The Webster’s Dictionary definition of happy is “favored by luck or fortune.” Really? Is that what any person thinks of when someone asks, “Are you happy” or “Do you consider yourself a happy person.” Is the answer, “Oh yeah, I am really lucky.” At the risk of taking a giant leap here, the answer is no. Being happy or acquiring happiness is a state of being, it is neither an emotion nor some singular, momentary response to stimuli. Joy is an emotional response, as are fear or anxiety. They come and go based on a particular stimulus. Being happy or happiness is much more broad in scope, a culmination of many thoughts, choices and actions.
Happiness is most certainly not about luck or some amorphous idea of having good fortune. Happiness is the result of choice exercised through our free will. Conversely, those who are unhappy people, have chosen to live in that state as well. Every minute of every day, we make choices. Each choice may be one small step in pursuit of achieving a state of happiness or just the opposite. The power of making choices defines us as human beings and places the ability to be happy, or not, in our own laps. The freedom of choice is what we’ve got.
Strangely, it is freedom from choice that many want. The band Devo sung about this fact back in the ’80’s in their tune, Freedom of Choice. Defining “happy” by couching it with luck or good fortune presumes that outside influences out of our own control determine whether we will be happy or unhappy. In other words, one is not responsible for one’s state of being, whether happy or unhappy, because one’s luck has been awful. This simple definitional concept illustrates the major divide between people—those who live life by creating their own fortune and those who rely on fortunes created by others—the pursuers of happiness and the unhappy, respectively.
God gave man the right to pursue happiness and the avenue to do so known as free will. Those who accept that moral responsibility to pursue happiness (or its negative counterpart) through their own choices and their own actions, will likely find their state of happiness. Those who rely on luck choose to abandon control of their lives and hide from responsibility for themselves.