When you ask people about what being happy means to them, you are almost guaranteed to get a wide variety of answers. Some might say having a stable job, others might say having freedom to travel and explore the world. Still others may say that family is the biggest blessing in life and provides them with happiness every day. For me, happiness is defined by having the freedom of choice to choose the problems I have in life. By consciously choosing which problems we have and having a solid reason why we are bringing these issues upon ourselves, we can start to see life through a more positive and grateful lens.
We Choose Our Problems:
The first fundamental thing to understand here is that the vast majority of our problems are directly in our control and are issues we have chosen for ourselves. Recognizing this and taking accountability for your problems is the first step towards a happier life. You may be tempted to focus on the few problems that are in fact outside of your control, but the honest truth is pretty much all of them can be traced back to decisions you have made.
Take for example, going through a downswing in poker. When we go through a downswing we typically begin to complain and blame a variety of external factors. However the truth of the matter is, this downswing is entirely our ‘fault’ and is a result of us choosing poker as a profession or a hobby. We can stop the downswing at any time by simply choosing to quit playing poker, problem solved. There can be other problems resulting from a downswing as well, especially if you have made the decision to play poker without a proper bankroll, putting your rent money on the table, etc.. These are all decisions we make that cause the problems we face.
Mastering Your Fate:
Finding happiness and satisfaction in life is never going to mean you won’t have problems. You may believe that money will solve your problems, a new girlfriend will solve your problems, thus making you happy.. But the truth is you will never not have problems and issues in life. The key to happiness lies in choosing which problems you want to face every day. If you’re overweight you may have problems dealing with obesity, diabetes, or a number of other issues. These problems may lead you to start going to the gym, but you’ll face problems here as well! You’ll face the discomfort of working out, potential injuries arising from going to the gym, missing the bus because of a late workout.. These are problems that you choose to face when you sign up to the gym!
Happiness and satisfaction do not come from a complete lack of problems and issues in life, this is simply unattainable. Most people wallow through life blaming external factors for their problems, never taking accountability and never making an original decision for themselves. They follow what other people tell them and then blame those people when things go wrong. By making the conscious decision to face certain issues for the purpose of achieving a goal you will be much happier than a person who is facing issues that they believe are not their fault or out of their control, because you know and understand going in that you have full control of your situation in life.
You really are the master of your own fate in life, and the decision to choose new problems and issues to face can be made any day. Next time you face an issue or a problem ask yourself, “is this a problem I’ve chosen to have?” This question will lead you to the deeper reason why you are having this problem, and you can get to the bottom of whether this issue is worth it to you or if you’d rather find a different problem to face.