Recently, I looked through the Barnes and Noble bookstores, and I saw many books on the subject of happiness. Obviously, hearing “have a happy new year” hundreds of times in the first few weeks of January is not enough to bring you.
As I can see, there are two basic truths about happiness.
Fact 1: We are responsible for our happiness.
I know, it’s always hard to swallow: Why should I be responsible for my happiness? Why can’t it just happen? Right now, now, and again! (On the other hand, would you prefer the future vagaries to decide when and how much to be happy?) Accepting this fact is the first step, and perhaps the most difficult.
Fact 2: Happiness is a skill.
As Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, dubbed “the happiest man in the world” based on the MRI of his brain during meditation, writes in “Happiness: A Guide to Developing the Most That gives you energy, don’t you think? Because it means, there is something that just “happened,” happiness is something I can get used to (like my backhand!) – and the days when I can just get there, it’s more like my tennis game off than it’s about not being able to “find” happiness.
However, I often forget these facts when I get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and find myself returning to the familiar myths that most of us are destined to believe.
A new sports car, the work of six characters and a window office, or a dream relationship can bring undeniable joy and satisfaction to your life but it will not . That’s right, it’s human nature to be in a state of constant want. The trick is to taste the feeling of desire and the process to its satisfaction – not to equate it with unhappiness. (Not sure? You just need to take a recent tabloid to see celebrities show that unlimited money, worship and happiness do not guarantee happiness.)
Myth 2: If life were not easy, I would be happy.
Somewhere along the way (perhaps by watching fast-moving TV sitcoms), we have developed the expectation that the automatic setting of life is “easy”, and we are surprised when it is not. Separation, retrenchment, injury – all of these are strange deviations that should not happen! In those times when life is hard, we tend to think, “Well, as long as [this difficult thing] goes away, I’ll be happy.” The good news: we don’t have to put up with fun. So bad news: it takes practice.
It’s up to us. As an avid tennis player who plays at freezing temperatures outside the net, we can make the decision to be happy no matter what the circumstances – a commitment to social status, full participation and healthy living – whatever it brings.
High-performance professional Renita T. Kalhorn is a Juilliard-trained pianist with an international MBA and a black martial arts belt. Utilizing the “flow” power, it helps entrepreneurs and corporate professionals achieve greater focus and reach the top of their game in the workplace. Subscribe to In The Flow, his FREE newsletter of the month and receive a complimentary copy of Find Your Flow! 21 Simple Tedium Prevention Tips, Reduce Stress And Encourage Action In