“Decide to be happy.” “Live in the present moment.” We have all heard these things and to someone who is naturally enthusiastic, they can make sense, but try these concepts with someone who’s really in pain and see if they work… They simply don’t so let’s get real about what it takes to be “happy.”

Happiness can only be temporary

Can you really be happy all the time? I don’t know, maybe that exists but I’ve never met anybody who could be happy all the time without some degree of self denial. We all have wants and needs. We all have things that trigger us. Trying to be happy all the time is a lost game.

Not to mention, there is power in being pissed off. All our emotions contain power. Only an extremely painful situation will make a person change for the better. And while it’s not a good place to stay, it helps us take action.

There is no nobility in mediocrity. Denying your deepest desires will probably not lead to happiness. Chasing these desires from a place of need and scarcity won’t bring them to you either, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

New age hippies are trying to make us believe that we can be perfectly happy eating just flowers and smiling at the rain. However, I have yet to see billionaires give away their fortune to live in a wooden cabin in Alaska.

Chasing happiness itself is a bit elusive because happiness is not a permanent state. You can be happy more often than you’re sad during the day of course, but you can’t be happy all the time. I see life as a quest for fulfilment, and I prefer to have inner peace than illusionary permanent happiness.

Beyond happiness

And since happy has its opposite, you can only experience it if you go through periods of unhappiness, like all relative concepts. Inner peace is different. Yes, you also need turmoil in order to appreciate it fully, but it can be way more permanent than happiness.

Let’s face it, life sends tests every day. This year I have been tested just as much as the years before, but the deep work I’ve decided to make has definitely paid off. I don’t react to outside circumstances as strongly as before. I can slow down instead of going into panic mode all the time. And this is more the result of inner peace than “deciding to be happy.”

It all takes daily practice

One thing is certain. If you want to change your future, you have to change your present first. It seems almost too simple but we have learned to project so much that we forget what needs to be done now.

And so for anyone going through hell mentally, I would say the ultimate gifts are patience and consistency. Trying a happiness diet on a Monday would work just as well as every other diet that starts on a Monday… Not very well.

The daily practices I recommend are pretty simple and can be adapted to every individual. Finding things you are grateful for, random acts of kindness, and doing something creative work for the majority of people. However, you don’t erase years of defeatism and self loathing with a few minutes of journalling.

Consistency is key. You have to trust the process and allow time for your brain to adapt to the new patterns. It’s taken me months before meditation and journalling finally started to pay off. And right now I think I can positively say I’m happier than I was a year ago, but the work doesn’t stop.

Your old defeatist and depressive patterns can creep back up the moment you stop doing the work on yourself. It’s not as easy as the hippies say, especially if you have grown up expecting a lot from yourself.


Maxwell Maltz said that happiness was a habit and I agree. However, like any habit, it can’t just be decided and immediately obtained. It takes work and it has to go hand in hand with fulfillment. That’s why I will always warn against the dangers of not chasing your dreams. Going after what you want from a place of “I’m not enough” is a surefire way to fail and be miserable.However, once you’ve realized you were enough, go out there and do something with that.

And if you want a great way to chase your dreams, you can sign up for my FREE webinar here:https://anthonydexmier.webinarninja.co/my/wnwebinarlist/index?webinar_id=28053

Originally posted on medium: