Look, someone once told me, “Happiness is a state of mind.” My initial response? A loud internal, “Oh, bollocks!” So, I’ve spent my whole life choosing to be miserable, have I?
Determined to make this teacher eat their words, I dived headfirst into unravelling the enigma that is happiness.
Are you hell-bent on being happy? Yeah, me too. In fact, everyone I coach seems fixated on this eternal pursuit of happiness. Now, why wouldn’t you want that? Isn’t that the point? Why would we guilt ourselves for wanting something so fundamentally human?
We deserve it, right? But here’s the kicker—what the hell is happiness anyway?
Take a stroll down memory lane. When I was seven, weekends at my grandparents’ farm were my paradise. There was this slope, the stuff of youthful dreams, right outside the bungalow. I found an old bike—more rust than metal—and my adventure began. I’d push that relic to the top, balance, and let gravity do its thing. Each descent was a step toward mastering that damned bike.
The thought consumed me. “When I can ride this bike, I’ll be complete. I’ll be happy,” I’d think while eating my cornflakes. Funny thing? Not once since mastering that skill have I woken up thinking, “Ah, life is perfect because I can ride a bike!”
We’ve all been there. “I’ll be happy when I get that raise. Find love. Run a 10k.” Happiness always appears to be waiting for us at the next milestone, taunting us like some elusive shadow.
Then life slaps you across the face. Maybe you lose a job, or in my case, the ability to make my own bloody toast. Suddenly, what you’d give to simply breathe easy or feed your family becomes the new criterion for happiness.
Let’s get this straight: as long as you’re chasing happiness, you’re on a wild goose chase. But here’s the revelation—happiness is already your birthright.
Want to tap into it? Slow down. Breathe. Take stock of what’s around you, right this second. Maybe you’ve got family, or a job, or a roof over your head. Think about life without any one of these things. Ouch, right?
It’s hard to be miserable when you’re drowning in gratitude. Your desires? They’ll come and go like fashion trends. But happiness? That’s the mainstay.
Believe winning the lottery will fix everything? Trust me, that high will fade faster than you can say, “Where did it all go wrong?”
Being happy isn’t some monumental task. It’s not a mountain to climb but a switch to flip. It’s as effortless as a rose simply being a rose—whether it’s by the motorway or surrounded by weeds.
It comes from within, not from anyone else or external circumstances. Realise that, in this moment and every other moment, you have everything you need to be happy.
You see, as Richard Rohr once beautifully articulated, “The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams.” And let me add, happiness is but a thought away.
Happiness isn’t just a state of mind. It’s your natural state—constant, consistent, and ever-present. All you’ve got to do is slow down, breathe, and tap into the calm that’s always been there.
So, what’s stopping you from flipping the switch to happiness today?
Updated for 2023