Why Happiness Shouldn't Be Our Goal
By John O'Leary. This was originally posted on JohnOLearyInspires.com. When John O'Leary was 9 years old, he suffered burns over 100% of his body and was expected to die. He is now an inspirational speaker and bestselling author, teaching more than 50,000 people around the world each year how to live inspired. John's first book, ON FIRE: The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life was published March 15, 2016. John is a contributing writer for Huff Post and Parade.com. John is a proud husband and father of four and resides in St. Louis, MO. Order John’s book today anywhere books are sold.
“If you give me your phone, I’ll be happy.”
Looking up at me with his blonde hair swooping across his forehead and his blue eyes radiating light, my youngest son Henry shared the above quote with me. In an attempt to bribe me into giving him my phone, he assumed his personal happiness was my primary goal for him.
He was wrong.
I’m actually not into being happy. And most certainly it’s not the ultimate goal I have for my kids.
Happy is fine.
But happiness is dependent upon things going our way. Happiness is playing on dad’s phone, or getting more ice cream, or staying up late. All of these things provide the spark of happiness and can be lots of fun.
And all are extremely fleeting.
The phone runs out of batteries. The ice cream melts. The body needs rest.
Indeed, what we should strive for is not happiness, but an enduring state of joy.
Joy is a condition that isn’t dependent on things going our way. It’s not reliant on getting what we want. Joy is the ability to be lit up each day despite the challenges, despite the setbacks, despite the struggle. And it’s a choice.
So how can we achieve a state of joy? The most joy-filled people I know have four things in common:
And no, more ice cream won’t satisfy. Staying up later won’t really make you happy, either.
The key to real happiness, true contentment, and a continual state of joy has nothing to do with getting more.
It’s the moment-by-moment choice to be grateful for what we have, selfless in what we do, connected with why we’re here, and focused on becoming the best version of ourselves.
This is your day. Live Inspired.
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