One of everyone’s goals in life is to live a happy life. However, were our forefathers even smarter than we thought when they put in the Declaration of Independence that we have the right to the pursuit of happiness? Is that all that there is, an endless pursuit of happiness that can never be reached? For many, this may seem like the case but I do not think so. I think that a lot of people have the equation to happiness wrong.
I saw a TED Talk that inspired this topic. It went on to say that most people try to surround themselves with things that will make them happy: a new car, a big house, a lot of money. The only problem is that these things will not create happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I believe this can enhance happiness but the happiness has to be there before these things can help.
Let’s look at an example. Say you had a lot of extra money so you decide to go on a vacation to Aruba with a couple of your closes friends. Now if you and your friends are already happy, you shouldn’t need to go to Aruba to be happy. You would probably be happy and have fun just hanging out at the mall. However, I am sure you would have more fun and be a little happy in Aruba experiencing new things and making new memories. Now take the same situation but add that friend or person you know that complaints about everything because they are always unhappy. They would always find something wrong with the vacation even if it was a once in a life time experience. That is because happiness is not something that can be pursued or created; it is an attitude you must have. The money and other material object can help improve this attitude but only you can change it.
Since people have a misunderstanding of where happiness comes from, they have the equation wrong. People believe that if they work hard and become successful, they will become happy. Does that sound about right? They know that with success come those material things or personal accolades that will make them happy. There is a problem with this equation though. What usually happens when you have become successful and reached your goal? Think of a runner. If a runner has a goal to run a mile in 5 minutes, when they reach that goal the will change it. They will make the next goal 4.5 minutes. The definition of success is always changing for us. If success is always changing then so is the equation which means that we never reach happiness.
What is the solution to this? Change the equation. Make the equation hard work + happiness = success. This equation can almost never fail. First, happiness is an attitude, a mindset, which means you control your happiness and can be happy at any time. Secondly, if you are happy nothing else really matters. If you are living in a box on the street I do not believe you will care if you are happy because you are happy! I am not suggestion quitting school and going to life in a box. I am saying if you are unhappy stop blaming the world and start looking at yourself. Don’t work to change your surroundings if you are unhappy, work to change you attitude.
For the past week I have been dying! Okay, maybe I am being a little dramatic but only a little. At one point I actually thought I was dying. I even went to the doctor which I never do, unless my mother makes me; that’s a different story through. I was dying because I had the flu. Don’t worry though I am feeling better; not like the flu can stop Motivational Mondays anyway. (Only my laziness can stop that.) However, I learned about the power of positivity during my dying days.
One of my New Year’s goals is to be more positive. Starting off the New Year on my death-bed is hardly positive and I didn’t try to make it a positive experience. That is until about day 4. I decided that if I kept acting sick I would stay sick. So I started to act more normal and be a little more positive instead of the zombie like creature I was portraying in the begin stages of my disease. The amazing thing is I started to feel better when I changed my attitude. Another cause could have been the fact that the flu only lasts 5-7 days and I was starting to get over it; however, I am going to stick with the positivity. The more positive I became the better I started to feel.
I believe this is the case with everything in life not just if you have the flu. When you go into a situation thinking it is going to be a horrible experience, it most likely will be. If you go into a situation thinking positive thoughts, it is more likely that you will have a good experience. This occurs because you experience is determined by your perception. You perception is determined by your state of mind. If you are in a negative mood, you are going to focus more on the negative aspects of the experience. You will be looking for things to complain about, things that will match your negative mood. However if you are in a positive state of mind, you will focus on the positive aspects of the experience. The more situations you go into with a positive mindset the more you come out of with a positive experience.
Your mood does not just affect the way you perceive the situation but the way people perceive you as well. Have you ever heard of the halo effect? Basically the halo effect states that people can be influenced to think positively about another person because of certain qualities and ignore those qualities that may not seem so great. For example when you have a positive attitude, people may over look an inappropriate joke you make. However if you did not have the same positivity, they may judge you based off that same joke thinking you were a bad person. Not only does it hide negative qualities but the halo effect says that other good qualities are enhanced. Overall, the more positive you are the better people like you because they focus on the good things instead of the bad things. This is much like how you focus on the good aspects of a situation when you are in a positive mood.
This just shows why the clique, “attitude is everything,” is spot on. This also shows why I added “be more positive” to my list. My friends use to always tell me to stop being negative; really I was just being a realist. However, I know that I can improve in this area. Even if I am trying to be a realist I can at least make my first statement something positive instead of just shooting ideas down with my realist views. Maybe I will be a little less of a realist from now on. Being a realist isn’t as much fun as using my imagination anyway. Yes, imaginary things often don’t become real, but wasn’t the car once a thing of the imagination? Whether I leave my realist views behind or not, I know one thing will change: I will be more positive.