Challenge: Choose Happiness Next Time!
Have you ever wondered why some people appear to be happier than you are, which leads you to start re-evaluating your life. You start to think about what you’re doing wrong or what’s missing in your life. But have you ever considered that happiness is a choice? And how to choose it?
The conversation about happiness has sent many great minds on a journey to explore its hidden mysteries, and as a result we’ve been lucky enough to receive a lot of wisdom. Some have found that:
- Happiness is not material therefore money cannot buy us happiness
- Happiness is a choice, available to all
- Happiness is the journey not the destination.
and many, many more.
More recently I’ve been gravitating to the idea that happiness is a choice. I started using this phrase/idea often when self-motivating myself. I had read in a few books that many successful people wake up and choose happiness. So I decided to write down ‘Happiness is a choice’ in my journal and explore the meaning behind this idea. I wondered whether this was true, and if so, how could I explain it in it’s simplest form for others to understand. This is what I came up with.
Happiness or unhappiness is subjective to each individual. What makes one person happy may make another unhappy. But who, or what, is in charge of making this decision? This decision to react to a situation, with either happiness or unhappiness. Are we accountable? Do we blame our surroundings? Who can we point the finger at?
I find it useful to think up analogies which will allow our minds to create images, and help to provide an understanding of a particular situation.
Let’s think about two scenarios:
Scenario 1: Person A goes out for a walk one day and faces a challenge. They step in a puddle and ruin their shoes. The outcome? Person A has become totally unhappy due to the fact that their new shoes are ruined.
Meanwhile on the other side of town:
Scenario 2: Person B has the same exact challenge (read below to find out why this is a challenge). Person B steps in a puddle and ruins their shoes. However this has made them happy as now they have a reason to buy some new shoes.
Looking back at both scenarios, if we imagine that all variables are constant (same shoes, same demographic), why did Person B react in the totally opposite manner than Person A?
The answer for the above is perspective.
The perspective upon the situation was different. Person B faced their challenge by having a perspective to buy new shoes and have something to look forward to. Whereas Person A had a different perspective that they would face their challenge by, thinking of all the time they would have to spend cleaning the shoes, how much money it would cost them and how bad their shoes looked now.
Why the word challenge? Everyday we are faced with a number of challenges.
The challenge to choose happiness over unhappiness.
These are challenges because choosing happiness is not always easy. Our perspectives have been crafted by the experiences we’ve encountered in our lives up till now and how we have analysed them. Sometimes it is hard to see the world from a different point of view, thus making the decision for happiness harder and a challenge. Especially if there have been many instances in our lives where we keep choosing unhappiness.
But I challenge you to try and change your perspective. Choose happiness next time you have the choice. It may be hard, and there will always be ups and downs in whatever we decide to do in this world, but how we decide to react to them is totally in our control.
Happiness is a choice, so let’s choose it.