The coaching client’s happiness was in the low range. This became a point of conversation.
The client challenged me, “What makes you happy?” I answered him with a question, “Who are the people you know who are happy?” I followed up with another question. “What is the source of their happiness?”
As he shared his thoughts on the source of happiness of these people he knew, he touched on what I have discovered about happiness and it’s sources.
Personally, I find the happiest people have several of these traits:
- They know their purpose in life and are living it. They are not living a life of someone else’s expectations.
- They love themselves just as they are. They realize they are not perfect and they will never be perfect and they are good with that. They aren’t worried about what others think of them.
- They have low expectations of others. They seem to never be disappointed in others. They suspend judgement and accept people as they are including their imperfections, failures and scars. Yet, they support others and help where they can.
- They seem to have a heaping dose of gratitude and practice living into gratitude daily.
- They get more pleasure from giving than consuming.
- They have reduced complexity in their lives and embrace simplicity.
- They regularly take time for themselves. They have balance in their lives. They work some. They play some. They eat well. They get exercise. They get enough sleep. They make time to do nothing!
“The absence of disease is not health. Here's how we get to health: We need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. I found that most companies and schools follow a formula for success, which is this: If I work harder, I'll be more successful. And if I'm more successful, then I'll be happier. That under girds most of our parenting and managing styles, the way that we motivate our behavior.” Shawn Achor's TED Talk: The happy secret to better work
Do you view “work” as the opposite of happiness? If you see your job or work as a chore rather than a calling, how do you think it will impact your happiness? The two most important days of our lives are the day we are born and the day we discover why. If you haven’t discovered why or are not living your purpose, how do you think it will impact your happiness? Need inspiration to discover this? Listen to Krista Tippett's On Being interview with John Cary on Becoming a Father Restored my Creativity.
Are you on the “hamster wheel” of when I get a raise, a better job, a vacation, a _______ then I will be happy? What are you grateful for right now? Could you be grateful for the simple, ordinary, daily things like turning on the faucet for a glass of cool, clear, safe-to-drink water? Could you be grateful for failure?
Mistakes are feedback! - Billie Jean King
Failures don’t feel good, but they are learning opportunities. Could you be grateful for a headache? Headaches are not pleasant but they can be a realization of how often you are free of headaches and take good health for granted.
Do you make a difference in someone’s life?
Who are your the five people you are closest in your life? We are the five people we hang with. Are those five people happy? Do you need to make a trade or two among these five? Suggestion. Look and build relationships that inspire and challenge you to be a better person. Look and build relationships that make you laugh.
How complicated is your life? Graham Hill explains how when he simplified his life, owned less, he gained more happiness! I can identify with this. We cut our carbon footprint significantly when we moved to North Carolina. That bumper sticker, “Own less. Live more.” is true! Watch Hill’s TED Talk, Less Stuff, more happiness to learn more.
Do you want explore happiness? Check out Adam Grant’s, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success
My apologies to all those motivational speakers who promote, "Choose happiness!" We don't choose happiness. Happiness is the result of what we do and how we are with others. What behaviors, what thoughts do you need to change to evoke happiness?