Maybe it’s easier to think of times when you were happy. It might have been something big, like a graduation or finding a lost pet. Or something simple but special, like having a grandchild drop in unexpectedly to visit you or learning good news about a friend. Many of us remember the song from the musical You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown when the entire cast sings, “Happiness is two kinds of ice-cream, finding your skate key, telling the time. Happiness is learning to whistle, tying your shoe for the very first time.”
Research finds that the fascination around the subject of happiness is that those who often seek happiness are also those that seem to have it all – good job, money, notoriety, health, etc. So what does bring us happiness?
New York author, Gretchen Rubin, asked herself what she needed to be happy. She had what she considered the perfect job, marriage, kids and life. Rubin dedicated a year to her happiness project, researching whether or not it was possible to raise one’s level of happiness. The result was the book, “The Happiness Project” and ongoing blog – both became one of the most engaging works on happiness.
Internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, set out on a similar quest. He is known around the world for his inspiring speeches and writing on personal achievement and success. Rohn asks of his audiences, “How can we make the best of our every day and accomplish things that we want in our life?”
Both Rubin and Rohn discovered what other writers on happiness have come to: Happiness doesn’t happen because of big pieces of great success but from small, daily achievements. Happiness is not the result, but part of the journey. The challenge for most of us is to recognize happiness when it comes, instead of waiting for it to happen.
So instead of asking, “what would make me happy”, decide instead to cherish those moments that bring you happiness. Name them and write them down (like Gretchen and Rubin did). Recognize what is happening, whether it is a spectacular achievement or a thoughtful gesture that makes you feel good. Then figure out how you can bring more happiness into your life and the lives of those around you.
Another key aspect of happiness is the decision to be happy.
“Happiness is not an accident. Nor is it something you wish for. Happiness is something you design.”– Jim Rohn.
“Happiness has 4 stages. To eke out the most happiness from an experience, we must anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, express happiness, and recall a happy memory.” – Gretchen Rubin
“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.” – Groucho Marx