The Pursuit of HappinessJanuary 2, 2012
The New Year is a time for celebration and looking forward, making it the perfect time to bring more happiness into your life. This edition’s topic is The Pursuit of Happiness: finding peace, joy, and true happiness in your career, relationships, and spiritual life. I hope you find at least one idea to inspire and encourage you. Warmly, Melanie Ott
What is the meaning of life? To be happy and useful. (Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai
Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.
(Franklin Delano Roosevelt)
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your
way of thinking. (Marcus Aurelius)
The Pursuit of Happiness: Enjoy the Journey
Ironically, many sayings about the pursuit of happiness suggest: “If you want
to find happiness, stop looking for it.” That may be true, and yet, if we don’t
intentionally dedicate ourselves to pursuing happiness, it is all too easy to
get caught up in the drudgery of everyday life, the frustrations of a career
that pays the bills but brings no joy, and an existence that moves from day to
day without true happiness.
Pursuing happiness can not only increase your peace, joy, and quality of life;
studies suggest that happy people work harder and are more successful in
their careers, have more positive relationships, and live longer.
Happiness means different things to different people. For some, happiness is
found in dedication to a career; for others, it stems from helping others or
spending time outdoors. Pinpoint the elements in your life that bring you true
happiness — whether it be relationships, travel, or a hobby — and create
meaningful goals that help you increase the time and energy you spend on those
Simply spending more time focused on happiness can increase its presence in
your life. Spend time daily reading quotes on happiness, to remind yourself
of your intention for happiness and its presence in your life. Stop trying to
find happiness in things: declutter your life. Pinpoint your purpose, to
achieve well-being and an inspired, joyful life. Studies indicate that
cultivating relationships, living active lives, being mindful, pursuing
lifelong learning, and being generous increase well-being and happiness
Tips for Pursuing (and Achieving) Happiness
Achieving true happiness can be challenging — but setting an intention for
pursuing happiness will help you be more fulfilled and successful in your
goals. Consider these tips for bringing increased happiness into the personal,
professional, and spiritual areas of your life.
Take a joy break. When you feel stressed or sad, take three minutes to do
or think of things that make you truly happy. Try closing the door to your room
or office and laugh out loud, draw a picture, sing a song or just stare out the
window at nature. If you’re unable to do it, imagine yourself doing something
that makes you happy, then vividly “experience” it: feel, hear, and see
yourself in it. Absorb the rush of good feelings.
Gain perspective. Remember, this too shall pass. To console yourself and
bring greater perspective and happiness into your daily life, ask yourself,
“Will this really matter 10 years from now — or even in 10 minutes?”
Perspective reminds us things constantly change and this issue is only a part
of our lives. Gaining perspective helps you be happier by being able to more
easily bounce back from life’s blips and bumps.
Be optimistic. Learned Optimism expert Martin Seligman says having an
optimistic viewpoint is something we can all learn. Optimists view negative
events as temporary, outside their control; they see positive events as
permanent, resulting from qualities within themselves. When things go well, ask
yourself, “What about me made this happen?” When things go wrong, repeat: “This
is temporary and out of my control.” In many circumstances, focusing on
happiness and making a choice to be optimistic can help you overcome negative
emotions in even the worst circumstances.
Celebrate success and let go of negativity. It is nearly impossible to fill
your life with happiness if it is already crowded with anger, discontent, or
frustration. When you complete a project, celebrate as much as you would have
beaten yourself up for not finishing. Next time someone does something nice for
you, be as grateful as you would have been angry had they wronged you.
Focus outside yourself. An inwardly-focused mentality quickly leads to
unhappiness. Instead of spending your time focused on what you don’t have,
can’t seem to achieve, or are unsuccessfully pursuing, focus on helping others
gain, achieve, or pursue.
Further Reading on Lifelong Learning
- The Pursuit of Happiness (Psychology Today)
- The Pursuit of Career Happiness (UC Berkley)
- Happiness 101 (New York Times)
- Wellbeing: The Pursuit of Happiness (The Guardian)
- The Happiness Makeover (M.J. Ryan)
Focus on the Future …
How does the pursuit of happiness relate to your life and career? The ongoing
task of balancing personal happiness with giving happiness to those around us
— and incorporating career happiness as well — are both infinitely rewarding
and intensely challenging. The more you open yourself up to pursue happiness,
the greater your potential to create a more fulfilling, successful, and
At Leap Forward Coaching we have a process that will help empower you to create
happiness in your own life. By guiding you through your life as it unfolds, we
can help you grow fully aware of your life’s intention and focus to achieve
well-being and fulfillment.
Complimentary Coaching Meeting
If I have piqued your curiosity about the value of life, career, or executive
coaching for you or someone you know, please contact me for a complimentary
coaching meeting to explore what coaching can do for you.
Explore what coaching can do for you!
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© 2012, Leap Forward Coaching