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How Can You Define Your Own Happiness

Happiness is a choice that only you can make; so choose wisely.

“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”
― Abraham Lincoln

I recently received a phone call from my brother seeking advice on what he should do about his job. He has been extremely unhappy and his job was taking a major toll on him and as a result, he wanted to quit. He was asking me for advice but he knew exactly how I felt, “If you are unhappy then only you can be the one to change that and if that means leaving your job then that is the step you must take”. I have always been a firm believer in building your own happiness. If you are in a soul-sucking job, a toxic relationship or living in a mediocre environment; you have the power to change all of that. Yes, it may require leaping out of your comfort zone, stashing away money for a while, making further temporary adjustments before you can exit your current situation, but you should make this exit in order to find your happiness. I have walked out of dream jobs, moved around the world, left long-lasting friendships and broken off relationships because I was no longer happy in any of these situations. Sure, I had to make sacrifices while doing these things, I had to experience loneliness and heartbreak, I had to temporarily stay with my parents and I had to do a lot of soulsearching but in the end, all of these things were well worth it. These changes are not drastic, they often take months or years but they can happen.

  • Make yourself a priority: You must love yourself and put your happiness before anyone else’s.
  • Fill your day with tiny things that you love: Whether it is watching your favorite show, sipping on your favorite cup of coffee or getting out of town to your favorite getaway spot; you must actively insert things into your daily life that bring you joy.
  • Do something new: We often feel stuck in the same daily routine, which can leave us feeling stuck. I get into this habit a lot and I have found that I need to keep a steady balance of work and travel in order to clear my mind and prevent myself from jumping on the never-ending hamster ball.
  • Be proactive: If you are unhappy with your job, look for a new job. If you want to move to a new town, go visit that town and start looking for places to live. I recently decided to move to Mammoth Lakes in the Eastern Sierras. Mammoth is a small mountain town with a current housing crisis but I was determined. I made the six-hour drive on a near weekly basis to meet with realtors, get into the community and put myself out there and within time, the perfect condo literally fell into my lap. You need to pound the pavement if you want to see change.
  • Write down your goals: Whether they are weekly work goals or financial goals, keep a working document of what you want to accomplish. I do this on a weekly basis with my workflow so I know what I need to complete by certain deadlines. I also set strict savings goals where I allocate a certain amount per quarter into my savings account and a certain amount per year into my retirement account.
  • Do some soul searching: if you are currently unhappy, you must ask yourself why. Is it because you feel stagnant? Are you unhappy with your job? Are you unhappy with your living situation? Are you unhappy because you have low self-esteem? In order for you seek out happiness, you must first understand why you are unhappy. Once you can pinpoint what makes you unhappy, you can then devise a plan to fix it. When I returned back from Africa, I knew I did not want to settle in Orange County. Although I am born and raised in Orange County, this place never brought me innate happiness. I spent quite a bit of time exploring other places I could potentially live and it took me months to figure out that Mammoth Lakes is where I wanted to settle. Sometimes creating your own happiness is hard and it takes time but the journey is well worth it.