Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Matter of Choice

This is a repost from my blog The Knowledgemonger Kronicles from about a year and a half ago, but thought that it would benefit being recast on 100MC.

Anyone who knows me knows a few central facts:

I believe that happiness is a choice we make.
I believe that love is something to give freely.
I believe that trust is huge.
And I believe that a good cup of coffee can cure many of life's issues.

But, in this segment I am hoping to tackle one of those points and maybe touch on the others.

Happiness: A Matter of Choice

One of my least favorite phrases that I hear people say is: "[This] makes me unhappy," closely followed by "[This] makes me happy." I think of these people as the same people who believe that luck plays a central role in their life. I don't know about you but, I don't flip a coin or role a die EVERY time that I need to make a decision. Nor do I wait for things to unfold to start my actions (granted this some times get me in to unanticipated trouble, but that is another post entirely).

If something truly made you happy, wouldn't you always be happy? You would find the stimulus that caused your involuntary happiness and harness it. No need for puppies, flowers, a song, a smile, a hug, a kiss, a laugh, or affection. All you would need is bottled "Happy" & I don't mean: Happy. The Clinique people would love if that was the case & honestly, I think that may be easier.

Happiness is so hard for some because it is a choice. Well, partly. Research has shown that happiness is 50% genetic, About 10% to 15% is a result of various measurable variables, such as socioeconomic status, marital status, health, income, and others. The remaining 40% results from actions that individuals deliberately engage in for the purpose of becoming happier. However, these actions may vary between persons (www.wikipedia.com). So, some people are predisposed to being less happy than others. But, at that same time, they also have a choice in increasing their happiness based on the control they have from actions in which they "deliberately engage."

Leo Tolstoy said: "If you want to be happy. Be." This has been a main component of my life and my life choices for the last decade or so. I stumbled across this quote on a day back then that I just needed to see that and as I am prone to do, I thought about it. I said, "Lonnie (because that is what I call myself), why are you unhappy?" And I put together a list of things that were "making" me unhappy and realized that all them came down to choice. Examples:

Your boyfriend cheats on you. Do you choose to be unhappy & stay with said boyfriend? Or do you choose to cut your loses, realize that this person is toxic to your life and move on to better happiness?

You are greatly in debt. Do you choose to be unhappy, cry about the unfairness of Capitalism & hope that something will miraculously change to make this situation better. Or do you choose to change your spending habits, take on an additional job, and set goals to eliminate the debt and be more happy.

Notice that the subject of both examples are derived from choices that have already been made. You decided what person to date & you decided on what to spend your money and how much. You make tons of decisions everyday and to say that something that happened effects you in anyway without taking ownership of those feelings is not fair. Not fair to you and not fair to who or what you assign the blame.

Is being happy easy? No, it takes work. It takes recognition of how your react to situations. It takes courage to get rid of things that are causing you to react unhappily. It takes trust in your friends to not bring you situations that are not ones that you want. But, overall, it takes a decision making and analysis of your emotions.

Think about it sometime when you are unhappy. Think about what is at the root of your unhappiness. Is it something that you can: 1) Eliminate, 2) Get over, 3) Unnecessary or 4) None of the above. Yes, there are circumstances that are not pleasant that happen to us all that we cannot eliminate or get over and are quite necessary. These are the times that we must focus on the necessity and there you will find something to be happy about. If you are suffering for a purpose, typically that pursuit will be for something that ultimately yields something that is positive.

Okay, now I am starting to get distracted, damn coffee shops. :-p But, remember, your life is under your control and happiness is a choice.

1 comment:

Just Jack said...

Apparently, it's been proven that $75,000/year is all you need for happiness (Source: http://lifehacker.com/5632191/75000-is-the-perfect-salary-for-happiness )

The "I believe" section had me alternately quoting the Nicene Creed and Savage Garden in my head. Thank you for that particular neural explosion ;-)