How do we achieve true happiness? How do we sustain that happiness rather than it just coming in waves? I don’t think life has to have major ups and downs for long periods of time. I think that happiness takes training. I think it takes discipline. My goal is to be as happy as possible, as much as possible.
I understand that sadness is also a part of life. Being happy doesn’t mean burying the sadness. That isn’t healthy and will eventually resurface in a negative way. But if we really put life into perspective, I think we will find that 95% of what we think matters at the time just doesn’t. My goal is to always get back to true happiness as quickly as I can.
We have all heard the saying, “live in the moment.” I like this saying to a certain level. But the phrase is only partially meaningful. It needs some perspective added to it. So I would like to modify this saying with two of my own thoughts. “Live in the moment when things are good.” When things are feeling bad, “step away from the moment and embrace perspective.”
We get caught up in the moment, if we let ourselves. For example, let’s say I am driving on the freeway. There is a ton of traffic and I just want to get to Santa Monica already. Apparently there is no accident. It is just 4:00 pm and the freeway is deadlocked. LA… go figure. This totally sucks. I’m stuck in the car. I planned on meeting a friend for dinner, and there is no way I’m going to make it in time. Three hours in the car and I have to call my friend and cancel. What a horrible day and a waste of time…
Ok… Now is time for perspective. To be happy (or at least happier) in the moment as I sit stuck in the car, I have a conversation with myself. I wonder whether this traffic will matter tomorrow. If the answer is yes, then I ask myself whether it will still matter in a week. By then, if I even remember this situation at all, it will be nothing more than an old story. Within a year, it will be long forgotten, along with most of the small problems that consume our brains.
Whether we gripe about our circumstances, or accept reality as it is, we will get from point A to point B. But which journey would you rather take? I choose to sit in that car knowing that I can’t change the traffic, but I can change my outlook. I am in control of how long I sit and vent about the situation. The faster I regain my perspective and understanding of what matters, the quicker I will regain happiness.
I choose to come up with a new plan. I am going to move forward with the right perspective. I am going to recognize that it will be just fine tomorrow. I am going to choose happiness in that car, accept it for what it is. I’ll rock a few tunes, maybe call up some friends, and all will be just fine.