“There is no path to happiness: happiness is the path.”
It’s frustrating to discover that happiness is not something you can buy, own or move into. It’s a process and a by-product of every choice we make and every action we take.
Discovering this can be a big disappointment if you’re used to saying things like this:
When I get that new job, I’ll be happy.
When I meet the man or woman of my dreams, I’ll be happy.
If I only had a little more money, I’ll be happy.
If happiness is conditional on external things/jobs/people, we’re in deep trouble.
First off, because what we are really saying is that with things exactly as they are right now, we’re not good enough. Or worse, WE’RE not enough.
Second, I’ve worked with many clients who are wealthy and as a class of people, they are not any happier than anyone else.
The money isn’t what makes them happy or unhappy.
It’s their attitude.
You may be saying, “give me their money and I’ll be happy!”
And my response is, you don’t get their money without taking the rest of their lives as well.
You have to be willing to accept all their circumstances—unless you’re willing to have their family, live and work where they do, have their aches and pains and ailments, then you can’t just have the part you want.
So how do you find joy right now?
Take a look around and can you see what you have accomplished, the relationships you have, the love that surrounds you and the opportunities that are present, regardless of any challenges you may also be facing?
Be mindful of creating a system of keeping score where not getting what you want is devastating.
You may be surrounded by clutter and disorganization and still, you have things that could provide comfort and convenience if you could access them.
What would you be doing if you had that new job, your soulmate, or a bit more money?
Would you be smiling more? Would you be less stressed and hurried? Would you be more generous?
You can be any of those things right now—regardless of the status of your job, relationship or bank balance. Or the amount of clutter around you.
All you need is a little acceptance. What is is exactly what is right now.
Your thoughts on happiness become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you constantly need something else to be happy, you never will be.
One of the pioneers of professional organizing and productivity, Andrew Mellen is the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!. He travels the world speaking, teaching, and coaching individuals and global brands including the New York Mets, Genentech, American Express, Time, Inc. and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.