I don’t know about you, but my social feed is looking pretty negative lately. Closing off a year that many would call the worst in recent memory, I still can’t quite figure out why we don’t talk about more of the amazing things that happened this year. Perhaps this is what sells, is shared more, or is easier to relate to, or perhaps this truly is a reflection of a year that is coming to a close. Regardless, though, there hasn’t been much of a theme of happiness circulating over the past 12 months.

See, what I’m starting to believe is that in a world that is as connected as the one we are living in, we tend to get caught up in things that don’t affect us. We stress and lose sleep over things and events that don’t matter to us, and with ‘fake news’ being a theme, I think we even worry more about being first than we do being right. And so this perpetual game of telephone spirals through the networks and ends up spewing storytelling that doesn’t relate to us, and isn’t even correct.

The problem is that I don’t think this is going to change. Not yet.

But it can.

Happiness can be the word of 2017. It can be if we choose it to be.

We came out of a depressed year where we thought it was cool to ‘hustle.’

We glorified ‘busy’ to no end.

We thought it was cool do be doing more than the next.

Where we have reached the pinnacle in thinking that someone else’s definition of success should mean the same as ours.

It isn’t. It can’t be. It never could.

Your success looks different than mine, and we can be equally successful. We can be equally happy.

And so my challenge to you is to see the happiness in personal, family, and team successes. See and celebrate the things that are going well, and know that the world you (we) are living in isn’t going to change all that much if we don’t let it.

With technology exponentially changing the world we live in, the way we communicate, and how we work, we still have the ability to choose what success means to us.

With political change being as rampant and unpredictable as it is, we have the ability to adjust to policy change, and even move if necessary. After all, Harun Yahya once said “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on the earth, then I ask myself the same question.” This quote has fuelled my drive to not only move in the last two years but has defined my career path as well.

We aren’t obligated to hustle, to pursue jobs, education, and things that don’t align with who we are. We don’t have to post that thing to get those likes, and we don’t have to work towards something that doesn’t somehow put a smile on our faces.

Yes, 2016 is coming to a close. There were a lot of great things that happened this year and in 365 days we will be able to say the same about 2017. The difference, at least I hope, will be that we can say that we were happier than we were stressed, fulfilled more than we were busy, and slowing down in a world that seems to be doing nothing but speeding up.

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Preorder Eric’s new book Rethink Work today.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Eric Termuende is founder of the DRYVER Group., a consultancy focused on the the attraction and retention of top talent. In 2015, Eric was recognized as a Top 100 Emerging Innovators under 35 globally by American Express. He sat as Community Integration Chair for Global Shapers Calgary, a community that functions under the World Economic Forum. Eric is a former Canadian G20 YEA Delegate, representing Canada in Sydney in 2014. In 2016, Eric spoke at TEDxBCIT in Vancouver giving his presentation entitled ‘Bigger than Work’. Eric has worked and spoken with clients across the world for the National Speakers Bureau, and was VP Operations and Finance for the University of Calgary Students Union and Class Ambassador for his graduating class. Finally, Eric currently sits on the Vancouver Board of Trade Company of Young Professionals Board.