How To Make Happiness A Game Of Choice — Not Chance


“The Point of Life is Happiness” – The Dalai Lama

Cupping my hands I shake the dice

But the dice roll out to reveal a four and a two. I was hoping for a six to get me started on the board game,

No luck

I’ve no choice but to wait and hope to get started on my next turn.

In the board game of life, waiting is your choice, and happiness is less about luck than it is about choice. In life, you don’t need to wait your turn, or for circumstances to change before you can be happy.

Happiness is a choice you can make right now

As you perceive the world, you make choices about how you feel about it.

It’s your perception of reality that determines your emotional state, rather than reality itself.

This is an important distinction

It’s important because some believe that their perception is reality. However, we all experience reality in different ways. That’s why you and others can have unique viewpoints of a shared situation; perhaps even arguing about which perception is ‘the truth.’ So if we’re all choosing and creating the reality we prefer, why would you put happiness on hold?

Don’t make happiness conditional upon some external factor

People put off happiness by believing that an event will occur that will make them happy; they’ll be happy when they get the new house, car, job, win lotto, etc.

Or they expect that by achieving their goal, they’ll become happy.

They notice happiness is fleeting

The euphoria may last a few moments or even a few weeks. And then they’re off, chasing after the next shiny object that they expect will bring happiness. This constant chasing after happiness is doomed to failure. But objects or achievements don’t bring joy, long-term.

Being happy is an inside job

Happiness is a choice independent of our circumstances or situation in life.

We’ve all seen documentaries or know people who have few material possessions but who stay happy and vital. And we learn of wealthy people who seem to have it all, yet are miserable beyond measure. So it’s clear that, beyond a certain point of having enough money and the basics of life, contentment doesn’t relate to money or material possessions.

Happiness is about choiceAchievement Model

You can choose to feel happy for no reason at all — or just because happiness feels better than the alternatives. When you decide to be happy, working towards those goals invokes a sense of joy and excitement in the doing. The result is inevitable; you reach the target and experience joy in striving for it — not only at the momentary completion of it.

In trying times, choosing happiness is challenging

When we slip out of the present moment and begin worrying about what could happen in the future, we deny our happiness in the now.

I will remind you, you’re the one in control of your thinking, although I know that sometimes it can feel as if your thinking is running the show! But if you’re in control of your thinking, then you also gain control of your emotional state. Your feelings and emotions drive your behaviour. And your behaviour determines your outcomes and achievements. So choosing happiness also makes logical sense.

Realising you have control is key

When you make happiness conditional upon achievements or material objects, you lose that control. And just like you have no control over what numbers will show on the dice, your life becomes a game of luck and chance — with you inevitably waiting your turn — and losing out.

So remember:

  • You’re in control of your mind and, thus, your emotional state.
  • Being happy is a choice.
  • Striving for happiness through acquiring material possessions or achievements will achieve only momentary pleasure.
  • When you choose to feel happy, striving for goals will give you a sense of joy in the endeavour.

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Tags: Health and wellbeing, Resilience, Self-awareness, Thinking and mindset


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