…Unhappiness is a choice.

I can be MAD, furious, irate, fuming, agitated, exasperated, livid, incensed…

I can be SAD, sorrowful, downcast, despondent, heartbroken, melancholy, mournful, pessimistic (usually more cynical than pessimistic), out of sorts…

But I will not be Unhappy. Unhappiness is a choice.

Unhappy is listed as a synonym for sad. I beg to differ. Sadness is an uncontrollable emotion. Unhappiness is a choice.

If you Google “How to be Happy.” you will get 5.25 Billion results. Yes, I said Billion with a “B.” How to get to the top of those search results is some sort of magic or a really big budget. The point is that this search for “Happiness” and, quite honestly, the entitlement to Happiness is incredibly overrated while, at the same time – Unhappiness is a choice!

Unhappiness is a perception.

Unhappiness is a story you are telling yourself. Unhappiness requires believing that “Only if XYZ, then I will be happy.” Meaning that until then, you are unhappy. NONSENSE! It’s time to choose a different story to tell yourself because it is just that – a story. If you achieve XYZ, you will then have new dreams and wishes. If you tie your happiness to the next goal, you choose to be unhappy….FOREVER!

I use “JOY” in my writing and general process for seeking well-being in life.

The best definition of joy comes from the Merriam-Webster dictionary. “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT.”

That last line needs to be repeated:

…or by the prospect of possessing what one desires


Notice it does not say “by possessing.”

It says “by the prospect of possessing,” meaning enjoying the journey of that prospect. Enjoying the journey as you pursue that desire and also enjoy the journey when you realize that desire was fleeting and no longer the best use of your time—enjoying the reflection on the journey thus far and course correcting to your newest desire—all along the way, choosing not to be Unhappy.

Please, please, never tie your JOY to possessing or achieving an arbitrary goal. Enjoy the pursuit knowing it will continuously expand or change. Realize that there will be numerous challenges along the way and that “overcoming those challenges is living.”

Embrace the uncertainty of tomorrow because along with that uncertainty comes infinite possibilities.

Find the “courage to be disliked or even judged.”

You read that right. It takes courage to be yourself, and in the process, there will be people that don’t like you. There will be people who disagree. And unfortunately, there will be people that judge you.

If there ever were a recipe for unhappiness, the key ingredient would be trying to please and be liked by everyone all the time.

Every time I click the “publish” button on one of these posts. Whenever I share them on LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other site, I go through a moment of dread and fear. I envision past acquaintances, colleagues, friends, and even family rolling their eyes and thinking, “who the hell does he think he is.” “Who the f*ck cares what you have to say?”

It’s a very brief moment, and then I click publish. I click publish because I know the above scenarios are going to happen. To say “I don’t care” would be false. However, I can say, “I don’t care enough for it to stop me or cause me unhappiness.” I am fine with someone disliking me or judging my thoughts because, frankly, I most likely feel similar about them.

I believe that, more often than not, these “dislikes” and “judgments” are rooted in ego, jealousy, and misunderstanding. They are a story. A story the perpetrator is telling themselves or, more likely, even a story you are mistakingly telling yourself. How much EGO must it take to believe anyone has time to think about you, dislike you, and judge you?

Like with every area of life, you can certainly take this “courage” too far and swing the pendulum over to simply being a jerk. Believing you have it all figured out and that your opinion is the right opinion. I sure hope I never sound that way. The biggest reason I write and hit the publish button is that I am in the same eternal process as everyone else, trying to figure it out. We will disagree, possibly even clash, and that’s OK.

The only thing we should all agree on is that others have a right to disagree with us.

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