We all want to be happy. The definition of said happiness is wholly dependent upon the individual’s life goals and perspective. Happiness for one person could mean solitude, peace and quiet, but for someone else it could mean having a big, loud family.
According to Tony Robbins, human beings are wired to seek pleasure and avoid pain; we look to not only survive in life, but to experience what makes us happy. Our brain chemistry is designed to support these efforts by releasing chemicals into our brain and body that make us feel good. There are numerous neurotransmitters, or substances released by nerve fibers, that affect happiness. The four primary chemicals in the brain that effect happiness: oxytocin, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins. No matter what your personal definition of happiness actually is, we can all agree that happiness is something we all strive for every day… because it makes us feel good.
The tricky part about happiness is most of us paint an ideal picture of what that happiness looks like, visualizing it as some kind of end goal or happy ending. Maybe we’ve been programmed to think of life as a storybook series of events with an introduction, a buildup, and then a final act, similar to a book or a movie. As romantic as it sounds, this perspective is unrealistic, dangerous and self-handicapping.
Chasing the perfect picture of happiness will have you chasing your ass looking for something that’s likely impossible. Yes, I just said that. I chose the word impossible for many reasons, but mostly because when you evaluate the number of uncontrollable elements that would have to fall perfectly into place for this exact picture of happiness to exist, you begin to realize you’re chasing a one in a million scenario. Being “happy” isn’t a goal you can set such as being able to lose twenty pounds, saving $10,000 or reading a new book every month. Happiness is not quantifiable. It’s a feeling, and at times that feeling is unpredictable and fleeting. You can’t always predict what’s going to make you feel happy; it a feeling you experience based on your expectations of situations and your perspective on what’s happening around you.
The reality of it all is that life is going to throw curveballs at you. In most situations, you won’t be able to control nor predict the outcomes. People will get sick. Loved ones will die. Unforeseen problems will arise and you’ll be forced to deal with these issues. All of these factors could disrupt your perfect picture of the happy ending you’ve created in your mind. If you prevent yourself from feeling happiness during your life experience because you’re so focused on the finality of your journey, you’re missing the point of living.
Be happy in the present moment while pursuing your goals. Appreciate your life and the gifts you’ve been given. Learn to recognize and soak in the fleeting moments of joy, fulfillment and freedom, which are the peak levels of the human experience. Life isn’t a Disney movie; there is likely no flawless happy ending. The journey should be as enjoyable as the destination.
-Your Big Bro