Since the fall of man, humans have been on a never-ending search for happiness.  Regardless of your background, worldview, or social status, we all seem to have the desire to be happy in common.  What makes you happy may differ from what makes your spouse, your children, or even your neighbor happy. This may even change daily.  There are a few factors that can either add or take away from one’s happiness.

In times of financial hardship, it may be helpful to take a breath and what truly makes you happy and what doesn’t.  What we may find is that the things that make us happy are the things that we can control.

What Doesn’t Bring Happiness

Money, power, and prestige don’t bring happiness. Yes, they can provide certain opportunities that people may value, but they can also cause misery and destruction. You only have to take a brief look around to see this to be true.  Money, power, and prestige can leave us wanting more. Rarely do they make us feel satisfied and content, we may feel urges to pursue more of it. This hedonistic hamster wheel continues as we gather more “stuff”, and never satisfy our thirst for more.

The pursuit of more can often result in destructive behavior such as selfishness, egotism, and becoming a workaholic. You would be hard-pressed to find an example of someone who is happy and exhibits these behaviors.  Our society likes to show an example of people who are rich, famous, and powerful and spotlight them as people we should strive to be like.

Three Drivers of Lasting Happiness

  1. Selflessness. It is human nature to be selfish; us before them. Yet those that can rise above that instinct and sacrifice their own time, pleasure, and/or possessions for others find a huge return on investment. A return that is better than money, power, and fame.
  2. Positivity. There is so much negativity out there. In the daily news, on social media, and even in comedy. Many seek laughs by putting other people down. It may provide a moment of thrill or happiness, but it is fleeting. We can find more enduring happiness by talking well about others and choosing to see the good in other people, even those we disagree with.
  3. Gratitude. People that demonstrate gratitude, especially for the little things, exude happiness. Gratitude helps us be less selfish, think highly of others, and keeps our ego in check. Maybe we could say it’s the antithesis of unhappiness.

Our circumstances certainly play a role in how easy it is to feel happy, especially those moments when we experience a burst of intense happiness. But lasting happiness is bliss but Joy is selfless. While the world and markets may be uncertain and volatile, we can take comfort in knowing that much of our

lasting happiness is within our control.

Investment advice offered through OneAscent Financial Services, LLC, d/b/a Provident Oak Financial, LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Registration as an investment adviser does not imply any certain degree of skill or training.