Bill Cottringer

Happiness is merely what you get from doing what you do to get it.” ~The author, not being facetious.

Or put another way…

Shortcut to Happiness

Want more happiness?
Slow down & do less,
Unload the overload;
Listen to what you want,
Hear what you don’t want,
Then see what you have.
Having happiness is simple:
Do what makes you happy,
Avoid the things that don’t,
Like comparing what you have,
With what you still want,
Or what you don’t have,
With what they do have,
Always wanting more.
There is but one shortcut—
By wanting what you have,
You’ll have what you want,
And plenty more,
Even when you think not.

If you combine the concepts of happiness, success, contentment and peace of mind into one thing, then it becomes clear that this is what we all ultimately seek from life and this then becomes a common purpose we all have for being here—to get “it.” We do this by learning and growing into what it takes to get more of it and avoid doing the things that bring its opposite—unhappiness, failure, discontentment and turmoil. Of course, what is uncommon and where we all differ is in the choices we make between so many different paths to this important learning, how we apply the learning, and the results we get in doing this.

From my present perspective there really seem to only be four inter-related legitimate shortcuts to happiness. Naturally, these “shortcuts” sometime end up taking a whole life time to discover. These are the ‘natural laws’ of happiness which are well worth the effort to find and use.

1. There is nothing inherently “happy” or “unhappy” in any of the things, events and experiences we have in life, of which we are already a part, or which just happen to us. An unconscious sensation of happiness or unhappiness emerges as we analyze, think about, judge, interpret, compare and react to these things. This is a big part of our natural drive to have a separate and unique self apart from everything else, which is trying to establish worth and meaning. But like anything else, the curse of the side-effects or pride and ego aren’t welcome or wanted or even known in the gift part of the package.

2. There is equal value in the happy and unhappy interpretations and comparisons we make of the things that we are part of in life and the things that happen to us. We learn to enjoy and appreciate happiness by not enjoying or appreciating its opposite—unhappiness. We can’t even know one without the other in the necessary evil of the comparing process, just like students can’t learn without teachers and teachers can’t teach without students.

3. The first rule to get more happiness is to be more content with what happiness you already have from the right sources you have discovered which bring it. In other words, when you learn to want what you have, you have what you want, and actually get more even when you aren’t noticing the gain, because it may not be enough, compared to what you expect or want. The later part of this sentence is what you learn and make gradual progress at avoiding.

4. The main object in this happiness quest which we all seek as our fundamental purpose for living, is to notice what we are presently doing and how that is working to either help us get happiness or hurt us in being unhappy. Then it becomes a matter of cultivating the “right” happiness sources and being disciplined enough to avoid the unhappiness ones. All this is true because the universal act of creation is movement towards longer-lasting, genuine, and authentic happiness.

This 4-law prescription is the only legitimate shortcut to happiness, but unfortunately it isn’t easily learnable or applicable overnight. The only consolation is that any current experiences with unhappiness you are having now, are probably preparing the way for a happier appreciation of what is coming.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA and also a business and personal success coach, sport psychologist, photographer and writer living in the mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, The Prosperity Zone, Getting More By Doing Less, You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too, The Bow-Wow Secrets, Do What Matters Most, “P” Point Management, The School of hard Knocks: Graduation Manual and Reality Repair Rx coming shortly. He can be contacted with comments or questions at 425 454-5011 or