Happiness is simply a chemical dump in your brain, a contentment and euphoria that is usually triggered by the following conditions:
- Feelings of acceptance by a subgroup, tribe or person (not wholly within your control)
- Feelings of safety and security (not wholly within your control)
- Feelings of success (not wholly within your control)
- Being well fed, well rested (not wholly within your control)
- Having achieved a recent “win” (not wholly within your control)
- A belief in the above states and how they relate to your happiness (completely within your control)
The trouble with happiness is that it is simply a brain state and not a mathematical equation. The reason why it sometimes sneaks up on us is that the above states are based on circumstance and not always ones we conspire to achieve.
By definition, the feeling of happiness cannot be perpetual. Our brains are designed to meter these good-feeling chemicals to maximize reward seeking and minimize mortal danger and pain. If we were to be “always happy” we would be like the drug addict, always seeking just a bit more to get the high. Your brain is literally incapable of that kind of stasis. It is always moving either up or down.
Belief, on the other hand, is much more useful.
Belief is within our control. This is why one of our first acts of rebellion against authority usually finds its seat in the belief in something our parents think is false, silly or dangerous.
If we believe we need the world–whatever that is–to love us in order to be happy, we will never get there.
If we believe we must live forever in a cozy blanket of status quo to be happy, we will never get there.
If we believe we must be the next Steve Jobs or Steven King to be happy, we will never get there, not because we can’t be successful, but simply because we are us and not them.
You get the picture.
If I believed that the only acceptance I need is my own, then I am closer to happiness.
If I believed and expected trials to bring enlightenments, then I can never be destroyed by them.
If I believe that the next win is within my control, then I can get there faster.
Stop striving for happiness and strive for the control of your own belief instead. You’ll find that happiness arrives much more often that way.
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