If you check out the self-help section of Amazon or any book store, you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of titles aimed at increasing our personal happiness by losing weight, getting a better job, finding the ideal mate, taking the perfect vacation, eating the latest trendy food, or making more money.
The Secret to a Happy Life ~ Native American parable
One day the Creator gathered all the animals and said:
‘I want to hide the secret to a happy life from humans until they are ready for it.’
‘Give it to me. I’ll fly it to the moon,’ said the Eagle.
‘No, one day soon they will go there and find it.’
‘How about the bottom of the ocean?’ asked the Salmon.
‘No, they will find it there too.’
‘I will bury it in the great plains,’ said the Buffalo.
‘They will soon dig and find it there.’
‘Put it inside them,’ said the wise grandmother Mole.
‘Yes,’ said the Creator, ‘it is the last place they will look.’
The latest research on happiness suggests there are as many definitions or experiences of happiness as there are people. Finding our own brand of personal happiness is a bit like appreciating art – it’s subjective, but we know it when we see it.
Though happiness is unique to each of us, we have control over our own happiness (or unhappiness). We can measure it, control it, and learn to cultivate it. In other words, we can proactively train ourselves to feel happy.
Simply wanting to experience more happiness won’t make it so. The happiest people are the ones who take charge of their attitudes, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. “Taking charge” is being able to align your thoughts and actions with core values, the result being serving the higher good of oneself and others.
Finding the secret to your own experience of happiness doesn’t require a trip to the moon, a submarine ride to the bottom of the ocean or digging it up on the lonely prairie—it lives within.