In my previous blog post, I submitted that happiness ensues from an action of the individual that leads to a desired goal. Although it might appear to be obvious, it is also critical that the individual have control of the action.

By the way, one of the most common causes of unhappiness I see in my patients is the unspoken assumption that they have control over everything that happens in their lives. This can only lead to disappointment and depression when something happens to them or someone close to them that they cannot change. The problem could be their drug addicted child or grandchild. It could be a serious illness or death in the family, or some financial crisis. Understanding when not to be obsessed by trying to solve problems that one cannot influence in any way is a very useful tool in the avoidance of unhappiness.

On the other hand, the good news is that we do have many opportunities to exercise control over processes that result in the achievement of our desired goals in life. We have all the tasks we perform in our jobs and professions. We control the required actions in the recreational activities we engage in. We act as one side of all of the important personal relationships we have: spouse to spouse, lover to lover, parent to child, child to parent, worker to fellow worker, service provider to customer, citizen to fellow citizen, etc.

As we will see later, we will need to choose these opportunities carefully.  It is not practical to focus on too many of them at once. The best choices are the actions that lead to our most desired goals and take up the greatest amounts of our precious time.

In the next few blogs, I will focus on what has to happen while we are focusing on these are most important roles.

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