What makes you happy? Is happiness the absence of any problem? Can a pile of money make you happy? Will you still feel happy amidst disaster and chaos?
Except for a few individuals, most people like to be happy. They like to feel wonderful and "perfect" as if the latter is possible. Some even claim that heaven is here, and not an after-death reality. And they believe that happiness is simply the absence of stress, want, problems, conflict, and work -- just like living in heaven.
But what is happiness? What are the keys to happiness? Are you happy?
Live your passion
Happiness means productive activity or work.
Happiness doesn't mean inactivity. In fact, some of the happiest people I know are so consumed by their passions. They simply love what they do. They are in a "zone," unmindful of the setbacks that they face in pursuing and exploring their beliefs, hobbies, work, or interests.
Despite difficulties, they don't complain nor pout. They just do what make them feel accomplished and productive. If you live your passion, you would remain positive, enthusiastic, and motivated regardless.
Face your challenges head on
Happiness doesn't mean lack of problems.
Happiness is not the absence of problems and stresses. In fact, most happy people suffer from stresses. But what makes them different is their courage to face their problems and create various options to solve them. Instead of blaming others, they take responsibility and unleash their creativity to address issues especially those with short and long-term consequences.
Also, they don't hesitate to ask for help if they feel inadequate or overwhelmed. They don't pretend to know everything. In fact, they know their limits and accept the expertise of others.
Value what you have
Happiness means appreciating what you have, both positive and negative.
If you don't love what you have, who will? Your neighbors will not bother. They have their stresses to deal with and insecurities to confront. Your parents will not be around all the time to keep reminding you of your worth.
Love what you have and don't covet what you lack. You have many talents that are waiting to be tapped. And potentials that need to be explored. You are as unique as any creature. You have the DNA that makes you a champion. Happiness is just a matter of valuing the gifts of life.
Know your strengths
Happiness means optimizing your worth.
All of us have strengths and weaknesses. But happy people focus on their strengths -- they discover, develop, and sharpen them. If ever they dwell on their weaknesses, they spend instead on correcting them rather than on beating themselves down. They commit time and effort to improve their lives.
When I was in college, I had an acquaintance who was not academically strong but had good social skills. He had failed a few subjects and finished his degree three years longer than his colleagues. But while in school, he sharpened his leadership skills. He eventually became a successful mayor of his hometown by focusing on his leadership strength rather than on his academic infirmity.
It's not too late to be happy. Happiness is a choice.
By living your passion, facing your problems head on, valuing what you already have, and knowing your strengths, you can be happier and live more productively.