We have access to every wonder and joy imaginable, simply by virtue of being alive.
I believe that people have an instinctual desire to lead happy, fulfilling lives.
And, I believe that happiness is our birthright. Not because we owe nothing to the world around us, and not because life ought to be one big gluttonous indulgence, but because happiness is possible in every circumstance and your life is worthy of it.
Because it is precisely through giving, connecting, and loving that we cultivate happiness. Because happiness does not depend upon money, career, appearance, or where we live.
I have been studying and working in the field of positive psychology (the scientific study of human thriving) a little over five years. My job is teaching people how to be happier and work happier.
Because of positive psychology we now know that the skills of happiness can be learned. In fact, the research indicates that up to 50 percent of our happiness is entirely within our control.
That’s like the difference between being a 10 instead of a five on a scale of one to 10—huge. Sure, natural disposition plays a role, but anyone can learn how to think and behave in ways that are proven to make them happier. And everyone should.
So what are the skills of happiness? Based on my research and my work as life coach, I think the route to happiness can be summarized in two steps:
1. Developing an optimistic attitude.
2. Building strong relationships.
To quote Russell Brand, “It sounds so simple. It actually is simple but it isn’t easy.”
Becoming happier takes practice. For example, most people take setbacks personally, and let failures derail them. We focus more on what went wrong than on what didn’t go wrong. We let a bad morning ruin our day.
But, with practice, anyone can become more optimistic. We can ask ourselves questions that shift our perspective from negative to positive and enable us to see possibilities that are impossible to spot when we’re focused on our problems.
Building strong relationships also takes practice (and vigilance). Guess what? Most marriages fail. Most families don’t get along (does yours?).
Why? Because we are notoriously bad at relationships.
Good news: We can learn how to be better at relationships too. And we must. The research is very clear: without strong, loving relationships happiness is absolutely, positively not possible. It will remain out of reach.
Take a look at the two steps to lifelong happiness:
And start practicing immediately, this is your life we’re talking about.