I hear about happiness every day. It's not what you think. Some people send me emails; others grab me in person when I speak at events. It used to shock me. Not anymore. Frankly, It's epidemic.

People just aren't happy ...

I'm getting used to it. I'm also getting better at predicting when it will happen too. Usually it's the person who I'd least expect to be unhappy.

They pull me aside as if to share a terrible secret.

"Chris, I've got to get out of this situation." Or worse.

"Chris, I just need someone to talk to, or I'll lose my mind." Yikes.

I don't have it all figured out. Really, I don't. But I've been through enough that I know I can help.

Here 5 ways to stop stopping your own happiness.

1. Stop seeking a life of leisure.

Somehow, somewhere we've lost our way. We think that sitting on our butts all day means we'll be happy.

Wrong.

You need to do thing that will bring you joy. There are only so many spas you can visit, and vacations you can take before you'll be out of your mind. Leisure is appropriate and welcomed after hard work.

True happiness comes from doing. Creating. Living. Contributing.

So forget about the visits to the spa. Put your head down and crank. You'll have some dirt under your fingernails, but you'll have a smile on your face. I promise.

2. Stop seeking status.

When I was in my 20's all I wanted to do was have a big title. When I was in my 30's all I wanted to do was have my own company. Now in my 40's all I want to do is learn like I did when I was in my 20's.

If all you seek is status, you will be unhappy. Titles mean nothing. Ignore status, and happiness will surround you.

3. Stop seeking possessions.

I get it. Really, I do. We all want nice things. But once you get nice things, it gets old fast. We've all spent years pining for possessions. Homes, cars, clothing etc. None of it will fulfill you.

Stop seeking possessions, and focus on outward things like bringing value to others.

4. Stop seeking financial security.

It's nice to know you have some money in the bank. But if you only spend your time seeking money, you will never be happy.

I've found that deep fulfillment and happiness tend to come from outward things. For example, seeing how you can make other people's lives better.

  • How can you help your community?
  • How can you bring value to your boss?
  • How can you help your client?
  • How can you help your neighbor?

All will be more fulfilling that seeking money. Here's the rub. When you do this well, and do it from a genuine place. Money comes. And comes fast and furious.

5. Stop seeking worldly power.

Worldly power means power over others, and that's a recipe for disaster. Instead seek mutually beneficial relationships. Better yet; if you view all relationships in your life as an opportunity for you to give to the world.

I once spent 69 days giving gifts in honor of my Father. The simple shift in my daily focus to giving shifted something inside me. I saw opportunities to give all around me. This power is a shared energy. Not a power over someone.