THE BLOG
09/19/2014 06:15 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2014

The Process of Being Happy

Olivia Bell Photography via Getty Images

In the morning when you wake up, what's the first thing that comes into you head? Is it "today is going to be a great day; I am so happy and grateful because I have a wonderful family, a great and fulfilling carrier and the very best friends." Or is it, "great I hope I don't have another crappy day, my job sucks, my boss and coworkers are horrible, I hate my commute, my life blows." If you answer is similar to the latter, in my humble opinion I suggest that there is something wrong in your life, and life is too short to be wasted with unhappiness. I have come to learn that in some way, we are devoting a great deal of our time searching for happiness. Everything we set out to do in life; call it our job, our relationships, our daily activities, whatever it is becomes a quest for happiness.

What do we have to achieve or attain in order to be happy? Is it wealth, good health, recognition's, trophies, awards, a better job, a great relationship? In some way we all have a list of the things we want. Now consider this, once we achieve some of these things, they can as easily go away; when this happens, where does this leave us? My guess is not in a good place.

There is nothing we have to obtain, or accomplish in order to be happy; in fact happiness is in our nature, its part of our DNA. You may be asking yourself, "If happiness is in my nature, why do I experience sadness or frustration at times?" The answer is simple; we have spent our entire life learning to be unhappy by buying into the "if and then" model; "if I had a better job, if I had more money, if I were in better shape, if my boss had a better attitude." It doesn't matter what we want, the whole notion is if this happens, then I'll be happy.

Think about your life 10 years ago, back then there were certain things you wanted, odds are that today you have most of them. Maybe 10 years ago you wanted to get accepted into the school of your dreams, and your thoughts were: "I will be so happy if I get accepted." You get accepted and feel an enormous amount of joy, but as time passes you begin to feel the pressure of studying, you realize that it isn't all sunshine and rainbows, and begin thinking to yourself, "when is this going to be over? I will be so happy when I graduate." Graduation day comes and it's one of the most important days of your life and it feels like you're on top of the world. But on the subsequent days, you start wondering, "What's next"? Then you remember "oh yes" find a job, as you're contemplating this, an idea comes to your head, "hopefully I can find a high paying job so I can pay off my student loans, and then I'll be happy". The idea is that once we reach a goal, there's always something else out there we want.

Has there ever been a time when you were confronted with a panoramic view of such a spectacular beauty that it took you outside of yourself in to a place of great serenity. Maybe it was a rainbow, a mountain range, a valley, or a beautiful sunset in front of the beach. Did you wonder why this happened? Not really, right? because at that instant you accepted the universe exactly as it was. You didn't say, that's a beautiful rainbow but it's a little bit off to the left, if I move it 200 yards to the right it would be so much beautiful; or that's a beautiful valley, but that tree in the background has too many crooked branches, give me chainsaw so I can trim it and make it better. The rainbow and tree were just fine, and you're usual wanting-self disappeared for a moment, and the happiness that is your true nature appeared. Even to this day you still remember the feeling of joy you had. Our life in this exact point in time is equally as perfect. But sometimes we don't accept it; in fact we spend a lot of energy trying to make it different.

We define our life in the following way: here is where I am, there's where I want to go, and these are the steps I have to take in order to get there. If we succeed life is good, but if we don't we consider it a failure. Sometimes the outcome is completely different or opposite from what we expected it to be, and If we invest in the outcome, we are more than guaranteed to have our share of frustrations and anxiety along the way.

Instead of investing in the outcome, we should invest in the process. The best way to describe this is by quoting the legendary Basketball Hall of Famer (both as a player and coach), the late John Wooden aka the wizard of Westwood, who said: "When it's over and you look in the mirror, did you do the best that you were capable of? If so, the score does not matter. But if you find that you did your best you were capable of, you will find it to your liking." "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."

There is nothing wrong with focusing in the outcome because it gives us direction; but investing in the outcome means that our well being depends on the achievement of it. On the other hand, investing in the process gives us the steps we want to take in order to reach a goal. If we put everything into it and succeed, great; but if we don't, it doesn't matter, because now we have a new starting point from where we can select another outcome and keep on going.

Passion exists inside of us, it doesn't exist in the outcomes we want. If we don't find a way to ignite it within us in our current situation, we are not going to find it outside. But if we do find a way to ignite it within, we will find that the external world rearranges itself to accommodate the new person we are becoming. As we do this, will find that miracles happen on a regular basis, situations tend to change in our favor, new people come into our life, opportunities begin to present themselves, and everything becomes a breeze.

What type of person do you want to be? The one that is happy and has a blast during the process of attaining a goal, or the one that can only be happy until a desired outcome has arrived.