Happiness: Reversing the Formula
Jen Grisanti, Huffington Post
We grow up being taught to believe external things will bring happiness. Many of us learn to equate our own happiness with the level of success we achieve and the external things that come with the achievement. If we meet the right person, if we have the perfect job with the perfect title, if we buy the big home, if we travel the world, if we continue to get richer... then we will be happy. We believe the external rewards will fulfill and fuel our internal world. It is only when we reach some of these pinnacles of success that we learn the truth: happiness comes from the inside. The reality is happiness isn't about external accomplishments. True happiness is about developing from within.
Can we increase our level of happiness and, in doing so, change the way we experience our life story? I am exploring this concept in my next book "Change Your Story, Change Your Life." I have done a lot of research on the subject of positive psychology and the idea of what we have the power to change. I am excited to share with you this discovery: If we reverse the formula, we can change our happiness and fix what isn't working.
Many of us believe we are either born happy or we are not. My mom has always told me that I was born joyful; she says I came out of the womb happy. This story definitely has affected the way I've seen my life and my experience of happiness. I've approached my life doing everything I could to grow my happiness. This included educational achievement, job achievement, marriage, etc. When I hit the pinnacles that I believed were connected with true happiness in each realm, I discovered something. The work still had to be done from an internal place; the external accomplishments did not equate to my inner fulfillment. I remember one specific life moment that illustrated this to me.
Before opening my own company, the president of the last company I worked for asked me one day, "Are you happy doing what you're doing?" At the time I was vice president. For 13 years I had worked for that title. And I had held on to the belief that when I was VP, I would be happy. So I remember this question knocking me completely off balance. My first response was a bit defensive. I recall thinking, "Of course I am happy, can't you see it?" What I didn't realize then was that I wasn't really happy. The reason for this was I had attached too much to the external experience. The external title alone wasn't enough. And in going after this achievement, somewhere along the way, I had lost a sense of my authentic self.
To read the full story: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jen-grisanti/happiness-advice_b_1532495.html