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The Real Secret to Being Happy

And how you can avoid the one Happiness Hook that steals so much of joy from us in our daily lives. It all starts with a very old story.

A woman smiling as confetti rains down

In fact, it's one of the more mysterious tales of King Arthur, about how his knights pursued the Holy Grail. For years they traveled all over Britain looking high and low for the grail and never finding it. They even set sail for far off places, took up countless adventures and tests of their might, but still, despite all of it, the grail proved evasive.

It’s a tale I could never quite wrap my head around. In the story, it’s never even made clear why they were pursuing it, and what, if any thing, they could use it for. Why quest for something for so long, and with so little purpose, only to never actually secure it? What exactly was the point of all this?

Lately though, I’ve seen the light. Their story seems to describe our lives these days, spent endlessly pursuing our own version of the holy grail: happiness. It’s our quest for happiness, after all, that undeniably underpins much of what we do, and what we yearn for. We go after jobs, money, relationships, experiences, — you name it, believing ultimately, that it will make us happy.

Even more curiously, we often believe it will make us happy forever. A marriage, a baby, a million dollars, a new career… in our minds they lead to Destination Happy. Once we get there, to that job or marriage, we will finally be happy, or at least, happier. And we can’t imagine after having found our hard won prizes that this increased level of happiness wouldn’t continue on an upward trend forever.

But, are we? Are we really happier after getting the thing? Can that increased level of happiness really be guaranteed forever?

Even if you buy into the notion that a marriage, or a promotion, or a million dollars, or even a trip to Tahiti would make you happier, wouldn’t the converse also be true? Couldn’t losing them make you unhappy, yet again?

More than that, as beautiful as any of those things can be, and as much as they can provide meaning to our lives, maybe they aren’t really meant to make us happy. Is it possible happy isn’t a place we ever get to? That it really is our elusive holy grail and we’re meant to pursue happiness, to travel far and wide to seek it, only to never to fully get it, at least, not by having arrived someplace else.

Maybe happiness is less a destination, and more something that flickers in and out of our lives as we pursue it via things, people, places and experiences that move us forward? And perhaps the more we expect to get it by arriving at some place, by finishing the journey, the less likely we are to see it already exists in our lives right now.

Which fits in with our story of the knights, who did eventually stumble upon the holy grail but only after they had given up completely. Exhausted, having spent decades hunting it down, they decided they had no choice but to pack it in and go home. Returning to their ship, where in some mystical, magical twist of fate they found the grail was on the ship waiting for them. Somehow, it was with them all along.

For me, this has always been the heart of the story. That many things, including happiness, only come when we stop seeking them. No, I'm not asking any of us to stop pursuing our dreams or what we imagine will make us happy. I'm only asking that we stop expecting happiness to come from having arrived someplace. We stop expecting to be happy, not because we won’t be, but because it can’t be predicted or compelled by command.

The beauty (and I will admit, the frustration) of happiness is it’s mysteriousness. Just when you least expect it, just when you’ve given up finding it, it flickers in to your life, and sometimes, just when you’ve come to rely on it — to expect it — it flickers out.

Maybe then, the secret to being happy, is to be stop trying so hard to find it, to let it be fresh and surprising each and every time we encounter it. A gift we are given, not something we can attain by force. Something that if we really pay attention, we might just find is with us all along.


And with that I’m off. I can’t wait to see you all next week! Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed this blog, and if you did, would you please do me a favor and click the like button, or the heart! It really does help!

And, if you’d like more of these posts about loving your life, being happy, and pursuing your dreams, sign up for the blog at or follow the Facebook page, so you never miss a post!

Desirée Sommer



Sep 21, 2021

Good blog.


Sep 16, 2021

I love it

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