Happiness! To each one of us, it is derived from something different. But it also the source of our happiness changes with time and as we move on to different stages in our lives. These kids of happiness are just momentary happiness and will pass away as they come by in our lives. Then there are those perceived sources of happiness that we develop in our lives. These are those that perhaps looses it value soon after one has attained it. Often such sources could be a car, a house, or even money. People often mistakenly set these sources as their goals in lives. But they soon realize once they have achieved these perceived sources of happiness that they do not last and these are just another momentary happiness.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet. ~James Openheim
Many of us live a life in a never ending pursuit of true happiness without realizing what it truly is. For example; If money brings true happiness are all the rich people truly happy? Apparently not, they too go through several marriages, heart breaks, health issues, guilt, regrets, and surprisingly they suffer from loneliness.
Often people attempt to live their lives backwards; they try to have more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want. ~Margaret Young
There are several studies conducted by leading Universities and Interest Groups to identify what this true happiness is and how it affects people and their lives. In our time and age we see the list of billionaires growing rapidly every year around the world. While you see the dot come billionaires choosing to live a relative modest lives (in comparison to their billions) and continue to work harder and stay ahead in their game, you will find the several common folk who have achieved relative successes in their respective lives still continue to restlessly set newer and higher goals to attain in order to live a life where they feel content and happy.
Of the several sources one seeks happiness from; studies have identified these few key definitive things in life that truly makes people happy.
Probably no greater honor can come to any man than the respect of his colleagues. ~ Cary Grant
Respect and admiration: This source of happiness is one of the major ones that truly makes people happy. Hence you see successful and rich people like Silicon Valley Billionaires, Actors, Scientists, Authors, Politicians continuously strive to reinvent themselves and stay atop of their chosen field of expertise. The true happiness is derived from the respect and adulations they garner from their peers, work groups, family and friends alike. One needs to strive to become and remain an inspiration for others by their behavior, character, work, actions and deeds always. These key aspects will help one realize their effects on people and often induce the need to become better and enjoy the happiness they derive from the love and admiration they get.
Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it. ~ Stephen R. Covey
Socioeconomic Security: This is primarily achieved by being financially stable and developing secure relationships. Several successful people often fall apart and spiral downwards because they do not manage their finances well and/or develop strong and secure group of close friends or relatives who will be there for them in times of need. Although money is one of the major sources for stability and economic security, it is not necessary for one to be a millionaire to achieve this. As long as one manages a lifestyle where all relative needs and wants are being fulfilled from time to time, and investing in a relatively comfortable saving or securely growing prospect they derive a sense of comfort and security which gives them happiness and peace. But once this is achieved a social security takes precedence in their lives. Social security is important for ones emotional well being and happiness. Thus it is important for any individual to develop a small group of friends or relatives or both, and garner a relationship that is dependable and beyond material or formal constrains. These are relationships that will remain the same and you can count on in times of need or help.
This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. ~George Bernard Shaw
Purposeful Living: A key to living a life of happiness is achievement. This is when you spent time and your effort to achieve something that you had set for and saw purpose in. What is this purpose? For those who search for the meaning of life, the realization eventually comes as a shock that they themselves will have to develop the meaning. It is in the individuals own ability and choice to develop a purpose in life and give it meaning in terms of it eventual objective. Thus is become imperative to develop sensible and meaningful purposes in one’s life. A purpose that is meaningful to self, that is valuable to others, that eventually generates a positive outcome that if beneficial to self and others. It is also important to choose a purpose that is morally right and respectable which will make your efforts worthy and will coincide with the first point discussed above – Respect and admiration.
“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Clear conscience: A clear conscience and mind that is free of any major guilt empowers the mind with a sense of self esteem and confidence which is another major source of true happiness. A mind cluttered with guilt, mischief, lies and deceit remains in a constant state of stress and confusion. It is inevitable for one to live a life free of guilt, but it is certainly possible to undo a lot of things we regret in life. We can forgive, apologize, avoid repeating our mistakes, be generous if giving, be charitable, and make serious efforts to constantly be self critical in an effort to self improve and become better. In one study when several people who are believed to be successful were asked what they hoped and wished for after they had achieved all their goals and success in life; the majority of them said they wanted to be forgiving and more charitable in their lives. Holding long time grudges and hurtful feelings towards others is one of the most common habits of many people. This only develops a constant level of discomfort, a sense of guilt and regret in our lives. Many try to overcome this feeling by denial, or refusal to do anything about it due to their ego or pride. But few take the step to make that call and apologize or forgive someone and move ahead in life. Often we pamper our egos and pride at the cost of our own happiness and clear conscience.
Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama: “What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful.”
Achieving true and lasting happiness lies in your own hands, actions, and choices in life. It is how you set out to achieve it and differentiate it between the momentary happiness and lasting ones. And once this true happiness is achieved, you will find yourself to be at peace, and tranquility and armed with the confidence and desire to live a greater life that is destined to achieve greater things in life.
Buddha: “Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.”