PEOPLE want to be happy. They want a fulfilling career and a satisfying life filled with good experiences. They want good relationships and a job they enjoy and can be proud of.

They want to see their dreams come true. And they want to be loved, liked and respected by all.

Unfortunately, happiness is not something that you can acquire — either you are happy or you choose to be.

Everybody has different ideas on what will make them happy. In 1957, a large number of people in the United States were asked whether they were happy with what they had in life. About a third said “yes”.

Then in 1962, when the researchers conducted the same study, again a third said “yes”, despite the fact that the standard of living had increased substantially.

So what does this study mean? It means that about one-third of the people interviewed knew the secret of being happy.

Happiness comes from within. It depends not on what possessions you have but on what you are and what you experience.

Many people think they are happy when they buy that next possession or achieve another goal. This is a mirage! The reality is they will stop being happy after a while until the next thing comes along to buy or chase after.

So how happy are you? Do you have an accurate self-assessment, a high degree of self-confidence and an accurate self-awareness of who and what you are? Can you make yourself happy even in dire economic times?

If you take the time to focus on what you already have and be appreciative and thankful for it, you are a good candidate for happiness.

Rather than pine for the material success that you want to pursue, why not simply just decide to be happy now?

Try to see the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty. At work, don’t moan, complain, whine, condemn or criticise. You certainly won’t gain happiness that way. Stop being a liability to yourself by indulging in this unseemly and negative behaviour.

Stop sucking away like a vacuum cleaner whatever goodness the office environment may offer and replace it with a sour and negative environment.

Simply decide to act positively. Even if you don’t feel positive, try putting a smile on your face that says you’re happy! Research shows that a positive attitude can influence the way you feel. In other words, choose to be happy and you will be happy.

Be positive about your fellow work mates and the future. Be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.

I’m not suggesting that you ignore the bad news around you.

When financial times are not so good and the organisation has to take people off the payroll, or if a project’s gone badly wrong, then discuss it. Face the facts and discuss them in the right context.

It is not possible to skip into the office daily, wearing a false smile and pretending that life is perfect.

But you can monitor your thoughts and avoid whining and complaining in a negative fashion.

So choose to be happy, and you will be happy. Count your blessings. Put a smile on your face. Do something nice for someone and spread some happiness!