How To Find Happiness


photo by Savannah Grandfather

We find real happiness by sensing our intuitive impulses and acting upon them.

That’s it, there is no other way.

My point is that this process is individual. It won’t be the same for any two people. We sense our intuition deeply inside ourselves—it’s deeply personal. Only we know what our intuition feels like, and only we know what we need to do to act on it, and how we feel about that.

If we look at what makes someone else happy, and then do that thing, we may feel happiness, but the experience might also be empty. If someone says: “Do this! It’s great! It made me so happy!”… well it might work for us, but if it made them happy it was because they were following their intuition at the time, and it might not be what our intuition is telling us.

Meditating won’t make us happy if our intuition is telling us to go shopping in the city (we might need the energy of motion).
Traveling won’t make us happy if our intuition is saying to stay home and make a garden (we might start having it off with the gardener).
Health food won’t make us happy if our intuition is saying fast food (who knows who we might meet in the take-out joint).
Finding a job won’t make us happy if our intuition is saying DON”T DO IT! (Having little money might teach us something about our values.)

The intuition challenge

Our intuition is wild and unpredictable, and will send us in the direction of the most growth. This direction may take us away from our own sacred cows, and away from what other people expect of us.

So we will invariably need some courage to follow it, at some point.

I don’t mean that the things it tells us to do, or not do, will necessarily be wild and over-the-top, but that they might be challenging for us.

For example, someone with a history of being afraid of intimacy might get an intuitive impulse to share something very personal with someone close—this might be a challenge for them. Or someone who has always been vague about money might get the urge to start doing some book-keeping, or hire an accountant. If someone has a habit of complicating everything in their life, they might be lead to going with the flow. And someone may have a business idea that is a bit scary for them.

Knowing ourselves

When we get used to following own own intuition (rather than someone else’s), we start to really know ourselves. We have experimented, won, lost, and seen what works. We have got to know what was intuition and what was emotional reactions or silly ideas. We are tried and tested.

Also, when we get to this point, we know we know ourselves, and I think this is the basis of real happiness. Now, for most of the time, the things we do are satisfying, our relationships are satisfying, our possessions are satisfying, and if we have to say “no” to something, it’s no big deal.

When people don’t know themselves, they start filling themselves up from the outside, and the results aren’t very pretty. They might travel around the world, buy lots of outfits, go to the best parties, keep busy busy busy… but they always feel empty inside. They know they don’t know themselves (and they are desperate to hide this fact from everyone).

I think those of us with even moderately successful lives know how to follow our intuition very well, and as we get older we develop more faith in our inner “knowing” and feel happier as we get older as a result. And I think anyone with a basically positive outlook on life experiences this growth naturally as a part of life.

I believe we can reach the “knowing” and “happier” bit sooner by honing our intuition… that is, by getting really good at sensing it and acting on it.

* * *

This post is inspired very much by Shakti Gawain’s book Living In The Light, which I have listed on my Recommended page. I love this book—I have read it many times over the years. I prefer the first edition to the second… the paperback has a yellow cover.

What do you think about this? Have you found strength and happiness from tuning into your own guidance?

41 thoughts on “How To Find Happiness

  1. Urban Panther

    Re: as we get older we develop more faith in our inner “knowing”…certainly the case for me. But I had to ‘take a break’ from following other people’s definition of happiness and go it on my own for awhile. A year of listening to my intuition and acting upon it. My personal life is fantastic now.

    Work life? Not so much. My intution is telling me to start buying lottery tickets. *smile*

    Urban Panthers last blog post..The Lion versus the Call Centre

  2. Ari Koinuma

    I’ve always considered my intuition to be my hot channel to God.

    And I used to not follow it, like, 90% of time. Some God I am connected to, huh?

    I would say the ratio is a lot higher now. I go against it, like 40%? Of course, those are some intuitive numbers — but I am definitely getting better about following my inner guide.


    Ari Koinumas last blog post..Why Passion Can Feel Like a Burden

  3. Kelly@SHE-POWER

    I love this article, Robin. Very well said. Happiness is individual and so it makes sense that the path to get there is also individual and we have to follow our own impulses to get there.

    As I have said before I am good at using intuition with people and decision making, but I struggle to trust myself when it comes to pursuing my personal goals and setting my priorities. If, for example, my intuition says I should just hang out with my son and immerse myself in domestic life, reading, movies and socialising (it has said this for awhile now), I ignore it because I judge that I am being lazy and procrastinating and I SHOULD be working on the novel. So maybe I’ll force myself, get resentful, write crap and then stop anyway. The only thing that’s been accomplished is I feel lousy. I’m trying to stop persecuting myself this way.

    And I had a perfect example of life interrupting to show me the path to happiness in the past fortnight. I have had every computer/internet trouble known to mankind and it came just when I had to write Stacey’s article on life balance. I was freaked at the thought of writing it anyway because I find this topic really difficult, but when I couldn’t, I ended up hanging out with friends more and reading and two amazing books on life balance and a soul’s journey came into my life.

    Result: this article was the hardest I have ever written but the down time and the arrival of these books has led to a revelation of sorts and the start of a new personal development journey that I know is crucial for my continued and ever growing happiness.

    Isn’t life amazing!

    Kelly 🙂

    PS. Must re-read that Shakti Gawain book – it’s been years. I think I might get more out of it now.

    Kelly@SHE-POWERs last blog post..What is Life Balance & is it Achievable for Everyone?

  4. Marelisa

    Hi Robin: I agree that happiness is an individual thing. Some people are happiest when they’re out jogging, while others can’t understand why someone would want to put their body under so much strain. I also agree that when we don’t find happiness from within we tend to fill the hole through external things, such as eating, buying things, drinking alcohol, and so on. Today it was a gorgeous day here in Panama. It’s a holiday and I spent about three hours sitting next to the pool at my country club which overlooks the ocean. The water was beautiful, there were birds everywhere, there was a great breeze, and I felt happy just sitting there. Which made me think that nothing has to happen, if we manage to quite our mind chatter we can be happy simply by “being”.

    Marelisas last blog post..Use Creativity to Double Your Way to a Million Dollars

  5. Evelyn Lim

    I like it when you said “When people don’t know themselves, they start filling themselves up from the outside, and the results aren’t very pretty.” It is so true!

    Many people also tend to believe that they would be happy with the stuff that others find happiness in. For instance, a big house may do it for someone else but not so for them, if they are lacking in the love and warmth of a close family.

    Evelyn Lims last blog post..My Out-of-Body Experiences

  6. Tom Volkar / Delightful Work

    Using my intuition is my rock. In my coaching I’m often nudged to mention something that may seem off topic. But when the flash comes I have no choice but to share it. It doesn’t matter how often I’m spot on because when it leads to a client hitting on a major realization, it’s confirmation of my Divine connection and of their authentic path.

    Like Urban Panther said this comfort and frequency of Knowing did come with age and practice.

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Works last blog post..Do It Your Way

  7. Robin

    @Urban Panther – ha ha good luck with the lottery ticket.
    @Ari – thanks for saying your intuition is your connection to God – I feel the same way – that it is my connection to God / the source / the universe. Great to hear about your “intuitive numbers”!
    @Kelly – thanks Kelly. That’s a great story about you delaying the balance post (or getting delayed) – I’ve had that experience with posts and other things, too. It is so bloody tricky to tune into when we should push on with something or let it go, at times.
    @Marelisa – That sounds wonderful. I must confess I don’t know anything about Panama (I did Google it when I first met you – but I could learn more!) That’s so true what you say about just feeling happy for no reason.
    @Vered – that’s interesting – I have done meditating at one stage, but I don’t feel it is my “thing” – nor is chanting. Then an astrologer informed me that I was better off walking in nature than meditating, so that sealed it – ha ha
    @Evelyn – yeah – there’s nothing wrong with the big house and all the rest if it is coming from inner guidance – the issue is more where wanting it is coming from. Frank and I would quite like a big house! (I think – sigh)
    @Tom – That’s interesting about how you have intuitive flashes while working with people – I find the same when I am talking to people. I like the way you describe it as your connection with the Divine!

  8. Davina

    Hi Robin. Great article! You reminded me that following your intuition can be difficult because there is learning there on that path. I’ve always held to the belief that when you follow your intuition, you are on the path of least resistance, but you’ve reminded me that this is not always the case.

    Davinas last blog post..A Ghostly Life Experience

  9. tikno

    Dear Robin,

    Nice post, Robin. I read it together with musing. A thought-provoking post.

    By the way… will you join the action of millions blogger around the world. They will raise their voices on behalf of millions voiceless refugees on November 10th, 2008.
    I already creates a post for that.

    tiknos last blog post..Give Your Voice For Refugees

  10. Natural

    hey robin
    i think more times than not if we follow our own intuition we make better decisions that can make us happy. for whatever reason, when we choose to ignore that intuition hardly does it ever work out in our favor and many people are in relationships that they resent because of it.

    Have you found strength and happiness from tuning into your own guidance? Absolutely, but my strength and happiness comes from a higher source too, someone who knows a lot more than me and what it takes to be happy.

    Naturals last blog post..Finger Clicking Good’gaud That Hurts!

  11. Shannon

    I love the photo! Her smile is like mine in that the smile turns down more than up, yet the eyes are joyful. If you want to know if someones smile is phony, just look at the eyes, they don’t wear a mask.
    I relate what you say about sharing what you love may not be right for another. Too true! I guess using intuition when giving others suggestions on how to live or be is key.
    Thanks for your thoughtful post.

    Shannons last blog post..Sat-Nov 8 The Tea Grotto-from 7-9pm

  12. Robin

    @Davina – thanks! It’s funny – maybe it’s that intuition leads us to a life that flows, but with the blocks we put up, getting there can be a challenge?
    @Tikno – thanks Tikno – I’ll be over to read your post later today
    @Natural – yes, I wonder how many people in less than great relationships have been ignoring their inner knowing that they shouldn’t be there. I think of our intuition as coming from a higher source – it knows more than we do – exactly
    @Shannon – it’s a great photo, isn’t it? Your “I guess using intuition when giving others suggestions on how to live or be is key” is spot on, I think!
    @Stacey – yes – I agree – I love the way you have said that – and thanks.

  13. Dot

    Just when I’m trying to stop being so impulsive! 🙂 Actually, I’ve had a great deal of trouble finding any intuitive guidance in some areas of my life, such as purpose. For other things, I know there are things I’d really enjoy doing and places I’d want to be, but my illnesses just don’t permit them, so I end up feeling discouraged and resenting my limitations.

    Dots last blog post..Things I Learned from a Visit to Dooce

  14. Miguel de Luis

    Hi Robin,

    Do you know something? I have a blog post ready for Friday on joy and happiness too. Great minds think alike 🙂

    When people don’t know themselves, they start filling themselves up from the outside, and the results aren’t very pretty. They might travel around the world, buy lots of outfits, go to the best parties, keep busy busy busy… but they always feel empty inside.

    I wonder if fear could explain why we do that at times, we fear facing who we are inside, which is a shame, because most of the time we are no less than regular people

    Miguel de Luiss last blog post..Mindmaps on (and with) index cards

  15. Evita

    What a great post Robin!

    I am glad I found your blog too! I absolutely love your headline…we can indeed live in these bodies as long as we want to, I believe that wholeheartedly!

    I think that is where happiness come in too. If we are truly, always happy, we find the drive and passion to live and live we can under such circumstances in amazing ways!

  16. Cath Lawson

    Hi Robin – I love this post. And look how following your intuition paid off for you last week. You could have had a serious accident. I used to ignore my intuition, to my detriment but now I try to make sure I follow it all the time.

  17. Robin

    @Lori – hi there and yes!
    @Dot – ha ha – sorry to ruin your plans! We do seem to get good at being intuitive in some areas and find it a challenge in others, don’t we.
    @Jannie – oh yes I can! I’ve got some at the moment I need to follow through on – and welcome!
    @Miguel – I find it funny too how when I write a post there are other ones on the same topic popping up in my reader! Yes I think that’s a good insight – we fear all sorts of things inside us – thanks.
    @Evita – welcome! – I am so pleased to meet you! Thanks for your great comment!
    @Cath – thanks Cath – I’d love to hear how you have followed your intuition in business, some time.

  18. Patricia

    Hello Robin, I keep seeing your name on Cath’s blog, Barbara’s, Vered’s and Dot’s so I thought I would drop on over today – a good intuitive move!
    I needed to be reminded about how powerful my intuition is certainly when it comes to healing – one could just substitute the word healing for happiness – I think
    As part of this year’s goal, to be the healthiest I have every been,I am working on figuring out which foods make me feel the best and the most balanced – not following someone’s program, but designing my own…and today my doctor said ok to my plan….I want to get a blood test every two weeks as I test my food choices and then I will know inside/outside how those food choices are working for me…I think this will help me learn when my insides are saying yes to the choice that I made, developing a stronger knowledge base to assist me in knowing my food intuitions.
    It felt very empowering to have the Doctor just write out the lab reports and ask me to check back with my findings in the new year….So reading your post was just the sprinkles on top! Thank you – very well written. Glad I came on over.

    Patricias last blog post..Hats off to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Revising Committee

  19. Robin

    @Barbara – it’s not just a “little voice”, is it?!
    @Patricia – hi there and welcome! That work you are doing on your food choices sounds great – and glad to be the “sprinkles”!
    @Seamus – Um… Dude? I wish they could all come! 😀

  20. Lance

    I need to listen to my intuition more often… Thank you, Robin, for writing this – it’s great! And it’s my reminder to “trust” myself more often…After all, if we can’t trust ourselves, who can we trust.

  21. Betsy Wuebker

    Hi Robin (my daughter’s name, so I love it, of course) – I was told that our intuition is actually a form of spiritual guidance from our guides. So it’s imperative that we listen, because they must be more wise, right? It’s helpful to think that way if we’re unsure of ourselves. Also, the older I get, the more I realize that happiness isn’t derived from the complex, but from the very simple. I like what you said about filling ourselves up from the outside when we don’t know ourselves. So true. Thanks!

    Betsy Wuebkers last blog post..HOLE-IN-THE-DAY

  22. Karl Staib - Work Happy Now

    I know that I’m much happier as I get older. I’m gaining a better understanding of what does and will make me happy. It’s all about trial and error. Trying different perspectives out. Trying different friends out. Trying different experiences.

    Then taking notes on what worked and what didn’t. Mental or physical notes.

    Then using those notes to make better decisions. Because when we can make choices that enhance our now and later then we can take our lives to where we want them.

    Karl Staib – Work Happy Nows last blog post..55 Tips to Make Work More Fun

  23. Tammy Warren

    I rely on my intuition a great deal. Actually all of the time. This is something that I have recently discovered that keeps me on “my track.” I know that we are all meant for good living. Be we must seek it out and be open to its invitation, be willing to put forth the necessary effort. Sometimes our intuition are out invitations to move forward, to strive for a further goal. And having faith and following our intuitions will make the steps easier.

    We are all blessed with intuitions. The are gifts meant to stretch our capabilities while giving us our inner confidence to move forward.

    I can trust my dreams, aspirations, and intuitions. They are mine, alone, and special to me. Achievement is possible; faith and a positive attitude will ease my efforts.

    Tammy Warrens last blog post..The Troubles with Goals

  24. Clem - Unique Business Opportunity

    My birthday is tomorrow and I consider the reference to your blog, and the content you offer, one of my favorite gifts this year.

    As I grow, year after year, I am reminded more and more that my instincts are my highest power. I had begun to lose sight of that recently….and found your blog today by no accident, I’m sure.

  25. Robin

    Welcome to anyone visiting from Blogging Without A Blog! I feel so grateful to be featured there – and along with such a dynamic blogger as Kelly.

    @Betsy – hi and welcome! She’s another girl Robin with an ‘i’? I find simple things are often the most satisfying, too.
    @Karl – hello again – I like your “I’m gaining a better understanding of what does and will make me happy” – I find myself getting happier as I get older, too.
    @Tammy – hi there – I believe we “are all blessed with intuitions” too – I love the way you have described the process of following it.
    @Jannie – thanks Jannie, and yes.
    @Chris – very glad to see you – your intuition must be telling you to listen to your wife!
    @Clem – hi there and welcome! Happy Birthday for tomorrow! I think that’s a great way of putting it – that our instincts are our highest power.

  26. Hugo

    Hi Robin, nice post!
    Maybe you remember, you commented on my blog back in April. I haven’t visited your blog for a while, and I have to say I like the way it evolved! Nice layout, it looks like you’re doing well! Good to see things grow like that.

  27. Robin

    @Sheena – thankyou!
    @Hugo – of course I remember you – your comment on my blog was about the second one ever. Your blog is looking great – and has evolved really well, too.

  28. Grace


    Sometimes it helps me to remember that UNhappiness and happiness are NOT polar opposites. Different things can make me happy or unhappy.

    Time and place are factors. For example, if I have energy, hiking makes me happy. If it’s a rainy sunday afternoon, reading a good book with a cat in my lap makes me happy. If I’m hungry, ANYTHING with calories makes me happy!

    So my first challenge is to recognize–oh, I’m unhappy!–and label it as such. Then I go through my list of standbys of mood enhancing activities.

    Paradoxically, sometimes just the act of acknowledging the feeling and dwelling on it a bit–giving myself some TLC and attention, as it were–makes the unhappy feeling lessen.

    Thanks for a thought provoking post! G.

    Graces last blog post..Best quotation sources on the Internet

  29. Jeremy Day

    Hi Robin,

    Thanks for letting me know your site was out there. I have added you to my personal development list of blogs.

    Great article by the way. Ill stumble it for you.


  30. Robin

    @Grace – thanks for your interesting thoughts on this, Grace – I think observing ourselves is definitely the best place to start if we want to make changes, and can even be all that is required.
    @Jeremy – thanks Jeremy!

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