By The Numbers
I just did a search on the number of books on happiness and positivity and I was shocked on the number. Was the number?…
I probably gave the number away by using the word shocked in my opening sentence. Yes, the correct answer according to Google was D.
Therein lays the source of all of the unhappiness in the world. Well not exactly all, but at least part of the problem. The problem is we are attempting to use one word to describe at least two entirely different states of being. We use the word happy regardless of the source of the elevated state we are experiencing. Happy or happiness is used when talking about the feeling we get when we buy a new car and for the sense of well-being, we get from leading a meaningful life.
Obviously, I haven’t read all of the books on Happiness but the ones I have read or speeches I listened to, all imply the new car can’t make you happy. What does a new car or a raise or finding the perfect partner do for you then? It certainly elevates our emotions for a period of time.
Over five million titles and most of them have it wrong as they attempt to explain what happiness is and what it is not. Yes, I am being arrogant about this; however, it is arrogance in pursuit of truth. (Which is no justification for arrogance – just a poor attempt at humor.) The number of titles about happiness is a strong indication of the desire we have for uncovering the path to happiness.
I have spent the last 22 years as a life coach facilitating my clients’ search for happiness and over fifty years in my personal search for happiness. What I have discovered is that what we want is to be able to enjoy the “Things” we acquire in our lives and to feel the sense of “meaning and fulfillment” that comes with an aligned life where we are being what we are sent here to be. To try to cover both ends of that spectrum with one word will never happen.
I believe if we used different words for happiness there would be less anxiety around what is happiness and how do I attain it.
We already have two words in the English language that we can use. The two words are – “Joy” and “Happiness”
Happiness is what happens when we obtain those things we feel we want in life – a promotion, a new home, a great job, new clothes, etc. Notice they are all external things. More importantly, the elevated feeling they generate is always shorter in duration than we had hoped. How many times have you said, “If only I (fill in the blank), then I will be happy? The five million titles would lead you to believe that you are not really happy when you obtain things. I don’t know about you, but what my clients and I have felt when we read that is a sense of confusion and guilt about the elation that comes from having things.
What if happy is exactly the right word to use? What if happy/happiness only applied to those things that are external to ourselves? And what if it is okay to be happy when you get them? Just realize that Happiness is not a forever thing – it is temporary.
What if Joy is the word to use when describing an inner sense of well-being? Joy cannot be purchased. It is not for sale. It is the result of clarity about who you are and living a life that is consistent with your internal guidance system. The building of that internal guidance system is not easy. It requires a commitment to embracing your talents and living a mission-driven life focused on having a positive impact on those around you. A sense of connectedness to self, others, and the Divine is a core element of Joy.
Living a life of joy does not mean that you put on a set of rose-colored glasses and that you never have problems. Instead, joy is an inner sense of wholeness that will guide you through challenges. Joyful people live what I refer to as a peacefully supercharged life. Joyful people can always find their way thru the darkest times in life.
Check it out for yourself right now. Don’t you feel better already knowing that it is okay to be happy about the things you have and that you can learn to be joyful on top of that? What a powerful combination – joy and Happiness.
When you learn to create joy in your life you will find that it is easier to be happy. The reverse is not true. Happiness will not lead to joy.
Okay, now comes the tough part. It is time to take action. Here are four steps to launching your Journey to Joy.
I know you are feeling hesitant right now. Don’t let the fear of being who you really are stop you. Go ahead dive in. What do you have to lose other than just feeling wonderful for the rest of your life?
Step 1. Identify the talent that you have that you would love to engage on a regular basis. This is not a time to be humble. Your talent doesn’t have to be earth-shattering just something that causes a warm sense of energy to flow thru you. I can assure you when you feel joy those around you will recognize it and feel it as well.
Step 2. Take 10 minutes a day for three weeks to sit still and visualize as well as feel what it is like when you use your talent.
Step 3. Take 5 minutes a day and use your talent whatever it is.
Step 4. Notice the difference of how you feel at the end of the day and express your gratitude for what is happening around you.