There are quite a few people out there who claim to know what will make us happy. I am always a bit suspect of accepting general answers to mostly subjective questions. One person’s happiness can be another person’s obligation or chore. My contention is that most people don’t spend enough time truly trying to get in touch with themselves as individuals and what honestly makes them happy. In fact, we often feel a bit sheepish or odd when we don’t follow a conventional formula for happiness. There is this overriding sense that it is better to fit in than be different – which is nonsense and direct pathway to personal malaise and/or unhappiness.
It’s very easy to get so caught up in our own life and forget about the needs of other people especially those not directly in our social or professional circles. However, it’s been proven time and time again and that real joy comes from helping others not just focusing on ourselves. Leaders are in a unique position to set a good example in this regard. I believe it isn’t just a coincidence that the most philanthropic and community involved companies tend to do better than their less engaged peers on the business front. People want to know that you care about more than just profit especially your employees.
I’ve always believed that life rewards focus and persistence. If you keep working at something you will eventually make progress. What you have to be careful about is managing your expectations. You also need to take responsibility for the outcome(s) you want and not expect someone else to create the reality you want. Happiness is no exception. Happy people work at being happy and start with themselves first. They have to deal with unhappy moments like everyone else, but have trained themselves to practice acceptance rather than resistance and have fine tuned their own capacity to muddle through and make positive changes.
You have to believe in yourself if you want to accomplish anything of significance in life. Self doubt is like a cancer that slowly spreads and eventually incapacitates your ability to act. This doesn’t mean you become foolhardy or act with too much hubris but it does mean you have to trust in your own abilities and forge ahead. Many obstacles will be strewn in your path including the words and actions of people close to you. However, don’t get distracted or sidetracked by others who consciously or subconsciously want to hold you back and/or define you in ways you don’t want to be defined.
Choosing to seek and have fun is a conscious choice. Rarely does it just happen. We all have moments of spontaneous joy we can remember, but this is the exception not the rule. I encourage you to make having fun a filter in your daily, weekly and monthly activities.
We all need to accept and embrace the happy moments as the present themselves otherwise life can feel like a treadmill if you are not careful.
I sincerely hope your homes are filled with love, friendship and joy this holiday season. And, in the midst of all the unnecessary consumerism that accompanies the holiday, I wish for you moments of clarity and peace around what’s truly important in your life. I also pray your hearts are filled with compassion and charity for those who are less fortunate.