Are you the happiest person you know? Are you the happiest person in your office? Are you the happiest person in your family?
We have to be careful because if we are not the happiest person we know we will usually gravitate to those who look happier in order to become happy. This usually leads to misguided choices.
Many people will say I am happier person because I am with my partner. Or, they might even say I am happier because I have my children. This form of happiness is a dependency that creates all manner of complications in relationships and business.
Happiness is an obligation not a choice. An unhappy person will seek happiness and sometimes in the most dangerous and self depreciating ways. A person who is not happy develops an ego in order to protect their unhappiness from the stimulation of anything that reminds them of how they really feel. The ego serves to protect us from feeling our own unhappiness.
So, beneath the surface of life is the true measure of whether we are happy not. A person who is at heart, unhappy, will overwork, over eat, be stressed, over try, find it difficult to sleep, and in general overcompensate.
Therefore, finding happiness within ourselves is a foundation of a great life. It is not selfish because our own happiness magnifies to others while our unhappiness sucks the energy from others.
So we have to be honest with ourselves; are we the happiest person we know and do we want to stay that way?
There are happiness causing behaviours that last an hour or two. There are happiness causing behaviours that last seconds and there are happiness causing behaviours that last a lifetime. I am interested in the latter because this is the real key to health and well-being.
So I would like to split this conversation into inner and outer happiness.
When we get what we want we are happy. When we don't get what we want we are unhappy. So, the ability to remain happy on the outside is very much dependent on our ability to get what we want. There are a multitude of skills to getting what we want; money making, manipulation, marketing, business skills, theft, performance, luck, gold digging, trickery and cleverness. The range of skills to get what we want are infinite, some are acceptable by society and some are unacceptable. Depending on our conformity to societies rules we are either limited or unlimited in our scope for getting what we want and therefore remaining outer happy. So you can see from this that outer happiness is very vulnerable. This is why we develop an ego.
When we feel loved we feel happy within. This love has many forms but ultimately the experience is to be content with who we are as we are. So in a happiness can come through love from others or through self love. When inner happiness comes through love from others it can easily go away and therefore we are left with frustration at compromises we need to make in order to to sustain that love. When inner happiness comes through self-love we are self-sufficient.
The true root of inner happiness is contentment. This contentment flies in the face of our ego. Our ego always wants more and this is an important part of our growth in life. Without our ego we would stop evolving and therefore become ill. However, without contentment we experience extreme levels of stress and cannot keep life in perspective and will lose control of most of the things we feel are important. Therefore we are striking a balance between inner contentment and outer ego.
So which would you consider to be more important? If you had to sacrifice your contentment and therefore your inner happiness in order to create the life you want in material terms would you do so? If you had to sacrifice your wealth and relationship in order to sustain contentment and therefore inner happiness would you do so?
While we consider the possibility that there are victims in the world and we are subject to loss and gain that is outside of our control we can suggest that inner happiness plays a backseat role to our outer happiness. But when we realise that the losses and gains of the ego in the material world fluctuate in direct relation to our contentedness we might see the whole dynamic of priorities in a completely different light.
When we are not content and happy on the inside we sabotaged the outside world. So many times a victim is not a victim. The man who said his wife left him for another man might actually have sabotaged his own relationship because he was not feeling loved and therefore not content. The woman who changed her job and her country to find happiness may have been seeking to compensate for her discontent on the inside by making structural changes on the outside that didn't work.
If we are not content on the inside we may create an outside world of huge proportion to compensate. However, nothing on the outside will satisfy the inside. When we die we rarely wish we had made more money but rather wish we had found more contentment throughout our life. Inner wealth and outer wealth need not be incomplete conflict with each other however, to achieve the balance we need to be honest otherwise we will find ourselves sabotaging the outer in order to gain the inner.
Inner-wealth controls our entire being.
Our health, our wealth, our relationship, our friendships, our work, our creativity, our leadership, our safety are all controlled and dictated by our inner wealth. Our inner wealth is controlled by our contentment. Contentment has only one enemy and that enemy is judgement.
Our ego is composed of judgements. These judgements are based on stories we have told or have been told. So, to reduce discontentment and be more honest with ourselves and therefore build in wealth we need to change our stories where our stories keep us from being thankful for what we got and the way the world is as it is.
How we see the world varies depending on our belief systems. Willpower is the personal determination to see things in the best possible way. If we simply let the world how we feel we are not utilising our willpower. But willpower can also be our greatest enemy; if we decide to interpret the world in a way that is not healthy and we use our willpower to sustain that commitment then willpower is actually making us ill. For example; when I first got married I wanted to believe that anything was possible so I applied my willpower to what ever I did. Through sheer determination I achieved many things however this approach made me insensitive to the more subtle ways of reading opportunities. My approach was very aggressive and I wasted a lot of time.
Inner happiness–contentment–helps us avoid decision fatigue. If we base all our decisions on the foundation of contentment then our decisions will be easier clearer and more directional. However if we are discontent on the inside and seeking contentment throughout decisions our mind will spin and we will become exhausted from continually evaluating every small decision trying to minimise its impact on our happiness. This form of mental fatigue leads to many different stress related and emotional illnesses. So, contentment or inner happiness keeps us in a healthy state of mind and reduces stress.
The leader who has harnessed the power of their personal creativity will see options where others see brick walls. Creativity is birthed from contentment, inner happiness. In our training programs for leaders we recommend three foundations for creative leadership. Balanced, Centred and Calm. These three are the result of contentment. When a person is feeling balanced centred and calm their creativity is at its peak. This is why, artists and others, sometimes find amazing states of creativity while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The problem with that solution is the consequence!
Happy on the outside – needy on the inside. When a person enters a relationship with discontent basic contentment through their partner and put the relationship under massive pressure which in the short-term it can tolerate but in the long term burns out. A person who is discontent is always trying to change something about their partner or themselves in order to improve relationship. This is a short cut to disaster. When we try to change anything about our partner we are implying discontent and therefore seeking to change the outer world in order to cause the inner world. A person who has contentment will be happy internally before they enter a relationship and they will stay thankful and appreciative irrespective of the relationship. This is the foundation for long-term sustainable love.
Success in business
Looking for opportunities to improve business is the role of the ego. If this ego is applied to domestic relationships it will cause failure. Therefore, a person who is discontent may achieve business success because there are always looking to improve things on the outside however the very same discontent will sabotage their domestic relationship. It can work in the opposite to a contented person may have a successful personal relationship but fail in business because they are not seeking to take advantage of opportunities and things that could be improved. This is the balance essential for an entrepreneur.
The human mind can control atoms, molecules and subatomic particles through thought. Our body is composed of atoms and molecules and subatomic particles and so thought can influence health. A contented, inwardly happy individual has thankful thoughts which are the root cause of immune strength and well-being. A discontent individual has judgemental and critical thoughts on the inside and therefore impacts the atoms and molecules and subatomic particles of their body negatively.
We see the world in a multitude of ways depending on the stories we told ourselves and been told throughout our lives. Those stories can make it very difficult to be content with the world we see however, those stories can be changed and therefore our inner happiness can be expanded if we are willing. This is the root of real personal change and the results are phenomenal. The laws of nature are at the foundation of such a change.