The Key to Your Overall Happiness Is Simple

UPDATED: September 21, 2016
PUBLISHED: September 21, 2016

When I made the decision to make happiness my No. 1 priority every day, I became aware of a whole new world of possibilities. Healthier choices instantly presented themselves. I learned how to make myself feel better when times were tough, simply by shifting my thoughts and focusing on something that would lift my spirits. I began to create habits and develop mindsets that enabled me to live more in the moment and enjoy myself during the process. That doesn’t mean that I’m happy 24/7. I was well aware there would always be challenges.

Related: 5 Ridiculously Easy Things You Can Do Every Day to Feel Happy

Because let’s face it, there will always be unexpected challenges and problems to manage. Even the very fortunate among us experience setbacks and suffering of some kind at different stages in our lives. Challenges and stress are a part of life. As Frank Sinatra sang, “That’s life. That’s what all the people say. You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.” (He also sang, “Doobie, doobie, doo,” but the relevance of that lyric totally escapes me.)

My point is that you can experience unease, sadness and pain at times and still be happy overall. Your overall happiness is determined by what you choose to focus on in the world from day to day. That’s the key.

For example, a sunny blue sky can have scattered clouds passing by. To some, it’s still an overall sunny blue sky. To others, it’s a sky marred by clouds. You need to ask yourself what you focus on most in your world. Do you focus on the sunny blue sky or do you give your attention to the clouds? I’m not asking you to think literally, as if you were a meteorologist (unless you are one of course), but as an individual with an overall worldview. Your honest answer will be in direct relation to the degree of your overall happiness. If you fit into the category of someone who focuses on the clouds, simply by shifting your focus to the bright blue sky, your degree of happiness is immediately elevated. That concept applies to everything in your life and is otherwise known as “seeing the glass half full.”

Being the astute observer that I am, I can pretty much tell a person’s degree of overall happiness on any given day just by asking a very simple question: “How are you doing today?” Their answers will vary greatly from a high degree of happiness to a very low degree of happiness.

Related: Secrets for a Happy Brain

My life is great.
“Couldn’t be better.”
“OK, I guess.”
“I’ll get by.”
It could be worse.
“Not so good.”
And my two personal favorites: “Don’t ask,” and “You don’t want to know!”

The responses we give can vary from day to day, depending on our circumstances and, more important, how we view them. Regardless of your current overall degree of happiness, I want you to ask yourself, Do I want to be happier than I am? I can only assume yes, otherwise why would you be reading this? Now I’ll ask another question: Are you willing to make the effort required to become happier than you are?

Before you answer, let me tell you there are no coincidences in life. Everything happens for a reason. You are reading this for a reason. You were drawn to it, curious about the subject because on some level, you want to better your life. Even if your life right now is pretty great and you have a high degree of overall happiness, you were still drawn to this article because there is some benefit that you can derive from it.

OK, you can answer the question now. Forgot it already? Here’s a refresher: Am I willing to make the effort required to become happier than I am? Do I want to be happy? Here’s a hint: Yes, you do.

Related: 10 Science-Backed Ways to Be Happier Right Now

Steve Rizzo is the Attitude Adjuster. You can’t attend one of his keynote speeches and leave with the same attitude. He’s a personal development expert, comedian, motivational speaker, and best-selling author. It’s no surprise that he’s been inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon on fewer than 250 speakers worldwide since 1977. You can find out more at