What is your purpose? To grow up, get a well-paying job, have a family, retire at 65? Sure, those are somewhat worthy pursuits. Maybe you’re thinking bigger. Maybe your purpose is to write your life’s story and share it with the world. Maybe you want to visit every baseball stadium in the continental United States. Maybe you want to eat ribs at all the best rib joints west of the Mississippi. That might be delicious.
With each of these goals and visions, there’s planning, negotiating, and pushing. What if your pursuit were only to be happy? What if nothing else mattered? What if everything else would work out if only you could achieve happiness? Overwhelming to consider that you don’t have to push, plan, or negotiate your way toward completing your life’s work.
So, how do you get happy?
Choose it. The pursuit of happiness isn’t a pursuit at all, it’s a practice. Commit everyday to choosing a happy thought. In The Astonishing Power of Emotions, Esther Hicks tells us we should shift and “upstream” thoughts to “downstream” thoughts. Thoughts that feel forced, bathed in anxiety or make you sad are upstream thoughts. Choose a better-feeling thought. It doesn’t have to be a huge improvement from your baseline thinking. Just something that’s slight better-feeling. Choose it. Imagine yourself effortlessly floating downstream in the direction of your dreams.