How the average individual interprets happiness is usually a feeling of pride that one day, magically shows up out of nowhere and punches you in the face, sometime after you have everything you want, or even a certain action you carry out; or another person who you'll fall madly in love with someday and have 20+ kids with...bull****. Just in case you haven't heard, very few of those things will bring you happiness. Hundreds of millions of people all think that way and they have yet to experience it, or even worse...they got to that point only to wind up even more unhappy than they were beforehand!
There's this irony that we're all familiar with: that of getting what we want. We've all heard at least one of our friends say: "Once I get a job/house/spouse/money/etc, I'll finally be happy!"...Okay, two things: 1) The less likely a person is to make declarative statements, the less likely they are to look foolish in retrospect, and 2) Once we get something we really want, with unlimited and unrestricted exposure, we're bound to get bored of it at one point or another. That's why many celebrities turn to drugs and alcohol...they have the ability to get everything they ever wanted, at the drop of a hat, without consequence. And guess what? They're f***ing miserable. Quite the Irony. Materials such as money, houses, cars, appliances, furniture, clothes, etc. will not (by themselves) provide you with happiness.
We all keep hearing from movies and TV that you should just "Do what makes you happy"...Okay, well that statement is either true or false depending on the person, given there have been several individuals throughout history that have enjoyed much happiness...at the expense of other human beings.
For example, Albert Fish, found happiness in the torture, molestation, murder, and consumption of small children. Countess Elizabeth Bathory enjoyed bathing in the freshly squeezed blood of peasant girls. Dr. Josef Mengele performed unethical science experiments on Jews imprisoned in the Nazi Concentration Camps earning him the nickname "The Angel of Death." They all were arguably very happy with themselves and how they lived.
Again, what gives one-person happiness, may actually be at another person's expense. Therefore, some people are less deserving of happiness than others. However, one can replace the above statement with "Do what you're passionate about and then you'll be happy", well, that's another article on its own.
It's been stated by a multitude of people that you are responsible for your own happiness and fulfillment. I stand by that statement and offer my own definition of happiness: "A decision made to express internal contentedness for your current situation, in line with an optimistic view of the future, due to continuous responsible action; coupled with a commitment to self-improvement."
Values also play a role in happiness. What you personally view as valuable will make a great impact on your outlook on the world. But that too, is an article on its own. Happiness takes a lot of hard work, introspection, wisdom, and willpower. If you possess these things and fit the above definition, the future will look especially bright for you, and that's all that it really takes.
But do you have what it takes?
For more on this topic, Radio Host Dennis Prager of Prager U posted a video on YouTube addressing the subject.