The thing we spend so much time seeking is already there. The one thing we all desire, and feel is elusive, is sitting right in front of each of us. Have you ever said, I will be happy when…? I know I certainly have. We often feel like happiness is an event that only occurs when we reach a predetermined destination, but we have it all wrong. Happiness is already there and waiting for us to grab, no matter where we are in life.

My story is a long and sad one about how, from a very young age, I chased the seemingly mythical and elusive happiness. I couldn’t understand why, as a child, I wasn’t happy even though I got all the love and attention I needed from my mother and father. I was mystified why, in my teens and early 20’s after I had worked so hard to make it as a professional footballer, I still wasn’t happy. I was confused as to why, in my 20’s and early 30’s, after working obsessively on my body to be admired by many other people, I still wasn’t happy. To be honest, I was getting over it, as I overworked myself in my businesses in my 30’s believing it would gain me respect, and then finally I would be happy. Instead, I found myself broke, broken and bordering depression. All the chasing of happiness I had done had left me feeling like I was never going to be happy.

You see, I had, like many other people have, a totally misguided perspective on what happiness is and where it can be found. We have all be born into a flawed world. One which places value, I believe in the wrong things, and gives us a totally skewed belief about what success and happiness really is. For much of my life I have believed that I can only be happy when I have: money in the bank, the body I want, a loving relationship, achievement as a sportsman, author or businessman and many other things that are outside of me. As I regularly compared myself to others, I always came up short, and hence continually put off my happiness until I had achieved more. It is a dangerous and never-ending cycle of pain that is easy to fall into.

Things are very different for me these days. In truth, I would have to say, despite the fact I am aspiring to achieve more in my life, and I face challenges every day, I am always happy. I was recently talking to Philip Robison on his Saving Brothers Podcast, and the first question he asked me was, How are you today, out of ten? I said, without any hesitation, I am a ten! As I explained to him, that doesn’t mean I am being Pollyanna or delusional, nor does it mean I don’t deal with sadness, frustration, or other challenges in my life. It means, I am happy with me, I am happy where I am in my life, I am excited about the things I am doing, working on, and aspiring to, and, I know that everything I have to deal with in my life is there to help me be better, learn more and open doors of possibility. Why wouldn’t I be happy?

You see, when you make the achievement of an outcome your only reason to be happy, you will end up chasing the tail of frustration and regret your whole life. However, when you recognise that happiness is right there staring you in the face, because of who you are, then things will change dramatically. With happiness comes, gratitude, peace, fulfilment, purpose, and significance. It’s a wonderful package. When you let go of the ego need to be validated, and just look inside to recognise the amazing person you already are and the impact you are having on the life of others, a warm glow will fill your heart, and a smile will form on your face. Trust me, you are already there, and happiness is yours for the taking.

In my podcast this week, called Finding Happiness, I talk with Todd Patkin. Even with the $100 million sale of his business, a loving wife and a beautiful son, Todd spiralled into a depression, a breakdown and came very close to taking his own life. In his darkness, he discovered the keys to happiness, and we discuss them in this podcast.

My friend, you deserve to be happy. You are already good enough, just because you are alive. When you simply start with that belief, the feeling of peace and happiness will start to filter its way through your body. Then, with time, reflection, and perspective, you will come to realise, as I did, that no matter what is happening in your life, no matter what challenges you may be facing, and no matter what you have or haven’t done, happiness is already there for you.