How a Windstorm Helped Me Define Happiness

A few weeks ago, we had a massive windstorm on the west coast of Canada.  This windstorm ended up knocking out electricity for ~300,000 people for ~48 hours.

As powerful as Mother Nature was, knocking out the power was only the beginning.  The chain reaction of events that went on in people’s mind was the real tragedy.

People went through many different emotional stages such as:

·         Boredom – “Wow, no TV or Internet. What else is left to do?”

·         Disbelief – “I can’t believe this is happening today of all days”

·         Self-entitlement – “How can our utility company allow all these people to not have power for so long?”

·         Negativity – “This sucks! My whole weekend is ruined!”

·         Anger – “You don’t know how to do a FOUR-WAY stop! BEEP!”

The longer people went without electricity in their homes, the more lost, confused and worried people became. 

People started complaining, which led to agitation, which led to people exhibiting anger towards one another and towards our utility company (As if they had any control over the wind).

Essentially, the wind was strong but the deep state of anger and depression it caused in our city was stronger.

All this was due to 48 hours without power…

I was no different from the people I describe.  I felt annoyed that my weekend plans were ruined. I disliked not being able to leave the house because fallen trees blocked my streets. 

I could tell that my emotions and unconscious thoughts were starting to lead me down a deep, dark and ugly rabbit hole. 

But then everything changed.

I turned on my radio and heard something so profound that it shifted my entire mindset of the situation.  I heard on the radio that that afternoon a mother was out for a walk with her daughter when all of a sudden the wind blew a tree on top her.  The mother was facing life-threatening injuries...

After hearing that story, all of my negative energy dissipated.  I felt a surge of compassion for the woman and her daughter.  I felt extremely grateful to have a house to live in even if it didn’t have electricity. 

I knew that I had no more right to complain or be angry about the situation I was in.  In essence, I zoomed out of my small little world and was able to see the bigger picture and get perspective of my situation.

The ultimate lesson for me was that compassion and gratitude is the cure to anger and negativity.  Negativity can only exist if you feed it with negative thoughts, conversations and energy. 

Once my negative energy started to clear, I began to daydream about why long-lasting happiness is so elusive to achieve.

We always seem to be chasing happiness believing that it is something we can obtain once and maintain from there.  If you Google “How To Be Happy.”  You will find around 595,000,000 website hits. Some of the tips are great and others are just plain silly.

My own philosophy on happiness can now be trimmed down to one sentence. 

Happiness comes when you CHOOSE to be happy regardless of your circumstance. 

There is no bartering with happiness, you can’t choose to be happy in one situation and not in another. 

Your happiness cannot depend on others, nor can it be delayed until you reach a certain milestone in your life.

Ultimately, happiness is not something you obtain… it already exists inside of you.  All you have to do is choose to see it, feel it, and unleash it.   


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