There’s No Shortcuts to Happiness
In today’s world of immediate gratification, we have become so used to immediate gratification that we have accepted it in our lives as the go-to standard.
Want to forget about how miserable you feel on Friday night? Go out and party.
Want to feel less stressed and overwhelmed? Go light a cigarette.
Want to lose weight? There’s dozens of “magical pills” promising just that.
Want to feel loved? Just post a picture to facebook and turn on your notifications to get an adrenaline rush anytime someone “likes” your picture.
Easy, isn’t it? But there’s two problems:
First of all, immediate fixes don’t actually fix anything, they merely conceal the problem for a while. When you wake up the next morning, the same problems are still there, waiting for you to do something about them.
And secondly, nothing worth having in life comes without a cost. All of the things we truly value in life, such as health, love, joy, or happiness don’t just appear out of nowhere. They require work. As in “get up and do something” type of work.
That’s where most people get stuck in life. They think that happiness or love are some fairy-tale end states that can be attained by drinking the magic potion of finding that one secret to happiness that will change their lives forever, but that’s just not the human experience.
Happiness, like joy or love, is a direct result not only of outside circumstances, but the way you think. Where you spend your time, energy, and focus will determine your outcomes, and in this case the emotional quality of your life.
If you want to be happier, it’s simple (but not easy): Improve the ratio between positive and negative feelings and experiences.
Do more of the things you love, every day, for as long as you can. Seek out more of the people and things that make you happy. Dwell on the positives and learn to live in the moment. And at the same time, avoid at all cost the energy vampires of your life, the people and situations that drain your energy, happiness, and joy.
Once you understand that happiness does not depend on fate, good weather, or your bank account, you will find ways to increase it. Your daily thoughts and actions have a far bigger influence on your happiness than anything else, and so the challenge is to build positive habits that will improve your life every day, one step at a time.
Here’s a few examples: