The Secret to Happiness

In my previous article Feel like a Child, Be a Child I wrote about my little girl Rosanne and how she is able to enjoy almost anything. Children are joyful and curious about everything they do, see and discover. I think children are masters in happiness and our greatest teachers. Children can be just as happy, or more, playing in a bath tub than with a $200 toy. They are able to enjoy the little things, things we grownups do not see any longer and pass by without ever noticing. We are so busy with our thoughts and our lives that we have forgotten what the real secret to happiness is.

The basic mistake people make is that they seek happiness outside themselves. Thoughts like: I will be happy when I buy this or that. I will be happy once I have that girlfriend or get married, I will be happy when I have children, I will be happy when the next paycheck comes or when I have a new job, when I am a millionaire, on vacation, etc. It’s all projected in the future. We fool ourselves by thinking that happiness is something we can buy or get. Our whole society is based on getting things so we can be happy. Look at most of the ads in magazines or commercials on TV. They are not selling product; they are selling happiness: “If you buy our product you will be happy too”.

Once we have bought our little piece of happiness it will provide some temporary pleasure. It can last an hour, a day or a week, maybe longer. But it will not take long before life will take its course and our normal problems reappear. Our happiness slips away and we have to go out and buy new stuff, meet new people and set new goals. All to fill our empty hearts; fill our need to find true happiness.

But why project happiness to the future? A possible future which may not even come true or may lead to a huge disillusion. We live now so wouldn’t it make sense to be happy now as well? To me happiness is about being content with what I have now. Being able to enjoy every moment. Trying to find happiness in the future is an illusion. It’s not about the big things. It’s the little, normal, things that matter. It’s about listening to birds singing or enjoying the sun shining on my face. Here’s my definition of happiness:

The secret to happiness is to be able to enjoy the things you have; right here, right now. Not longing for something you want and do not have. Happiness can only be found within. Happiness is a state of mind, not something you can buy or get from someone or somewhere else.

Children can teach us the secret to happiness. The secret we have forgotten. All we have to do is to be more like them. All we have to do is look at them and watch them play, having fun: Right here, right now. This is the secret to happiness.

5 comments… add one
  • Find yourself with a smile... Aug 18, 2009 @ 16:39

    You’re absolutely right!

    Your own consciousness is all you need.

    It’s amazing all the crap we buy… and all the misery we put ourselves through for the hope of happiness.

    When the whole time we could just begin to recognize the perfection of this moment… right now!

    keep smiling,


  • Thomas Aug 19, 2009 @ 14:07

    Hi Patrick, yes this is a common mistake people make, they put conditions on their happiness. It is like you say: I am happy when I get my new car. Ok now I have my new car but what is next. This leaves many people with a big vacuum.
    I am happy now and I have a wonderful life!

  • Nothing profound Aug 28, 2009 @ 21:33

    I agree 100% with all you have said here. Artur Rubinstein once said that if he were in a hospital bed on an IV he would still be happy. Good circumstances don’t make you happy; you make yourself happy.

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