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Happiness: dream or reality?

Happiness is the universal goal of people all over the world. Sure, initially they might say they want a brilliant career, make lots of money or find true love, but ultimately what they want is to be happy. And doesn’t every parent wish for their kids “just to be happy”? It’s the one thing we all want, yet for a many people it simply seems to be unattainable.

Now in my opinion that’s because they make their happiness dependent on things that are in the future. “When I win the lottery/meet my soul mate/get that new job/lose the weight, then I’ll be happy.” However, the reality is often that if they weren’t happy before, they’re not going to be happy even when they do achieve what they wanted.

In fact, there was an interesting study done where they compared people who had had a big win on the lottery, with people who had had an accident and had become quadriplegic. They asked them to rate how happy they had been just before the event, and also one year later.

Now who do you think was happier, one year after their major event?

It was actually, the people who were happy BEFORE the event that were still happy a year later, regardless of what had happened to them. And if they were unhappy before, they were still unhappy a year later.

Now this shows that it’s not what is actually going on in your life that makes you happy or not, it’s your attitude that makes the difference.

And whilst we may not be able to influence what happens to us, either good or bad, we ARE able to change our attitude.

The most important thing you can do to be happy is to make a conscious decision to be happy RIGHT NOW. Think of all the things that you have (as opposed of the things you want) and rate your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10. If it’s a 5, you may say that’s not very good, but think about it: it’s better than a 1! By all means strive to get to a 10, but don’t make your happiness dependent on it being a 10.

Remember that you live right NOW! The past has happened, the future isn’t there yet and you really don’t know what’s going to happen, all you know is what’s going on right now, and you can make a decision to focus on the positive things in your life.

Don’t always think about the things you don’t have, or haven’t achieved yet; focus on what you DO have and what you HAVE achieved.

Make a list! I love lists! Especially lists of good things. Write down

  • compliments you’ve received
  • things you are proud of
  • things that are going well
  • things you’re thankful for

And when you’re feeling a bit down, or stressed out because “nothing is going right”, have a look at it and I can assure you that you’ll instantly feel better.

And when you feel better, you are more likely to be creative, come up with solutions to problems and take action, which in turn will make your life even more positive, both on a personal and a business level. By focusing on the positive aspects of your reality, you’ll make the dream of happiness come true.

If you want to read more about what does and doesn’t make us happy, here are some more interesting articles:

Money can buy you happiness

Giving money away makes you feel better

Does winning the lottery make you happy?

Happiness rubs off on others

Can you learn happiness?





3 Responses to Happiness: dream or reality?

  1. Dickie Armour February 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm #


    Great post and so true.

    It’s all about enjoying the journey we’re on. You once gave a brilliant talk and I’ll never forget it. You told us to Stop and look around at all the great things going on in our lives. And you were so right! Today is always a fantastic day if you choose it to be and you choose to focus on the positives.

    Thanks for reminding me 🙂

  2. Chris Budd February 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    A brilliant article, Inge, well done.

    I have a very old friend, we go back to when I was 15. She has had such a tough life. A best died choking on an apple core at school. She had to have her toes broken and reset repeatedly through her teenage years. She’s had all sort of health problems over the years. She now has three kids, one of them is handicapped, and she’s just found out her husband has been cheating on her.

    Yet whenever I speak to her, she always asks about me. And when I do get her talking about herself, she is always saying how lucky she is.

    Happiness is an attitude, but I do believe it’s one we can learn to adopt.

  3. Katherine February 9, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    Excellently written! It’s been a useful and timely reminder.

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