Speaking of Joy: The Inside Job

Aristotle was right.

Happiness is an inside job.  

We think of joy as this idyllic state that arrives when life suddenly becomes perfect.   And that elusive paradise we search for?   We think it’s full of the stuff we don’t yet have but really want - the who, the what, the this and the that.

But that’s not really how it works.

Finding more happiness in life isn’t about stuff and that's because we are really skilled at quickly acclimating to change.   Scientists call it hedonic adaptation.

Sonja Lyubomirsky has done extensive research on this idea at The University of California in Riverside.  It’s the foundation of her book The Myths of Happiness.

In a nutshell, the new car, new house, new job that we thought would make us happy?  Nope. It may have made us happier for a short time but research shows that we quickly adjust. It’s not long before we take those things for granted and go in search of new and better stuff.

If happiness depends on us, what can we do to have a happier life? Well, here are just a few quick ideas.

First, we need to embrace our power.  We do get to choose our attitude.

I’ve discovered that I’m happier when I choose to be happy.  And when we’re unhappy?   Well sometimes it’s warranted; but, we can still remind ourselves that we are making a choice.  

Second, try to be a benefit finder.  Try looking for the good in the midst of maybe the not-so-good.   And not just in others but in yourself, too.   It’s a cynical world out there and it’s so easy to be critical.  But that’s not a habit that creates more joy. 

And third, remind yourself that you are blessed beyond measure to have family, friends and, in many cases, dogs and cats, too, that love you and need you.    It’s hard to be miserable when we feel loved.

If you have an insider tip on creating more happiness, I hope you’ll share it with me either on the blog or on my Facebook page.

Until next week, here’s to a life full of joy and gratitude,


Linda Sterling Sease is a professional speaker, career coach & writer on the power of joy to transform companies, homes and communities.  To explore how Linda can work with your organization, call 303-319-5829 or email her at Linda at SterlingSease.com.