“If you want to be happy, be.” ―Leo Tolstoy.
There’s been excellent work done in the last fifteen years on the science of happiness.
It seems that many things we think will make us happy actually won’t. Money, power, and fame are examples.
What’s strange about this idea is it’s not new to most people. Most of us will readily shake our heads up and down in agreement when we hear this. But, then, why do so many of us still chase these very things believing—if only subconsciously—that we will be happy once we get there?
Our society perpetuates this idea, obviously, but I think there’s more to it than that. It’s partly our DNA’s fault.
Humans have survived in the harsh wild for millions of years because of our genetic ability to survive. Each subsequent generation has gotten better at staying.
By constantly searching for more resources—food, water supply, shelter, etc.—our ancestors have programmed future generations always to seek out more. We are built the way we are made and have our ancestors to thank.
Of course, in modern society, this causes problems when many of us have enough food, shelter, and safety to live our lives the way we, please. But we can’t just “turn off” the genes that have programmed us to want more.
So, finding contentment and happiness in what you have is a challenging scenario. It is possible to attain; it just takes a lot of work.
This pursuit of more has a nasty habit of consuming us and quelling happiness. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting more and working for it. Still, I believe the way many of us go about it—obsessively, sacrificing health, neglecting family—is a big problem.
The key is to pursue more under the right set of beliefs and awareness. It would help if you learned to be happy with the journey instead of obsessively focusing on the destination.
You have to embrace balance in your work and in enjoying the moment. And most of all, you have to be grateful for what you have and what you get every step of the way.
You really can be happy by simply choosing to be satisfied.
Founder/CEO, Wild Foods