Happiness is a Decision

Happiness is a Decision

Of all the emotions we humans experience, happiness seems to be the most illusive. All of us, or hopefully most of us, have experienced moments in life that we feel truly happy. For many people these moments fade  quickly when they are confronted with the next obstacle, tragedy or dilemma. Just to be clear, I am not a doctor, psychologist or expert on human behavior. What I am, is an observer of life. Having experienced many losses, obstacles and dilemmas of my own, I don’t consider my life experiences unique, but  rather average. You see, as humans, we all have these battles we face in life. We will all at one time or another experience loss, tragedy and struggles. It’s how we deal with these struggles that determine our overall happiness.

 DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF By looking at the big picture and taking time to appreciate the many blessings that each one of us has in life we can shift our perception of overall happiness. If you spend your days focused on your daily struggles instead of taking time to appreciate things like your health, your family and your friends, than your chances for overall happiness drop significantly.  Each one of us needs to take a few minutes each day to focus on one or more positive things in his or her life. By doing this you are making a conscious decision to be happy.

I HATE MY JOB It is a well documented fact that many Americans are unhappy with their current job or position at their place of employment. Being unhappy at your place of employment is similar to having a chronic illness. There are only two solutions to this problem. In order to determine which solution is right for you need to consider the source of your unhappiness. If you like your position and what you are doing, then most likely, the source of your unhappiness is in your work environment or perhaps the process you are required to follow. By first identifying the source of the problem and then making a rational list of possible solutions you will have the necessary tools to confront your employer to initiate positive change. If you simply confront your employer with a blanket statement of  “I’m unhappy and I don’t know what to  do”, you can expect a response that is very similar to your statement. By taking the time to examine possible solution you will, at the very least, be able to start an open dialog to initiate  a solution.

 The other possible source of your unhappiness is that you simply have grown tired, lost interest or simply had a different perception of what your job was going to be like. One of the biggest questions facing everyone is ,”What do I want to be when I grow up?” Many of us choose a career based on financial successes. Too often we overlook the most important question when choosing a career path and that is ” How will this position fulfill my personal goals, dreams and passion?”  The solution to this problem is a bit more complex and requires a lot of self-reflection. By focusing on what you are truly passionate about you will be able to define a clear picture of possible career paths.  Here is a basic scenario. You spent many years going to nursing school, get a job in a prestigious medical practise and after a few days, weeks, months or even years, you suddenly realise that you hate nursing!  You could just suck it up and carry on with your initial career path, or if you really want to be happy you can take action. Perhaps you like painting or riding horses or camping. What ever it is that  you find comfort in, has the potential to become a successful career path. Take a serious look at these passions and consider all the possible ways you could take these interests and support your self  by doing what it is that you already love doing. I’m not recommending that you immediately quit your job as a nurse and jump blindly into the horse breeding business. Rather I’m suggesting that you try new things, experiment with these passions  in your spare time. Most importantly, what I’m suggesting, is that you make time for yourself to try these new things.

OVER COMING FEAR Fear is the number one obstacle that prevents most of us from achieving true happiness. The fear of failure often stands in the way of us trying new things. In order to over come this fear you need to be willing to accept the possibility of not succeeding on your first, second or even 100th attempt. It took Thomas Edison 1400 attempts to invent the lightbulb. Imagne if he gave up after only a few tries.  Failure is a necessary step in success. The important thing is to learn from your failures as well as the failures of other. Research your passion. Talk to others in the field. Don’t be afraid to ask what you may perceive as a dumb question. The only dumb question is the one not asked.

THE JOY IN HELPING OTHERS Sometimes it’s the little gestures in life that can change your day. Holding a door for a perfect stranger or spending time with an elderly neighbor can brighten that person’s day as well as your own. Consider how you can use your talents to help others. Write a blog, paint a picture, lead a class field trip. You will find that perhaps the most rewarding thing in life is spreading happiness to others. Be conscious of people around you. Happiness can be contagious, help spread some today…. One Grain at a Time!

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