“If you want to be happy, be.” ―Leo Tolstoy
There’s been amazing work done in the last fifteen years on the science of happiness.
It seems that many of the things we think will make us happy actually won’t. Money, power and fame being examples.
What’s strange about this idea is it’s not new to most people. Most of us will readily shake our head 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.
Human beings have survived in the harsh wild over millions of years because of our genetic ability to survive. Each subsequent generation has gotten just a bit better at surviving. By always searching for more resources—whether that be food, water supply, shelter, etc.—our ancestors have literally programed future generations to always seek out more. We are built the way we are built and we 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 out our entire lives the way we please. But we can’t just “turn off” our genes that have programed us to want more. So, basically, to find contentment and happiness in what you have proposes a challenging scenario. It is totally possible to attain, it just takes a lot of work.
This pursuit of more has a nasty habit of consuming us and quelling happiness. Inherently, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting more and to work for it, but I do think 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. You must learn 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 happy.
Colin Stuckert Founder/CEO, Wild Foods