Most of us dream of one thing. We wish to be happy. There are five specific areas where we tend to wish and lust towards the goal and dream of getting to the top of the happiness mountain.
1. Job - Our parents told us, and we tell our kids, do whatever you want to do when you grow up, as long as you are happy. Then, we sit in our cubicles at work and yearn for the job across that street because at the current moment, we aren’t happy. We are bored. We are yearning for this mystical career that brings us joy and contentment at every turn.
2. Marriage - When it comes to marriages we are in a state where more people leave than stay because they just aren’t happy any more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every person should stay in a marriage because there are definitely circumstances where it is safer for the spouse to leave than stay. However, by and large we leave our spouses because we think life is too short to be “unhappy”. We firmly believe we deserve “happiness” and if we aren’t getting it where we are, right now, then we try and find it in someone else.
3. Money - As far as money goes, if we have more than we need, that is definitely the key to happiness, right? We buy and buy and buy with the money we don’t have, to fill our house(s) to impress people that we don’t even like. We think that if we go get our nails done or buy this instagram worthy outfit or join this costly pyramid scheme/network marketing jewelry company, we will then be fulfilling this void of passion and we will be ultimately happy!
4. Health - How familiar does it feel to say, man, if I lost just 15 lbs, I’d be happy. Once I lose that weight, I can buy that dress, or eat that cookie, or go on that vacation. If I can just invest in this $280 program, I’d be able to get to where I want to be, which is happy.
5. Time - If I had more time in my day, I’d get to do the things I want, like exercise and read and hang out with my friends/spouse. If I only had one more hour in the day, I could have finished writing that book or working on that project at my day job. I could have made a healthy dinner with just one more hour in the day. My kids could have got that bath to rid themselves the of three days worth of dirt under their fingernails. Oh man, I would have been so happy if I would have had just one. more. hour. in the day.
We hold happiness as if it is heaven. As if, it is the holy grail. The creme de la creme. The end all be all. The top of the most beautiful mountain. That is where happiness lies. But, what happens when we get to the top of the mountain? We are happy and then what? We have to go back down the mountain. A line from Don Draper out of one of my favorite episodes of Mad Men asks, “What is happiness? It’s the point before you realize you need more happiness.” We are chasing a state. Happiness is a temporary state of emotion. If we chase a temporary state, we are only setting ourselves up for failure and sadness. I believe it is okay to feel happy. BUT, we shouldn’t invest our lives in mindset that IF and only IF we get to this point, we will be happy. As the Moana song says it best, happiness is right where you are. In life, it’s about riding the waves of the grit and grind. Loving right where you are. It’s about making your current state, whether that is happy, angsty, mad, surprised, or whatever, work. It’s the mindset of finding the good in everything, as hard as it may be. Let me give you an example. Today, I woke up mad. We had a date night last night and we stayed out too late and had one drink too many which means more than two is too many for me these days. My child was up about 4 times and we had to wake up early to get out of the house. I couldn’t help but yearn for more sleep and to cancel the birthday party we were heading out of town for today. I thought, I would be much happier if I could just crawl up in a bawl, lock my children out of my bedroom, sleep and shower and shave(for the first time this month) and THEN, I’d be able to be happy. Since none of those dreams were coming true, I felt mad and unhappy. But then, I looked at my daughters eyes when she hopped in the car and saw how stinking sweet she is, and how much fun they are going to have today. I held my husband’s hand in the car and thought about how hard we work together, to make it work. I thought about the sore neck I have from cuddling with my sweet babe all night and felt comforted by the fact, I’m so needed.
The key to happiness is not to chase it by running from your current state. The key is finding the good in the depths of despair and uncomfortable grit of the day to day grind. It’s the mindset of making it work, or making it better. The key to happiness is to look at your current challenges and struggles and make a decision today to run toward them instead of away from them. It is only at that point, you are able to be happy. Stop running away. Go home today and make it better. Happiness is a choice. It doesn’t happen on accident and it definitely doesn’t happen all the time. But, if you find the good right where you are in the thick of the messy, I promise you, you’ll find a lot more of those happy moments.
So, how can we find those happy moments?
1 Get Organized
2 Ask your self when do I feel happiest?
3 Ask for help/ Hire help (!)
4 Find your tribe
5 Work ONLY on plan A - forget plan B
“Happiness is a choice, not a result. Nothing will make you happy unless you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy. Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you. -Ralph Marston
“Learn to let go. That is the key to happiness.” -Buddha
“A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.”