If you saw the scene in the photo above and wanted to get to the top, which route would you take? Would you try to hike up one of the banks on the side where there are numerous obstacles in your way and there is no clear path to success? Or would you take the stairs, the well worn path that has been built and tread by many people before you?
Those are our options when it comes to seeking happiness. Either we can try to figure out a method on our own, slipping and sliding backwards was we walk blindly in the night or we can walk a well lit path path given to us by the Buddha. It still takes work (we have to walk up the stairs), but at least we have a guide. Not only that, because the path is mindfulness itself, with every step we take, we can confirm for ourselves that the ground beneath our feed is solid and that the off-path terrain is treacherous. The Buddha was clear that mindfulness is the path which leads to happiness when he said,
This is the only way, monks, for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow and lamentation, for the destruction of suffering and grief, for reaching the right path, for the attainment of Nibbana, namely, the four foundations of mindfulness. (MN10, DN22).*