If you observe the people around you, you’ll find most individuals follow a formula that has been subtly or not so subtly taught to them by their schools, their company, their parents or society. That is: if you work hard, you will become successful, and once you become successful, then you’ll be happy. This pattern of belief explains what most often motivates us in life. We think: If I just get that next raise, or hit that sales target, I’ll be happy. If I can get that next good grade, I’ll be happy. If I lose that five pounds, I’ll be happy. And so on, Success first, happiness second.
The only problem is the formula is broken.
I published a book, and was p-r-e-t-t-y sure, on the other side of the book would be happiness. How surprised was I to find me on the other side?
Where ever I go, there I am, again.
I knew I could publish a book, because anything I’ve set my mind to, I’ve been able to do. I learned early in life, that hard work, gets you success.
I have been rewarded for my ‘hard work’. I have been rewarded for ‘putting my head down and continuing to push.’ And looking back, that reward has always been short lived.
Because success is a point in time.
Happiness, as it turns out, can be now, and now, and now…..
It’s a lesson I repeat often. The best news for me is the time between my unrealistic expectation of happiness on the other side and the duh moment is getting shorter.
Old habits are so hard break, but not impossible.
How have I shortened the time to the duh moment to happiness? I’ve worked on it…and that irony is not lost on me!
Here are some tips:
Read often and a variety of topics. Kids are naturally curious. It takes conscious thought on adults part to stay curious. I always have at least 3 books on my night stand. Currently they are: The Happiness Advantage, The Healing, Paradoxology. Stay Curious.
Check in on your “I imagine” statements. In writing & with a trusted friend. I imagine’s are just that….not based on facts, but something we hold as fact. I did this just the other day with my partner. After telling her about my new idea to build a business, I said
“I imagine you think I do this for other people, so why would I pay someone to help me.”
“I imagine you thing this is a way lofty goal…to change the world.”
Her response was.
“Nope. Not what I was thinking…”
ID your Imagine stuff, and pitch it.
Exercise. It’s a mood booster, it releases endorphins and studies show, that it helps reduce stress and anxiety. It works. Try something new for 21 days. That’s the time it takes to create a habit. (I started that insane P90X in January and it’s been fun.) Get Moving.
Do something for someone else. Alturism decreased stress and contributed to enhanced mental health in a study of 2,000. Write a letter of gratitude, bake some cookies and take them to a neighbor, pay for the order in the car behind you. Pick a day and do it once a week. Give without expectation.
Oh…and be gentle with yourself.