Are you waiting for happiness to happen in the next place, the next job or with the next partner?

Until you let go of the idea that happiness can be found somewhere other than right here, right now, it will never be where you are.

The notion that happiness can be found through creating an ideal set of external conditions is firmly implanted in our heads at a young age.

We all grew up listening to bedtime tales of damsels in distress who were set free from their wretched and miserable existences by a handsome young prince and who then went on to live happily ever after. 

Then, when we are a little older, we learn from our parents and teachers that the key to a successful and happy life is to study hard, go to university, get a well paid job, get married, buy our own house and have children.

We unwittingly absorb a head full of preconceived ideas about what a happy life 'should' look like.

It is more than a little ironic that adults (who are often not so happy themselves) advise children (who are generally happy) to set aside, for 25 years, the things that actually make them happy (e.g. doing what they love to do, living in the present moment, following their hearts) in order to engage in activities they have little or no interest in, with the promise that it will bring them happiness some day in the future.

Although adults may offer good advice on how to create a safe and secure life,  a happy life is not necessarily the same thing. Children could probably give better advice on that.


in my work, I meet many people who have the partner, the well-paid job, the house, two cars in the drive and the 2.4 children but still feel empty, still feel something is missing. They are still waiting for happiness to show up.

That such an approach to finding happiness doesn't work is not surprising when you look at the following happiness research findings:

1. External conditions play a surprisingly small part in determining how happy a person is. Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, estimates that happiness is 50% genetic, 10% due to our life circumstances and 40% due to how we habitually think. How we think is far more important than what we own.

2. People tend to overestimate (by a large margin) the amount of happiness that a change in outer circumstances will bring. People who win the lottery, for example, experience an initial increase in happiness levels but pretty soon return to being as happy or unhappy as they were before.

3. Happy people, whether consciously or unconsciously, choose to be happy. Happiness is largely a choice, a mindset, a way of being.

If we don't like the house we live in, then no amount of rearranging the furniture will make much difference. Similarly, if we are waiting for happiness to happen through tinkering with the external details of our lives, we may well remain in a perpetual state of 'becoming' happy but never quite arriving.

Seeking happiness through rearranging the outside is like searching in the garden for the keys that you lost in the kitchen. They  will quite simply never be found there.

If you are not satisfied with this moment as it is, there is no reason to believe that some 'better' future moment will be any different. The solution does not lie in creating new, improved circumstances but in changing the way we habitually think - through choosing to look upon our current circumstances with fresh eyes.

Happiness comes from within and can only be experienced now.


Related  Pages

happiness from within  /    happy here and now    /    authentic happiness

happiness first     /    finding inner peace     /    how to be happy

return from waiting for happiness to happiness is a choice