Does happiness come from within?
Many people that you meet in life will answer ‘yes’ to this question.
Often times, these people will say things like “Just be happy” “Happiness is a choice” and “Happiness comes from within.”
To an extent, happiness does comes from within, but happiness also very largely comes from outside circumstances.
It turns out that there are a lot of outside conditions that can significantly increase or decrease your happiness, particularly in your relationships, noise, and the degree of control you have over your work.
1) Having a sense of control
Having a sense of control, especially when it comes to your work, is a major factor when it comes to life satisfaction and longevity.
This is why entrepreneurs are significantly more happier than employees.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Global Report, entrepreneurs are the happiest people on the planet.
Whether they run a startup or an established business, entrepreneurs in all regions of the world enjoyed a significantly higher well being than those who didn’t own a business.
On the other hand, surveys show that 88% of people who are employees are unhappy with what they do for a living.
One of the main reasons why this is, is because entrepreneurs have more day to day control over the timing and rate of their workload compared to employees who have no control.
Creating the outward working conditions in your life where you feel you have control is a necessity if you want to live a happy and fulfilling life.
If you ever have the option of living in a big beautiful home next to a busy street or a not as beautiful and smaller home, but in a quiet neighborhood, choose the smaller home.
Research shows that people who must deal with chronic sources of noise never fully get used to it.
This is important to understand because most people think they can just overcome this situation simply by changing their thoughts to be more positive towards the circumstances.
Studies show however that even when individuals do get used to the chronic sources of noise, they still find evidence of impairment on cognitive tasks.
Noise, especially noise that is variable or intermittent, interferes with concentration, increases stress and reduces happiness.
This means in order to be happy, it’s worth striving to remove any chronic sources of noise from your life.
Love is without a doubt life’s greatest experience and is the condition that is usually said to trump all others in importance when it comes to people’s happiness.
A good relationship makes people happy and it makes happy people even happier.
Much of the apparent benefit of being in a good relationship is that it provides real companionship, which is a basic need for all human beings.
On the other hand, a bad relationship has the ability to make happy people feel miserable.
In the book “The Happiness Hypothesis,” Jonathan Haidt, who is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, says,
“Conflict in relationships, such as having chronic conflict with your spouse is one of the surest ways to reduce your happiness. You never adapt to interpersonal conflict. It damages everyday, even days when you don’t see the other person but ruminate about the conflict nonetheless.”
Science shows that if you get the relationship part of your life wrong, you will experience pain that is as identical in the brain as breaking a bone, meaning it is unavoidable to feel this pain.
You will not be able to become some “enlightened” being who rises above the situation.
You won’t be able to meditate your way out of this.
If you get the love part of your life wrong, you will find it very difficult to be happy.
These three examples are outside circumstances that can have a great negative or positive effect on your happiness, despite whatever your inner thoughts may be.
Of course, Buddha would just fully adapt to noise, traffic, having a lack of control and interpersonal conflict, but it has always been difficult, even in Ancient India, for real people to become like Buddha.
In the modern world, it is even harder to follow Buddha’s path of finding happiness despite one’s circumstances.
Some of the world’s best poets and writers in fact urge us to forgo that path and embrace action full on.
Instead of finding happiness within, they urge us to take action by finding happiness outside.
As Charlotte Bronte once said, “It is vain to say that human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquility: They must take action and they will make it if they cannot find it.”