06/23/2014 02:22 pm ET Updated Aug 23, 2014

How to Be Happy in Your Current Situation

Olivia Bell Photography via Getty Images

Too often we complain about being unhappy with our current situation. However, what would happen if you decided to just be happy anyway?

If you have ever taken the subway you should be familiar with booth attendants. You know the people that you ask for directions or purchase your subway ticket from? Yeah, them. On a good day they look impassive, but most of the time they do not look like the nicest people. I find that ironic since their job requires them to deal with people approaching them for the majority of the day.

I recall approaching a booth attendant to ask for directions a few months ago. As I asked for directions, she barely acknowledged me and rudely brushed me off. On the other hand, during my old commute from work, I would sometimes pass a booth attendant who was an older asian man. Literally every time I passed him, he would give me the biggest smile and then proceed to wave at me.

I have no idea why, but that added a little glimmer to my evening every time. I guess the saying is true... smiles are contagious.

I thought about him one day and questioned to myself, why was he so happy? I admire people that work diligently at jobs that others would not consider glamorous and do it with a smile.

As I lingered on that question, I came up with a bunch of reasons why he should not be happy:

  • He is working in a hot booth every day.
  • He is probably not getting paid enough to live in expensive New York.
  • There is a high chance english is his second language. Therefore, communicating in a language you do not know well can be frustrating and tiring.
  • He may constantly deal with rude people that ask for directions without saying "Hi" or "Thank You."

The list went on. I eventually stopped and asked myself another question... what if he was just happy? Is it wrong to just be happy in your current situation, even if it's not ideal?

We all are guilty of complaining. The complaints are often about how little you may be getting paid, having to wake up early and go to a job you hate, or not having enough time.

Not to downplay your frustration, but take a step back for a minute, and put everything in perspective. Most likely, your problems are not the end of the world. We often forget to take a second and be thankful -- thankful for where we are. Although it may not be ideal, you are in that position for a reason, so embrace it and make the most of it.

Carry yourself like the booth attendant. Be diligent in your position even if it is not what you want to be doing at the moment. Despite how unhappy you are, do not let that manifest itself in your work. People will take notice, and better opportunities may arise depending on how you act. You are always being watched and observed. You never know when you may need your co workers in the future. Therefore, leave a good impression.

Acting lackluster will make you feel lackluster. Stop focusing on the negative and make the conscience decision to be happy in your current situation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to stay where you are. What I am saying is to be the best you can in that position until you find your next move.

Happiness in your current situation starts with:

  1. Ceasing all complaining. No one really wants to hear about how hard your life is or how busy you are...everyone is busy. Get this, the majority of Americans probably work more than 40 hours a week!
  2. Looking on the bright side. You have food, shelter and a life that people in more underserved countries and communities would kill for. I know that sounds cliche, but just remind yourself of that. It's a big deal.
  3. Actively begin seeking your "ideal" situation. What causes people to feel unhappy is the feeling of being stuck. If you actively begin applying to new jobs, working on your passion or discovering your passion that will diminish the feeling of being stuck.

The main takeaway is that you are in charge of your own happiness. Let that sink in for a moment. Your happiness is not contingent on your job, your current boyfriend/girlfriend or the material things you own. If it is, then you're in trouble. When things don't work out exactly as planned then you're screwed, just throw up your white flag now. Life is cyclical; situations will not always go as planned. Therefore, you have to learn the art of being happy despite the difficult times in your life.

Alicia T. Glenn writes on her blog where she shares her journey, experiences and advice on how to accomplish cool things, and live a more fulfilled life by discovering and pursuing your passion.