“For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

When we become distracted by life, we become disconnected from our power to make healthier, happier choices. Our growing digital culture aims to keep us entertained, not educated, creating a challenge that can lead us to more frustration and disconnection.

It’s easy to pick up our cellphones and play a game, watch a video or do some online shopping. Often we do this because we’re looking for a break from the pace of life, but if we’re not careful, this can keep us in an unhappy state.

We need to choose: do we want to be happy, or not.

When we are entertained, we maintain the status quo; when we are educated, we challenge the status quo. Malcolm X once said: Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.

Education doesn’t have to be reading a book or watching a TED talk; education is about growing our knowledge of ourselves and the world around us. It happens every time we follow our curiosity, which involves a trade-off. Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.

To be happier, we need to understand what trade-offs we’re currently making and which ones we’d like to change.

Are you happy with your current lifestyle? What are you trading for your current lifestyle? Often, it’s a choice about how many hours we are willing to work to pay for the things that are important to us. It’s not about a right or wrong trade – it’s about what you perceive to be valuable.

Anger and frustration can easily creep in when our choices are challenged, and it’s not easy to move past that anger and allow it to affirm our choices or help us create new ones. We can be challenged by others or by ourselves, but ultimately education helps us think critically and stop accepting things the way they are.

Every person’s plan is different, so happiness doesn’t look the same for all of us. At WellsFaber, we aim to help you understand what your happiness needs to look like to help you thrive. It’s not about what we think is right or wrong; it’s about the trade-offs that make sense to you.