Positive Pursuit to Happiness by Michael W. Harnett

The pursuit of happiness is defined in the Declaration of Independence as the fundamental right to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, providing you don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others.

In my headline, “Positive Pursuit to Happiness”, I use the word “to” rather than “of” to show that happiness is not just a destination but a conscious journey.

The Positive Pursuit to Happiness is your inherent right to live your life in a way that brings you joy and happiness.” -Michael W. Harnett

In today’s fast paced world, happiness appears to be a feeling that is increasingly more difficult to realize, and there are many aspects of life that can impact this in a very negative way. Rather than focusing on all the negative aspects of life, I have made a conscious decision to focus on all the positive aspects of life. This decision has taught me that happiness can be achieved, and that the only way to realize happiness is to look at life from a positive perspective.

I have learned many life lessons over the years, and have also learned how to achieve happiness on a much more profound level than I had during previous times of my life, like as a young boy, I did not understand how to enjoy life and be happy for life itself.

Just to put some perspective around my journey, I will touch on a life event that took away my happiness, to show that I had two choices. We can dwell on the negative outcomes we encounter in life, or we can choose to focus on the positive aspects of life, and that is the intent of this article, to focus on everything great and positive that life offers.

When I was about 7 years old my parents separated. That meant my Dad, who is my idol, my hero, and my inspiration, was no longer part of my daily life. This devastated me, and greatly impacted my level of happiness. Unfortunately, I was not wise enough at that tender young age to process this in a positive way, nor did I recall anybody putting this into perspective for me so that I could process this significant life event in a positive manner.

I became angry, and I was upset with my Mom, who in my undeveloped mind was to blame for my Dad being taken out of my life on a day to day basis. Of course, my Dad was always in my life, but not living with us, so that impacted me deeply. Because of this I developed a huge ‘chip on my shoulder’ and I became a very difficult child to deal with.

I developed a hate for authority and was a challenge in school and at home to say the least. The point being, I can speak from first hand experience as to how I reacted, and the ‘choice’ I had in how I reacted to this life event. I chose to react in a negative way, and ultimately, I was the reason for my lack of happiness… nobody else but me.

In most cases, happiness and how we chose to react to things that happen in our lives comes from within. If I had reacted differently to this life event, I would not have gone through so many years of unhappiness. The bottom line, “I took my own happiness away from myself”, and I want to help you avoid the same mistakes I’ve made in my life.

Why would it ever make sense to sabotage your own happiness? You are the one that will pay the ultimate price for this, because as people come and go throughout your life, you will always have to live with yourself, so why not choose to live a happy and joyous life?

I want to shift the focus to the ‘Positive Pursuit to Happiness’ at this point, and my goal is to help you understand that you have a choice as to how you react to challenging or negative life events. The level of happiness you can enjoy can be increased simply by shifting your thinking on how you react to the challenges you will undoubtedly face in your life at one point or another.

Happiness comes from within, and for the most part we have total and complete control over that. The key is, taking control of your thoughts and how you process information. Here are some ideas that can help you focus your time and energy on happy and positive thoughts that will lead to happiness:

  • Take a step back when you are frustrated or encounter a challenging life event, reflect on your day, then let go and move forward in a positive, constructive manner.

  • Don’t dwell on the past, take the lessons learned from your life experiences and use them to your advantage to ensure more positive results in the future.

  • Think happy thoughts, and do activities that make you happy.

  • Surround yourself with happy, positive and encouraging people.

  • Remove any negative or toxic relationships out of your life.

  • Ask for understanding or context as to why things have turned out the way they have so you can gain the necessary perspective to focus on the positive aspects of the outcome.

  • Refuse to let life or others dictate your level of happiness, and take control over your thoughts and commit yourself to finding joy and happiness.

  • Embrace the fact that not everything will turn out the way you desire, and accept that fact and then focus on what you can control that makes you happy.

  • Write down or journal your thoughts and then follow that with positive steps you can take to avoid negative outcomes.

  • Serve and help others, and be kind. It’s amazing how good it will naturally make you feel by being thoughtful, caring, and considerate.

  • Understand that life is a gift, and be grateful that you are alive.

  • Be thankful for the food on the table, the clothes on your back, the home you live in.

  • Appreciate all the gifts and wonderful things you have, and that others do for you unconditionally.

  • Put into perspective what people in some countries must do to survive, and look around at what you have, even if it’s very little, and be thankful because what you have is often more than others will ever have.

  • Don’t be materialistic. Focus on the amazing people in your life and cherish those relationships.

  • Live a healthy lifestyle, eat well, exercise, meditate, be spiritual, or engage in activities that put you in your happy place.

  • Read inspiring stories of courage and success.

  • Read personal growth and development content that will fill your mind with positivity, and offer techniques and strategies that work best for you to find joy.

  • Listen to music that lifts your spirits.

  • Watch movies that fill your heart with peace and tranquility.

  • Do a daily self-talk to feed your mind with encouraging and happy thoughts that will help keep you on track with your goals, dreams and aspirations.

This is only a small list of things you can do to ensure your happiness. Different strategies and activities work for different people. There are always things that make you happy, so engage in those things, and they will help you to avoid unhappy thoughts. And if all else fails, there are so many ideas available that can work for your unique personality and personal preferences, which can be easily found by doing a simple Google search.

If some of the ideas I have listed don’t work for you … take action! Go find what makes you feel at peace, tranquil, happy, calm and relaxed, and you will find happiness, because you have ‘chosen’ the ‘Positive Pursuit to Happiness’.

The reality is; YOU are the one that has to take action, and YOU have to make the conscious choice to pursue happiness, and if you do, it will be so, and I am positive of that my friends.

harnettphotoAbout the Author: Michael W. HARNETT is a Certified John C. Maxwell Coach, Trainer and Speaker based in Ontario, Canada. He founded the brand Mind Growth Matters in 2014, due to an incredible desire and passion to help others change their mindset, overcome their fears, step out of their comfort zone, realize their full potential, live a life of purpose and significance, and achieve much greater levels of success and happiness in both life and career. 

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