Kirk Ray Smith: The Pursuit of Happiness

I’ve yet to meet a single person who does not want to be happy, or at least achieve some degree of happiness. We all like being happy and experiencing feelings of joy and satisfaction; it is good for the soul.

Happiness can be deceptive, however. It can fool us into believing it’s permanent. Happiness can cause us to forget how to handle tough situations and navigate through adversity or difficult days. If we’re not careful, happiness can also lead to complacency by making us too comfortable.

I’ve yet to meet a single person that enjoys and looks forward to pain and struggle. I don’t know anyone who pursues adversity and dark days. That said, I believe pain and struggle can play a significant role in our overall happiness and success.

I am a firm believer, as life has convinced me of this truth. In life, there are three amazing teachers: reading/research, experience and adversity. The greatest teacher of the three is adversity, as it proves our mettle, resolve and commitment. Pain and struggle have a way of giving us the foundation we need to successfully make it through difficulty.

We don’t want to live in a constant state of struggle, trying to be happy at all costs. Happiness is a good thing and a worthy pursuit; however, it shouldn’t dominate our life.

Spending all of our days focused on being happy will lead to greed, missteps, blind spots and all types of forced errors and disappointments.

The name of the game is satisfaction; knowing that we did our best even though we’re not feeling happy with the outcome and/or reaction from others.

Again, happiness is a good thing and a worthy pursuit. Pain and unhappiness aren’t things to pursue nor hope for. As a matter of fact, both happiness and pain visit us whether we pursue them or not; there is a balance.

True happiness is not about 100 straight days of fun and bliss full of greed and indulgence. True happiness is having mastery over our life, body and mind—not being controlled by momentary impulses or being afraid of a rough patch or two along the way.

Happiness is not about having 31 flavors of ice cream to choose from; it is knowing which flavors work for you without apology and affirmation from others.

Know your flavors, know your worth, appreciate your value and watch happiness happen almost by default!

Answer the call when pain and challenges come your way and they have you feeling a little down: Don’t rush them away; instead, let those challenges shape you and prepare you for true happiness and the good days ahead!

Kirk Ray Smith is the president and CEO of Hope Villages of America, formerly RCS Pinellas

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