"To live in fear is to miss out on the way we're meant to live. We're not meant to live in fear. Fear is valuable, but fear is simply an alert system that alerts us to a change that needs to be made."
How do you define happiness? And what if you had the power to be genuinely happy, all the time, no matter what was going on in your life?
We’ve been conditioned to believe that happiness is something to be attained through achievement, success, and validation from others. Oftentimes, we make the mistake of treating happiness like it’s some sort of goal we must reach…
“If only I had more money…”
“If only I had a different career…”
“If only I had better relationships…”
“If only I had a more… different… better…”
The truth is that happiness isn’t something you attain; it’s within you. It’s available to you 24/7, and it isn’t dependent on anything outside of you. You just need to understand how to tap into it.
In today’s episode, I’m going to give you the tools to experience true happiness — even during difficult times — and teach you how to consistently wake up every day feeling like it’s the best day of your life (because it truly can be).
- Redefining happiness and success – and why these things normally overlap.
- Why seeking validation from others makes your happiness conditional – and is both dangerous and highly addictive.
- How we can choose to be happy independent of our conditions, even when facing adversity.
- Why choosing unconditional happiness doesn’t mean rejecting sadness or depression.
- The three components of my current definition of happiness, how it has evolved over time, and ideas to create your own.
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is Hal Elrod, and thank you so much for being here today. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen. I think you are going to be pleased today that you did this podcast. I just finished recording it. I always record the intro after the actual podcast, and this one just flowed through me. I don't know if you've ever had that experience where you say things like you're in flow, and it just comes from God or higher consciousness or infinite intelligence, the universe, whatever you believe in or want to call it, but just like you're learning as much as you're talking as the person listening. So, that was the experience I just had.
And the topic today is so universal for everybody. It's really redefining success and happiness and really understanding how to be truly happy, no matter what, unconditionally, regardless of the circumstances or conditions in your life. And I just think that's so important, and it's such a powerful ability to have. And I think that today you're going to really, really get how to redefine happiness and how to experience it fully in any given or every given moment of your life. So, I hope you enjoy the episode.
Before we dive in, I have two sponsors that I want to thank today. The first is Organifi, and Organifi has been our longest sponsor. And I'm a big fan of their products, I use their supplements every morning, I use their protein powder in my smoothie. I use their probiotic, you name it. I've been using their products for about, I think, four or five years, give or take, and just really a big fan. And I know the owner of the company, Drew Canole, and he is phenomenal. And you can check out all of their products at Organifi.com/Hal, that is Organifi, O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I.com/Hal. And I hope you find something there that you absolutely love. If you want to boost your health and nutrition, that is the place to go.
And last but not least, I want to thank our brand-new sponsor, you heard him last week on the podcast and that is Self-Publishing-School. And of course, you heard Chandler Bolt, the CEO of Self-Publishing School, but the podcast today is sponsored in part by Self-Publishing School. And if you would like a free training on how to successfully write and publish your own book in as little as 90 days, and get a free copy from my friend Chandler Bolt’s book Published, or of his book Published, simply head to Self-PublishingSchool.com/Hal, again that Self-PublishingSchool.com/Hal, and you will get the free training on how to publish your book in as little as 90 days.
And yeah, thanks to my sponsors. I really appreciate them helping you to bring you the podcast. And again, without further ado, here we go. The secrets, the key to experiencing true happiness in your life.
Hal Elrod: Good morning, goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning community. Friends, family, loved ones, everybody listening, thank you for being here. What is going on in your world? What's up today? How are you feeling? What's on the agenda? What are you focused on? What are you looking forward to? I am getting ready for my wife and I to celebrate our 11-year wedding anniversary this Saturday, 16 years together, 11 of those years married. Yes, it took me longer than I needed to finally pop the question, but I'm glad I did. And what else is going on?
Oh, if you're listening to this today live, we just did a webinar yesterday, a Master Class with Chandler Bolt on how to write and publish your first book in 90 days. So, if you didn't listen to that or didn't catch that, you can go to HalElrod.com/SPS, as in Self-Publishing School, S-P-S, HalElrod.com/SPS to register for that webinar. And then, tomorrow, a webinar is going live. Actually, I'm running it live with Chandler around yesterday's live with tomorrow is about people that have already written books, if you've written a book, but you want to know how to market the book, sell more copies, reach more people, impact more people, that webinar is tomorrow. And you can also register for that at HalElrod.com/SPS.
So, we got webinars this week, and got my anniversary this weekend. What else is going on? Oh, we just sold our house. My wife and I just bought 30 acres, and we are moving to our dream of owning land. We've wanted this for a long time, so that's super exciting. And I think that's it. I think that's all. I'm sure there's other updates. Maybe they'll come to me, but today, what are we going to talk about? Let's talk about one of the things I talked about recently on social media. In fact, I sent out an email to you, to everybody in our community on true happiness. And the subject line of that email, if you didn't see it, I think this type of happiness is available to you right now.
And I want to expand on that topic of happiness, and even the broader topic of success. How do we define happiness? How do we define success? Where is the overlap between the two? Because obviously, I think that most people would throw happiness somewhere in the definition of success, because if you're successful by other means, where you're making money or you're doing well in your career, but you're not happy, are you really successful? I don't know that you can be successful and not happy and actually be successful, right? So, something to think about.
So, there's definitely an overlap between the two, but in terms of happiness, actually, I'll read– Let me do this. I'm going to start by reading the email that I sent out, which was based on a social media post, a quote that I put up that I expanded on in that email. And it started out with the question, what is true happiness? What is true happiness? And how can we experience more of it, especially when we're going through difficult times? And I think it's a question for anyone that unless you're waking up every day, and you're like, oh, my God, I'm so excited. I love life. It's amazing. This is like the greatest day ever and the greatest moment ever. And that's why I try to get there as often as I can, by the way. We'll talk more about that, but if you're not waking up like that, and you're not living every day like that where you were just blissfully happy, I'm going to say that, I'm going to suggest that there is another level of happiness and joy that is available to you and that I'm going to invite you to access and to experience and hopefully share some tips and strategies that will help you do that.
So, going on in the email, I said I've been thinking a lot about these questions lately, and I've come to realize that true happiness isn't something you attain, it's something you realize is always available to you. And when we think otherwise, we're like fish who are searching for the ocean, right? So, think about, visualize that real quick, a sort of fish going, where's the ocean? Where's the ocean? And the other fish are like the older, wiser fish going, dude, it's all around you. What are you talking about? You're swimming in the ocean. It's everywhere. And they're like, oh, I didn't realize that I was looking for it.
And this analogy is that happiness is very similar, is that we're like fish going, where's happiness? Is it in the next promotion? Is it in more money? Is it in fixing my problems? Is it in a better relationship? Is it in the next vacation? Is it in the weekend? Where's happiness? I'm looking for it. And I'm trying to, yeah, I'm here to say, no, it's like the ocean, and you're like the fish. We're like the fish, and it's all around us. So, consider that when a baby is born, it's born into happiness, it doesn't have to achieve anything to be happy. Why? Because happiness is our natural state, it is our birthright. And you think about kids playing, right? When little kids are playing, toddlers, they're just happy, they're happy, they're smiling, whether it's a baby or a toddler just to be alive, and then they get conditioned through our society.
We are conditioned to think that happiness is something we have to attain, something that is, hey, get good grades, and then you'll be happy. You'll be happy with the way we acknowledge you and tell you, good job. Good job, son. Good job, sweetheart. Good job, daughter. You did good. Now, you can go and be happy, but if you disobey, then you're grounded, and we rob you of that happiness. But then if you're good, we give it back to you. So, think about that. We're conditioned to think that happiness is something that's elusive, and that we have to behave a certain way in order to win happiness, to get happiness.
And what if that's not true? What if we've been lied to? What if we've been lied to our entire life by society, and that happiness isn't in the thing? Being more “successful” as society defines it, that that's not going to give you happiness. And it's not hard to think about or consider or realize that you look at something many people who are very successful by society's standards, they got the thing, they're famous, they're wealthy. They've got everything you could ever want according to society, but they're miserable. In fact, they've achieved so much success, they live every day in stress and fear that they're going to lose it. I've been there before. In fact, I'm there all the time. That's actually something that I'm telling you this from a place of not I've mastered this completely and I've got it all figured out. So, here you go. It's hey, yeah, this concept of happiness and redefining happiness is something that I'm doing as well, but, yeah, definitely, I think that most people struggle with the fear of loss, the fear of losing the people in our life that we feel like make us happy.
By the way, that's another thing that we're conditioned to think is, oh, I'm happy if I get the person, if I get people to like me, if people praise me, that's my drug, then I feel happy when I get praised and people love me and people tell me I'm good, I'm great, then I feel happy. See, that's dangerous, because if you've set up the rules of your life, of your happiness, if the game you're playing is that if things go well, I feel happy, if people like me, I feel happy, it's a dangerous game because the flip side becomes true, but then if things don't go well, I lose the ability to be happy. If people don't like me, I lose the ability to be happy. So, my happiness is dependent on outside conditions. And we've been conditioned to think that's normal. Is it normal? You tell me, is it normal? Is it normal that our happiness, we give away our power, and we make it dependent on conditions?
One of my favorite books, The Untethered Soul, Michael Singer has a chapter called The Vow of Unconditional Happiness, I think I referenced that actually last week, but I read that book as a podcast as well, I don't know, last year sometime, but it's the idea that you make a vow of unconditional happiness, which is like I'm going to be happy no matter what's going on around me because I'm in control of what's going on inside of me. And even if my circumstances suck for a bit, which they will, that's life, sometimes they suck, sometimes they're great, kind of ebb and flow, but when they suck, I'm not going to let that rob me of my happiness, I'm still going to find that place inside of me that's just happy to be alive, that's just happy because I'm in the ocean of happiness swimming around. And no matter what, I get to choose whether or not I'm happy.
Alright, let me get back into the email that I wrote y'all last week. Where did I leave off? So, consider that when a baby is born, it's born into happiness. Okay, so this is hard to comprehend in a culture where we've been conditioned to achieve goals. Ironically, you're listening to the Achieve Your Goals podcast, which, by the way, someday I will rename it because I feel like there's another level beyond goal achievement, but for now it is what it is. Alright. So, this is hard to comprehend in a culture where we've been conditioned to achieve goals to get somewhere, but in fact, there's nowhere to go because you're already there. Again, we've been conditioned to achieve goals and to get somewhere, but in fact, the reality is there's nowhere to go because you're already there. Think about that for a second. I'm telling you to think about it because I'm typing something, that's my trick, but I told you the trick so it doesn't work.
Alright, so even when we're in during times of adversity, we can choose to be happy, independent of our conditions. We can find that place inside of us that's happy just to be alive. It is inside of you right now. I hope this helps you realize that you always have the choice to be happy starting right now in this moment. That is a gift you give to yourself every day, you deserve it. So, that was my long, drawn out reading of that message that I sent to you. So, think about this. Since we were children, we've been lied to, we've been conditioned to think that happiness was something to be attained through some form of outside stimuli, whether it was an achievement or, again, other people's acknowledgment or praise.
And if you think about it, really, we grew up in a reward system, right? Be a good girl and get rewarded. Be a good boy and get rewarded. With your reward came positive emotions, feelings of happiness. Do your schoolwork, you get a good grade, and once you get a good grade comes a feeling of pride. You got praise from other people. Then came the opportunity to go home and tell your parents about your good grade, received more praise, feel even better about yourself, that cause and effect. Happiness was the effect that we were chasing. And we were told that the cause was something outside of ourselves rather than within ourselves.
If we get biblical, I believe there's a quote in the Bible. I'm not very good at quoting the Bible, but there's one that I always remember, which is the kingdom of heaven is within. And that's a quote. I've pondered on that a lot over the last few years, really ponder on that. What does that mean? The Kingdom of heaven is within. And I think it's left up for interpretation, but to me, it means that heaven isn't something that is outside of us, that we have to, again, be a good boy, be a good girl. Then at the very end of your life, you get to go to heaven, maybe, or is heaven within us? Is the kingdom of heaven within us? Is heaven a state of being? Is it a state of being that's accessible to us always, right now, not just in the afterlife, maybe there, too, right, but not just there? What are we waiting for? I personally believe that the kingdom of heaven is within. I personally believe that heaven is a state of being, and that we have access to that state of being 24 hours a day, seven days a week for eternity, but it's about experiencing that now and now and now.
How do you define happiness? So, let's think about it for a second. I'm not saying that just so I could write something down. I really, really am inviting you to consider that. How do you define happiness? I've talked a lot over the last year about what I call internal inner freedom or internal freedom or interior freedom, whatever you want to call it, but inner freedom. And I define inner freedom as the ability to choose your experience in every moment, the ability to choose your experience in every moment. So, what experience, if you could choose, and maybe right now you don't believe that you can, maybe right now you're like most of us, you're living from a place of being programmed your entire life that the way I feel is dependent on what's going on in my life. And if someone says something that makes me feel good, then I'm up, I feel good, but if somebody says something that makes me feel bad, then I'm down, I feel bad. Think about that. Think about how we're at the mercy of other people. Somebody says one thing, you're up. Say something else, you're down. What if you could just choose your experience always and go, I prefer to feel up, I prefer to feel at peace, I prefer to feel grateful, I prefer to feel happy. And so, I'm just going to commit to that no matter what. So, no matter what happens to me, no matter what someone says about me, it's not going to affect my happiness.
One of my friends who I need to have on the podcast, Jesse Elder, Jesse, if you're listening to this buddy, we've been talking about, you've been on the podcast for a long time, I got to get you on. In fact, maybe I will do a pause, and I'll text Jesse right now. In fact, I'm going to do it. Guys, I'm doing it right now, I'm texting Jesse. Nice, now my computer's giving me the spinning wheel. Jesse, when are we going to do a podcast together? Alright, there it is. You guys heard it right there. I just text Jesse Elder, who, by the way, is off Facebook now. He used to have a big Facebook following, and he decided to get off Facebook. He doesn't like it.
So, anyway, I don't know where you can find Jesse now. I think he’s on Telegram, I think that's the app that Jessie I saw has a channel now. He moved from Facebook to Telegram, as far as I'm aware of. So, if you want to find Jesse, go find him there. Or if you Google Jesse Elder, I'm guessing, his website is up there somewhere, but anyway, before I forget what I was going to tell you about Jesse, I love what Jesse said. I think it was actually, I don’t know if he said this to me directly, I think it was a post that he put up, but he essentially said that, “To live in fear is to miss out on the way we're meant to live. We're not meant to live in fear. Fear is valuable, but fear is simply an alert system that alerts us to a change that needs to be made.” So, you might jot that down. Fear is simply an alert system that alerts us to a change that needs to be made.
If a car's coming at you, you immediately get afraid of being hit by that car and alerts you to jump out of the way. Jump out of the way, and now you're OK. Now, you've utilized fear, you've extracted the value of fear– Jesse's text me back. Alright, we'll see what he says, but anyway, you extracted the value of fear, but now you can put it down. So, you think about though, how many of us live in perpetual fear? Like, most of us. It's hardwired in our brain, where I did a couple of podcast episodes, you can go, if you go on HalElrod.com/podcast, you can search Freedom from Fear. It was one of our most popular podcasts. I did Part 1 and Part 2. So, Freedom from Fear, Part 1 and Part 2, and we talked about how hundreds of years ago, fear kept you safe, and you had to be afraid of a lot of things.
And depending on your situation, depending on if you live in a country where you're always at risk and there's a lot of violence, maybe you've got to be on high alert a little bit more often than most, but for most of us, still, our brain is stuck in this primitive state where we're on high alert, but it used to be real dangers or threats like a mountain lion eating us, or someone attacking our village or the neighboring tribe attacking the village or, yeah, I don't even know. I didn't live back then. All of the different fears, but maybe running out of food. Now, though, our fears are we're having the same level of internal experience of fear over what someone, oh, that person, what if they don't like me? Oh, my gosh. What if they don't like me? We're afraid. What if I fail? What if I get COVID-19? What if, what if, what if, what if, what if, right? This means this perpetual state of fear, but what Jesse said, and I love this, he said, “Do I experience fear? Absolutely,” but he said, “only for a few minutes, only as long as it takes to alchemize the fear into value.” I say that again, experience fear only for a few minutes, as long as it takes to alchemize that fear into value.
And I'm not quoting Jesse directly, that was months ago, but that's how I interpreted what he said, but I know he used that word alchemize, which that's what resonated with me. And the definition of alchemize, I'm just going to go off how I would define it, but it's essentially, you transmute, right? It's taking one thing, and then turning it into something else. So, you're taking fear and you're turning it into value, you're alchemizing it into value. And so, the idea of the car, the alchemization happened instantaneously. Oh, car’s coming, body reacts. Thank God we're programmed with that fear response. Get out of the way, save our life. Oh, great. Right? The fear has been alchemized, you've got the value. Maybe you extend it another minute and go, hmm, I'm not going to walk on this side of the street anymore because this is dangerous. Cars come, or this one turn, I’m going to be really careful when I walk around this turn because the cars come flying around the turn, and they're not looking. They can't see me because there's a blind spot here, got it. I've extracted the value of that fear, and now I get to go live my life as I choose to. Whatever experience you choose, remember, I'm going to tell you again, I'm going to share that again, inner freedom or true freedom is the ability to choose your experience in every moment. To choose your experience at every moment. So, let me ask you this, how do you want to feel? How do you want to feel?
For me, I want to feel blissfully happy, I enjoy feeling that the most. And I find that when I'm in that state of blissful happiness, I'm really at my best, like I have a lot of energy, like right now, I'm starting to feel that, and I get energy from that state. Now, when I'm in fear mode, or when I'm in depression, I don't want to have– that doesn't give me an abundance of energy, in fact, that makes me write, my body tenses up, I shrink, I kind of shrink back, but when I feel blissfully happy, not only do I feel like I'm at my best for me and I enjoy it and I have more energy, but I'm better in every relationship that I have. I'm better on the podcast for our relationship, but I'm better with my spouse, better with my kids. When I am flying high, and someone else says something to me, I want to say flying high, I'm blissfully happy when I am consciously choosing my experience, when I am practicing that inner freedom by choosing my experience in every moment, then when someone else says something, I can alchemize it relatively quickly, I go, wow, they must be really upset or man, I really did something that I shouldn't have, gosh, and I can give him a really sincere apology from a place of inner freedom. So, what's your experience? What do you want to experience? How do you want to experience life all the time, not if things go according to plan? How do you want to experience life all the time?
If you could rub a magic lamp, if a genie showed up, popped into the room right now and said, “I am here to grant you one wish.” And if the only wish is how you feel all the time, what would you choose? Would you choose to be at peace, grateful, happy, excited, a blend of those? And actually, I want to take a second to share a kind of a definition of happiness. When I was younger, I used to think that happiness was in the realm of joy and excitement and thrills. Like, really, wow, I feel so happy. It was like this overabundance, I guess, blissfully happy is a good definition or a good way to phrase. That's how I thought of happiness. And usually, what made me feel happy were always things, they were outside events and stimulus. I got a toy, now I feel happy I got that new toy. I'm happy for a little bit until I get bored with the toy, right? Have you ever been there? You get that toy, you're happy, and then you're bored of the toy. Maybe if you have kids, you can relate to this, right? Like the toy that they begged for Christmas, or the toys, plural, they play with them for like a week, and then like 80% of their toys, the 80/20 rule, they just disregard and then they're bored and then they don't even like them anymore. And those toys don't bring them that same initial excitement and joy, you call it that infatuation that the newness of an experience brings us, that's how I tended to define happiness. And I think a lot of us do that.
So, we're always chasing that next high. We're always looking for, like ahhhh, I don't feel happy. So, oh, I'm going to turn on the TV, I’m going to turn on Netflix. Hmmm, what would make me feel happy? I’m going to go, yeah, this is a good show. Okay, now I'm being stimulated externally, which is bringing about good feelings. Now I'm happy again. The show's over. Ah, I don't feel so happy. Ooh, I'm going to go have dinner, I'm going to go eat a really good meal, I'm going to go to my favorite restaurant. Oh, that makes me happy, eating at my favorite restaurant, I get excited, which on a side note, eating is an emotional sport, by the way. Eating as an emotional sport. I'm going to give you a quick little side bonus lesson, I’m going to slide in here. I feel like the key to health is to decide to value the consequences of the food you eat above the taste. The key to health is to decide to value the consequences of the foods you eat above the taste. It doesn't mean you don't eat food that tastes good, it means you go okay, what are all the healthy foods I can eat? I'm going to try those and see which ones taste the best. Not hmmm, what are all the foods that taste good, and then just fine. Well, it's okay, it's only one cheeseburger, it's only one piece of pizza, it's only one ice cream soda. And then you do that day after day after day after day.
So, anyway, that was a little bonus lesson. And dammit, where was I going with that? Oh, that we're always chasing the next high to be happy, right? And we're looking for, I'm going to buy something new, retail therapy, ooh, now, I feel happy. Got the new thing in the mail, I still feel happy, I'm excited. So, I think that for a lot of us, we've defined happiness, whether consciously or unconsciously, as like it's an emotional high, it's a thrill. And as I've done a lot of, I guess you could say spiritual work as I've just learned and grown and evolved and experienced ups and downs and disappointments and highs and lows and all of that, maybe it's, I don't know, upon maturing a bit, I guess you could say, I've come to realize that happiness is more subtle. It's not the thrills, it's not the excitement because otherwise, if that's what we think it is, then we're always chasing that high, and we are at the mercy of external stimuli, circumstances, events, other people, so on and so forth. We're at the mercy of them, they control our happiness. If the high is not there, just like a drug addict, we're not happy.
So, I've come to redefine happiness as a more subtle emotional state, a more subtle way of being. So, instead of the thrills, it's more of a combination for me now of just being content, being at peace, being grateful just because in every moment, to just choose to be at peace and content and grateful, also known as happy. And when I experience a thrill, it's a bonus, but it's not my happiness. If somebody else says something that makes me feel great, it's a bonus, but it's not my happiness. If someone says something that makes me feel bad, it's a bummer, but it doesn't affect my happiness. Let me turn that over to you. If you can decide, if you can create a definition of happiness that is always available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, and it is completely dependent on you and nothing outside of you, then you can be happy all the time.
You can be sad, but again, the sadness is– how do I eloquently say this? The happiness is still underlying the sadness because you're still content and you're still at peace and you're still grateful. While you're also feeling sad because something happened that there's sadness within you, it brought about sadness, and sadness isn't a bad thing. In fact, sadness is a beautiful emotion that we've been gifted with. It's only a bad thing if it has control over you, and you have no control. If you're feeling sad and you've been feeling that way and you can't control it and you're judging it, the feeling you're judging yourself, you're identifying I am sad or I am depressed, I am depressed is very different from I'm always happy, but I also do feel depression sometimes. You see? Before making a vow of unconditional happiness, I felt depressed, and then I felt like I couldn't be happy and depressed at the same time, because when I felt depressed, that didn't fit my definition of happiness. I wasn't excited, I wasn't thrilled, I didn't have an emotional high, I felt depressed. And I judged myself, I judged myself for that feeling, and I identified that I am depressed. No, I'm experiencing depression, but I'm happy.
I'm a happy person because even when I feel depressed, I'm still content, I'm still at peace, and I'm still grateful. I have the ability to be all of those things, a.k.a. happy and feel depression and feel anxiety and feel anger, but that doesn't change the baseline of happiness. So, I almost feel like we should end it here. I feel like that's the message, right? That's the message, that happiness is available to you always, that I'm inviting you, and I'm inviting you to do this in writing, by the way. Otherwise, you're going to forget this as soon as you hear your next podcast or you turn on the next song on the radio or you have your next conversation. I'm inviting you, if you didn't take notes during this message for what, 30 minutes, and it's worth, probably relistening to and taking some notes. There were a few things in there that I think are important. And I'll try to recap some of those right now.
The first being that’s really defining freedom or inner freedom as it's your ability to choose your experience in every moment, that's inner freedom. And then you decide, okay, do I want inner freedom to be something that is part of my life? Do I want to practice inner freedom? And that's where it starts. Do you want to practice inner freedom? Meaning, do you want to commit to consciously choose how you experience life, your experience in every moment? No matter what goes on around you, do you want to choose consciously what's going on inside of you? So, that's where I would start. And then, the next place is creating your definition of happiness. Again, do this in writing.
And for me, there are three components of my current definition of happiness, which, by the way, for sure could evolve. It could expand or contract, it could evolve in different ways, but right now, the way that I have defined happiness, and remember, this definition is that it's your baseline that you can be happy no matter what's going on in your life, no matter what someone says to you, you're free to choose your experience. And if you want to be happy, which I think most of us do, and that would be either the experience you would choose is to be happy or some version of that, then your definition should be one that is unwavering that you can live, even in the midst of feeling depressed or angry or anxious or whatever it is, or sad. So, for me, three words or three aspects of it, it's feeling content, just being content from a place of wholeness, a place of abundance. So, that word content, I think that you can define that in different ways. For me, it's a place of wholeness, of perfection, that everything is perfect.
The paradox is things are a mess in my life at different times, but one of my mantras is that it's always perfect, it's always happening exactly as it should, so that I can learn and grow and evolve in the midst of the chaos, that's where the perfection lies. So, that's what contentment for me means is content is whole, abundant, and perfect. I'm typing this down, or typing it up. The other word is grateful. So, for me, happiness is a state of just gratitude that even when I was in the hospital fighting cancer, I was grateful every day for everything that I had. I had a wife and I had kids. And I still do, I have a wife, I have kids, I was alive at least one more day. I didn't know how long I had faith it would last, but it was pretty tough there, touch and go. I was grateful that I had nurses that were taking care of me. My dad and my mom would stay with me, and my wife would stay with me. I just had so much to be grateful for, even though I was in horrific pain, and I mean, on the edge of death, but it didn't change me being happy. It didn't change that I was content that I was grateful.
And the last part of my definition of happiness, this is mine, by the way. You can borrow this, you can model this, you can completely create your own, but it's being at peace. I'm at peace with everything, I'm at peace with life exactly as it is, always. I accept it exactly as it is. I don't ever wish it were different. I might want it to be different, and doing things to make it different, but in this moment, it's exactly as it is, so I'm at peace, that I don't wish this moment were different because that would be delusional. Think about that. To wish this moment were different in your life is delusional, because this moment is exactly as it is. And you can either be at peace with this moment, grateful for this moment, content, whole, abundant, see the perfection of this moment, and if you don't like it, you can go change it, that's great. Or you can resist this moment and wish it were different and feel angry and upset and sad and scared, you choose your experience of life, and if you don't choose it consciously, then it's going to take hold of you unconsciously. Society’s conditioning is going to have a grasp on you unconsciously, and you're not in control of how you feel and what you focus on, unless you take control.
So, I'll leave you with just a couple of ideas around, like right now, this moment that we're sharing, right now, and I know that you're listening to this not live, so technically this moment for me was probably like a few days ago for you kind of thing, but this moment, right now that you're listening to this and I'm speaking this, we're sharing like an interdimensional moment, I don’t know, I don't know the quantum physics behind that, but you're listening to my voice right now, so this moment we are sharing in a way, and I want you to consider that this is the greatest moment of your life. Now, maybe I shouldn't have said that, I might just open up a can of worms as I'm trying to close out the podcast, but this is the greatest moment of our lives.
When I was in the hospital, every moment was the greatest moment of my life because it was the only moment, and I could choose to see it as a–think about this, is the quality of this moment dependent on your outer conditions or your inner freedom? So, if when I said that, it triggered you, if when I said, this is the greatest moment of your life, if you go, Hal, screw you, I just lost my job, I'm getting a divorce. Like, are you kidding me? Greatest moment of my life, like, I'm struggling in so many ways. Screw you. If you got triggered by that, or if it just didn't resonate with you, you're like, yeah, you're right, Hal, I'm going to go listen to a different podcast, if that's the case, ask yourself what defines the quality of the moment for you? Is it your outer conditions? Or is it your inner freedom?
Because your outer conditions might have sucked or might suck right now, might be difficult, some of them, and that's why you were triggered, but how long are we going to keep living and allowing our inner world to be dictated by our outer world? I don't know about you, but I'm done, I'm done with that. I've been done for a long time, but I forget and I fall back into the trap sometimes of being human and abiding by our society's conditioning, but I'm done, right? I choose inner freedom, and I hope you do, too. If you want to be truly happy, create that definition of happiness that isn't based on thrills and new things, but it's just your ever-present state of being. Choose happiness or bliss or joy, whatever you want to call it, as your ever-present state of being, your everlasting experience, that is unconditional, not dependent on any conditions and not even able to be affected by your outer conditions. That, to me, is true happiness. That to me is what we're after. And I hope this is helpful for you, and I hope to see you smiling a lot more because you're in that place of true unconditional happiness, and nothing anyone says or does or anything that happens to you can deter you from your birthright.
I love you so much. Thank you for listening, and I'll talk to y’all next week.
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