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.

Rightness!

There have always ways been different opinions about almost everything. Probably from the best way to approach a mastodon in order to kill it for food for the others, to the best way to use social media to market an idea. But, as you can see from my hint about social media, these days we are absolutely bombarded with statements that purport to be the real truth.

 

Social media is all pervasive, but only if we let it be. We do have choices to make. And this takes me back to an article that I posted way back in 2009. The irony is not lost on me but GIGO is worth another read. Then we were being bombarded with all sorts of negative, violent and confrontational stuff in the news and on social media. My advice then was to unplug for a while and focus on yourself and your immediate family and friends. Pay attention to what you really want in your life.

Way back in 1956 Earl Nightingale produced an amazing record called “The Strangest Secret”. That secret was relevant then, as it has been all through history, and as it is today. It is quite simply ‘we become what we think about’. We need to take a minute out of our hectic lives and just think about that. What are YOU thinking about? What are you focused on? What is at the top of your mind? It matters. If it is always checking on the craziness of the next tweet from that person, you will be growing feelings of ridicule, resentment, anger, despair and so on. If you are hoping for more money because you do not have enough, the main thought there is that you do not have enough and that grows.

I recently realized that I was not really much engaged in life and was just treading water. I put out the thoughts that I wanted to be doing more and being more active in the community. I did not know what that would mean but wow! Within the same week I was invited to a general meeting of a Riding Association and became a Board member with a specific responsibility that will certainly broaden my knowledge, horizon and connection to my community. In addition, I was invited to be part of starting a business venture. Careful what you think about because things happen. 🙂

What I want to recommend to you is that you pull back just a bit and focus on what you can control. About the only thing you can really control is what you think about. We have heard it said that live is about 90% what happens to us and 10% of how we respond/react to the things that happen to us. Get out front and start thinking about what you really, really, really, REALLY want. We want world peace because we will be safer. We want more money because we want to help others and to provide comfort and security to our family. We want safety and security where we live. But, overall, we REALLY want to be happy! Anyway! So focus your thoughts on contentment, happiness and inner peace. My partner always says “prepare for the worst but plan for the best”. In other words, know what the worst can be, acknowledge it briefly and then let it go and focus on the best.

Lucky or Grateful? Yes!

Virtually all of the teachers in the field of achievement, happiness and abundance teach us that we need to “Be Grateful”. We need to develop and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. No matter what is going on around us we need to find something to be grateful for.

I have known and understood this virtually my entire life. However, it is only recently that the light came on for me that I have indeed been grateful virtually my entire life. You see, I used to think that it was very hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I thought it meant that I had to constantly focus on being grateful and being specific about what it was that I was grateful for. Sort of like taking time out and concentrating.

Certainly we need to do that sort of thing. We need to pay attention to what we are feeling about what is happening. We need to focus on what we would like to feel grateful for in order to attract that into our lives. In the present tense. But how do we do that? That is where the light has finally come on for me. I have been doing this for my entire life. Maybe you have also.

People who know me will recognize this sort of phrase from me. “I am so lucky to have chosen to be born in the right place at the right time in history to the right parents.” I use the “lucky” word a lot. You will usually hear it shortly after something “bad” has happened. I have intuitively always looked for the silver lining and expressed it out loud. I now finally realize that what I have been exercising is my attitude of gratitude! And I have had lots of occasions to exercise it!

I do not really recall being taught this along the way in my early years but it does not mean that I was not being exposed to it. I read voraciously in the achievement fields and goals fields. The concept was likely there and I probably picked it up by osmosis. But I have had this my whole life, even as a child.

So what? Has it made a difference? Do I enjoy abundance? Am I happy? Do I have great relationships? Can I do what I want, when I want to and with whom I want? Simply, yes. In my 20’s I decided that I wanted to be able to retire by the age of 50 and I did. Along the way, I helped others in ways that allowed them to do and get what they wanted out of life. Great relationships! My family life has had the occasional hick-up as all families do but it is fabulous. I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I am so “lucky”.

There is that word again. Always look for the luck/gratitude views on what is happening to you. Take the silver lining and run with it as your flag. When it is the toughest that you have ever faced, feel lucky because it is getting you ready for something greater than you could have believed in earlier times. You can be happy anyway!

Awe and Wonder!

We all know that it is important to be following a “continuos learning” trajectory through life but what does it mean? Obviously in work settings it means keeping up and even looking ahead to move ahead. In every day settings it used to mean that we should be taking courses to stretch our minds and broaden our interests. These days it probably means staying in touch with the continuos changes in our electronic world and the apps that drive it along. Whenever we update our software, it often means a learning curve to adjust to the changes. Get the latest technology once in a while to experience continuous learning!

A note of caution: continuous learning must not end with retirement! It is not a work thing. It is a life thing.

But really, nothing has changed. If you are not interested you are withering. If you are not living with a bit of wondering you are coasting and not engaged in your life. You are dying! Remember, our life is a short time in the whole of eternity so we had best make full use of it.

We live in a world of amazing wonders that must surely inspire enthusiasm for inquiring into the whys and hows of things. Continuous learning is not about formal training or education. It is about looking around and wondering about the things that we see all the time. Live like you are on a vacation. Rush to the next thing and learn as much as you can about it. I love the concept that we have learned more in science in the last 100 years than we have learned in all the previous years of history. We know stuff now that we did not even know that we should be wondering about just 100 years ago.

We don’t know everything. We do not have all the answers – yet. Actually, we won’t ever have all the answers. Before Galileo we thought that everything revolved around earth. Then we thought that our solar system was the centre of the universe. And then, … well you get the point. We don’t know what we don’t know. Stay inquisitive. Look at things with the wonder and enthusiasms of a kid. Go discover! Learn! Wonder! LIVE!

I want to continue to be inquisitive. I want to stay interested in seeing and experiencing stuff that I have not yet come across. I want to keep learning. In short, I want to keep living fully. THAT is the way to staying Happy Anyway! 🙂