Happiness. We all seek it yet few of us find it. Could it be that we are looking for happiness in all the wrong places?
The definition of Happiness.
Happiness is the feeling we get when we believe we bring value to the world.
How we measure our value.
There are 2 ways we can measure our value.
The first is to look outside of ourselves – to look at the people we are connected to and/or our material worth. This boils down to either “rubbing shoulders with the right people” or “having the best toys”.
The second is to look within and embrace the value of the gifts and skills we have to share with the world.
The consequences of measuring our value by who we are connected with.
Unfortunately, too many of us fall into the trap of measuring our value the first way – by looking at who we are connected to and/or our material wealth.
When we tie our value and, by extension, our happiness, to the people we are connected to, we give up the freedom to be ourselves. We are always having to measure up to their expectations of us out of fear of rejection.
This leads to what is commonly referred to as “people pleasing” – putting the needs and expectations of others ahead of our own, at our own expense.
Furthermore, since different people have different expectations of us, we are forced to be constantly on alert, acting like chameleons, changing who we are depending on who we are with.
Living like this is exhausting. It leads to feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, and disappointed in life – the opposite of happiness.
The consequences of measuring our values by our material wealth.
Measuring our value by our material wealth, by the things we possess, is equally unsatisfying.
It’s what motivates people to follow fads, whether it’s driving the right car, living in a certain neighborhood, or wearing certain designer clothes, to name only a few.
Great marketers know that. Think of all the commercials you are exposed to on a daily basis.
Whether it’s on a billboard, on television or on social media, the underlying message is the same: buy our product and not only will be HAPPY, but you will also be INSTANTLY happy.
What this strategy fails to take into account is what psychologists call “hedonic adaptation”.
This is the principle that while acquiring some “thing” may make us feel good, the feeling is temporary because we quickly get used to that “thing”, whatever it is, and it loses its charm, it loses its ability to make us feel happy.
Why do you think that car manufacturers are always “upgrading” their products?
Why are we bombarded at the end of every year with ads for deep discounts on “last year’s models” to make way for the newer and better models?
It’s because those who bought last year’s models have gotten used to the car they have been driving, it no longer has the power to make them feel good, and they need a new fix.
Cars are just one example. No product type is immune. Whether it’s the latest fashionable colors for interior decorating, the latest clothing fashions, the latest beers, the latest anything.
Marketers are taking advantage of the fact that consumers quickly get bored with last year’s models and are looking for a new dose of “feeling good”.
The consequences of looking within to find our value.
So, what is the alternative?
I believe each one of us has unique gifts and talents.
I believe we all have a purpose: to share our unique gifts and talents with the world for the benefit of all.
I believe that true happiness comes from embracing the value of your unique gifts and talents and sharing them with the world - from living your purpose.
When you are clear on your purpose:
You embrace your value to the world.
You know what’s important and you ignore the rest.
You live stress free because decision making is simple - what’s in alignment with your purpose is a “hell yes” and what is not in alignment is a “hell no”.
You are resilient. Having a clear purpose gives you the confidence, the motivation and the determination to bounce back from challenging times
You are healthier both physically and mentally - you know where to focus your energy and time and you waste little of either.
You feel alive and engaged in everything you do.
Your cost of living goes down as you no longer chase shiny objects to make you feel happy.
When you know your purpose, you are always looking for a way to fulfill that purpose. Every time you take action to honor that purpose, it feels good.
Even better, there is no finish line. Living with purpose is a way of life.
Living in alignment with your purpose never gets boring.
For example, my purpose is to make people feel seen, heard and valued, that they matter, and that their life matters.
Every day, as I go about my business, I look for opportunities to impact someone’s life.
Whether it’s buying a homeless person a meal, or chatting with a store clerk, or interacting with a friend, I can always find an opportunity to show someone that I see them and I value them as a fellow human being. And it makes me feel good.
I can feel good every day because every day I find opportunities to share my gifts with the world, to live my purpose.
No one can take your purpose away from you, no one can stop you from living in alignment with your purpose, no one can take away the good feeling you get for taking action that is in alignment with that purpose.
I often hear people say “yes BUT - when life throws you challenges it’s impossible to stay positive and think of others”.
My response is always the same. Viktor Frankl, the author of Man’s Search for Meaning, spent several years in a Nazi concentration camp. He attributed his survival to having found meaning in the suffering he endured, to finding his purpose.
One of Frankl’s best known quotes is:
“ Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”
If Victor Frankl could choose his own way while enduring the atrocities of a Nazi concentration camp, then I believe each one of us is capable of doing the same in our own life, regardless of the challenges we face.
The key to finding happiness is finding your purpose.
The way to find true happiness is to live a purpose driven life - to embrace your unique gifts and skills and to share them with the world for the benefit of all.
If you feel stuck in life, if you are struggling to find your purpose, and if now is the time to change, let’s talk. I offer complimentary 15 minute consultations. At the end of our time together you will know if what I offer will be helpful to you and if we are a match.
Book your complimentary 15 minute consultation HERE.