We all want to be happier, it’s only natural.
After all, what’s life all about, if not love and happiness?
Many of us are not always as happy as we should be. Why is that?
Well, maybe it’s because we are searching for happiness in the wrong places. Maybe we have gone down the wrong track. We often travel through life as passengers, but are we on the right track?
Life offers us many different paths. Sometimes it’s difficult to choose which way to go. That’s what’s so exciting about it; it’s often a great adventure. However, sometimes we just drift into things, and stay for the ride.
If you’re enjoying it, and find you have found your passion on the way, you feel fulfilled – living a rewarding and happy life. That’s wonderful. If, on the other hand, you’re just treading water, feeling as if life is passing you by, then you need to stop and think.
Are you on a journey of fulfillment? Are you happy with how things are going in your life?
If you are, I congratulate you; you have achieved true success. You are on the right path, you have found your true destiny, and are thoroughly enjoying your journey. You are one of the lucky few who have followed your true path.
However, if you’re unsatisfied with where you’re at: wanting more from life, knowing it’s out there, but not knowing how to get there . . . then read on.
Do you want more from life; you want to change the world, make a difference, make your mark. Does that sound like you? The big problem is that although we have been taught, at school or college, about the basic skills we may need for work, they left out the main deal.
The most important one, in my opinion. It’s about who we are as individuals, and who and what we could be, if we knew how.
What is your dream, your ambition? Is it having lots of money?
Yes, we can all say I want to be rich, or famous, or have lots of power. Do we think that, if we get those things, then we will be truly happy and fulfilled? Once we’re rich, famous or powerful will we have finally reached our full potential? Or discovered our true mission in life?
Think so? Just read the papers, look at the news and gossip columns; they’re filled mostly with famous people, rich people, politicians, all types of power brokers. How many of them are in the news for all the wrong reasons?
Do they seem happy to you, do they look like they’re truly fulfilled, living a life of contentment in all areas of life? How many of them have happy marriages, relationships, or feel great about themselves?
We’re always seeing stories or interviews about how so many of them are unhappy. Searching for happiness and fulfilment, while in reality they very often feel pain, rejection, depression, lack of self-belief or even despair – despite all their fame and money.
Of course, having money, fame or power doesn’t mean you can’t be happy. It just means that searching for happiness or fulfillment, through gaining those things alone, is a fool’s errand. Most of us in the western world have been told by our parents, teachers, and society in general, that we need to get a good job, to support ourselves and our family.
That’s all well and good; after all, you need money to live. But success has been seen in terms of fame, money and power. The need to be successful and happy has been equated with these things to such an extent that we, you and I, have been sold a dream that many of us have gone along with.
Is your search for happiness getting the right results?
Research over the last 50 years in the western world has shown that, although we have increased in wealth and prosperity, this does not guarantee our happiness (see Richard O’Connor’s book “Happiness”). In fact scientists have found that, over the years, studies show that people are less happy every year, even though many of us are far better off than our ancestors. Why is that?
Well, some of the by-products of searching for the dream of riches and success may actually be the cause of much of our stress, depression, drugs, drink, obesity, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Not being rich or successful can make people feel like losers. How often have you heard people say “I’ve lost everything, I’ll always be a nobody, I’m a failure” – just because they have lost their job, or not made it to no. 1, or been given the promotion they expected to get? Does our inner happiness depend totally on undependable external factors?
Even if we do make money, it never seems enough; or, if we get that important job, the dream just doesn’t live up to the promise of the happiness we thought it would bring. For example: overwork, and spending less time with family and friends. Not looking after our health. Not feeling fulfilled when we do finally reach your goals.
We often stay in jobs we hate, because we need the money for the lifestyle we think we need, to be seen as a success. Constantly having to keep up with the image of being successful by having a bigger house, the latest phone, the fastest car.
Even worse is the insatiable appetite to be young, skinny and beautiful. The image that is portrayed in the media as being the ideal, the way to be happy. They tell us that if we keep young, slim, physically attractive, then we will be happier.
Many men, women, boys and girls out there believe in this fairy story. They are driven to try and find happiness in the pursuit of external trappings, material wealth, unhealthy diets and cosmetic surgery, in the unrealistic search for that perfect young body. No wonder so many people turn to drugs, drink, food, shopping, gambling, etc: using other ways to find happiness.
We all need to stop searching for the illusive rainbow, the pot of gold that we’ve bought into; true happiness won’t be found there. When the dream is an illusion, it will always let us down.
Many give up, give in, or stop searching – while most of us just keep on going stoically, day after day, trudging on in the same old way. Not taking any action, but knowing there is more to life than this.
So what’s to be done? Where are you on your journey to happiness?
Well, wherever you are on your own journey, stop and look at where you are right now. Ask yourself these questions:
- Am I happy on this track?
- Am I happy doing what I’m doing everyday?
- Do I spend enough time with my family and friends?
- Do I enjoy my work?
- Do I feel fulfilled?
- Do I look after my health?
- Am I using my gifts to help others, in a way that makes me feel good?
- Have I found the right partner?
- Am I happy with my lot in life?
- Could I do much better?
- Could I learn new skills and develop my talents?
- Do I add value to others?
- Do I really know what I want?
- Am I the person I want to be?
- What would I really like to do in life, if money didn’t matter?
- What do I really care about?
- Who do I want to be?
- Could I take time out each day to reflect on who I want to be?
Ask yourself these questions every day, until you start finding out the answers. Then write them down. Spend serious time each day, thinking about who you are and what you want to be. Success is measured by how we live our lives, and how that makes us feel. Happiness is an internal journey. One that will take us on our true path to happiness. Because the fact is we can only control our own feelings; we cannot control our external world, outside events.
We can learn to be happy, we can find the right road to follow to be happy and fulfilled. It does need work, it often takes time to discover, it will be difficult and challenging at times; but it’s a great adventure. You just have to recognise if you’re on the right track, and if not: stop, and find the right one for you. One that you have full control of, that doesn’t depend on other people’s expectations. Don’t just drift along aimlessly, on a ready-made path that you’re not happy with. We can all change our direction, we just need to discover which one is right for us.
We only get one chance in this life; so make sure you’re on the right journey for you, one that will bring you true happiness.
Let me know where you are on your journey.
I’d love to hear how you discovered the right road for you.
Susan J McCann