I wondered how we were constantly seeking to find happiness. You can stroll through the bookstore and find endless self-help books on the subject and even more digital publications online. Social media is filled with blanket JPEGs promoting ways to be happy, yet not most of us are more often unhappy.
I have been in many situations where I couldn’t seem to find this unicorn named Happiness. I’ve tried calling friends to find their secrets only to find they are on the same quest as me. I’ve done research only to find myself at the same crossroads. So I thought it best to think back to my brief periods of happiness and dissect them for the specific answers.
Do you remember a time when you were truly happy? What were you thinking? What were you listening to? Who were you with? What did you eat that day? Did you exercise? Did you have more commas in your bank account? Did you do something nice for someone else that day? Were you working a job that gave you a sense of fulfillment? What was it that made you happy in that moment?
My happiest times were in some of the worse possible situations, most on military deployments. I remember being on my second day without good sleep. I did have a brief period of rest while a brother was awake and tasked to protect me and everyone else I was with. My body was filled with a mix of a broken down Meal Ready To Eat (MRE), energy shots taken throughout the day, Modafanil, and the occasional pieces of beef jerky to stop my stomach from becoming a “chatty Kathy.”
Why was I so happy? It couldn’t have been the pitch-black village we walked through the night before scanning rooftops for potential threats. It couldn’t have been the night of building a fighting position we would defend all throughout the next day. It couldn’t have been my wife that was in another country without a care in the world. It couldn’t have been money…I wasn’t sure if I would be able to collect my next paycheck. So what was it that made me happy?
I believe that happiness is a process. It starts with your thoughts. You can’t live a positive life with a negative mindset. Your thoughts manifest into actions and shape the emotions you feel in that moment. You naturally will attract the energy you are giving off. You feel negative…. guess what type of energy you will attract. Realizing this point can be sobering, you will have to take accountability and responsibility to understand that your life is going the way it is because of you. You chose this path, but you also have the choice to change it if you are not satisfied with it.
Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive, because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny.” – Ghandi
What’s the opposite of happy? Is it unhappy? So is that where the answer lies? If you are unhappy with what you’re doing, stop doing it. If your unhappy with who you are around, cut sling load (detach from them.) If you are unhappy with the way your life is heading…take a different path. You must take accountability and seek to change that which is keeping you from being unhappy. As a great friend once told me, “That which you manifest lies before you.”
This first appeared in The Havok Journal on February 15, 2017.