What is happiness? 2.0

Is it a moment? Is it a destination? Is it a state of mind? Is it an automatic response? In my opinion it is none of these and it is all of them. In a much earlier post I started the contemplation of what the definition is. This is more about what happiness is, in my view.

Said poorly but happiness is really just a way of life. A journey? The destination for all of our journeys through life is same – death and then whatever follows in accord with your own beliefs. But it is the journey that we cognitively experience. And as it is with all journeys, we get to choose our path, our way. If we don’t like our current path we can change it. It is just a choice.

Of course we often times forget that we can make choices. We get wrapped up in the busyness of life and stuff just happens. I have said it before and will say it again- choose to live on purpose. Don’t just drift. Don’t let the wake push you around, steer the boat and let the wake just be the trail left behind.

So how exactly do we live a life on purpose and is that really a part of being happy anyway? The first thing you need to consider is your why. Why do you think you are here? What is the legacy you believe you should/want to be remembered for? Write that down in a sentence or two at the most. You probably wrote that in the past tense. Rewrite it, but in the present tense if you can. Don’t sweat it if you can’t as long as it is clear to you and will serve as a beacon.

This is a bit like the eulogy exercise. I suggest you consider what your legacy would be if you died today. Why? The differences are gaps that you need to close on the way to your written statement from above. As you close the gaps and get closer to living your chosen reason, you can get closer to living a life in harmony.

So, yes it is a part of being happy anyway when you live your life on purpose. You will be choosing to do things that are in harmony with your why. All the rest of the stuff going on around that and around you will still happen but you will choose to consider the lessons to be learned, reflect on the good stuff and continue or return to living your life in harmony with your why.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day.😎

Bliss List

Throughout my life I have done a huge amount of research in the field of happiness. It interested me that it was a subject that underlies success writings and achievement writings and personal management (what we used to call time management). I wonder if you noticed this stuff along the way as well.

  • You become what you think about! (Earl Nightingale)
  • You reap what you sow.
  • What you focus on grows.
  • Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude … (Viktor Frankl)
  • You’re right about that dear. 😛 (Wayne Dyer)
  • Decide!

You get the idea I think. I wrote earlier about simple pleasures and exhorted us to actually do things that we know will bring us happiness and pleasure. It strikes me that we need to take a few minutes and write down a bliss list (I wish I could recall who taught me that). What it is is simply a list of things that bring feelings of bliss when you just think about them. I just have to think about sitting here in my back yard and I feel at peace.

Take a few minutes and write down a list of the things that bring you feelings of bliss or happiness. For me this list includes things like outdoor patio dining, fresh toasted tomato sandwich, running, being near water, walking on a beach, raisins, nature areas of all sorts, dressing up(!), my special music playlist, being with grand kiddies, dining room meal at home with Luise… and so on, for three pages. It includes things I think I would love to do. I guarantee you that you will feel happy just thinking about these things as you write the list. It is not a gratitude list – it is a list of things that make you feel good. It’s okay to put indulgences here that you might feel a little guilty about – it is your bliss list!

Now what? Do you sit down and do this every time you want a lift in spirits? Not necessary. You have already done that. Rather, place this list in a convenient place where you can look at it regularly. I keep my list in my office which is where I sit down each week to review my past week and plan out my coming week. It is also where I review my day and plan my next day. I look over random parts of the list before I get started. You can keep your list in your sock drawer if you like. The important part is to look it over at least once a day. Just looking over the list will bring you feelings of happiness and even bliss. We should all have that in our days.

Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day! And remind yourself what brings feelings of joy into your life! 🙂

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

― John Lennon

A great quote shared by Stuart Anslow. Lennon had it so right even in his early years. The one thing we all desire, above all, or at the foundation of all, is to be happy. Where we get confused and off track is when we lose the meaning of what it is to be happy. We get lost in accumulating wealth, being “successful” and “doing good things” and making sure the rest of the world sees and understands how great we are. In short, we get lost in EGO.

You have, perhaps, read elsewhere in these posts that it is very useful (and important) to consider what you want the result of your action or words to be before doing or saying it. If it is to serve you by showing others how brilliant and “right” you are – that is EGO and is not destined to be a part of being happy. If it is to help and serve others in a non-selfagrandising way, that is a part of the voyage of happiness. Yes, happiness is a voyage, not a destination.

Think just a bit about some of the things we have done or are doing right now because we think that it will lead to happiness. Saving money for a trip. Working hard to gain that promotion or major sale. Writing an article to prove how right your viewpoint is. (Hmmm…) But don’t those sorts of things lead to happiness?

Sure, they probably lead to a happy moment or period of time. But we need to look a bit deeper. What is the motivation? Saving for that trip is hard and can be stressful. However, if the motivation is to go to that area and really get into the place you are voyaging through, the saving is easy and happy. If the promotion or big sale moves you further along on helping others, the effort becomes easy and it is all part of the voyage we call life. And it is part of living in a “happy” state. Writing is a whole other thing! 🙂

You have heard me say before, contentment in your everyday life is a key to being happy. In actuality, by contentment, I mean being grateful for what is in your life now. It does not mean that you cannot want to strive for “more”. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that you already have a great deal to be grateful for. Stay focused on what you have to be grateful for and absolutely do not give time thinking about what causes stress and feelings of inadequacy.

Yes, Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!

Pause To Wonder

I have always found spring to be a favourite time of the year for me. A time of renewal that reminds me that there is so much more to come. A time to focus once more on the idea that “you can be happy anyway”! I came across this quote recently and it just spoke to me again in a warm and attentive way.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” — Albert Einstein

Take the time to really stop and smell the flowers. Look around you. I mean really look and be prepared to be amazed. The buds are forming on the trees and shrubs – again! What on earth is the trigger? I hear the biologists out there getting ready to “explain” it but I stand in awe to watch the buds break open and see the leaves start to open and green up. And this happens every year!

Again I watch the wonderful birds getting “frisky” and chasing each other around my back yard. Yes, it is nature doing its thing but that is exactly what I am talking about. Nature doing its thing! Amazing!

What about the man made stuff around us? Doesn’t it amaze you just a bit to think that there are roads to just about wherever you might want to go to? I often wonder which came first, the road or the group of people that needed to be reached by road. I see a lake and imagine the people who have lived around or near that lake over the past few thousand years. It was a source of water and food. Now I see all the cottages around it and understand that the lake is still providing but people are limiting to which people it is providing. Ownership is a bit of a strange concept. We are finite beings so we are really just borrowing anything we “have”.

We are so busy these days that I think we are too busy living to take a moment once in a while to just look around and be in awe. As Einstein says above, if we don’t, we are as good as dead. Just filling time.

Stop! Take a few minutes every day to relax and metaphorically look around with a bit wonder and be awed by what you see. Be thankful. What amazes you? While you do this at least once or twice a day, remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every single day.