Happiness is such a weird thing. I can remember times in which finding business was a big struggle and I was happy. I also have times in which business is going great and I am unhappy. Isn’t this backwards?

I was watching a TED talk on the experience of happiness. The speaker, Dan Gilbert, was presenting a more scientific view of happiness. What I took away from this talk is happiness is directly related to the stories we tell ourselves. 

I started my own business in 2011. I can honestly say I know why most businesses fail in their first two years. It was a scary proposition to not have a regular job. There were periods of busyness, and other periods of relatively little income. I remember a few times in which I even started looking at job postings thinking I would return to corporate life. 

Despite all this, I was happy. 

Fast forward to present time. Business is abundant, and I know I am making a difference in the world. Yet, there are periods I am unhappy. How can that be? Shouldn’t I be happy when business is so good?

I’m learning my level of happiness is closely associated with how aligned I am with my core values. This means when I’m unhappy it is a sign for me that I’m out of alignment with my core values. 

For example, my first core value is “Freedom.” Freedom means letting go of the need to be something. It reminds me to show up every day as the only thing I can possibly be; me. Freedom reminds me not to shoulder the burden of what someone else might think of me. It also reminds me to let go of the need to have status or wealth. 

I’m at my happiest when I live my life with uncompromising freedom. 

Thought of the week

You may have heard how some of the poorest people in the world are the happiest, and the richest people in the world are the least happy. Is this because rich people are trying to find happiness in their status? Meanwhile, the poor people are happy because of life itself.

I know there’s lots of science behind our understanding of happiness. However, I think I’m starting to understand it more myself. When we focus on trying to be something or achieving a level of status we tend to focus on things which only perpetuate the stories we tell ourselves. 

The stories are like a burden you carry with you. The more burden you carry, the harder it is to be happy with life. 

So the next time you’re unhappy you may want to look for the story you’re holding on to. The story that is like a burden slowing life down. 

Life is much better lived happy!

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