How happy are you with your life these days?
And if you find things falling a bit short, who or what do you hold responsible?
This business of happiness is an interesting creature.
Throughout our lives, it’s often the case that we imagine we will be happier and more content when we reach some future state.
- When we’re done school – or going back to school.
- When we’ve landed an exciting job – or disengaged from a boring one.
- When we’re married – or divorced.
- When we have children – or when the kids leave home.
And so it goes on multiple fronts. I don’t know about you, but I continue to learn that future states are not always the glorious versions of bliss that I might have imagined them to be.
John Izzo’s latest book, The Five Thieves of Happiness, sheds some light on this experience. One of the messages that stands out for me is John’s observation that ‘We don’t need to seek happiness as much as we need to get out of its way.’
I understand this to mean that feeling happy is a natural state, but that we cloud our awareness of its presence by the way we think about our circumstances. And – just a reminder – we all know who is in charge of our thoughts!
As you reflect on your state of contentment, consider whether you are allowing one of John’s five thieving thought patterns to wreak havoc in your world:
- Needing to control every situation and have it unfold according to your expectations
- Thinking that you are the center of the universe and that the world should serve your needs
- Comparing yourself and your situation to others and feeling inadequate
- Consuming things and experiences in the hopes that having ‘more’ will fill that hole of emptiness
- Allowing yourself to sink into a rut of comfort and complacency
Action: Here are the five antidotes John suggests will defuse the power these thieves hold over our lives: surrender, service, gratitude, choice, and adventure.
I’ve been experimenting with all of them. Give one a try today and see what it does for your Happiness Quotient.
Quotes Of The Week: The direction of your focus is the direction your life will move. Let yourself move toward what is good, valuable, strong and true. – Ralph Marston
Happiness is a direction, not a place. – Sydney Harris
If it doesn’t make you happy, why do you keep choosing it? – Karen Salmansohn
Resources Of The Week: I’ve got a handful of resources for you this week. So settle in and enjoy now or space them out over the next few days:
This Globe and Mail article by Harvey Schacter will give you a summary overview of Tips For Banishing The Five Thieves of Happiness.
Take Izzo’s 20 question quiz on What Is Robbing Your Natural Happiness?
Twelve Intention Actions To Choose Happiness Today by Joshua Becker
And one more great article that includes a link to TEDX talk by Shawn Achor recommending Five Happiness Practices.
Readers Write: In response to the last message, Take Care Of You To Be Better For Others, Pause reader SR writes: As much as I like the idea of seizing time for yourself in order to relax, I’ve also found another solution that works for me. I simply plunge into the activities that are going on, turning the seeming chaos into inspiration. Sometimes it is better to bend and go with the flow rather than break by trying to adhere to a routine that’s bound to be disrupted.
News: There’s still time to join in the third and final session of the Engagement Series that I’m delivering March 15 for the Edwards School of Biz at U of S: Tapping Passion – Moving Beyond Mid Life Malaise. Click here to learn more & to register.