Defining Happiness

“I have decided to be happy, because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire

Take a moment and evaluate all the different areas of your life: family, personal relationships, work, and your life as a whole, as it relates to the flowchart above.

It’s a pretty simple but effective sequence; if you’re truly happy, keep doing whatever you’re doing. If you’re not happy, change something. I recently had lunch with Stephanie Vincent who told me about her weight loss experiences. During our lunch she said something that really stuck with me. She said that you have to at least like yourself. If you don’t like yourself, how do you expect to take care of yourself? Nobody wants to take care of someone they don’t like.

Defining what happiness might look like in broad strokes is not easy because what makes me happy might not apply to you. Below is my list of what I feel encapsulates happiness, in no particular order.

  • Living a long, healthy, active life
  • Giving and receiving love from my spouse
  • Doing work that is fulfilling and that makes a difference
  • Financial freedom and independence
  • Surrounding myself with people who support me and make me want to be better/Avoiding toxic people
  • Expanding my scope of the world through travel, learning, food, and culture
  • Spending the majority of my time doing the things I enjoy

I think the last one may be the most important of them all. However you decide to spend the majority of your day it should be spent doing the things that you enjoy, that are important to you, and that matter to you. On their death bed, no one ever said that they wished they spent more time in the office. If what matters to you most is doing something that gives you a sense of fulfillment be it raising a family, building a community, or exploring the world, then own up to it and embrace it. Your time is just as important and valuable as anyone else’s. If you’re spending the majority of your time doing things you can’t stand, change something.

The quote that started this post sounds a bit metaphysical but it’s dead on. You choose to be happy, just as much as you choose to be sad, angry, depressed, or frustrated. If you’re not happy with your situation, change something.

One response to “Defining Happiness

  1. Pingback: The Red Velvet Rope Policy | The Blog of Larry Palazzolo·

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