The Declaration of Independence spells out our “unalienable rights” as Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
While I’m not going to dispute the first two, I’d argue that number three has caused plenty of trouble in many people’s lives. Here’s why.
According to the dictionary, “pursuit” means an effort to secure or attain.
That means we don’t currently possess the object of our pursuit. In the case of happiness, pursuit implies that we believe we have to achieve or obtain something to be happy.
But the truth is, we don’t. Happiness is a choice.
It’s something we can have at any moment of any day, regardless of our circumstances, how successful we are, how much money we have, or how many things we own. We can be happy by changing our attitude, appreciating what we do have, and deciding to be happy right here and now.
Unfortunately, we’ve been conditioned by so many factors to believe we need to “be, do, or have” something more, to be happy. A new car. A bigger house. More clients. More money. New clothes. A more successful business. More freedom. The list is long. The result is we spend our lives chasing these things and believing when we just get there life will be bliss.
It’s time to wake up and realize that happiness isn’t found in stuff.
It’s not about being, doing, or having anything. We can choose to be happy right where we are, with what we currently have. That doesn’t mean we stop striving to improve ourselves or contribute more to the world, but we must banish the “if then, I’ll be happy” attitude. Because it’s actually a recipe for the exact opposite: constant unhappiness.