Archive for July, 2010

Enjoying the journey (to happiness)

July 24, 2010

Having fun along the way

Do you know you can allow yourself be happy, right now, without the need to meet a hundred conditions? Our upbringing has taught us that we must work hard and achieve everything expected of us before we have the right to be happy. Unfortunately that day never comes.

Happiness is the journey, not the destination. Achievement is a wonderful feeling but few stay satisfied for long. Consciously or not we recalibrate our targets and expectations and set off on the next phase of our journey.

Striving to be better off and to ‘improve’ ourselves is hardwired into our DNA and reinforced daily. Society expects progress. If you aren’t moving forward then you’re going backward. ‘What’s your goal this year? Where do you want to be in 5 years? When is enough, enough?’ Never, that’s when.

What happens when we finally get what we desire, perhaps the car of our dreams? We work so hard for it, read the magazines, look in the showroom and take a test drive. It’s all we think about. Then the day finally comes and we get it. Exciting, that new car smell, satisfying and a sense of having everything we desire.

Fast-forward to the near future and what happens?  We start to look at the magazines again, see what else is available and start to think about what’s next. Happens with homes, jobs and for some people even their partner!

It’s not the actual car that makes us feel good, the metal, plastic and rubber, it’s the sense of satisfaction comes from within. What we feel is the removal of the desire of wanting. Our ego is appeased….for now.

The solution is to enjoy the planning, the wanting and the fun along the way. Enjoy the journey because it doesn’t end with getting what you want. That is just a milestone. Have fun, embrace your success and enjoy the journey. That is the secret to fulfilment.

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How can I be happy now?

July 20, 2010

Happiness is the quest of all human endeavour

 

I’m often asked, ‘What’s the secret to a successful life and how can I be happy?’

Great question, but where do we start? The answer is ‘that depends’ because it changes with what each person values as important.

Ask anyone about their goals and dreams and inevitably they’ll include ‘just to be happy’ in the top 2 or 3. The others are usually a combination of health, wealth and being successful.

In goal setting ‘just to be happy’ doesn’t work. Unless you can define what success looks like and you set a plan to get there you’ll never reach it.

So we plan and set personal goals for achieving success. Goals in every area of life: finance, career, health, spirituality, family and recreation. We set targets and milestones and monitor progress along the way.

Where does happiness fit into this? Do we have to achieve all of these goals to be happy or is the journey enough? What happens if you achieve tall your goals and you still aren’t happy? Believe me, it happens a lot.

Happiness can’t be a conditional goal. ‘I will be happy when I make a million dollars, lose 10 kg or find the partner of my dreams’. They’re great outcomes, but do you really need to achieve those things to be happy? What’s stopping you being happy today?

Discarding our beliefs about conditional happiness is no easy task. How do we embrace happiness as a choice that comes from within? The most challenging task is controlling how external factors and other people our inner world. We all know people that love to drag us down and share in their misery. It may not be possible to avoid them, we have to live in the world, but we can decide how we let other people affect us.

This takes work and becomes a part of our personal philosophy. Understand that as soon as we make the decision to be happy, our subconscious through conditioning will try to convince us that we’re wasting our time. Things that aren’t right, yet to be achieved or fulfilled occupy our mind. Perhaps we have been taught that it’s wrong or even immoral to be happy. Why is struggle, sacrifice and living a meagre existence seen as noble or respectful? What’s wrong with being the best you can be and wishing that for everyone?’

So we need to establish a new set of rules and accept happiness as our default state. We need to accept who we are now and look to the future with enthusiasm for the journey.

Even when things go wrong, as they inevitably do, having the foundation and expectation of happiness, contentment and inner peace allows us to be confident that we’re on the right path and that the journey of life is worth living and to be enjoyed.

My next blog will focus on enjoying the journey as the source of lasting happiness.