Of course you can’t just “choose” to be happy. If it was that easy, and you were presented with the two options: happy or not-happy, you would obviously select happy. So what’s the problem then? Why isn’t it that easy?
When we’re born, we’re ignorant babies (no offense), so unless we’re introduced to happiness at some point, how could we know what it is? And similarly, if we once knew happiness, but lost it, we may have no idea how to get back to it.
So now, by chance, we must stumble into people (in person, from the past, or in fiction) that inspire us to seek happiness. These beacons of happiness inform us that such a pleasant concept exists and that everyone is capable of experiencing such a state.
And although we can understand that the happiness they exude is something we want for ourselves, we aren’t necessarily capable of learning how to attain happiness directly from them. For one, we may not know what they’re talking about, the language of happiness may seem foreign to the uninitiated.
But something about these people attracts us — despite the chaos that surrounds them, they remain steady, shining brightly — so we stare in awe, wondering how to get what they have. And that’s when our quest begins, we see the prize far off in the distance, and now we must get there.