The Path to Happiness

Roses are red; violets are blue; I am in love with you. Congratulations, you won! Welcome to the world, little one. I got the raise. He finally asked me out; I am so excited. I got the job; you are the new Vice President. I finally quit the horrible job. Wahoo, I’m going to go on vacation. I look fantastic. I lost 20 pounds. Look out, world, here I come. New makeup and a haircut, that’s what you need. I finally made six figures. That was the best kiss I ever had. I just got a new car; it has top-of-the-line everything in it, so beautiful. My new girlfriend looks like a supermodel; I love taking her places to make people jealous. Right now, I am dreaming of a big molten chocolate cake. I am more of an ice cream person; it puts a smile on my face. Wow, you’re looking good in your designer clothes. Jewelry makes me feel special. I need a warm cup of tea — yoga and meditation for me. Anywhere on a yacht. Coffee, please.

People seem to believe they can find happiness anywhere; it only takes finding the “right” thing. Is that true?

With all the trauma and tragedy that has taken place, the search for happiness has never been more important to people on the planet. In fact, according to the most recent Happiness Report, people at all social and economic levels are ranking it more important than money. You can see it in the number of people who decided to quit their jobs, move to a new city, or remove people from their lives who no longer offered positivity to them. When a major crisis happens in people’s lives, they start to make decisions that they hope lead them to better results or, if not, will take away the pain and give them the feeling of joy or calmness they seek.

Escapism is a method to happiness that I know intimately; I tend to want to change the physical scenery for me to be able to change my mind. Although going somewhere or doing something different brings me happiness, it is usually only temporary, and soon I feel a need to run away again. Until recently, I wondered how I could keep the feeling of happiness forever and not have to run all over the world to find it?

To help me with the answer, I reached out to Bryce Johnson, a mindset coach, speaker, and the founder of Mindfully Motivate. He works to help people unlock a mindset that leads to a happier, more successful, and more fulfilling life. He often tells people to take time to evaluate their habits to start the process of change and has weekly messages that make people feel empowered.

Photo by Lidya Nada on Unsplash

My Interview with Bryce Johnson

What is the secret to happiness?

“One of the biggest keys or secrets to happiness is understanding that it’s a choice. We can choose or find happiness in the simplest moments in life. It can be pouring that cup of coffee in the morning or watching a father push his son on a swing in the park. It can be hearing the birds chirp in the morning or the evening. So yes, people can control their happiness, again, it doesn’t mean we’re not going to experience less than favorable emotions, and that’s perfectly okay. But happiness to me is a choice. Most people play the happiness game. If I get the promotion, then I’ll be happy. If I get a girlfriend or boyfriend, then I’ll be happy. If I get a new car, then I’ll be happy. So when we start to assign happiness to those external circumstances, we are telling ourselves we will not be happy unless they occur. We have just given our total power or our entire happiness component to something that we ultimately don’t have control over. So that’s why I like to make sure people understand that happiness is not if and then; happiness is right now; it’s a choice that we can genuinely choose almost every moment.”

What are the most significant contributing factors to unhappiness in society?

“If you ask most people what they want in life or what their next six to 12 months to look like, the most common answer is I don’t know. That is a recipe for unhappiness because if you don’t know what you want in life, how will you get it? If you don’t know what the ideal version of you looks like or what makes you happy, how will you obtain that? There’s a saying that when the archer pulls back his arrow with no target in front of him, what will he hit? He fires arrows down range. When he’s got that target in front of him and knows what he’s aiming for, it makes it much easier to hit. We have to get that clarity in our lives, in every aspect. Who we are, what we want, what we believe, our core values, our family life, everything important to us, our non-negotiables, our negotiables, and our boundaries.”

How did the pandemic change what happiness means to people?

“Your mental health is more important than any job ever will be. I don’t mean this to sound disrespectful, and I’ve talked about this before, but companies will replace you very quickly, and that’s just the nature of business. It’s not because they don’t care about you necessarily. So always put yourself and your mindset and mental health first and foremost.”

How can people learn to hear themselves versus society?

“There’s so much noise in this day and age that we have to filter through, especially at a young age; it’s hard because most 13-year-old kids on social media are following TikTok, dance influencers, and things of that nature. They’re not necessarily following content or people who are adding value. Filtering through that noise at a young age is hard, and I think some comes from parenting. I believe parents, to a degree, can have a little bit more of an impact or influence, a hand or role in guiding or steering their kids. I’m not telling people not to enjoy those things. Life is about balance; enjoy the dances but don’t let them consume you.

Sometimes we need to sit down on the couch and put on a Netflix show and be mindless for a little bit, or we need to pick up a good book; maybe it’s a thriller, a romance novel, or something that’s just going to allow us to unplug. Take a step back and figure out where to bring in some new ideas.”

What Does a Healthy Mindset Mean?

“A healthy mindset to me is being aware of everything in my diet, and I will elaborate on that because most people, when they hear the term diet, think of food and drink, but our diets are who we hang out with. It’s the entertainment we consume. It’s the type of music we listen to and the books we read. It’s everything; it’s all-encompassing. Having a healthy mindset means that you are aware of what you put in your body or what you surround yourself with, and that doesn’t mean you don’t have balance. I eat very healthily. I surround myself with positive people, but I also love a good cheeseburger and a slice of pizza. Overall, having a healthy mindset is about being aware and intentional with what you do, how you do it, and the effects it has on your life.”

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

What Do You Find is Common in Unhappy People Versus Happy People?

“Some of the happiest people in my life don’t have much, and some of the people who have it all on paper are the most unhappy. The common theme amongst happy people is that they fully embrace who they are, living as their authentic selves and in alignment with who and what they believe. They don’t look to other people for that validation or approval when they’re living their life. And that is by far the most common element that I see in happy versus unhappy people. So happy people generally are comfortable in their own skin. They understand that they’re unique and they’re not like everybody else. And that that’s perfectly okay. They’re not constantly looking outside themselves to make sure this person thinks I’m cool. Do I need their validation? Do I require their approval for the decisions I make in life? And so that’s definitely among all the people I’ve coached and all the time I’ve put in the personal growth and development world myself, definitely the most significant theme I’ve seen with happy versus unhappy people.”

Why is Happiness Important?

“Happiness is the foundation for everything we do in life. That doesn’t mean we need to be happy all the time because that’s not possible. We are always going to experience what I call less than favorable emotions or feelings. We’re going to experience sadness experience anger. Still, I think happiness is one of those emotions that allows us to operate at an extremely high level regardless of our actions.”

What Do People Need More Than Ever Right Now in These Times?

“Clarity on what they want in life and who they are, and how do to get that?

Grab a pen and paper and jot down some things that would be the ideal version of yourself. So if you looked forward six months from right now, what is the ideal version of you look like, and what type of traits do they embody? What kind of activities do they participate in? What does their family life look like? What does their career look like? This simple activity will give you so much clarity because once you can answer those, you can build a roadmap for how to get there.”

What Do Mindfulness, Gratitude, Boundaries, and Values Have to Do With Happiness?

“Being mindful is being aware and intentional; for example, understanding that I can’t eat a cheeseburger seven days a week; it is not good for me or my body. That’s not good for my mind.

Talking about things like gratitude or setting boundaries allows us to operate from a level of fulfillment or at an efficient level of energy. Because when we are not setting boundaries with people, a job, or circumstances in our lives, it becomes very draining and very depleting.

A daily practice for me is journaling; these are not one-stop shop practices. I encourage people to do some of these things and to try them, but they’re not for everybody. One of the most significant ways for people to be mindful is to create simple yet effective routines. So, every morning, when I wake up, I have the same routine. I don’t touch my phone. I get right out of bed. I journal for a few minutes and jot down a few things that I’m grateful for to bring positivity and good endorphins to start my day. Then I meditate or do a little visualization. I do a bit of breathwork, and I get outside, and I move, I go for a little walk, which is very simple. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but it’s a highly effective routine that starts each day with being mindful and sets me up for success.”

About Bryce Johnson

Bryce Johnson is a mindset coach, speaker, and the founder of Mindfully Motivate, a personal coaching company that helps people unlock a mindset that leads to a happier, more successful, and more fulfilling life. He often tells people to take time to evaluate their habits to start the process of change and has weekly messages that make people feel empowered. Learn about the path to happiness and how to create massive transformations in your life.

About the Author

Annmarie Hylton-Schaub, Head Marketing Strategist and Content Developer at Project Good Work, a boutique marketing group focused on helping individuals who want to launch social impact projects, charities, and change-making initiatives. The marketing group works to develop branding, marketing strategy, and content to connect clients with the people who believe what they believe so that their project and business can thrive.

If you have a passion for an unserved community, a social justice problem, or want to change minds, contact Project Good Work at ProjectGood.Work to start your project of change today.

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Annmarie Hylton-Schaub

Marketing Strategist and Content Developer focused on organizations and people leading the changing social landscape. More at https://www.projectgood.work/blog