One can wonder if happiness is real or even possible to achieve. What is it that makes people happy? When we set goals, pursue a career, or choose a relationship, we do so because we believe that ultimately it will make us feel a certain way. We believe it will make us happy! Sometimes these things do make us happy, at least for a little while, and sometimes we feel even further removed from the prize in our pursuit of happiness.
What are the criteria by which we measure happiness? Is it love, success, personal growth, personal fulfillment or money?
Studies have shown that even the most wealthy people in the United States are only slightly happier than average. Take a look in People magazine, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about. Celebrities might be rich and famous, yet do most of them look happier than you or I?
Based on scientific studies and my own research and experience as a professional certified life coach and business coach, I have created a success formula on how to be happy.
H = E + (U + C + I)
H stands for the level of Happiness
Happiness is experienced as an emotional state of being. You can only be happy in the present moment.
Happiness is not some sort of reward you’ll receive in the future for accomplishing certain tasks or getting what you think you want. Sure, accomplishing a goal will probably make you happy, and pursuing one will too. However, just because you have a goal, doesn’t mean you’ll be happy.
When you project your feelings of happiness based on some event or circumstance in the future, like achieving a certain goal, getting a promotion at work or a possible future relationship, you’ll find yourself empty handed. Expectation doesn’t always equal success, and you’re basically setting yourself up for a fall.
The reason this strategy doesn’t work is because what you fail to take into consideration is the fact that it’s still going to be the same person, namely you, with that promotion or in that new relationship. Real happiness is not something to be waited for. If you wait for things to change in your life in order to feel happy, you will miss out on that what you seek.
We all experience happiness in our own unique way. For example, I can experience happiness in the smile of a child, by the encouragement of a friend, a breakthrough during a life coaching conversation, watching a beautiful sunset or listening to a musical masterpiece performed by Andrea Bocelli.
E stands for Environment
Some people tend to be naturally or genetically happier than others. A new British study suggests that half the differences in happiness are related to genes. According to co-researcher Tim Bates, from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, those happiness-related genes are genes for personality, namely for being extroverted, emotionally stable and conscientious. The genes that predispose people to happiness are related to certain personality traits such as being outgoing, calm and reliable. If you don't worry excessively and are sociable and conscientious, you are more likely to be happier.
We all have inner resources or capabilities to develop a happier lifestyle. When you make a commitment to personal growth and self development, you can further develop and strengthen your personal happiness related qualities.
U stands for Understanding
Seek to understand what makes you happy. Yes we all want to be happy, yet we don’t always know what makes us happy.
Many people have a pretty good idea about the stuff that doesn’t make them happy or the things they do no longer want in their lives. They continue to talk about the job they don’t like or the fact that they don’t get paid enough for the work they do. Others keep complaining about their relationships at home or at work. The more you focus on what you don’t want, the more likely you will attract similar circumstances in your life. Also, when you define happiness based on what other people are saying or doing, it will be difficult for you to experience it.
Everyone is unique. We all seek different ways and capacities to experience happiness. Once you get clear on what happiness means to you, the more likely it is that you will experience it.
Once you understand how specifically you operate, and what motivates you (core beliefs, values and goals) you maximize your innate ability to find value and happiness in all expressions and experiences of your life.
A personal coach can help you identify your core values, strengths and beliefs, and develop a plan to achieve and enjoy a higher level of authentic happiness. Identifying, acknowledging and understanding your unique way of being allows you to choose and create more of the experiences that make you happy.
C stands for Circumstances
Circumstances come from the outside, the things over which you have little control. Sometimes the odds are in your favor and sometimes they are against you. You can’t control the state of the economy, or the weather, or the way people behave or react. The more you let outside forces determine your overall state of happiness, the more it will elude you.
Receiving a nice bonus can make you happy – at least for a while, but enduring happiness can only come from the inside, and that’s something you can control.
I stands for Intentional
This is under your control. The emotional state and consequent feelings of happiness depend on what you allow yourself to experience. Setting your intent is about directing your focus in the present moment toward a future outcome or goal. Because of the constantly changing environment of your life, setting your intent is an ever renewing process. When you set your intent, you are opening the doors to create the kinds of life experiences that you want to have.
Your intentions are thoughts, and your thoughts are energy. Your thoughts affect your emotional state and the way you feel about the things in your life. The way you feel will greatly influence the actions you decide to take or not to take. The actions you take determine the results you get.
These results will affect your life experiences and create your perception of reality. What you perceive to be true for yourself will shape your beliefs and your outlook on life. That’s why happy people live happy lives and angry people live angry lives. It is a self fulfilling prophecy!
Happiness is a way of being. It is being appreciative of who you are. It is being grateful for the unique talents you have been blessed with. Happiness is the joy of being alive. Happiness is that inner knowing that you made a contribution, that you gave your best effort possible, no matter the ultimate outcome.
Happiness has no regrets. Happiness comes from the heart and has a profound effect on your physical, emotional and spiritual well being.
Happiness is a choice! Be the cause of your own happiness and watch the ripple effect it has on others.
Choose happiness. Make it a habit.
About Dieter Pauwels:
Dieter Pauwels is a professional certified life, business and career coach, speaker and author, facilitating personal and organizational transformation. He works with both individuals and teams to create new possibilities, manage change and maximize their productivity and personal effectiveness.
You can visit his website at www.dieterpauwels.com or read his comments and thoughts on the impact of coaching on life and business on his blog at http://lifecoaching.dieterpauwels.com