Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. 

— Mahatma Gandhi 

Just shy of a year ago I wanted to end it all—and I was one of the ‘happy’ ones. It got me thinking deeply about what happiness is, and more importantly, what it isn’t. I had visited, abandoned, and regrouped on this topic for about a decade.

I hold a bachelor of science in international business and a post-graduate diploma in journalism. I’ve received the Pacesetter Award with American Express Centurion as a lifestyle consultant.  Yet, I’ve struggled to be sufficiently proud of a handful of things that quickly didn’t matter in the face of a world reinventing itself. We were at the hands of unprecedented circumstances. How I love evolution, but everything about 2020 was the cocktail of crazy uncertainty, serenity in solitude, and the unfathomable pain when a call starts with, “Are you sitting down?” 

So many suicides, so much grief, too few mental health initiatives. A ton of perspective. The demand to fight for Self-understanding was one of my greatest endeavors. Now, here we are, poignantly accustomed to this life mid-2021 and I’ve learned it’s about who we are, not what the world is like.

It’s the Michelangelo effect, chipping away all of the outer layers to uncover the masterpiece that was always our solid stone core. If only we bothered to look inward. Unwavering in truth, violently distressing every time we fall out of alignment with it. 

We are but a mere translation of the connection we make to the greatness that is within us at all times. 

We are capable. We are powerful. We are designed to adapt. 

I have found that fighting the old instead of building the new was a recipe for losing the plot. I had to give up on deciphering new normals. I challenged myself to think curiously about the next best step. Just the one right in front of me. It’s manageable. Unintimidating. And, after all that we have already managed to endure, it makes me excited to see how we greet the changes that come upon us. Invigorated to do what we, for our whole lives, were designed to do. And continue to do it every day. 

We adapt, be it graciously or in gruesome resistance—life is still changing, and we are part of that change.

It’s breaking down and breaking through. 

Anticipation tickles discomfort and we laugh at the extraordinary things we face. The only way is through. There is comfort in courage. There are still great memes, our health, our family, as well as the sunrise and sunsets that show up for us each day. 

What got me through was my writing; I showed up consistently every day to do what I had said for years I would do. 

I needed to improve the happiness of humanity, which meant I needed to understand happiness. Online courses, neuropsychology standoffs, and the burning sensation that comes when you are unveiling your capabilities to your Self. But I also needed to understand my Self to know what was going to make me truly happy. I figured it out and I wrote. I got a few grey hairs and was dizzy on the monument of nearly obtained accomplishment. An always shifting summit. I wrote until confusion became genius and finally, the book I knew I had in me poured from me into its rightful place.

It’s beautiful and it’s bossy; the mistress that is the dreamer. I loved her, and at the same time, I wondered why she asked so much of me. The intellectual ferry go-round of trying, day in and day out. I was slowly spinning at a bearable speed. Perpetuated by greatness and grounded by the gravitational pull of feeling overwhelmed. 

It felt obsessive, but most of all it felt rewarding. 

I felt in control of my life, while the world felt out of sorts. I could hit play; I could touch the pause button and no matter what, I did what mattered to me. That was my sanity. 

You know when something is destiny by you needing, not just wanting, to complete the work. They say that purpose is a powerful alarm clock, but I slept a lot more than I used to. I rested when I needed to. I drank on the hard days. I meditated when I was lost for hope. I kept my mind plugged into the kind of recharge it craved in order to sustain the mission. It was always changing, what my mistress needed. But I kept listening to hear her command. 

The world is changing so much, as is each of us if we allow our Selves. 

We are all here, pushing ahead despite the grief, the loss, and the inspiring discomfort of always being asked more of. But we are here, still in the game. Still able to choose what we will fight for. And that thing, for me, is happiness itself. 

The world will not stop changing; the rat race doesn’t have a finish line. 

We have to choose now, with no situational amendments or promised outcomes. We have to nominate our silver linings, and know that we are powerful enough to change our Selves, equipped sufficiently with Self-love. And though some of us do not yet know the magic of what that can heal, the answers are there for the seeking eye.

We cannot quit on our dreams or capacity to withstand the mayhem. Instead, we should give up on the ways in which we batter our minds down with unnecessary judgment. Do not hate secretly and privately things about a life that you can choose to love. The world is harsh and unforgiving, but it is a reflection of what you choose to look at. I dare you to see love; I compel you to speak with grateful words; I challenge you to fall messily into the adoration of discovering who you can be in this changing world. Change your Self. Change the vision you have of your own capacity to endure and embrace life, and life itself will reveal its abundance. 

You can do this. You deserve to be happy.

You are not stuck. You are the freedom of your next thought. 

So it is my hope that I can rally some truly hardcore mental health warriors to fight with me for happiness. 

I know there must be someone who knows someone who will read this and feel ignited. I have all the faith that the right eyes will see what I see in my vision of a happier humanity.

My book “The Intelligence of Happiness” is coming out in September and I want it to reach as many people as it possibly can, I want us to reach each other in ways we have kept shielded. 

When we greet the versions of our Self that we dislike with love, then the work can begin to transcend to mentally healthier places. A happier human is a better leader, employee, parent, sibling, friend, lover, entrepreneur, coach—and the list goes on. A happier individual is one that does not shy away from greatness, because joy really is the experience of living. We are here, now, with all things as they are—able to choose for ourselves what happiness looks like.

I hope to hear from some of you, and at the very minimum, I hope you hear from your Self.  

How will you choose to be happy?

Subscribe here for first access to gii Magazine and exclusive intelligence tips for success, well-being, and happiness.