Hello! This is Kenny from learnhowtoprosper.com. I wanted to take just a minute today to answer a question that I get often and that is “How to be happy?”
Now, there are two types of happiness. The first is what I call situational. Situational happiness is really characterized by a few common points.
One is, that it is temporary.
It’s usually self-focused and what I call “pleasure based”. This is characterized by addictions. If it is temporary, you have to really ask yourself is it really happiness?
The one that I want to call out is the second one which is really the most important and the one that we should strive for it is: enduring happiness.
Enduring happiness is characterized by being “Long Term”. I call this joy focused, joy centered and this is external focused “others” focused.
This is where you’re looking outside yourself and this is really the type of focus that we want to have.
I’m going to talk more about enduring happiness but before I do I want to raise a couple of additional points.
True happiness comes from looking outside yourself and it’s one of those odd paradoxes of the universe. We would think that most happiness comes by focusing on ourselves, our own needs, our own wants, and our own life.
But in reality to truly feel enduring joy, our focus needs to be outside of ourselves because it takes our focus off of our own problems and our own issues.
What I find is that by looking outside myself and looking at others and focusing on the value that I can add in their lives a few important things happen.
One of these is that it helps me forget my own problems. When we’re stuck in our own head and all we can think about is our own problems it makes them super big, but when we focus on others it makes our problems very small.
There’s another key thing that comes from looking at other individuals, their interests and their desires and that is gratitude.
When we are focused on temporary or situational happiness, we can get an entitlement mentality like we’re owed something.
But when we’re looking outside of ourselves we get focused on what we can contribute to the world and I think contribution is so important.
Contribution is where we grow and true joy comes from growth, right? If we’re stagnated like in a pond there’s water coming in but there’s no way for water to get out. It just stagnates, it gets algae in there and all kinds of disgusting bugs and creatures.
But when you look at a river that can flow free there’s no stagnation. It’s there, it’s clear and it’s fresh and that is where true happiness starts to derive from.
So let’s talk a minute about this gratitude thing. Gratitude at its heart, is really the ability to see things from a whole different perspective.
When you’re focused on others and recognizing the problems and challenges that they might have in their lives, it helps you see your own life in a different perspective.
If you’re on a mountain you’re way up here on the top. You can see everything right? You can see for miles and when you look out on the horizon you can see everything in a much clearer way.
But sometimes we get here in what I call the tall grass and down here all you can see is just the little things in front of you.
You can’t see the big picture and that’s what happens when we get so focused in on ourselves our own problems and our own issues.
They become these huge barriers that we can’t see beyond and it makes us rather dull people that no one wants to be around.
Self-focused people are often pessimistic. They’re cynical, whereas grateful people are truly happy and joyous people.
They can see in all directions, they can see all the beauty, they can see all the abundance in the world. When you can see that abundance and that beauty, then, instead of having this feeling that you just want to hold onto things and control them, instead you want to give.
You don’t get so concerned about the scarcity mindset where only certain people can be happy and that if you’re happy that someone else has to be miserable.
So our focus is enduring happiness. It’s joy, it’s long-term, its gratitude, its love of others that’s really where true happiness comes from.
We want to have joy, right? We want to have gratitude and have love in our lives and so we let go of things. We forgive, we contribute and we’re not worried about our reward or what’s going to come back to us.
From that high mountain peak up here we can see that it’s an abundant world so we don’t get so concerned about everything coming back to us and getting what’s “ours” and getting our “just reward.”
We’re focused on the enduring long-term, more meaningful elements of life.
I would avoid situational happiness as any kind of strategy for a real happy life because if you get so focused on the temporary, then you’re going to get into things like addictions.
You can find pleasure in the moment with these drugs. One is called “ecstasy”. Why is it called ecstasy? Because for 13 seconds you can experience some euphoria but after that, you have a massive crash, same with any of these other drugs.
I worked at an inpatient center for addicted individuals with all different types of addictions and I can tell you, there is no life more miserable than an addicted life.
They would live from one small moment of temporary happiness back to misery and onto the next temporary moment of happiness and they would liquidate everything else.
All of their friendships, all of their character, everything that they had was completely tossed aside for that one short temporary peak of euphoria.
They just lived from one peak to the next peak of temporary pleasure. Usually there’s a down on the other side, another peak, a huge down, another peak a huge down, but each one of these was costing them their health, their happiness, their enduring happiness, the joy in relationships, the gratitude.
They felt entitled and they would literally take anything from anyone to get that temporary little spike of happiness.
Pleasure I would call it and I think that pleasure is really focused on the physical side of us whereas true joy is focused on the spirit side of us
What makes us really as human beings? It’s not this, the biology of us. It’s the soul it’s the spirit of who we are right?
So we want to tap into the spirit of who we are and not into the biology of what we are, because we aren’t this body. Obviously this body can pass away, but who we truly are, the essence of us (our spirit) therefore we should focus this life on things that endure; love and gratitude.
Do the harder thing, take the higher path. Those are the things that really lead to enduring happiness.
The way to truly be happy is to look at ways to contribute to others. I hope that this was helpful for you.
See you next time!