Looking for happiness – Where do you look?
A man was standing by a streetlamp as the darkness settled over the neighborhood. He kneeled down and started examining the grass by the sidewalk under the light of the lamp.
A neighbor saw him and came over.
“Joe, what are you doing?” the neighbor questioned.
“I’ve lost my keys.” Joe responded.
“Oh no! Here, let me help you look.” the neighbor offered.
The neighbor joined Joe, kneeling down and looking through the grass under the streetlamp. After several minutes with no luck of finding the keys, the neighbor asked, “Are you sure this is where you dropped your keys?”
“Oh, I didn’t lose my keys here. I dropped them over there.” Joe said as he pointed towards a dark area closer to the street.
“What?! Then why on earth are you looking for them here?” queried the perplexed neighbor.
“Because it’s much easier to see here under the light.” Joe pointed out.
I love this story. To me, it’s a great analogy for how we go about trying to find more happiness. We look where it’s easiest, not where we can actually find it. For some of us, that’s looking to other people, expecting them to make us happier. For others its looking to comfort food, alcohol, shopping, or other activities that bring us temporary pleasure. Some of us expect that next promotion, new car, or new house to make us happier.
Don’t get me wrong, these things do add a little happiness for awhile. That’s what keeps us looking there. AND things that bring us pleasure can be good for us, but not when they’re unhealthy or when we rely on them as our main source to feel good. For deeper, more lasting positive feelings, we need to look inward at our thoughts, the stories we tell ourselves, and how we interpret the world around us. Changing our thoughts definitely isn’t easy. That’s why I created the Path for Positivity as a guide to help us find our keys for greater happiness.
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Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is Chief Positivity Officer of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping people and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures. She is certified in Positive Psychology, an authorized partner for Everything DiSC®, and a Professional Member of the National Speaker’s Association.