4 Surprising Myths About Happiness


Thomas Jefferson said that we have an inalienable right to pursue happiness. Note, however, that the Declaration of Independence does not promise that the pursuit will actually lead to the possession of happiness. No one is likely to rally support for a Constitutional amendment that guarantees happiness, but it’s a rare human being who isn’t laying claim to that seemingly elusive, just-out-of-reach, grass-is-always-greener concept of happiness. Is happiness so hard to obtain? Actually, it’s not. Your happiness is actually well within your reach. A spiritual life coach can show you that the happiness you desire may be closer than you think.

Myth #1: I’ll only be happy if I have it all.

Who among us hasn’t thought at one time that the right job, the right clothes, the right spouse, the right kids, the right home in the right neighborhood, the right car, and the right timeshare would deliver our expectations. What this belief fails to take into account is the fact that life isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. What do you do if you have the right job but the marriage ends, or you have great kids but your income doesn’t measure up to your neighbors’ Disney vacation? Does that make you a failure? Do you call it quits because you didn’t get it all? Do you remember the line from Auntie Mame? “Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” What does that mean? It means that one of the most important lessons for a happy life is to take a good look at everything that’s on your plate. Maybe it’s not prime rib in a fancy restaurant every night, but aren’t there some days when hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill are just what you’re craving? Life is the same way. Simpler can often times be very satisfying.

Myth #2: Happiness is a place on the map.

Spiritual life coaches often find themselves rerouting clients who think that AAA has navigated a TripTik® Travel Planner for Happiness, USA, and that if you just turn left onto the marriage ramp, take the career exit, and journey a designated distance, you’ll end up in Happily Ever After.

According to Robert Biswas-Diener, “Happiness isn’t the emotional finish line in the race of life.” What does that mean? It means many things. When people are happy, their upbeat emotions are reflected in the way they treat other people and their willingness to branch out into new opportunities, in trying new things, in being healthier. “Happiness is a process and a resource,” Biswas-Diener explains. His book, Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, interprets life as an ongoing series of events, good and bad, success and failure, health and illness, which we all encounter. Sometimes, as we live our daily lives, we lose sight of the balance. A spiritual life coach can help you bring your life into focus. Guess what?  You’re richer than you think, regardless of your bank account.

Life is a process; by living, we learn resilience, adaptability, and self-awareness. Life encompasses a great deal of change. Challenges will come but they aren’t the end of the journey. What happens when you’re traveling along a road and a sign alerts you: Construction ahead. Follow the detour. Do you stop, park the car, and wait until the road project is completed in two years? No, of course not. You take the detour to get where you need to go. That’s what the pursuit of happiness really is: encountering what life has to offer and adapting to it. There’s more than one way to get to your destination. Just ask your life coach.

Myth #3: More of everything adds up to a happier me.

When lottery jackpots climb, Powerball fever makes many of us start planning how we’ll spend the millions before we’ve even purchased a ticket. We think that, with millions in the bank giving us the ability to buy whatever we want, we’ll find happiness. Keep in mind what billionaire John D. Rockefeller replied when he was asked how much money is enough. His answer: “Just a little bit more.”

Spiritual life coaches have found that it’s actually in giving that we accrue happiness. Some people who volunteer their time have found that the currency of compassion brings a form of wealth that doesn’t show up in a checkbook balance. According to Stephen Post, a professor of preventive medicine and director of Stony Brook University’s Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics, “When people help others through formal volunteering or generous actions, about half report feeling a ‘helper’s high’ and 13% even experience alleviation of aches and pains.” Less pain without spending a penny? It’s the true wealth of happiness.

Myth #4: I can never be happy if bad things happen to me.

Have you ever watched a young couple as they exchange their marriage vows? Brides and grooms sometimes think that they’ve pledged the sororities and fraternities of Happiness-is-Us. Does happiness means that we’re immune to the ordinary pitfalls of existence? Your spiritual life coach isn’t going to try to convince you that life should feel like a succession of Christmas mornings. Life coaching teaches you how to handle life gone wrong, so that the obstacles can become opportunities.

What happens when “till death do us part” turns into divorce? When the two-income household faces a job layoff? When illness strikes? Not all marriages last. It’s very hard to realize that the marriage that fails may have been flawed from the start. An unhappy marriage may lead to divorce, but studies have shown that, within four years after a bad marriage ends, the former spouses are actually happier than they were while they were locked inside an unhappy union.

With life comes illness.  People are born with disabilities. Young people are stricken with terminal illnesses. Healthy men and women are diagnosed with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and other ailments. No one is immune to the conditions that afflict the human body. As we age, we are prone to diseases and impairment. Life coaching helps human beings make the best of their situations. Healthy eating, exercise, interaction with others, and a positive attitude are a prescription for a better life, but there’s more. Learning how to make our days count can be a powerful health regimen.

People tend to believe myths until they examine them. Happiness is not a myth, happiness is present in some form every day of our lives.  If you’re convinced that the fore mentioned myths of happiness are true, it’s time to rethink that belief. A spiritual life coach can debunk the myths that actually hinder people from achieving pure happiness because the truth is a much more potent vehicle for emotional wealth and prosperity that leads to a fulfilling life.

Tom Casano
Tom Casano is the CEO and Founder of Life Coach Spotter, where you can find your life coach and learn more about coaching.  He is an entrepreneur who lives in New York City.