A Lesson on Creating the Life You Want
Everyone as a child can remember this question, “So (insert name) what do you want to be when you grow up?” We’d generally give it little thought because at that time we are limitless. We look at the world as something to conquer; and with the faith of that small child, we can do anything we choose that will make us happy.
We then strain to give some adult answer to this question like: I want to be a doctor, lawyer, police officer, etc. When in reality we wanted to be the bubblegum blowing champion, the hide-n-seek champion, the Big Mac eating champion (boy did I pay for that one), or we simply wanted to just go outside, play, and enjoy life as we should.
So I ask, “What do you want to be now that you are grown up?” It’s a completely different feeling and attitude to answer that question because, ironically, we would want to live the carefree, happy life of that child who was forced into giving the answer to a question that simply could not really be answered with any sense of sincerity.
But what is this elusive idea of happiness that we seek?
Let’s define it
Happiness is a state of mind
Seems too simplistic? Well, let’s examine this, not with theory, but with your own experiences. Grab a pen and a piece of paper and create a list of those times when you felt most happy. Go ahead, do it now.
Now in that list you just created, notice the one thing that is most common and that is the version of happiness that we were taught to experience is transitory. Whether it is the birth of a child, the wedding to your beloved, graduating from school, or simply getting that one thing you most desired; this feeling of happiness lasts as long as it took for you to look forward to something else, that next event.
We’ve learned how to be happy by way of observing our environment. It is common to cry at funerals as opposed to celebrating life. It is common to feel joy at the birth of a child as opposed to feeling a sense of desperation as now this child must grow up in this cruel, cruel world. We watch, observe and succumb to the forces outside of ourselves to determine our happiness. Worst yet, is when we decide that until we get the one thing that exists outside of ourselves is when we will experience inner happiness. I call this delayed happiness.
If you are interested in experiencing happiness now, then pay very close attention.
As the previous definition stated that happiness is a “state of mind” then it is obvious that in order to be happy, you must “BE” happy. I know that this seems to be a play on words but it’s not. Go back to your list (I hope you wrote it down) and look over it again. Another common trait that you should discover is that happiness, as is commonly experienced, is an automatic, direct response to a predetermined stimulus. Read that again because we are going to use this knowledge to create a consistent state of happiness.
The difference this time is that we are going to choose to BE happy or better yet, you are going to be the cause of happiness in your life as opposed to allowing happiness to be an effect of some outside stimulus (read The Principle of Cause & Effect for further detail).
Here is how it works
You must understand that happiness cannot exist in an environment where fear, apprehension, or dread lives. So the first thing you must do is create an environment whereby happiness can thrive. Let’s go to the “Rule” book to see how to do this. Keep in mind; this is not an attempt at religion. I am using this as a reference only.
Psalm 23 states: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever”.
Again, don’t get caught up in the religious aspects of this. Realize that this represents your unlimited power of subconscious thought touched by faith. You must have a clear understanding and realization that you can overcome any thing that ails you the moment you realize that your subconscious mind can solve your problems, heal your body, and prosper you beyond your wildest dreams.
Happiness is native to your mind and body. We think better, perform better, feel better, and are healthier. However, it’s purely internal. It’s produced, not by objects, but by ideas, thoughts, and attitudes which can be developed and constructed by your activities, irrespective of the environment.
However, being in a 100% happy state all of the time is a fallacy, we’re human; as such, we are subject to but not controlled by all of life’s whims. There will always be a multitude of events and circumstances of daily living which would provide a state of your unhappiness. But, these can easily be overridden much of the time by deciding to be happy and by thinking pleasant thoughts (see vibration).
We have learned to react to pettiness and frustrations with grumpiness, dissatisfaction, resentment, and irritability purely out of habit. We have practiced reacting this way for so long, it has become habitual. We get stuck in traffic and we fuss, blow the horn, curse other drivers as opposed to taking the time and enjoy the moment. Life presents you with these moments to learn to experience happiness yet we get caught up with playing that same song called angry.
Desire happiness and it will be
Living a happy, resilient and optimistic life is wonderful, and is also good for your health. Being happy actually protects you from the stresses of life. Stress is linked to one of the top causes of death such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.
It was once said – “The only thing in life that will always remain the same is change”, and in your life you have the power to make the necessary changes if you want to. Even if you find yourself in an unbearable situation, you can always find solace in the knowledge that it too will change.
Social networks or relationships are essential to happiness. People are different, accept people for whom or what they are, avoid clashes, constant arguments, and let go of resentments. If arguments seem unavoidable still try to make an effort to understand the situation and you might just get along well with other people.
Happiness is your birthright, it exists in everyone, increasing it is a way to make life more wonderful. Since it’s your choice than choose to BE happy. Abraham Lincoln observed that “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
There are several ways by which you can do this.
- Be grateful: You have so much to be thankful for. Thank the taxi or bus driver for bringing you home safely, thank the cook for a wonderful dinner and thank the guy who cleans your windows. Also thank the mailman for bringing you your mail, thank the policeman for making your place safe and thank God for being alive.
- Smile: When an event deems otherwise, smile until you feel happy
- Watch less news: I find it interesting that most people end and start their day by getting their daily dose of news. Think about it, 99% of the news we hear or read is negative. Starting or ending the day with bad news does not seem to be a sensible thing to do. It’s like taking two gulps of poison per day and I am sure you would not do that.
- Connect spiritually: A spiritual connection is also recommended. Seek quiet, alone time to offer up prayers and meditations to foster inner peace.
- Manage your time: Time is invaluable and too important to waste. Time management can be viewed as a list of rules that involves scheduling, setting goals, planning, creating lists of things to do and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop an efficient personal time management skill. These basic skills can be fine tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you desire.
- Laugh and laugh heartily everyday: Heard a good joke? Tell your friends or family about it. “Laughter is the best medicine”.
- Express your feelings, affections, friendship and passion to people around you. They will most likely reciprocate your actions. Try not to keep pent-up anger or frustrations. Instead find ways of expressing them in a way that will not cause more injury or hurt to anyone.
- Work: Working brings tremendous personal satisfaction. It gives a feeling of being competent in finishing your tasks. Accomplishments are necessary for all of us; they give you a sense of value. Work on things that you feel worthy of your time.
- Learn something new daily: Learning is a joyful exercise. Try and learn something new everyday. Learning also makes us expand and broaden our horizons and also gives you more opportunities for future success.
- Exercise: Run, jog, walk and do other things that your body was made for. Feel alive. Try to avoid exposure to negative elements like loud noises, toxins and hazardous places.
Develop the happiness habit
Our self-image and our habits are tied together. Change one and you will automatically change the other. The word habit originally meant garment or clothing. Your habits are literally clothing worn by your personality and not by some random act or by chance. You “wear” them because they fit you. They are consistent with your self-image. When you consciously and deliberately develop new and better habits, your self-image tends to outgrow the old habits and grow into a new pattern.
You may walk by, without much notice, as a child lies kicking and screaming on the floor because his mom has denied his latest indulgence. This habit of “falling out” has worked in the past and since we are creatures of such, we think it will work again. Imagine how you would then react if such a performance took place in your place of work by one of your managers who didn’t get his way.
Habits (as mentioned earlier) are merely reactions and responses which you have learned to perform automatically without having to “think” or “decide.” 95% of your behavior, feeling, and response is habitual. In the past, you developed certain attitudes, feelings, and thoughts about what things were appropriate for certain situations. Don’t stare is a child admonishment: however, as an adult, you are to look one in the eye.
What we need to understand is that these habits can be modified, changed, or reversed, simply by taking the time to make a conscious decision to practice these new responses until a new happiness habit is formed.
- I will be as cheerful as possible today
- I will feel and act more friendly toward others today
- I will be less critical and more tolerant of others today
- I believe that my success is inevitable today
- I will think positively today
- I will react intelligently and calm to most situations today