Who is happy?
Are rock stars, billionaires or recently-funded entrepreneurs happier? What about teenagers with clear skin?
Either what happens changes our mood… or our mood changes the way we narrate what happens.
This goes beyond happiness economics and the understanding that a certain baseline of health and success is needed for many people to be happy.
The question worth pondering is: are you seeking out the imperfect to justify your habit of being unhappy? Does something have to happen in the outside world for you to be happy inside?
Or, to put it differently, Is there a narrative of your reality that supports your mood?
Marketers spend billions of dollars trying to create a connection between what we see in the mirror and our happiness, implying that others are judging us in a way that ought to make us unhappy.
And industrialists have built an economic system in which compliance to a boss's instructions is seen as the only way to avoid the unhappiness that comes from being penalized at work. And so fear becomes a dominant paradigm of our profession.
Those things are unlikely to change any time soon, but the way we process them can change today. Our narrative, the laundry list we tick off, the things we highlight for ourselves and others… our narrative is completely up to us.
The simple shortcut: the way we respond to the things that we can't change can instantly transform our lives. "That's interesting," is a thousand times more productive than, "that's terrible." Even more powerful is our ability to stop experiencing failure before it even happens, because, of course, it usually doesn't.
Happiness, for most of us, is a choice. Reality is not. It seems, though, that choosing to be happy ends up changing the reality that we keep track of.