Stop Chasing Happiness
When taming and training a young or wild horse, there have been two general schools of thought. Either break the horse's will or earn his trust. If you break his will, he will serve, but you'll never know if his heart is in it. If you earn his trust, he'll be willing to try things that he normally wouldn't volunteer for because he has faith in you and your leadership.
What does it take to earn this kind of trust? First, you must have an understanding of the horse's nature. He needs to feel safe and looks for a leader who will do that for him. Second, you must be consistent. He needs to know that the rules of the framework you have provided for him are stable and firm. Third, you must have patience. He is learning and will ask questions or even challenge some of your ideas. He needs to trust that you will give him clear guidance while he's trying new things.
These amazing relationships translate into amazing horse/rider teams. There's something different about them. Ever seen a horse that loves to jump with all his heart? Or a barrel racing team that has complete trust in each other? They have a connection, and when the horse truly loves what he is doing, it shows. People admire them because the difference is noticeable.
You can either chase the fearful horse or provide a relationship and environment built on leadership and trust. A happy relationship is the reward the result of your efforts give you.
How many of us have been chasing happiness? Like a wild horse, it seems to run away or avoid us. We try to join a new trend or fad looking for it, but the results are disappointing. We look for happiness in a program, gadget, diet or relationship. We wonder why none of these things make us happy and double down and try even harder.
Happiness isn't something you go out and find like a product on the shelf. It is a result that comes to you on it's own. We all have a picture in our heads of the person we wish to be. Here, we need to ask ourselves some questions. How are we standing in our own way? Is a fad diet really going to help if we never address to root issues about our emotions around food? Will a new relationship make things better if we haven't resolved broken ones from our past? If we are just living to pay bills, how will we ever live with purpose?
Happiness is not effortless. Happiness is a result of hard work and the reward for a job well done. Think back to your childhood. You were learning to ride a bike. It took concentration, commitment and some scraped knees before you could ride on your own. Your goal wasn't happiness, it was to gain enough skill to ride the bike. Then one day, you did it.
Remember that feeling of pure joy and happiness that came from finally being able to fly down the sidewalk all by yourself? You conquered the challenge of riding the bike and happiness came when you met that challenge.
What would happen if we decided to stop making happiness the goal? Would it greet us in the midst of our growth and challenges? If we stopped looking to people, programs and trends to make us happy and started focusing on our purpose and overcoming challenges, what would happen? If we found a big enough reason to take on the personal obstacles and issues holding us back, would the results include happiness?
Happiness isn't something you can force to happen. It comes when your heart, purpose and actions are all in alignment with each other. Just as we need tools to win over the untamed horse, we need tools to create an environment where happiness can come in on it's own.