Lessons on Happiness

Recently I spent a week thinking about happiness. Not just trying to be happy, but wondering what “being happy” really meant. Was it something you could control? What really makes us happy anyway?

It was an interesting series of discussions, and on International Happiness Day today, I thought I’d share some of the points that stuck with me the most.

Everyone’s happiness, both in scope and nature, is different. Chasing what someone else — or our society at large— says is happiness is a waste of time.

Unhappiness is a gap between your expectations and reality. If you can’t control the latter, you can often control the former.

Most people I asked look for happiness in things they do (career and goals), but gather happiness from those around them (family and friends). Why is where people are looking so different from where they say they already have it?

Happiness requires work, like getting physically fit. Running a marathon requires you to train your body regularly, and being happy requires you to train your mind and the way you face the world.

Act happy. Have gratitude. Smile. This provides psychological feedback that helps improve your mood.

In the end, you make your own happiness. If you are not happy, it’s up to you — not anyone else in the world — to change that.

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