Where is happiness?
During my time as a classroom teacher, it was customary to begin each day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the preamble to the Declaration of Independence. Looking back, I regret the fact that I rarely took the time to dissect each of these powerful statements and use them as teachable moments. Unfortunately, I was so conditioned to get through my never-ending lesson plans that the clock became my enemy. As the school year progressed, this standard morning procedure became a rote process; something that we “had” to do.
Thankfully, I still have an opportunity to visit classrooms, so this week I decided to make amends for what I had failed to do as a classroom teacher and explore the true meaning of four powerful words from the Declaration – the pursuit of happiness. If your history is a little rusty, the pursuit of happiness is one of the three inalienable rights that are endowed to us by our Creator. The other two are life and liberty.
Perhaps the most important word of the four that I mentioned above is the word “pursuit”, which is defined as the action of following or pursuing something. Therefore, if happiness is the object of our pursuit, then how can we find it? Where is it? I would argue that the biggest mistake we make in our pursuit of happiness is that we look for it in all of the wrong places.
There is a story of a man who is walking one night and comes upon a stranger who is down on his knees looking for something directly underneath a streetlamp. The passerby asks the man what he is looking for and he responds by saying that he’s spent hours in search of his lost key. So, the passerby decides to help and proceeds to get down on his hands and knees to look for the key. After an hour of searching, he says, “We’ve looked everywhere for it and we haven’t found it. Are you sure you lost it here?”
The other man replies, “No, I lost it in my house, but there is more light out here under the streetlamp.”
It’s time that we stop looking for happiness “out there” in the light. Just as the man in the story knew all along that his key was inside, we must acknowledge the fact that true happiness is an inside job. In a recent blog, I wrote about the idea of creating, not waiting for happiness (read it here). This creation process comes from within and results in authentic, not temporary, happiness. Below are two effective strategies that will allow you to generate the happiness that you so desire. Consider it the beginning of your new happiness pursuit. By the way, there is no need to look under the streetlamp any longer.
Always be aware of your “energy vampires”. Each of us have individuals in our lives that tend to drain our energy. In most cases, it is not their intention to be an energy vampire, but the negative energy that they create through their words and/or actions can have a big impact on our happiness levels. Having said this, if you are aware of this energy depletion taking place, you have the power to change it.
Practice optimism. A fundamental component of my teachings is the idea of a “lens”, or how we view the world. Being optimistic does NOT mean seeing life through rose-colored glasses, but rather your ability to acknowledge current circumstances and to choose a lens that leaves you feeling empowered.
If you’d like to learn more about my mission to make happiness a part of every child’s education, I’d love to chat with you. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, I invite you to join the Happiness Revolution by visiting the Live Happy website (click here), which is an outstanding resource for anything and everything that you need in your individual pursuit of happiness.