This is the key that unlocks happiness

It turns out that what makes people happy comes down to one small four-letter word…

Happiness—“the quality or state of being happy”—has been in the news a lot lately, hasn’t it? Books and articles written, conferences held, memes created… you name it—which is exactly as it should be. We should all be pursuing what makes us happy! I think you’ll agree.

A little while ago, I heard about the findings of a study about happiness—and was a little surprised by what was discovered. It’s nothing new, it’s something we’re probably all aware of—but it’s something most of us actually avoid!

This study uncovered that the biggest factor in what makes people experience happiness comes down to one small four-letter word: RISK.

Wow… a little uncomfortable sounding, isn’t it?

The people who identified as being the happiest, were the people who were willing to risk unhappiness. The greater the risk, the greater the happiness.

Look at it this way:

If being healthy would make you happy, you have to risk feeling unhappy about moderating your diet and being sore after exercising—but the end result is feeling happy, isn’t it?

If a romantic relationship would make you happy, you have to risk being rejected.

If a promotion or raise at work would make you happy, you have to risk learning and doing things you’re probably not doing right now.

You get the picture.

This week, as you set and evaluate your current level of happiness and risk, ask yourself:

  • What was the scariest, most exceptional thing I risked this week?
  • What will I be willing to risk this coming week?
  • What stood out for me?
  • Was this the best I could give?
  • Could I have risked more?
  • What did I do this week that made me the proudest?
  • What risk can I take this week that no one else is expecting from me?