How we perceive things is how they are. This is a concept that hit me when I watched Inception, a movie with Leonardo DiCaprio. The movie is about planting ideas in people’s minds to change their decision-making process and their perception of reality.

Once you accept this concept as fact, it empowers you to stop blaming external circumstances and to instead take ownership over your feelings. In other words, you can’t control external events, but you can control how you interpret and react to those events.

A related quote that I love is “Very little is needed to make a happy life: it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.” -Marcus Aurelius

By following this logic, if you aren’t happy, you either need to change your interpretation of your circumstances and choose happiness, or you need to take action to change your environment.

Varying Happiness in Developing Countries

I’ve spent most of the last few years living in developing countries, and I’ve found it interesting how much happiness levels vary from place to place.

In all of these locations, many of the locals live with very little. But the concept of perception = reality is magnified by the greatly differing happiness levels despite relatively similar situations.

Notably, in Bali, Indonesia, the culture is one of happiness and celebration and similarly, in Medellin, Colombia, the people tend to be very lively.

On the other end of the spectrum is Budapest, Hungary, where there’s a deep sadness within a lot of the people that live there.

Owning Your Happiness

Becoming more aware of how much I can control my reality has pushed me to take ownership of my happiness.

In the past, I used to blame external factors if I wasn’t happy. But now, the only person to blame is me.

Because if people without money or things can live happy, joyous lives, then why shouldn’t I be able to structure a life full of happiness?

And this mindset shift has been empowering. It has taught me that I don’t need things or achievement or money or anything else to be happy.

I just need to take ownership and accept that I am in control of my own happiness.

Hopefully this lesson is helpful to you on your journey!

Related Post: Why 2017 Was The Happiest Year of My Life and How To Make This Your Happiest Year

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