The Two Ways We Truly Find What Makes Us Happy

Uncategorized Mar 11, 2019

There's so much research that tells us material things do not bring us happiness. When I look at all of the scientific research on happiness and thriving, and I looked at what all the studies have found in the last decade or more, it's amazing. There are ways of living that make you happy whether you're rich, poor or healthy or sick, or have the job you have or don't, or the car you want or don't, the salary you want or don't.

That all of that external stuff, research shows, only counts for 10 percent of our happiness. Then there are some biological things like temperament. But the rest of happiness comes from basically some life practices. There are things like staying connected and being grateful, and forgiving and having a purpose and utilizing your talents and sharing, and a bunch of things that our brains are wired to release -- positive states of joy and happiness and chemistry and all of this, when we have certain things built into our lives.

Yet, what we do is we don't listen to that wisdom. We think, "Well, the new car or the right relationship, the right job or the right neighborhood or the right house, or whatever, that's going to make me happy." What we do is, we find in the research. It says you'll get about a 10 percent bump in happiness when you get one of those things, but then, it goes away, because we're going to be who we are.

How do we get people to hear that? Well, basically there are two ways. One is wisdom. And wisdom is listening to the pain of others. It's when we learn lessons from people who have experienced the pain, and then we live according to wisdom. The second way is to go and pursue those material things. If you think making a lot of money is gonna make you happy, what you're gonna find is a very empty road. Through the pain you'll discover that you better start looking at your internal life.

It's so funny. I work in Beverly Hills, so obviously I'm around all the entertainment industry. You see all the glamour and riches, but if you go to the supermarket and stand in the check-out lines and see all the tabloids there, and these stars that supposedly have everything that everybody wants and a lot times, you know, there is drug addiction, and there are broken relationships. You know why? Because there's never enough of 'stuff' to make us happy.


Want to talk about this more in a community of like-minded individuals? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups. 

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