If you are an ordinary human like me, you have wants and desires. You may think that you want money, a wonderful mate, children, a decent job, a nice car. However, nobody really wants anything but happiness. And most of us are conditioned to think the reason we want this and that is because “When I have this and that, I will be happy”.

But the astonishing truth is– it’s the other way around. Most of us have the cause and effect confused. The truth is: when you are happy, you will get what you really want.

Let me explain.

There are two kinds of desire in the world, the real ones and the fake ones. The fake desires are in fact not desires. They are simply coping mechanisms to get you out of a place where you don’t want to be in life. You like surfing on the internet at work because the report you’re supposed to write feels really boring. You want to eat chocolates because it distracts you from the thought of your dying puppy. You want a big house with a  giant pool because once you do, you’ll feel more secure and confident about life. These “desires” come out of the avoidant part of you that does not want to face the situation that seem unpleasant at the present moment. On the other hand, a real desire is viable on its own. It comes out of you naturally and spontaneously simply because you are a unique being born at a unique time and carry with you unique gifts and purposes in this life!

The fake desires usually do not get you very far because fear is their driving force. Since fear is not your natural state of being, the momentum behind the pursuit of fake desires, though often seemingly fierce, does not have real strength. And even if you do get what you “desired”, rest assured that it’s not a happy ever after. Because whatever condition you were trying to rid by obtaining this desire was not from outside, but established within you. So if you haven’t learned to be happy when you are making 50k, don’t expect that being a millionaire will make you happier. Initially it will, but in a few weeks you will fall back to whatever happiness level you were familiar with.

The real desires sometimes may not look all that different from the fake ones, surfing the internet, eating chocolates and living in a big house may well be part of your destiny and make you genuinely excited. You stand a much better chance of achieving those desires, because by nature’s design, they are already part of you. Just like it doesn’t take much effort for fish to learn swimming and for eagles to learn flying, you are well equipped to get what you truly want and the process of getting there will be far more enjoyable than the strenuous path to a fake desire.

Then the question is: how do you tell your real desires from the fake ones so that you can put your attention on what you REALLY want and not waste time messing with the phonies? The secret is…you ready?…BE HAPPY. Choose to be happy first no matter what. Then the fake desires will naturally fade away because you no longer have any use of them. Your real desires will reveal themselves because although you are happy without them, you are still really really drawn to them.

And the good news is that being happy no matter what happens is not really as hard as you might think. It’s just a decision you need to make at every moment. And when you are used to choosing happiness, it becomes a habit. Start by asking yourself, “What is the source of real happiness?  Does it dwell in others?  Should I depend on the world for my happiness or is it within me?” Whenever you are feeling down, ask yourself, “Why am I giving up my freedom of choosing to be happy? What circumstance is worth me depriving myself of happiness?” You may sense an immediate shift within you the moment you ask those questions.