Friday, February 29, 2008

Happiness

Ask anyone who has stated that they are unhappy what it will take for them to be happy and they will tell you “I will be happy when….” The “when” in happiness is usually tied to something that is either external or out of their control; or both in some cases. “I will be happy when I get a new car”, “I will be happy when I get desert after dinner”, “I will be happy when I receive a raise at work”.

Happiness is a billion dollar industry. We have pharmaceuticals, books, motivational speakers, and yes, blogs, that all tell people how they can obtain happiness, yet millions of people around the world remain unhappy.

Truth is, there is no universal method to happiness because happiness is an individual state. I know what will make you happy as well as you know what will make me happy; which translates to neither of us having any idea about the other.

The only real fact known about happiness is that happiness through external possessions is a temporary state of being. By reaching out for external objects to provide us our happiness, we further distance ourselves from creating long term happiness. That new car will make us happy until the next version comes out with better performance. That raise we are seeking will create happiness until we realize that someone out there is making more while doing less. In essence, our happiness, when attached to external objects, will fulfill us immediately, but will not have the staying power to create long term happiness.

Our fault in our search for happiness is that we keep reaching for external sources of happiness when everything we need is internally located. Our happiness is an emotion, a state of mind, and directly connected to our ability to fulfill our personal needs. We take the quick fix towards happiness because we don’t have the internal strength necessary to put in the time it takes to achieve true sustainable happiness. Because of this, we take shortcuts and seek immediate happiness through objects and possessions.

One of the realities of life is that we don’t need external objects; they make our lives easier and in some cases enhance our lives, but we don’t need them unless we are seeking an immediate elevated state of mind.

I am not going to tell you what you need to do to become happy, nobody has that ability, but I will inform you that your happiness has less to do with what you have externally, and more to do with what you have internally. How you fill your internal garage in order to find happiness is your responsibility because only you know what will fit inside.

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