Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Mountain of Happiness

So many articles out there are all about finding happiness. “Keys to a Happy Life” or “The Secrets of Happy People” or “How to Be Happy in Any Situation” all sound like variations on the enticing theme of “How to find Happiness”. One important consideration that may be overlooked is that in many cases, happiness is often not defined by what we may think we want out of life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome when things work out the way we want them too. Still, there has got to be more to happiness than that, especially in a world where we all get the short end of the stick once in a while, even sometimes when we have the best of intentions.

We have all heard the cliché a million times: “Money can’t buy happiness”. People tend to agree or disagree with that statement at varying levels. Taking a realistic viewpoint, money itself doesn’t guarantee happiness, but when you’re broke and needy, it doesn’t necessarily have to hurt either. Breaking it down: when it comes to happiness and money, what is much more important is our attitude toward money as opposed to the amount of money we have. Whether someone is dirt poor or extremely wealthy, if we are on the constant chase for “more”, then that hunger can be a significant obstacle in the quest for happiness. By contrast, those individuals who are grateful for what they gain in life, whether it is a little or a lot, have a much easier path when navigating the often winding path to happiness. For one thing, they may have much less to carry on their back along their journey.

I am not going to try to tell you the secret to happiness, because like most people reading this, I am a work in progress myself with good days and bad days. I will however say that I have learned more about happiness from people who have struggled and fallen short, than from people who seemed to always achieve what they were striving for. If accomplished ambitions is the road map to climbing to the summit of the mountain of happiness, then all materially successful people would be happy, which we know not to be the case. When someone displays that inexplicable quality of sincerely smiling in the face of disability, illness, pain, injury, misfortune, loss, etc., or when someone can wondrously maintain joy despite injustice or adversity therein lies a secret inner strength that is often more valuable than a thousand fulfilled desires.

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