The 5 Decisions of Lasting Happiness

Happiness is a choice.

“Yeah, yeah, I know”.

How many times have we heard this phrase? While some of us might say:

“Of course it is, I know that”.

Others have a reaction more like:

“Sure it is Buddy! Let me tell you how bad I have it, and we’ll see if happiness is still a choice then!”

Even the most positively thinking people can have moments when they doubt whether this is always true or not.

Happiness is a choice.

What seams to be missing for most people in this statement is how.

We all go through times when we want to feel happier but we have no idea how to feel happier in the moment. We feel like we would gladly choose happiness if it was a choice, but it doesn’t feel like a choice in those moments.

Then we hear a sentence like “Happiness is a choice” and we want to punch something or we want to say: “O.K. If happiness is a choice, then prove it! Where is happiness a choice here?”

In working on my next book on happiness, I’m discovering that happiness is actually five choices.

I’m finding that every moment, we are making only five choices; we are always choosing between ten possible things.

When we choose five of these things, it results in us moving towards more lasting happiness, and when we choose the other five things, it result in us moving towards less lasting happiness.

When we feel stuck in situations that feel like happiness isn’t a choice, it is because one or more of these five choices is not clear to us.

When we see what these five choices, are, it’s much easier to recognize that we do have a choice, and what that choice is, during challenging moments.

I’m calling these five choices the five decisions of lasting happiness, because we are really deciding between more or less happiness each time we make them.

You can think of your potential happiness as being on five levels. There is a decision that we make to be happy at each level. There is a decision we make that allows us to be happy at level one, another decision to be happy at level two and so forth. The higher the level of happiness is that we choose to be on, the more happiness we can feel and the longer the happiness can last.

Here are the five decisions of lasting happiness:

To be happy at level one, we are choosing between:

1A) The confidence to know we can notice or act on some improvement happening or,

 1B) The fear of making a mistake

Anytime we are not happy at all with something, our job, a relationship, our health, or our ability to do what we love, etc., the first step towards happiness is to decide between these two choices.

Choosing the confidence to know we can notice or act on some improvement happening, results in us moving towards more lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that life is always improving.

Choosing the fear of making a mistake, results in us moving towards less lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that life is not improving.

To be happy at level two, we are choosing between:

2A) The confidence to know we can actively participate in the ongoing improvement of our life or,

2B) The fear of making the wrong decision

Anytime we want to experience more ongoing happiness with something, we are deciding between these two choices. These are often times the life changing decisions we make in our job, a relationship, our health, doing what we love, etc.

Choosing the confidence to know we can actively participate in the ongoing improvement of our life, results in us moving towards more lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that there is always enough.

Choosing the fear of making the wrong decision, results in us moving towards less lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that there is not always enough.

To be happy at level three, we are choosing between:

3A) The confidence to know we are the one in charge of the improving of our life or,

3B) The fear of finding out we are not enough to be the one in charge of the improving of our life

Anytime we want to experience complete confidence with something and open the doorway unlimited happiness, we are deciding between these two choices. This decision is what holds most of us back from being completely happy in life. We either never go all in with our career, relationships, our health or doing what we love, etc, or as soon as we get what we’ve always dreamed of, we start choosing the fear of finding out we are not enough. We begin to fear loosing what we have, thinking that that might someday prove we are not enough.

Choosing the confidence to know we are the one in charge of the improving of our life, results in us moving towards more lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that we are always enough.

Choosing the fear of finding out we are not enough to be the one in charge of the improving of our life, results in us moving towards less lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that we are not always enough.

To be happy at level four, we are choosing between:

4A) The willingness to bring love to what is happening now or,

4B) Our habitual emotional reaction to what is happening now

Anytime we want to feel more happiness with whatever shows up in our experience, we are deciding between these two choices. This decision requires us to grow beyond reacting to the story of who we think we are playing in our heads.

Choosing the willingness to bring love to what is happening now, results in us moving towards more lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that we always have the choice to be happy no matter what is happening.

Choosing our habitual emotional reaction to what is happening now, can result in us moving towards less lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that we don’t have a choice about how much happiness we can experience.

To be happy at level five, we are choosing between:

5A) The willingness to be here without knowing the meaning of what is happening now or,

5B) The assumption that we know the meaning of what is happening now

Anytime we want to feel complete happiness with whatever shows up in our experience, we are deciding between these two choices. This decision requires us to simply be willing to not know right now. This can often times result in us discovering what I call the third option: The invisible choice that allows us to be more of ourselves and get better results simultaneously.

Choosing the willingness to be here without knowing the meaning of what is happening now, results in us moving towards more lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that staying open to what things mean is more valuable than always knowing what things mean.

Choosing the assumption that we know the meaning of what is happening now, can result in us moving towards less lasting happiness and over time, to a feeling of certainty that we know everything and everything is not good.

The five decisions of lasting happiness, as of today, is the best way I’ve found to describe how happiness is a choice for us. If you have any other thoughts or ideas on this, I’m always excited to explore them!

Thanks!

 -Andy


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