Happiness is not a choice, or we’d all be happy. Let’s stop putting unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be happy all the time, and to pretend we can choose to be happy whenever we want. That’s not how life works. Sure, we can make choices that reflect a commitment to our well-being, and the more of these choices we make, the more likely we are to find ourselves feeling good more often. Healthy choices are within our power, and are important. But we can’t choose happiness, or we just set ourselves up for failure by believing we can. Life is more than happiness, anyway. There’s no shame in wanting to be happy, of course. We all want to be happy. But rather than try to choose happiness, maybe we can choose to be kinder and more loving. That we can do. We can work hard to take better care of ourselves, and better care of each other. If we do these things, and we remember that we are all connected, all brothers and sisters, all worthy of love, maybe then happiness will choose us a little more often.
At TEDxCambridge, Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can indeed buy happiness — when you don’t spend it on yourself. Listen for surprising data on the many ways pro-social spending can benefit you, your work, and (of course) other people.