Do you want to know the secret to happiness? Of course you do. Who doesn’t.

Well, it’s not what you think, as my daughter discovered. First, let me tell you a story about what happened in my house this morning.

This morning Miss 8 was complaining about her life. She pulls this pouty duck face when she’s not happy (yes, she is behaving more and more like a ‘tween’ every day).

Miss 8’s best friends’ life is soooo enviable. She has everything that Miss 8 believes she wants. My little girl would change places with her in a heartbeat.

I pointed out a few things that she has that her best friend would envy.

More duck-faced pouting. She wasn’t having any of it.

Then I asked, “Do you want to know the secret to happiness?” Her little eyes lit up, and she said “Yes!” So I told her.

“The secret to happiness is to stop looking for all the good stuff in other people’s lives, and start looking for the good stuff in your own life”.

Miss 8 pulled the duck face again and slumped back in her chair. Not happy.

I told her this really was the secret to happiness, but she wasn’t having any of it.

What about you? Do you believe this is the secret to happiness, or would you rather believe you’ve been dealt the short straw?

It’s much, much easier to believe that you’ve unlucky. That other people are slimmer, cleverer or even happier than you are. It’s easier to believe that you’ve missed out.

It’s very easy to compare yourself to half a dozen or so other people, and come up short. To notice that your talents, or luck, are not as great as theirs are.

And it’s entirely true. Your talents aren’t as great as the talents of a group of other people. But you must realise that no one person can have the strengths, or luck, of half a dozen other people.

If you indulge in this sort of comparison thinking, you need to realise that they’re not rational, and you don’t always put things in perspective.

If you want to increase your happiness, the secret really is to look for the good stuff in your own life. It’s not glamorous. It’s not sexy, and it requires work.

It’s much harder than sitting around moaning that other people have it good.

But the payoff is greater. You want to be happier? You have to work for it.

And at the end of the day, when you do work hard and put in your best effort, you’ll feel far more satisfied and happy than when you sit around comparing yourself with other people.

So, don’t dream it, get out there and do it. Start looking for, and being grateful for, what you have.

Start working on how you can actually improve your short fallings, or reach the next level.

You don’t need to aim for the stars here, just put one foot in front of the other.

Make a commitment to do something every day that keeps you moving in the right direction. Every day, stop and think of three things in your own life that you can be truly grateful about.

Do this, and you will find yourself getting steadily happier all the time. It won’t take long before other people start to notice, and want some of what you have!

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