The Key to Happiness is … gratitude
I have found the quickest way to unhappiness, complacency, and missed opportunities, is to become entitled. When I look over my life and notice times of unhappiness, they are almost always filled with an entitled mindset.
Entitlement can take many forms. You might feel that you deserve more from your job. You might feel that you need a nicer home to be happy. You might even think that something you accomplished should provide better rewards.
I have read studies that look at the careers of various employees. The only consistent finding was that a sense of entitlement is almost always present in employees that do not advance in their career. All of the other characteristics they researched were not correlated with the advancement of an employee, only entitlement.
If entitlement is such a trap, how can we develop a system to keep us from falling into that mindset? The first step is to understand when you starting to feel that way. Then the next step is to shift that way of thinking. Focusing on this daily will help to reduce our entitlement and help us to start to appreciate the things in life, rather than looking for the things we feel are lacking.
The one thing that I found to get rid of that attitude is to show gratitude. Looking over your life and pointing to the areas that you appreciate is a start. It may be simple things at first, such as having a safe bed to sleep in or having heat when the weather gets cold. No matter who you are, there are things in life to be grateful for. Start to view your life from the gratitude mindset to help to:
- Be happy. In order to be happy, you have to see the things in life that have helped you and you have to minimize those things that we always feel we need before we can be happy. Don't tell yourself that once you get that promotion that you deserve you will then be happy. Instead be appreciative of the opportunities you currently have.
- Stay content. Long term happiness and contentment go together. Avoid becoming complacent and move forward towards your goals, but always know that you don't "need" anything else to be happy. Everything you need is already here. Moving towards goals isn't necessary to be happy and it is actually easier to move towards the accomplishment of goals if you are content.
- See opportunities. When you learn to review your life from the lens of gratitude, you will start to see new opportunities because you will no longer focus on what is lacking or what is owed to you. This will help you see the potential rather than the worst case scenario every time.
Gratitude should be implemented daily. Create a system that gets you to review things in your life regularly, with a focus on things to be appreciative of. This will help you to be happy, stay content, and see new opportunities!