We all have this idea that we’ll be happy when we…
- Fall in love
- Get a book deal
- Sell our startup
- Have kids
- Graduate from college
It’s deeply embedded into our social programming, particularly in the Western world to seek our happiness from external circumstances and events. But this equation is entirely backward. By waiting to be happy we not only deny ourselves of joy but limit what’s possible in our lives.
People who are happier are more productive, more creative, more altruistic, more likely have better relationships at work and home, are healthier and have fewer heart attacks, strokes, colds and flus. Happiness turns out to be an input into a great life, not a bonus you get at the end of one. – Nataly Kogan
Don’t Base Your Happiness on What You Can’t Control
When we depend on external circumstances of events for our happiness, it will inevitably fluctuate because it’s dependent on so many factors which are out of our control:
- You can’t control how someone feels about you
- You can’t control what someone thinks about your art
- You can’t control the weather
And yet we often attempt to derive our happiness from these things. We resist rather than accept. As Nataly Kogan says “When we practice acceptance, we transcend our feeling about the situation so we can witness it clearly. By doing this was gain the ability to choose how to act rather than simply react.”
Happiness is a Skill
You wouldn’t go to the gym once and expect to be in the best shape of your life. The same goes for your happiness. You’re not going to raise your baseline level happiness by writing in a gratitude journal once. It takes practice to develop a daily habit of seeing the world through a positive lens.
Focus on The Process
When people see the first pictures of an author’s finished book on social media, the comments, likes and congratulations roll in. One of the most frequent comments is “what a great feeling.” But that moment when you get to share it on social media is a minuscule fraction of the creative process, or as Dani Shapiro would say “one stitch in a tapestry of days.” The majority of your time will be spent on the process rather than the outcome. Focusing on the process, not the prize will have a much bigger impact on your happiness.
Looking back at my life, there’s one thing I know for sure. Anytime, I’ve waited for something to change to be happy, not only have I been miserable, it’s taken forever to improve. But anytime I’ve made a deliberate choice to be happy regardless of the circumstances, things have always seemed to change for the better.
And no, this isn’t seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. This is based on science and research. I’m not hardwired to see the world through a positive lens and this why I’m drawn towards science-based tools for happiness.
The Unmistakable Guide to Health and Happiness
For my upcoming book launch, my launch team has put together a ton of free content. In our Unmistakable Guide to Health and Happiness, you’ll learn about some of my best science based-tools for health and happiness. Get it here.