People tend to think that possessing something or someone means happiness. It’s like that because of all the advertisements around us. Smiling people in bank ads make us think that a house loan is a shortcut to happiness. Car advertisements make sure that our brain starts to connect a car to freedom. Shopping is an activity that makes many of us smile.

But there is no shortcut to happiness. As you have probably already noticed— a new dress or fancy gadget feels good only for a while, after that it ceases to be special and will be what it used to be— just an object.

So where can we find happiness if not from the shop? It’s nothing complicated actually.

Becoming the person you want to be will provide you with an endless supply of positive emotions.

Think about some big project that you have enjoyed over a long time like renovating your house or fixing an old car. It’s work, but the kind of work you enjoy. You start with planning how you want your new home to look. You gather ideas and discuss them with friends who have done something similar. You choose the materials and start. Maybe you work on it every weekend, maybe even a couple of hours every day. It’s a bit hard to make yourself do it at first- watching TV is so much more tempting, but once you’re painting that wall and see the results every day, you realise- it does make you happy. Every step closer to your goal brings a smile to your face. Yes, it’s similar to the euphoria of buying something new, but instead of being delivered all in one package, the happiness is distributed into small doses and that’s why it lasts longer.

The same is with becoming the person who you want to be- you’re growing and creating something and that gives you positive emotions.

Possessing things is different.

We want to have things because we want to fill the emptiness.

Same goes with all the shortcuts to happiness, whether it’s eating, drinking or spending cash. We try to fill the void, but the void is growing bigger, so we buy more stuff instead of being content with what we already have. It’s a vicious circle and will not lead you to happiness.

What makes you happy, grateful, and satisfied in life is a career you love, the person who shares your values and sense of humour and people who you respect and admire. All these things are experiences. Science has confirmed that experiences give us more satisfaction than buying things. Experiences are meaningful and don’t have to cost a lot.

Why is it so? It’s so because gratitude makes us happy.

So if you’re seeking happiness, then becoming the person you want to be is the best way to find it. It’ll take time and effort, but at the end of the day, you’ll be thankful that you did it. Now it’s time to start thinking who do you need to become to be happy.

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