Finding Happiness-What’s so hard about it?

Imagine, they offer a course at Yale University in the Psychology department on “Finding Happiness” and over 1,200 students register for the course making it the most popular course ever offered at the prestigious university. Really? Some of the brightest young people in America attend Yale and yet, they jump at the opportunity to take a course on how to find happiness in life?  Why should I be surprised? A recent study claims that here in the state of Indiana where I live, 1 in 5, that’s 20% of all high school students have contemplated suicide. And yes, today, suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents in the U.S., second only to automobile/traffic fatalities. And now I read in a column written by George Will that psychiatrists and psychologists alike have identified a new mental health issue – an issue called loneliness. Yes, loneliness has now become a leading mental health issue that brings on depression and a number of other health issues including obesity, diabetes, and more.

All this, and yet the vast majority of us living in the U.S. lead by all world standards, abundant lives!  How can this be? We enjoy the comforts of a place we call home that provides a warm place for us to sleep at night. We have access to food and most of us know where our next meal is coming from. We have availability to transportation by either car or public transportation to help us be mobile and travel wherever we need to go in order to find work or pursue other interests. We live in an advanced nation where public education is available to our children and most of us have access to some form of health care. We have all this and yet…we cannot find happiness? It’s all there for us and I haven’t even mentioned the technology that we now have at our fingertips which provides access to worldwide connectivity and instant gratification for most anything from online bible studies to porn. And yet, we cannot find…happiness?  

Going back to biblical times, man has always contemplated the meaning of life or maybe the answer to the question – what really matters? The book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament is a perfect example of that. According to current life expectancy figures, each of us will only be on this planet for some 80 years. So, how do we make sense of it all while we are here?  Or maybe a better question, how will I make my life count for something while I am here? Ultimately, isn’t that what matters? And is it possible, that if I know I am making a difference while I am living my life, I will in the process, find happiness?

Well guess what?  Finding your happiness is not that hard, it’s just that we have been looking for it in all the wrong places. That’s right. We have been fed lies for years thinking that “what we get” will make us happy. Oh yeah, now I remember, something like he who dies with the most toys wins! Really? Well he who dies with the most toys still dies and he doesn’t get to take the toys with him! So, I’m not buying that Kool Aid anymore.  

As I state in my book, The Missing Piece – Our Search for Security in an Insecure World, we would all like to have a general feeling in life that we are the ones in control and that our fate is determined solely by the choices we make and the actions we take. We all want this certain assuredness that says everything is going to be alright – and yet, somehow, for whatever reason, our world doesn’t work that way. Because in reality, we are NOT the ones in control. There is no security or guarantees in our world – not today, not yesterday, nor will there be in the future.

Unfortunately, even when it comes to pursuing happiness the emphasis is on me, myself, and I.  Most of us tend to look at the world through our own eyes and experiences, thinking only of how it impacts “me” as an individual. We are egocentric and when we continue to live our lives that way, we will never achieve the true happiness, the fulfillment, the true peace, the missing peace we would all like to find.  Peace? Yes, peace. Think about it. With no guarantees in this world, how special would it be, could it be, if each of us could achieve a certain peace, a peace that says I love my life, I love the people in my life, I am grateful for all that I have, yes, I am at peace?

The Missing Piece – Our Search for Security in an Insecure World is a book about life issues and the choices we make. In the book I discuss three choices we each can make to help us find our missing peace. Regardless of your age, sex, color, creed, socio-economic level, etc., there are three simple choices each of us can make in life to help us find fulfillment, happiness and yes, peace.  

If there was ever a time in our country when we needed to seek our peace, peace more than just happiness, it is now. I happen to believe that many of us in society today are not at peace with ourselves. This may be best exemplified in our self-centered nature as individuals. We want for ourselves, and our pursuits are almost entirely driven for personal gain. But more than anything else it is our general lack of trust – or should I say our inability to trust one another – that illustrates how few of us are at peace with ourselves.  We are a country divided and obsessed with “who is right” instead of “what is right.”

In the end, finding your missing peace is about coming to an understanding that while there are no guarantees in this life, there is something you do have inside you that no one can take away. And when you make the simple choices to help you find what so many people long for, you will have found something far more valuable than happiness.  You will have found your missing peace.

The Missing Piece – Our Search for Security in an Insecure World has sold out two editions. Signed copies of the book can be purchased by clicking HEREBud is also available for professional speaking engagements and/or book reading events.  You can find more information on this website.

Posted in books, life.

Harold “Bud” Boughton is a husband, father and grandfather who is often referred to as “the teaching coach.” A former senior executive, published author and professional speaker, Bud currently works for Shine.FM radio, a community-supported, not-for-profit Christian radio station affiliated with Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. He will continue to work for Shine.FM in conjunction with his responsibilities as Co-Director of Team Focus – Indiana. You can reach Bud Boughton by calling 317-258-6372 or click here to leave him a message