“Life would be easier if I got a little more of what I wanted sometimes.” Who hasn’t felt that way occasionally? Especially when the stress of kids or bills gets to be too much. It is an easy out to think that happiness could be ours if only…

Well, sometimes it is simply true that we could be happier if we weren’t sick or weren’t low on money or under a fast approaching deadline, but more often than not these stresses can be foreseen and we could have lowered our stress if we had planned better than we did.

The real toxicity of the “if only” dream is when we think our happiness is being harmed because we are being deprived due to things beyond our control – like society, our boss, or even God.

When we dream that dream we are now in a head space where nothing can be done about improving things within our control.

This is where dreaming about winning the lottery resides; or, thinking if we were only better looking, then we could have been a successful movie star; or imagining ourselves the inventor of the internet.

Yet, when you stop and think about who “those” successful people are, you have to wonder: are they happy? How many movie stars have we heard about that have committed suicide? How many billionaires have we read who really have a happy marriage? Or how many lottery winners have really found bliss?

Yes, it’s true we wouldn’t be like those people. After all, we would use our lottery winnings to end poverty or use our fame for helping the world become a better place for millions of people – or so we think.

Yet, the change we think we could make with more could start with yourself now. You could use the money you now have to help others in some small way; you could use the little influence you now have to… but we don’t because we are stuck in a place where so many end up and can’t seem to get out of.

It’s a place that can suck you into depression if you let it.

Sometimes the only way out is to look up and out: Up in gratitude for how much you have and for how much you’ve had in the past. Then look out at a world that clearly doesn’t have the answers you think may come to you -“if only”.

When have you last seen a world leader that doesn’t look overwhelmed, a movie star that isn’t stressed out about the fact they their looks are fading, or a wealthy person who doesn’t have that fear of death in their eye?

The truth is the happiest people are those who have few options and have come to terms with that fact – those with only a few months to live, or those who know what it means to see a family member die tragically.

When we look around us, it’s those who are spoiled for choice who are the least happy people in this world.

We can choose to live in that truth today.