MUST LEARN HOW THINGS WORK TO ACHIEVE COMPETENCE
WITHOUT LIFE COMPETENCE YOU CAN'T BE HAPPY
WHAT DOES IT TAKE?
I must also define what it takes to get to the state of deep, enduring happiness.
If one "hopes" for happiness through circumstance, people, and miracles, one is taking a real gamble on life working out - hope, without action and competence, stands no chance.
Yet people live that way: in hope, without competence in life.
The evidence: stress, poor health, fears, unhappiness, a TV life, etc.
HAPPINESS IS NOT POSSIBLE OTHERWISE
The basic reality is that one cannot produce happiness, or anything at all, without learning how things work and how to work them. (See How Life Works - Essential Knowledge And Perspective To Live Happily.) In this case, we don't have to learn how to do all things at great levels - we need to learn only those items that affect happiness and decide our key major meaningful values and results in life we want in life.)
If one stops short, as most people do, the chances of much happiness are pretty low.
It's just like, though a bit more intangible and harder to measure, education and one's ability to earn income: though there are exceptions, if one stops short in his education one will correspondingly have a lower income.
If one stops short in educating oneself about an aspect of life, one will not get nearly as great results in that aspect of life as if they complete each "life skills" process to the competency level. (Duh! Of course!) (Again, I point you to the "evidence" in life as a measure of whether you're actually competent even though you think you are. The "evidence" is stress, suffering, life being harder than it really is, problems unsolved, unhappiness, etc. and etc.)
Without learning how to create the "desired results", you cannot be happy.
AND THIS VIEWPOINT IS INEXTRICABLY TIED TO THAT ABILITY
If you do not learn self-responsibility you can't be happy. The two go together to create a sense of self-efficacy, which is basically defined as knowing that you can control and cause your life.
Without that you cannot feel good about yourself nor about your future.
If you worry about your future, you cannot be happy. (A sense of control will reduce worry drastically - and justifiably!)
If you don't feel good about yourself, you can't be happy. (And you can't feel good about yourself if you don't think you are sufficiently competent in your abilities. It is impossible, due to our evolution.)
You can't fake it (at least not for long) and be happy.
No amount of getting gold stars, telling children how great they are while they fail to actually earn the affirmation, nor telling yourself you are great will do the job. If we rely on affirmations from others, we will be dependent on others. And probably we will detect the falseness of it.
The only path is to achieve competence in running your life.
We learn a little and then think that will be enough - especially where it is not measured (or hard to measure) - but we fall far short of that.
How do I know that?
Because of the evidence. We are stressed, overweight, have lots of health problems, watch TV and vegetate, seek relief constantly (using the same old addictive habits), we suffer. Yet we think some kind of pablum or learning in little spurts and pieces will do it for us - impossible and terribly naïve - and so damaging and such a pity.
THE ABILITY TO PREDICTABLY CAUSE DESIRED RESULTS
So the big question is: "How do I learn that stuff?"
Answer: "Diligently, AND preferably on a path."
I've seen so many people's parents say "well, they'll just learn it as part of life", but that is not true. The truth is that they better learn alot more. Too many people believe that nothing more is needed - but the result of not learning more is very damaging, in that the kids let "learning at random" leave them at a great disadvantage, where they are not able to be effective and happy in life. A real tragedy.
The answer to how do I learn this stuff is:
2. Follow (devise if you must) a plan, sequence, a program to learn and implement your learning in each area selected.
THE SIDE BENEFIT
As you learn to make things work and to get predictable reliable good results, you obviously get the pleasure from the good results, but you get much more.
Experiencing yourself actually getting results is a great affirmation for confidence in your ability to handle life, and to feel safer in life - and it is the only way that actually works, as it is the only way that is based on reality rather than trying to "make up" something and believing it while it does not fit reality.
MEMORY VS. EXPERIENCE
A side note:
It is essential that you learn what really counts in "experiences".
It is not the pleasure that you feel in experiencing the moment, but the ongoing memory (which is retained and repeated in the mind) of the experience AND your interpretation of what that means about you and your future.
When we can recall our general competence in life, it can elicit a pleasant feeling.
Most people have a typical internal conversation of worry and not being ok. But those who make sure they can competently handle life have a constant background conversation about being competent, recalling from their memory their abilities and accomplishments. and that is what we feel good about when we are at the end of our lives! (See the TED video of Daniel Kahneman, the psychologist who won the Nobel Prize In Economics, speaking on The Riddle Of Experience Vs. Memory (20:37)