Four years ago Gretchen Rubin‘s first book on happiness, The Happiness Project, had a profound effect on me.
I initially approached the book with a hefty dose of skepticism, because like many people I found the notion of pursuing happiness to be ridiculous, frivolous, and better left to unrealistic and immature people. Clearly, I was being a close minded, snob, but I am not alone in this.
Reading about Gretchen’s goal to mindfully and strategically increase happiness in her day to day life got me thinking about my own life satisfaction. Within six months the seeds of Life in Focus Coaching were being sowed.
Happiness is so distasteful
I’m not sure why other people find it so hard to stand behind the concept of happiness. It’s as if the pursuit of happiness – a quest our forefathers thought had enough value to mention in the constitution – were somehow immature, idealistic and childish.
Opting to create more joy, satisfaction and happiness is anything but.
The pursuit of happiness doesn’t require the denial of unhappiness or any other so called negative feelings. Nor does it assume that we should ignore or deny that life is filled with sad, unpleasant and miserable experiences.
Why is it that we are so willing to embrace the rationality of misery, but so quick to challenge these concepts of happiness and joy?
Happiness is pragmatic
The pursuit of happiness is the ultimate form of realism and pragmatism. To build a happier, more joyful and satisfying live requires us to acknowledge the misery and unhappiness around us. It forces us to objectively assess the way we feel, act, and live.
To truly pursue happiness, one has to understand that our fate also lies in our hands, and that while life can sometimes be hard or worse horrible, we have a choice. We can work within our circumstances and find ways to feel and do better.
Dare to be happier
I say, reach for a better, happier, more joyful everyday.
Dare to dream. Dare to be inspired to strive for more, and see beyond what is, to what could be. The pursuit of happiness is not the denial of reality or unhappiness, it is the denial of hopelessness. It is what allows us to persist and thrive in the face of misery, inequality and injustice.
So what will you do today to challenge the things that bring you down? How will you face your reality and make it better? I’d love to read about your tips and tricks to build happiness…