"When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life. "
- John Lennon
I read this quote many years ago and it had a big impact on me. So much so that I wanted it to hang on my living room wall. I wanted my kids to hear it, to read it, to embrace it. As the years passed life happened and my perceptions changed. However, Lennon's quote did not lose its impact it just changed meanings.
When I was younger, I understood that you must look for what will make you happy, you have to figure out what it is and pursue it. Always follow your dreams they said.
Let's be honest, there is always something more that we want, there is always something new to dream about. If I had to wait to have everything I dream of or want in order to be happy I would constantly be waiting.
I have a new appreciation for the quote now….
Life taught me that I didn't actually know what happiness was. I knew what happiness felt like, I knew what it looked like, I even knew what it smelled like. I have been blessed with so much of it. I can't ever remember my life without it. Nevertheless, I had gotten it wrong. Happiness is not a feeling that you need to go after, happiness is not something that comes to you because of circumstances. It is a mindset.
You might be thinking, who cares what it is, I just want to feel it. I just want to be it. This is exactly why it is so important to understand it.
Abraham Lincoln said ''You’ll be as happy as you make up your mind to be''.
You must plan your happiness, design and create it. You do not leave it up to chance and wait for things to happen to you. Don't get me wrong it isn't easy, it takes work. But it is within everyone's reach.
This is clear because people who are truly happy can be so different. They can have so little and so much, they can do very little or do a lot. What they have in common is that they don't wait to be successful, to have or to do, in order to be happy. They decide that they are happy because they can become successful because they can have and because they can do.
So, when I said I was blessed with so much happiness I was wrong. I wasn't blessed because life just happened to me. I was blessed because I learned early on how to appreciate what I can have and who I can be.
Happiness in essence is not a feeling; it is something you create. Jim Rohn said happiness needs to be woven, and Jim Rohn was a very wise man. So, start weaving. Stop comparing, stop chasing stop hoping. Positive thinking is nice, but it is not enough. Decide today. Decide that you are happy. Once you make that decision, find your purpose.
We have heard it before, but I cannot stress its importance enough, FIND YOUR PURPOSE. Research has shown that having purpose, whatever that may be, is common in all happy people. So instead of thinking you will be happy when... (you get the promotion, you get the girl, you get the car, the body, the family... you can fill in your blanks). Contribute to your purpose. Get better at your career, work on yourself, visit your grandma, tend to your garden and do it with a smile.
If you are around others, it is almost your responsibility to be happy. Embrace happiness and you will attract more of it because of the person you have become.
Basically, what I am trying to say is that you need to be happy in order to get good things. Getting good things won't necessarily make you happy. You might be so busy chasing said things that you won't notice happiness floating around right there before you.
Obviously, there will be bad days, even bad weeks. In the words of Carl Jung, the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. But if your underlying state of mind is that you are happy, those bad days will pass; you will focus on what you can do to make things better for you or someone else. Purpose will take the space of the bad and soon it will push it out completely.
So if you will take something from this, I say keep this, just like Bobby McFerrin sang "Don't worry, be happy".