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This Is How We Should Define Happiness

This Is How We Should Define Happiness

Happiness is something we all long for. We strive for that promotion, that new car and to find that special someone — because we think it will bring us to the magical land of happiness. However, more often than not, this isn’t the case.

If you have ever watched or read a documentary about happiness and fulfillment, or even just glanced at one for a few minutes while flipping through the channels during a commercial…you know that “money can’t buy happiness,” and very rarely does happiness come from any kind of material possession at all.

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    Happiness is defined as “the state of being happy,” and considered by the English language to be a noun. I believe this to be the very root of the problem we all face–and I’ll explain why.

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    If happiness is a noun, that means it is an object. Something that can be possessed; something that can be gained. The problem with this is, since there is no magical happiness store that we can walk into and purchase a pound of happiness, we will never be able to GAIN happiness. We will never be able to fulfill the never-ending list of things we create in our mind as requisites. We will never have enough money or be promoted enough times. Our significant others will never be good-looking enough and will never completely stop doing things that upset us. So thinking this way is as poisonous as the drugs we take to assuage our discontentment with the happiness we will never be able to achieve.

    So, to fix this problem, we are going to change the definition of happiness. Happiness is no longer going to be a noun, and there is going to be no version of happiness in the dictionary of our minds that can be considered a possession. Instead, happiness is going to be a verb, an action and a choice.

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    Instead of being defined as “the state of being happy,” we are going to define happiness as “to choose to be happy.” This way there is no infinite list of things that we are never going to obtain or accomplish that we are requiring of ourselves to be able to be happy. There is going to be no insatiable desire for money, clothing, houses, cars and good-looking significant others to fulfill our happiness quotient–because we will already have chosen to be the happiness quotient.

    Of course, we will all experience adversity. We will get sick, we’ll miss a rent payment, we’ll move or change jobs and we’ll have disagreements with our friends and family. But it’s how we react to these problems that matter. Realizing that there is always a solution, and that problems like these are almost never as serious as we fool ourselves into thinking they are.

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    Happiness should be a perspective, not a goal. A lens through which we view the world, our family and our jobs. Through this lens, we are not going to want to make money because we think it will make us happy. We are going to make money because we have chosen to be happy at our jobs; the people around us are going to see it and choose to support us in our career progression. We are not going to look at life and set unrealistic expectations for things that even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet cannot afford. We are going to be happy that we are healthy and live in a world where we even have the choice to make the choice to be happy.

    Once we are able to forge these lens of happiness, the money, cars, clothing and fabulous careers will just be an afterthought. A product of our happiness–not a prerequisite.

    Featured photo credit: portrait of a happy girl via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on December 10, 2019

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

    Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

    Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

    But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

    Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

    But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

    Journal writing.

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    Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

    Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

    Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

    1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

    By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

    Consider this:

    Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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    But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

    The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

    2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

    If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

    How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

    Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

    You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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    3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

    As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

    Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

    All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

    4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

    Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

    Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

    The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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    5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

    The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

    It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

    Kickstart Journaling

    How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

    Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

    Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

    Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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