off my potential. A commitment to constant growth leads to ever-increasing potential. With each step, you create a growing capacity. And you can't use it up because it keeps growing as you do. That means you can always keep achieving and creating your own happiness.
4. The value you add.
Adding value to those around you is by definition unselfish. It puts others first. It focuses your energy and attention on what you can do for others, instead of what you can do for yourself. I don't know about you, but I can always use a reminder to not just think about me, but to give to others. You've heard the saying: the best way to be happy is to make others happy. The more I practice this one, the more I find that to be true. Try it.
So, to wrap up this piece, if you are still chasing happiness, let's focus and encourage one another to create happiness with the choices we make, and we can start with just these four right here.
There is a difference between being happy IN your life and being happy ABOUT your life.
Which one are you experiencing?