“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.”
― Jim Rohn
Happiness Is a Choice
In October of 2017, I went to Southeast Asia for three months.
My first stop was in Myanmar.
One of my highlights of the trip was riding the circular train in Yangon.
Feeling carefree, I sat in the open doorway of the train as it passed from the city to the countryside. On the train, I heard locals chatting and preparing for their short trips.
With frequent stops, the train was always full and lively. There were always passengers unloading while others came aboard.
I remember staring into the sunset as the train slowly started going again after a brief break. As the train gained momentum and picked up full speed, I saw a child in distance running towards the train.
He was shirtless and shoeless. The only thing he had on was an old dirty pair of shorts.
In the background was his house. It was simple and fragile. His home was made out of four wooden sticks with a plastic tarp over it.
He came as close as he could towards the train and started waving at the passengers.
After seeing his behavior and the big smile on his face, I immediately waved back at him to show my appreciation.
That moment, he was ecstatic and his smile grew even bigger.
His simple yet refreshing action brought joy to me and made my train ride unforgettable.
As for him, I can only speculate based on his reactions.
With almost “nothing,” the small child was content and excited. He was happier than most kids who have much more in the Western world.
It’s simply a decision that he made to be fulfilled with what he has.
Also, oblivious to what he’s missing helps as well.
Ignorance can be a bliss.
This became a recurring theme as I visited the countryside. There, locals lived a simple lifestyle with what they have.
They made ends meet with their limited resources.
As for the kids, they were outside playing with each other. Activities included singing, dancing, or chasing each other in the gravel roads.
Their genuine happy faces brought hope to me – that everyone can experience real happiness.
It’s an easy choice we all can make.
Wherever we are in life, we can decide to be happy.
True happiness doesn’t depend on any external events, things, or people. It originates from within ourselves – how we choose to experience the world.
Yes. Things may not be going well for you at this moment.
But what about the things that are?
The fact that you can read this right now means you’re already blessed. Some examples include having:
- A reading device of choice (computer, smartphone, etc.)
- Internet access
- Working eye vision
- A sense of touch
- A pair of functional hands
Most importantly: be grateful that you are alive!
How often do we take that for granted?
No matter how badly you think your world is, as long as you’re still breathing, there’s still something to be thankful and happy for.
Don’t Postpone Happiness
Happiness is not found somewhere in the future, rather it’s in the life you’re currently living.
While having goals and working hard towards them are important as they give you direction in life. However, obtaining that external achievement won’t truly make you feel happy unless you’re already content with yourself now.
In the midst of the busyness, don’t forget about enjoying your life. Your best moments aren’t always developed when you have reached a certain milestone.
They can be created in every second of your life.
While you’re too occupied chasing happiness, your life can flash you by.
Too busy on building your dream life, you miss the grandest beauty of all – the experiences you’re fabricating right this moment.
It’s great to have your wants, but at the same time, you can still live a happy life with what you already have.
You learn to accept your current situation and be grateful for all your blessings.
Happiness does not lie in the past or in the future, it is found in the now.
Design a Happy Lifestyle
To create more happiness in your life, simply ask yourself:
- “What makes me happy?”
- “What activities do I enjoy doing?”
- “How can I start experiencing more happiness in my life?”
Write out your answers.
Whether it’s playing your favorite musical instrument or spending time with your family, you must dedicate time out of your day to do those things.
For instance, if you like reading fictional books for entertainment, set time aside on your calendar for Monday nights to add a spark to your imagination.
Whatever it is that brings you joy, make it a priority to do those activities consistently.
Even in doing the mundane tasks, you can still find happiness by having a strong reason behind your work.
With a deep sense of meaning, you fully engage in your work because you are contributing to a worthy cause.
As a byproduct, you feel content and fulfilled.
Regardless of how much (or less) you have, you can still be happy.
It’s a conscious choice you can make, starting right now.
Be content and excited for all you already have.
Don’t delay your happiness thinking it lies somewhere in the future.
Your life may or may not get better.
But the only moment you can change, appreciate, and live are found in the now.
Please share this article with anyone who you think may find it valuable.
If you have any questions and/or comments on happiness, please leave a comment below or send me an email.
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