Alisa Bowman, author of “Project Happily Ever After,” says the key to happiness is not in getting, but in giving. Shawn Achor, a researcher and author of “Before Happiness,” says when we get what we want, we become accustomed to it and stop valuing the thing we thought was so important.
There are all kinds of reasons to be happy. It feels good and makes for a more enjoyable journey through life. But, according to Achor in a Forbes.com interview, research shows there are even more good reasons. “A positive mindset results in 23% greater energy in the midst of stress, 31% higher productivity, 37% higher levels of sales, 40% higher likelihood to be promoted, and improved longevity.”
My book “LIES That Limit,” explores the ways we unintentionally sabotage our personal happiness and success. While we can move from job to job, city to city, relationship to relationship and, feel the short-lived rush of pleasure and excitement, soon, longing for more, or new and different, is back, haunting us once again.
If you’ve been searching outside yourself for happiness, you’ve been going about this is all wrong. Happiness is a choice we make, independent of the circumstances of our lives. Arriving at that choice can be harder based on genetics and other forces beyond our control. But, at work, home and in all parts of life, we can choose to cultivate lasting happiness by giving to others. Being thankful for what you have, and demonstrating kindness and compassion.
As Achor puts it, “Happiness is NOT the belief that everything is great, happiness is the belief that change is possible.” In other words, if you have played or can play a role in creating positive change for someone else, you’ll learn to see yourself as someone who can create positive change in your own life. That is the key to true happiness — a strong belief that you are the master of your fate.