Money doesn’t buy happiness. It just provides momentary distraction. The steps you take to improve your life, which includes your character—are the key ingredients to a joy-filled life. I know from experience that progress—not money—delivers lasting happiness.
Having money can whittle away all financial debt, but what do you owe yourself in the long run? Will all those possessions you’ve accumulated give you gratification? More likely, they mask the gaping hole in your life where dissatisfaction nibbles away at you. You can go out and buy something extravagant, thinking it will remedy your unhappiness. It might work but the feeling is purely temporary.
Lasting happiness comes from moving forward with positive momentum. It stems from growth, from the newness of progress.
We are the architects of our own happiness.
“Things” don’t change for the better. YOU change, and with it, you create change. With the right choices, you drive progress. “Better” is not something that automatically happens. Better is what you become when you make progress.
To be clear, don’t confuse change with progress. Change isn’t always positive. You can change your mind, change your clothes, change your job, and experience a change of heart. None of those changes necessarily reflect progress.
We have the ability to make change—but some people lack the strength. They allow themselves to remain mired in what is familiar and comfortable. There, they stagnate in their personal comfort zone, limiting their progress and true happiness. It’s far easier to sit still than to propel yourself toward a greater goal, and potentially risk failure. You might think staying here is safe, but what is it actually protecting you from? Mistakes? You LEARN from mistakes. You GROW from mistakes. Is that really so scary?
While you’re choosing not to act, you’re not moving forward. Meanwhile, others around you are making positive changes in their lives. They’re leaving you behind. So, you’re not just sitting still but moving backward as the distance between you, your friends, and colleagues becomes greater and greater, to the point that you are merely a spot in their rearview mirror.
The truth is, change will always happen, with or without your effort. Just look at the past twelve months. The world is dynamic. It keeps moving—even if you don’t. Change is automatic. Progress requires dedicated effort.
Progression brings the only true and lasting happiness. If you are moving forward personally—in your relationships, spiritually, emotionally and physically—you will be happy. Inactivity, idleness, laziness, and dormancy will starve your spirit.
Move forward, one step at a time
Lao Tzu directed that “the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It’s only in forward progress, step by step, that the journey to renew a stagnant relationship, or to lose 15 pounds, or to start a new chapter in your life…it’s in that forward movement where you will find true happiness.
Look at those people, places, and things that spark joy in your life. Pay attention to them. Create goals to give more of yourself to gain the happiness that has eluded you.
Only when we are working to a goal are we happy.