Happiness is a decision

I thought I'd be happy when I got my own office at work. I would have arrived! No more sharing offices for me. I was too old for that. I wanted my own office with my name on the door, I worked hard and I got it. I could have done anything I wanted in that office. I could have spent the entire day on facebook and no one would have known. Was I happy you ask. No. I was bored and miserable.

We all have our own version of how this plays out. I'll be happy when I meet 'the one'. Have kids. Buy that bigger house. Close that next deal at work. Kids grow up and move out. Retire.

We are the most clever species on this planet, so why don't we realise this thinking is so fundamentally wrong and never leads to happiness?

These days whenever I catch myself falling into the mindset trap of "I'll be happy when..." I remember household names who seemed to have it all and yet were unhappy. The person who always comes to mind is Robin Williams. He was known worldwide for his humour, acting and directing. Whether he touched you through his Oscar performance in Goodwill Hunting or made you laugh in Mrs Doubtfire, you liked Robin Williams. Everyone liked him yet he didn't like himself. He took his own life after battling with substance abuse for many years.

Robin had to change his way of thinking. We have to change our way of thinking. We have to learn to be happy right here. Right now. With everything we have or don't have. With everything we have endured or have yet to experience. Only then will we be happy.

We have to train our brains to think like the 2% ers amongst us. You know who they are. Those people who are like a warm fire on a cold winter's night. You just love being near them. They make your cup runneth over. The people who emit positivity, love, happiness and confidence all the time. They make you smile. They make you feel uplifted, happy and warm. They make you feel amazing. Even if things don't go swimmingly for them, they take it in their stride and keep smiling.

Being happy is about making a decision here and now to be happy. Just like you make a conscious decision everyday to have your tea or coffee in the morning or brush your teeth before bed. You have to make a daily conscious decision and say to yourself "I am happy. Today is going to be a brilliant day. My life is great just the way it is."

Let's be clear. I am not advocating giving up on your dreams or goals or never feeling angry or upset. All emotions have their place. I am simply saying that happiness is not at the end of the rainbow. Happiness is living and appreciating the little things now. We all know this but unfortunately we do not live it. We have to shift our mindest and start training our brains to be happy in the now.

Yes. It is easier said than done. Some days when the kids don't fight, I have practiced yoga, I have been productive with my time and the movie I played in my head in the morning for the day plays out, being happy is easy as pie. Other days, when my movie doesn't go as I had planned, it is tough. Very tough actually! And it is in these moments that I have to work very hard on myself. I have come to appreciate it will be a life long journey but I know it will get easier with time.

This is because training your brain to be happy is like training your brain to do anything else in life. It takes dedication and time. I now have a tune which plays endlessly in my mind. "I am a 2%er" by Andy Cope from artofbrilliance.co.uk. Rather than study depressed people in order to help them become happier, Andy decided to study happy people and to learn what made them happy.

He discovered happiness is not real, nor is sadness or confidence for that matter. These states are feelings and feelings are created by our thoughts. So change your thoughts to change your feelings. And change your feelings to change your life. Choose to be happy.


Below is clip about the oldest yoga instructor in the world. Tao Porchin Lynch is 100 years old and still practices and teaches yoga. I find her inspirational. She has broken her wrist and had three hip replacements yet has overcome these obstacles. Her secret you ask? Tao wakes up every morning and tells herself "today is going to be the best day of my life".