The quest for happiness, that ephemeral sense of wellbeing, is at the core of almost everything we do. Sometimes, we easily dismiss our ability to find lasting happiness because of our background, family circumstances, physical limitations and dozens of other excuses. The truth is, we control the primary inputs into our own happiness. Let’s take a look at some of these factors that go into our personal happiness quotient.
We talk frequently in these blogs about emotions and behavior so it’s no surprise that emotions top the list. Physical, financial, spiritual, social, and meaningful work round out the most important components of happiness for most people. Happiness is just another way to describe “a good life.”
Searching for Change?
Often we think changing external things will increase our happiness. We change cars, houses, jobs, cities, spouses, etc. all in search of happiness nirvana. Unfortunately, this usually doesn’t have a significant impact on our happiness. One interesting confirmation of this can be found by examining divorce rates for first marriages and subsequent unions. The actual divorce rates for second or third marriages is higher than that for first marriages in the U.S. The more things change…
Much of our effort here is directly aimed at improving financial wellness for our clients because of how much this impacts overall happiness. Many folks, however, think everything else will fall into place if they just have more money. Inevitably this is not the case. You need balance between each of the factors or unhappiness will ensue.
Self-help books and gurus abound preaching how to achieve happiness with overly simplistic solutions to the very complex and very personal amalgam necessary for lasting happiness. Visualizing happiness won’t make happiness appear; taking concrete action steps will.
Can Money Buy Happiness?
My observation from many years of working with clients of all ages and stations in life is that, overall, we tend to overemphasize the role (not the importance) of money. Money was never meant to make you happy all by itself. Money represents purchasing power and to some extent security from “things going bump in the night.” Our expectations for money to be something more than this form the root of the problem.
Added to our misguided expectations about money are an overload of choices about each of the foundational components that comprise our individual happiness quotient. So many micro-decisions impact the trajectory of happiness that it’s easy to lose our way.
Coming to grips with your personal happiness quotient helps you avoid the distractions that can take you off track. Start there.