How to be happy, even when life changes suddenly | The Optimist Daily
Today’s Solutions: July 15, 2024

When a professional athlete reaches the age where they no longer can compete at the highest level, retirement is inevitable. Sure, retiring will suddenly shake up their life a bit, but at least they can accept the change that will come with retiring because they have been able to compete for as long as possible. That’s not always the case for an athlete whose career is cut short by injuries. A career-killing injury can crush the dreams of athletes otherwise in their prime with a bright future ahead of them, making retirement a difficult pill to swallow. The case of the professional athlete can be applied to all of us in life. Life can take twists and turns that are unexpected and unpredictable. A sudden change might occur that throws us off our “life trajectory,” and can make us unhappy because it’s not what we expected. To be happy in life, we have to drop our expectations of our lives turning out a certain way. When our happiness is associated with a particular outcome, we’ve created the formula for suffering. This formula even applies to circumstances where we get exactly what we want, such as the dream job, spouse, child, car, house or (input your desire here). Because once we have what we want, our minds quickly shift to either wants or fears: We want more of what we have or fear losing it. The reality is sudden change is bound to occur for many of us, but if happiness is what we all really want, then we have to focus our energy toward adapting to new circumstances and information. When we encounter the unexpected, no matter how difficult, there is always beauty in what life presents us. 

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