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January 20, 2016

Seriously, is it asking too much? A job that makes you happy, where hard work pays off, and your talents are recognized?

I didn't think it was either.

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When I got the call that I had landed the job of my dreams at a chemical manufacturing company, I knew things were starting to look up for me. More money. My own office. Ideal hours. What more could I ask for?

At first, all the guys showed up on time for our strategy meetings. They parroted each other with "Yes, ma'am" and "No, ma'am." Then one day, one of them let the f-bomb fly. All of a sudden, the meeting sounded like a script from a Quentin Tarantino movie. My boss never said a word or attempted to rein the meeting in.

When I mentioned it to our HR rep, all she said was, "You've got to learn to be gentle with men. They don't always know how to talk about things."

The inappropriate overtures and over-the-top bravado started to eat away at me. I found myself wearing flats instead of heels. Slacks instead of skirts. And I'd reach for my sweats the second I got home. It became shameful and oppressive to think of myself the way they thought of others. Until I realized I didn't have to.

I thought I'd be happy as soon as I found the right job. But I was wrong. I didn't need a job to give me permission to be happy, and no job ever could.

I stopped waiting for my job to get better and started writing on the side. It made me feel heard. Like I was back in the driver's seat and could be myself again.

For all its progress and opportunities, Americans are pretty down in the dumps these days. A recent Harris Poll reported that only a whopping one in three of us are as happy as we want to be. That's 5 billion sad, disgruntled, scared, pissed-off people walking the planet. All of us believe we'll be happy just as soon as one thing or another happens. But will we? Happy people don't believe in waiting. Here are five things happy people believe that most people rarely even consider:

1. Happiness doesn't always feel happy.

FEELING happy is like sex on a weeknight for a married couple. It's an incredibly fun bonus that happens when the mood strikes. Then it's gone, and you still have to go to work the next day. BEING happy is more like the afterglow. It's knowing that awesomeness is available to you. And that you're worth every bit of it. Happy people believe in living in the afterglow. They're convinced that being satisfied with who they are lasts a lot longer than what happens around them.

2. You are who you spend time with.

Happy people radiate happiness. And miserable people give off misery. Whom would you rather be around? People who are content hang around those who support their own pursuit of happiness. People with a glad heart celebrate the good things you've created in your life. They've got only empowering assumptions about you. Happy people truly believe that others who are happy rub off on them. And they/ guard their time wisely.

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3. You don't have to like your job to do work that makes you happy.

Whether it's full-time or part-time, follow your passion. It doesn't have to make you rich, pay your bills, or even show up on your paycheck. Each of us yearns to express what we were meant to create. Creativity convinces us that we were meant to be happy and fulfilled. Happy people believe in carving out time to actualize the work that satisfies them.

4. Scary is as scary does.

Fear is one of the biggest barriers to happiness. The second you give in to negative self-talk, you put the brakes on your chances at happiness. That's a scary place to be. You'll never be happy if you wait until you're not afraid. When you take action in the midst of fear, you prove to yourself that your insecurities aren't true. Happy people believe that you never get rid of fear. You only get better at taking action despite the fear.

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5. Happiness doesn't come with permission.

Waiting for permission is a recipe for dissatisfaction. You're stuck on the sidelines while life passes you by. Happy people know they can create their own bliss with every opportunity they seize. They are content with their best efforts. They don't wait for others to green-light their good fortune.

The only thing worse than not being happy is believing that you never will be. Stop waiting for permission to create what you want. Do work that satisfies you. Hang with the people who think you deserve the good stuff. Life's too short to join the legions of those who've given up. Why not put on your sexy and go straight for happy?

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