Finding Happiness

So, I have this personal quest…to fully understand happiness and how to FIND it. I want to know for my clients and myself. As a result, I’m getting a degree in Happiness from the University of Miami. (Didn’t know that was a possible degree to achieve, did you? Cue major academic regret…)

The head of the department, Tal Ben-Shahar, previously taught Harvard’s most popular course, Happiness 101. (You’d think just getting into Harvard would make students happy, right?) His specialty is leadership and positive psychology. I’m three weeks in, and genuinely loving it. Tal is enlightening and inspiring. He truly practices what he lectures. 

Happiness is the universal ultimate end goal. So how do we find it? 

Over the years, I’ve often said to myself that once I master a particular skill, receive a promotion, or upgrade to a nicer home, I’ll have reached success and true happiness. After all, I thought that being successful leads to happiness. Don’t we all feel this way at some point in our lives? 

What research shows is that achieving success leads to happiness, but unfortunately, only for a short time. And in fact, the reverse is true – being happy leads to success! 

Achieving your idea of personal success becomes unsatisfying over time, and what many in that position ultimately realize is that it was the PURSUIT of happiness and success that gave them purpose, a sense of fulfillment, and joy. When we are on the journey, we are focused on the outcome. But, once we achieve the outcome, we are without purpose. In short, having purpose leads to happiness, and being happy leads to success. Still with me?

It seems so intuitive. We want to surround ourselves with happy people. They’re fun as friends, we feel good about ourselves when we are with them and we’re more productive when working with them, too. 

So why are so many of us still waiting to be happy? 

What does happiness look like for you right now? 

How could you shift your thinking about happiness, so that you are not delaying your gratification and are experiencing pure joy and happiness every day?

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Kim Martin