Asking anyone if they would like to be happier is an easy question. Very few people are going to answer 'no' to that.
Yet how many of us actually make happiness one of our daily goals? In fact, sometimes it looks like we are doing the reverse by ending up making ourselves unhappy instead
So we endure long commutes to work, put ourselves through the pressure cooker that the modern workplace has become, then fill our weekends with paperwork, or lose ourselves in technological gadgetry as a way to escape from our far from ideal existence ... instead of spending time with our family and friends, or doing something that actually gives us pleasure and joy.
And the reason we're willing to put up with this 'unfulfilment' is because we've attached our long-term happiness to things like having money, or achieving success, recognition and power. As a result, we believe that the pain we're putting ourselves through is a price worth paying.
In other words, having chosen our 'destination' - where we want to get to - we then turn a blind eye to the hardships we impose on ourselves as we attempt to get there.
But isn't this strange? A bit 'on its head' when you think about it?
Doesn't it seem bizarre to be spending 50, 60, 70 hours each week being unhappy, going to and from or at work, for the sake of some distant point of happiness that's usually defined by what we've earned, but without the time or peace of mind to enjoy what your efforts have brought you?
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not suggesting for one minute that you should suddenly give up everything, put on a pair of sandals and sit under a palm tree and 'find yourself' - unless of course you want to.
As regular readers of this blog will know, I'm very much an advocate of using your skills, talents and efforts to achieve financial abundance as well as a fulfilling life.
But my point is - and this brings us back to the question I asked at the start - if we would all prefer to be happier, wouldn't it make sense to focus much more on how to make this happen, rather than on the destination itself?
That way, what we do each day acquires greater meaning. We experience the moment far more. We take greater pleasure in the things that we do, and life becomes a far more rich experience.
The destination becomes less important because the journey has become more important. This helps avoid the sense of flatness many people feel when they finally reach a goal and think to themselves, "Is that it?"
8 Ways To Bring Greater Happiness Into Your Life
So here there are 8 ways to bring greater happiness into your life:
1. Make the journey more important than the destination. In other words, don't automatically buy into the mantra that 'there's no gain without pain', instead allow yourself to experience the 'joy of the getting there' while also enjoying the 'here and now' too.
2. Be more aware. Start to focus on how each of the different components of your day add their own particular measure of happiness (or unhappiness), and you will have a whole new approach to managing your life.
3. Recognise that it's about choice. If what you're doing at any one moment isn't enriching your life, try to find a way of substituting it for something else that will make you a happier, even by a little.
4. Happiness is forever. Accept that being happy is not something finite, but a continuous journey, with ups and downs. So happiness isn't when everything is perfect and great, but about enjoying what is.
5. Use the power of self-renewal. Whether it's to do with your career, business or lifestyle choice, if you don't like where you are heading, change the destination. Don't be trapped by history.
6. Reframe your perspective. Start looking in a different way at the events in your daily life. So, if you must endure a long commute, don't just 'pass the time', make the trip a constructive experience. Try 'people watching' (you'll learn from others), reading a good book, learning a language, listening to music that inspires you, or writing. Don't waste what can be a great opportunity to enrich your life.
7. Give yourself permission to be happy. Happiness can be seen as something almost mystical that only a few can achieve - but actually it's something available to us all. I often see people feeling guilty when they are given opportunities that aren't available to everyone. If that's you, then allow yourself to break out of this circle of guilt. You are being given a 'gift' that enriches your life and can enrich that of others. Don't waste it.
And 8. One area impacts all. Since pretty much all that we do in life is interconnected, being happier in one area of your life will benefit you in others and increase your happiness overall.
So, what's the price you're willing to pay for greater happiness?