For the last few years I have been focused on becoming more happy.
This was in part because I had a rough childhood, and partly because I was, for many years, in a bad business relationship that ended up sucking most of my will to work out of me, while I gave myself a depression. It made me so stressed that I was only able to work a few hours each day.
I am better now, happier now, and have a better than normal life, where I get to choose what to eat, what to wear, and (mostly) what to do.
This was not enough, and I was still searching for happiness, mainly because I still felt like I was never happy.
Stumbling down my path in life, I realized that some of it comes from motivation, so I studied this and learned a ton about what motivates people. But still I was not HAPPY ALL THE TIME!
Then I realized, through reading zenhabits.net and other blogs like that, that some happiness comes from inner calmness, so I practice tai chi and meditate (sometime, not as much as I aim for)
Still not HAPPY ALL THE TIME! Grrrrrr!
I have discovered the main reason for my lack of happiness, and it is the same reason that you never feel happy. It is because we are happy when we are deeply in flow.
So, to notice and feel the happiness, we have to break the flow and context switch into being aware of ourselves, to notice the happiness that stems from flow.
That is why you so often read and hear statements from people, that the 6 months of 12 hours a day, 7 days a week at some startup [The hard thing about hard things] was the best time of their life, and they look back on it with fondness and see it as an especially happy time.
For me, that time I worked at IBM doing support was some of the best working memories I have, because there was no negative stress. I was in flow for long periods of time, solving really hard problems, and I was paid more than I believed I was worth.
Therefore, when I am deep in flow I am happy, but unable to feel it – now that sucks and is just how life will screw you over: by making you hunt for something that you are unable to feel and see when you actually are.
If you try, go a down memory lane and look back at some happy moments. They probably did not feel like happy moments; working long hours, deep concentration, no contact with others – but now when you think back at those times they were good times, right?
So try next time you have a half day of uninterrupted work ahead of you, just let a tiny sliver of your consciousness be aware of how much fun it actually is to do the work and to be in flow.
I, for sure, know that while writing this post I almost burned my dinner, and because it did not become charcoal, it is now getting cold – all because the fantastic feeling of being in flow while writing is so much more fun than eating.
The realization, that it is almost impossible to be happy while noticing being happy, helps ease the pain of not feeling happy all the time because now I know why. And every day I have been in flow, I can kind of almost remember how happy I was when I was in flow.
So, to become happier you just have to figure out what makes you go into flow!