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Leadership Thought #267 – Happiness Comes From Within

December 17, 2015

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Happiness should come from within.

It almost seems as if there is an epidemic of unhappy people these days.  Far too many people are simply biding their time each day thinking there is some magic formula that is going to make them happy.  As a result, they keep tinkering with their lives by making small and substantial changes, hoping that one day they get it right.   Instead of living in the present and making the best of their circumstances, many folks are either too nostalgic for the past and “what could have been” or too caught up with the future and “what should be”.  In their wake often lie the scattered remains of failed or stalled careers, broken relationships, emotionally scarred children, unnecessary debt burdens, unhealthy lifestyles, the complications of too much medication and therapy, and the inevitable isolation resulting from ever-increasing narcissism.

It is no wonder there is so much unhappiness.  Commercial interests who just want to sell us more “stuff” by locating our pain and unhappiness, have carefully manipulated our expectations for years.  They have mastered the art of telling us what is wrong with our lives.  Bombarded with media and social messaging we are told to put ourselves first.  It’s all about how we look, how much we have, what we do for a living, not settling for the less than a perfect partner, where we live, how we feel, how smart and successful our kids are, where they go to school, etc.    All of this is a trap and only leads to one place and that is further unhappiness.

Happiness comes from within not from some set of external stimuli.  Of course, there are examples of people who are in terrible circumstances that obviously need changing, but this the exception not the rule (especially in a country as blessed as the United States).

The pathways for happiness have always been the same throughout the ages:

Life can feel like a roller coaster sometimes.   There will be highs and there will be lows.  The important thing is not to overreact or think that everything must be perfect all the time.

Perspective is important.  There is no silver bullet.  There is nothing you can buy or a pill you can take that will make you happy for any extended period.  The joy of acquiring things is ephemeral.  Count your blessings.  Look for the good in yourself and others.  Commit to your important relationships even when they are tested.   Pay attention to what really makes you happy, not what you think or have been told should make you happy.  Look inside and be true to yourself and your loved ones and happiness will follow.