A Few More Thoughts About Happiness
Bill Cottringer

“Breathe in common sense and breathe out nonsense.” ~The Author.

Happiness has as many different definitions and ways to get it as there are people on the planet. Here are a few more thoughts about happiness I have had recently, since my book, “Thoughts on Happiness.”

1. There does not seem to be one universal definition of what happiness means. For most people it is like common sense—can’t say what exactly it is, but always know when you have it or don’t. For many, happiness is merely the absence of unhappiness. For others it may be the pleasure they get from having something or doing something they want. And yet others define it as “what you get from doing what you do to get it.” Lastly some folks have identified what they call authentic happiness, which is a conglomeration of many other virtues and ways of being—mainly becoming fully self-actualized as your best self.

2. Most of the misery associated with the world’s problems and conflicts is caused by the harmful friction coming from some people trying to control others, and the innate resistance we all have against being controlled. Being controlled by institutions, parents, teachers and bosses, almost always limits the choices we think we have and usually results in failure from wrong choices. Regaining our freedom from being socially conditioned, is a slow and painful awakening, But it is a game-changer for sure.

3. “Authentic” happiness is an important distinction and a worthy pursuit, as it is longer lasting than the moments of normal happiness we occasionally encounter. It is the contentment and calming peace of mind we get from making the shift from being externally controlled to being inner-directed to use our free will to make right choices without hurting others or taking away their choices.

4. Mindfulness—becoming more aware of what is happening around you in real time and less aware of your competing past memories and future expectations—seems to be the main door to whatever version of happiness you prefer. This is because life is a continual challenge to discover the few things you can control with your personal freedom of choice, so you can let go of all the rest (the uncontrollables), being happier and lighter in doing so.

5. Creativity, compromise, collaboration and balance all work together to release more happiness to enjoy. This realization has to come from inside, otherwise it is just a version of artificial happiness imposed on us from social conditioning. The one true short cut to happiness is to replace the traditional win-lose mentality with a win-win one. But changing fundamental belief systems like this one, comes with some bruises, bleeding and broken bones.

6. We under-communicate needed details and over-communicate un-needed details. This is a matter of sorting out useful common sense from the nonsense. Here again the messages is clear and simple—Do what matters most in controlling the few controllables and letting go of the rest. Things are either urgent and important, one or the other, or neither.

7. If it weren’t for unhappiness, we probably wouldn’t know happiness when we saw it. The movement between all of life’s opposites—the yangs and yins—is what makes us feel alive. After all, the trite saying that life is a journey not a destination, is true never-the-less. Maybe it is the struggle to become happy that is the whole point of happiness.

8. The best payback from the happiness we get to enjoy is to do something that helps someone else experience happiness too. Or an alternative is to resign yourself to live a good life around the virtues that help you do that. Happiness is contagious.

9. You don’t necessarily have to understand something to enjoy it, when merely experiencing it is enough. Over-analyzing happiness can take some of the fun out of it, so I better stop here!

10. At the end of the day happiness may very well be different for each of us and not achieved by using anyone else’s personal prescription. In the meantime, there isn’t a dire need to reinvent the wheel, so feel free to try any of these thoughts on for size.

“Cry. Forgive. Learn. Move on. Let your tears water the seeds of your future happiness.” ~Steve Maraboli.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067 or ckuretdoc.comcast.net.