Living Happiness

What I know now, at this point in my life, after raising a family, running my businesses, and working as a coach, is that happiness isn’t all about pleasure versus pain.  
When happiness is equal to pleasure in your mind, you’ll be chasing this so-called “happiness” every time it wears off. That happens to people sometimes. After a while, they begin to feel that there’s something wrong with them because they just can’t hold onto happiness. This kind of “happiness” makes a lot of people miserable.  
So what’s a better way to think about happiness? Here comes the another important word, and it’s one I use all the time: values.   
In order to have the kind of happiness and satisfaction that lasts, it has to mean something. It has to mean something to you. 
Fulfilling the desire to participate in what you personally value most is the key to lasting satisfaction with your life. 
What you value will drive you better than anything else because you know deep down that the effort to get there is worth it. That certainty, that solidity, is the hallmark of what you truly value. 
Certainty and solidity in an uncertain universe is a powerful, precious thing. The things you value mean something. The things you don’t… don’t. 
You will have a deep well of energy for what is meaningful to you, and no determination at all for what isn’t.
Your values are a magnetic north to help you navigate through the natural noise and chaos of life. Living according to someone else’s values—or values you didn’t mindfully choose—is like trying to find your way with a broken compass: After a while you give up trying to find your own way, and you just follow the people ahead of you in line. 
It’s easy to get into this situation, but it’s hard to live that way. Luckily, it’s easy to get yourself out of the weeds. And it’s a lot easier than living a life that has little to do with what matters to you. 
You don’t have to give up everything and start over. Just take a quiet, sincere inventory. 
Think about the daily victories: the virtues you practice despite their demands, the things you drive toward despite their difficulty, the relationships you put the time into even when you feel you don’t have time for yourself. 
Write these out. What do they tell you about what you value most? Come back each morning or evening until the themes come together and it starts to look like your list of values. 
Then, talk it over with the people who know you best. They will know what you’re talking about, even if you’ve never talked about it before. After all, the best relationships in our lives resonate on the level of values.  
Revisit and refine this list over time. Apply new insights. You’ll get down to true knowledge of what your very nature finds full expression and joy in being involved with, producing, preserving, or promoting. 
And that sounds just about like what life is about, doesn’t it? Do you think you could call your life a good one if you lived your life trying to support, produce, or preserve the things that mattered to you? 
If so, get pencil and paper, or open a memo on your phone, and start making your list. 
Bring your values to the front of your mind. Then, make steps toward getting more of what you value into each day.  
That’s living happiness.