Early this year, we lost Thích Nhất Hạnh, the much-venerated Vietnamese monk who popularized mindfulness in the West. In one of his early teachings, The Miracle of Mindfulness (1975,) Nhất Hạnh gave simple instructions on how to reset your notions of happiness:
Our notions of happiness entrap us. We forget that they are just ideas. Our idea of happiness can prevent us from actually being happy. We fail to see the opportunity for joy that is right in front of us when we are caught in a belief that happiness should take a particular form.
There’re many things in your life that you aren’t happy about now, and you want to see them changed. Isn’t that always going to be so?
Don’t let the inclination to put off happiness until later draw you away from the positives in your life now.
Idea for Impact: Learn to find joy in tiny triumphs. Joy is the happiness that doesn’t depend on what happens. Joy is the happiness that can be steady. Joy is the happiness that lasts. And that’s what you really want.