Happiness is relative to who you are and objective to what you want to do. In other words, the fundamental idea of happiness lies with you.
There is no easy answer or secret; there is a path.
You see, the ideal of happiness changes from person to person. So what can you do to be happy? Believe it or not many studies on happiness have been done throughout the decades. People just like you have sought the key to happiness and success and let me tell you a secret: They are the same thing. Happiness is a profound way of living and takes dedication in order to succeed.
Dedication is the commitment to a decision over a long period of time. Many of us are dedicated to our work, our family, our friends, our hobbies, or any number of other commitments that we have chosen to make, or which have been thrust upon us. Yet dedication alone does not create happiness, actually 'doing' is what creates that feeling of contentment. What do I mean? Let's look at an example:
You wake up, get ready, go outside, start your car or jump on your bike, and head to work. These activities are what you do everyday, a routine and one you rarely deviate from. Once you get to work though you are called into the office where your supervisor asks you to
sit down. After a few minutes they tell you that due to a company-wide layoff you have to be let go.
This is a tough time. Emotionally you are distraught, physically you feel worn down, and mentally, well...you just don't know.
What do you do?
First take a day or two to recover. Catch up on some sleep, do something around the house, play games, read a book, take a walk - whatever you are able to do to wind down will be beneficial. Once those two days are up it is time to get to work:
Step 1: Make a decision
The path to success begins with a decision. Decide what you are passionate about and what you would like to do.
Step 2: Create
With your decision comes the need to create something. This creation can be anything as long as it is applied towards your goal. It can be something as simple as an outline, or as profound as your first big step. Many people never make it to this stage. Others will find they
skip this step because the idea has always been there, they just never acted upon it.
Step 3: Commitment
Once you make your decision and create your idea, commit to it. I recommend doing one KEY thing a day that works towards whatever decision you have made, even if that key thing is rest.
Step 4: Dedication (long-term)
This step really is the most important. After making your decision and committing to it, you must dedicate yourself to that decision and to that commitment in order to succeed.
These steps are just an outline to get your started and may be different depending on what you choose, or where you plan on going. Now perhaps you have a plan and are dedicated, what then? Remember those studies about happiness I mentioned earlier? There is a shortcut that works for a lot of people. A single, simple thing that provides a boost in happiness and contentment over a longer period of time:
Selflessly helping others.
By giving or helping those around you who need it, and by doing it with no expectation of anything in return, research has shown that contentment and positive feelings increase. Reports show that these positive feelings last much longer on average than through any other means. In fact, the data suggest that even productivity increases due to these feelings of happiness. This means a better a more happier you, even while you spread those feelings onto others. This is called "The Meaningful Life".
If it helps to visualize these ideas think about an upside-down pyramid. On the bottom is your decision and requires the least amount of work. Above that is "Create", the "optional" step, though no less important. Over halfway up the pyramid is commitment whose work lies largely in your desire for success. The final and largest portion is dedication. Outside of this pyramid is 'The Meaningful Life' and represents a way towards happiness that you can add to the life you already have. Draw it out and hang it on your wall as a reminder.
As you can see, the road to happiness and success is not an easy one. However, if you find yourself in a place where happiness has been swallowed by frustration, consider making the change. We all deserve to be happy and you are no different.