Happiness: A Matter Of Focus?

Your happiness, or lack thereof, depends upon where you focus your attention.

Natural tendency

We humans have a natural tendency to focus on what we desire. That’s healthy; the pursuit of dreams brings joy and excitement into our lives. That is…until it overshadows the good that  already exists in our lives.

All too often I find that people who are unhappy feel that way because their desire has become an obsession. They lose sight of the good fortune they already possess and pin their hope for happiness on realizing their dream. In other words, they believe that realizing their dream will make them happy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If you doubt that, recall a goal that you achieved. How long did your joy last? Asked another way, how long was it before you established a new goal and began pursuing it? We always want more. Again, that’s a good thing. It keeps life fun and exciting. 


The keys to happiness are:

  • Appreciating all the good that exists in your life.
  • Pursuing dreams without allowing their achievement to determine your happiness.

The people who are always sporting beautiful smiles…smiles that make them attractive to all whom they meet…are happy because they find joy in what they’ve already achieved while pursuing things that will bring them more joy. 

Their happiness is not determined by the results they get. As we’ve already discussed these feelings are fleeting. Instead, they’re happy because they appreciate their good fortune and, in the process of pursuing their next dream, they are learning and growing. They relish the fact that their journey has gotten them to where they are and are excited to see where their journey will take them.

It’s this dual focus of appreciation of what you have and the pursuit of dreams that determine whether, and to what extent, you experience happiness.

For you

If you want a happy life, shortly after rising:

  • Remind yourself that happiness is a matter of focus. 
  • Focus your attention on the good fortune you enjoy. 
  • Identify what you’re going to do today to move you closer to what you desire.
  • Remind yourself that there will be days when the unexpected prevents progress and that these days also provide opportunities to learn, grow and become more capable.

Just before retiring, recall the success you had feeling happy throughout the day. Note the fact that even unexpected challenges were less daunting because you maintained your happiness. 

For our kids

When you observe your kids becoming unhappy, when they pin their happiness on achieving a goal, share with them the keys to happiness. 

Better yet, live this message so that your kids see you smiling constantly…even in the face of adversity. Kids mimic our behaviors, especially when they see how happy we are.

Feel free to share this blog with those you feel would benefit from this message. It’s an easy way to say “I love you. I’m thinking of you.”

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, share your wisdom in a comment.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs (opens in a new link) (opens in a new link). 

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program (opens in a new link).

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2 Responses

  1. Bill Prenatt

    Hi Dale, It seems like many people make excuses for being unhappy. They blame their circumstances or other people.

    What would you say to people who fall into this way of thinking?

    • Dale Furtwengler

      Bill, it’s a natural human tendency to want to place the blame on others, or circumstances. I’m certain that we’ve all done it at one time or another. I know that I have.

      It’s in moments like this that I remind myself that blame doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t matter who or what caused what happened, the question I have to answer is “What can I do now to alleviate my unhappiness?”

      As I discover potential solutions to what I’m facing I immediately feel a return to a sense of well being, of having control over the choices I make. I no longer feel like a helpless victim. I, like everyone else, am facing one of life’s challenges and I have the right to choose how I deal with it. This shift in mindset brings resolve and the joy of successfully dealing with another challenge.

      As always, you pose great questions. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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