Happiness is a Choice That Begins With You
Happiness is Elusive
It’s not easy to find happiness; it’s a goal many of us are trying to achieve, but some people don’t even know where to begin. Larry Sharpe says it is common for us to think our happiness is dependent on something outside of ourselves. We believe some person or thing is responsible for making us happy. We sometimes think that if we meet the right person, get the right job, or make the right amount of money that getting these things is going to make us happy.
Larry explains that this kind of thinking can get in our way. Happiness is found in our relationships with other people. These other ideas are artificial barriers blocking us from happiness right now. We might say we need to get married, or have a child, or get promoted at work before we can be happy, but this is not true.
These things may be valuable and may even help us promote our happiness, but often we find that when we get what we want it doesn’t actually make us happy.
The Three Truths of Happiness
Fortune 500 companies and others hire Larry’s firm, The Neo-Sage Group to foster team leadership skills. After running for Governor of New York in 2018, he founded The Sharpe Way, to heal the political divide by helping people from across the political spectrum to find common ground through mutual respect for one another. He teaches that happiness comes down to three questions:
- Do I have respect?
- Do I feel loved?
- Do I have a purpose?
If your answer to these questions is yes, then you tend to be happy. We need to search for these three truths and put ourselves in environments where they can be acquired.
There’s a general rule Larry uses to point the way: If you have good, positive relationships then you will be happy. Positive is relative to your situation so things can get tricky, and there’s no simple formula.
When you’re with your people, including your friends, family, and coworkers, are the interactions positive? The people in your life may drive you crazy and do things you don’t like. We are all human and we all make mistakes. We resist changing ourselves and try to get other people to change instead. But if the interactions you have in your relationships are obviously more positive than negative you are more likely to be happy, and the more positive interactions the better. If you are in a relationship where the positives do not outweigh the negatives then your relationship needs to be repaired, or you need to consider leaving.
You Are Not Trapped
Sometimes people say they can’t leave because they are trapped. People often believe they are trapped in a relationship, a job, where they live, or any of a number of other things, but Larry teaches people that this is an illusion.
Unless you are locked in a cage you are never trapped.Larry Sharpe
The idea that we are trapped is a story we often tell ourselves to validate our own bad behavior or our fear. You are never trapped, and discovering this fact gives you the power to change and is one of Larry’s keys to happiness.
You can make a conscious choice and say you don’t want to leave because you find value in your relationship, but recognizing where you have control is key to making positive changes.
Free to Choose
Larry teaches that when you make a conscious choice to be in a relationship or situation, only then can you realize that you are free and powerful enough to make changes or leave. Even if you don’t leave it is a voluntary situation. You may reply that you’re still in that bad place with the person who drives you crazy or is mean to you, but realizing you’ve made the choice to stay gives you the power change.
You get to choose. You can change your mind and take the power back and do the things you need to do in order to find happiness.
To see the full interview with Larry Sharpe and learn more, watch the full video.