Photo Credit: Ali Yahya,

Written by Lisa Kaplin
January 29, 2020

I’ve recently come to realize that most of us are on a backward happiness hunt. We’ve tied our happiness to success: financial success, material success, a big career, Instagram-worthy trips, friendships, etc. None of these are bad or undesirable goals, yet these goals are attached to a specific outcome.

What if we tied our success to happiness? What if we sought joy, contentment, consciousness, and happiness first and that led to our own definition of success?

We’re tying our happiness to an outcome.

This is ultimately a set up for a big fall. “When I have that promotion, I’ll be happy.” “When we buy that big house, we’ll be happy.” As most of us can admit, that isn’t always the case. What if we were happy first? What if we were content with ourselves, yet still set goals and intentions and didn’t tie ourselves to the outcomes of those goals? What would be different in our lives if we always chose joy and happiness and the outcome of that is that we’re joyful and happy regardless of what happens?

Think about this . . . we’re trying to get happy from a place of discontent and unhappiness. That doesn’t make much sense. Think about how much easier it is to set goals and pursue them from a place of happiness and joyful consciousness. Things aren’t so difficult from this place, but rather fun and exciting and filled with the adventure of the experience, not the tie to the outcome.

Admittedly, it’s far harder to choose happiness when you’re hungry and without many of the basic necessities of life. I’m not trying to convince people in those situations to “just choose happiness” because that’s a bag full of BS! Rather, I’m suggesting that when our basic needs are met, we can choose. With that choice, we can advocate for others while also choosing a life of happiness for ourselves.

I meet so many people who are waiting for that one big break, or big event, or monetary win to claim success in life. What if those things never happen? Are they then doomed to a life of misery?

Ultimately they are if that’s what they choose! Life doesn’t always go as planned (or even as hoped) and yet we can still choose to live full, joyful, beautiful lives. Living for an outcome is living in the future and not in the moment–which is how so many of us have learned how to show up in life.

Being, truly being, is the answer to a life of joy. Being present, being in the moment, being content with ourselves and the experiences we’re having is the key to joy and happiness. If within that being we learn, grow, and accomplish our goals–fantastic! If not, we’ve still enjoyed the journey and the outcome won’t make or break our lives.

Being in the moment is challenging and not natural for many of us. However, slowing down our pace, checking in with ourselves, and focusing on being conscious and present are all good ways to get the happiness party started.

So how can you choose happiness?

That’s unique to each of us, though it’s often a combination of positive self-talk, physical activities that increase our energy and self-esteem, gratitude, surrounding ourselves with other happy and joyful people, and logical thinking patterns. It’s not necessarily a sports car or a high-paying job. Let’s choose happiness and then watch success come as a byproduct of it.

Life is short, so why not be happy now?

Photo Credit: Ali Yahya,


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