David Schwartz, author of “The Magic of Thinking Big” and “The Magic of Getting What You Want”, was a world renowned expert on motivation. In his speeches, he used to tell a personal story; a moment he had with his young son.
When his little boy was just 6 years old and graduating from Kindergarden, David asked him what he wanted to become when he grew up. Without hesitation, the boy replied that he wanted to become a teacher. David then asked what is it he wanted to teach, to which the boy promptly replied “I want to be a teacher of happiness!”
What an incredible profession that would be, wouldn’t you agree? But… can happiness be taught? Can you learn to make yourself happy?
You see, most people believe that happiness is a result of situations and circumstances that make one’s life; something that just happens to some lucky ones which cannot be intentional, predictable, or measured. For some others, happiness is about the possession of things: once I have this or that, I’ll be happy. Yet a few more think that is an all or nothing scenario: either you are happy or you are not. So according to them, you cannot make yourself happy because there is always something going on… and that is that.
Truth is, there is no straight path to happiness out there, or a possession that brings happiness; and certainly there is no luck associated with it either, for every person and circumstance is unique. In my opinion, it is very possible to make yourself happy, but there is only one road that leads to REAL and lasting happiness. This road originates within; it is one that is built upon the constant effort to adapt and adjust to whatever comes our way… and not taking life too seriously!
This doesn’t mean that we are just to wait and see what comes our way either, for happiness is also pro-active. To make yourself happy, you must go out and make things happen and then adapt to whatever results you get from your actions for not always you’ll get the results you had expected. In this manner, you must continuously and persistently dedicate time and effort to the pursuit of happiness, openly accepting what you encounter on the way, adapting to events as you go, having a positive attitude, and making things better when at all possible.
We’ve all heard that life is compared to a roller coaster. I believe it’s a great analogy as ups and downs are a part of living regardless of who we are, where we’re from, and what we have –or have not.
We all get to ride the roller coaster from the moment we are born; however, for those who are truly happy, the ups and downs are irrelevant for the most part. They make no excuses nor they believe they have problems with no solution. They believe there are just situations to be resolved or to overcome. Even when drastic events happen -such as the passing of a loved one- these people manage to get back into happiness relatively fast.
So, how can the majority of us adapt to this way of living? Can this be taught as Dr. Schwartz’ young boy proposed? Is it possible to make yourself happy and live in a relatively constant state of happiness?
The answer is ‘Yes,’ you can teach yourself to be happy! A good starting point is to acknowledge that not one person on this planet is absolutely happy 100% of the time. From this perspective, you put your mind at ease so when some unavoidable circumstances happen, you are not caught off guard.
It is much easier to create happiness from this perspective. Next, it is essential to stop thinking that you must ‘be or have‘ something to become happy. Remember, happiness is an inner job.
Here are a few points to help you make yourself happy…
- Commit to being happy today – right now!
Don’t take anything for granted. Listen, you are reading this article right now. I don’t know you; I don’t know where you are, who you are, where you’ve been or what you do. Yet I know with certainty that you DO have something to feel happy about… right now, no matter what. Even if you cannot think about anything to be happy about, the fact that you have your eyesight, a screen to read this article, and Internet connectivity, is cause enough to feel happy. Just ask a person who’s lost their ability to see and you will value what you have so much more!
- Recognize that happiness is NOT a continuum in time
Happiness is an emotion not a permanent state of being, and like every other emotion it cannot be felt all the time. Sometimes you feel happy, others sad, some other times you feel frustrated or angry, and then you feel joyful and thrilled, and some other times you just feel neutral. All of these feelings are what make us human, so our nature is perfectly fine as it fluctuates according to the ups and downs of life. The important thing is not to dwell on any particular feeling caused by one event or circumstance. Remember that that nothing is permanent, and you will make yourself happy once you realize that happiness is built from moment to moment.
- Realize that you have the power to create happiness at will
Engage in something creative, like flower arrangement, sculpting or painting. Invite friends over to watch a movie. Cook your favorite dish for dinner. Go out and do something fun! Whatever has made you happy in the past, you can recreate it and make yourself happy again. Consciously experience the happy feeling you feel and make it a commitment to‘re-live the feeling’ every time you need it by just recalling the event. Remember, your imagination is powerful and just by evoking, we can recreate and feel as if we were living the moment all over again!
- Learn to access your “now” moment at will
Have you ever felt totally absorbed in an experience, such as watching a sunset, listening to your favorite tune or watching a great movie? These are moments in which you make yourself happy as time and worries disappear, even if temporarily. When you experience moments like these, you are truly in the “now”, and as you surely got it by now, when you live in the present it’s easier to feel happy because you and the thing of your attention become one.
- Discover your passions and rejoice in the feeling
Sometimes we get so busy and absorbed in our daily routines, that we forget what makes us happy. Do you love to walk on the beach, read a book on your favorite chair, observe wildlife, play ball with your kids, volunteer or pay a visit to the less fortunate? Give yourself the time to do something that gives you great pleasure and learn to enjoy the feeling as you do it. Then, sit under the canopies of trees to reflect on your feelings, enjoy the “after taste” and just “be” with your feeling without time concerns or limitations.
When you remember your happy experiences, do it vividly by including colors, smells, sounds, sensations, and tastes. In this manner, you train your mind and your body to recall not only the memories, but the feeling of the experience itself.
Every time you dedicate quiet time to be alone with the thoughts, memories and feelings that you get to choose, you bring upon feelings of happiness at will. As you open the doors to your heart in this way, you get to know yourself better by recognize the particular experiences that make you happy, so you will eventually seek happy experiences of the same nature intentionally and purposefully. You’ve come full circle now!
Do you want to learn how to reboot yourself today and start living a truly happy, fulfilled and authentic life? Click on the image below and find out how!