Do you ever have something keep popping up in your life? It’s repeats and is like a big sign saying look at me.
This book my father gave me keeps popping up – Happy for No Reason. I came across this gift of a book again as I researched some things for a new coaching program. It revealed another important myth that misguided my life for a very long time – I’ll be happy when [fill in the blank].
When – I get into the right college, get my degree, get a job, get married, go to France, finish this project, meet this deadline, buy a home, and so forth.
To realize you’ve chosen to give control of your happiness away to the outside world is eye-opening.
Isn’t it more empowering to ask yourself when’s the best time to be happy. It gives the control back to you where it belongs.
What do you think?
As part of this new program, I prepared a mental habit assessment. It made me think of how certain things I learned in coaching and NLP weren’t discussed much in my old life.
How you go about your life is programmed by many things. It’s not in your DNA. It is a deep mental habit. This affects your answer to when’s the best time to be happy.
Imagine as a child you were constantly reminded at school that happiness comes from being the best, making a good living, and having a family. You may’ve learned to associate happiness with achieving these things. This thinking may then affect how you behave in the present and how you think of the future.
It’s like wires got mixed somewhere.
Happiness = be the best, make a good living, have a family
So, you keep postponing happiness until this happens. And you get there and you’re not happy. Then, things change in a moment. You lose your job, your project fails, your spouse leaves you.
Then what. No happiness?
Just suppose in someone else’s mind, she defines happiness as a feeling of peace in her heart. She steps into it at any time. Perhaps, she knows challenging things will happen and enjoys the process because she know this one thing.
She can find her peace any time she chooses.
So her answer to the best time to be happy is all the time and accepts it’s a process. And, that seemingly challenging things can become meaningful through the power of her mind. And thus, happiness is always possible. It’s a choice.
Simple Self-Awareness Practice
Here’s an easy thing you can do now to gain more personal awareness and get out of this mind trap.
Carefully and consciously define happiness for yourself.
Literally, pull out a piece of paper and write down happiness = ________. And then, put down the other side of the equation. Take a look through and see how much is in your control and how much isn’t.
Ask yourself if you can shift your attention to the things you can control.
How much ease would that bring to your life?
For fun, write down the date you want to start experiencing your happiness.
I encourage you to take that decision today rather than letting old mental habits make that important choice for you. Read more here to see if this is the right decision for you.
The simple process of answering this question – when’s the best time to be happy? – helps you move toward the answer. As long as you focus on what’s in your control, you’ve got all the power to take the steps to make that real.
I’d love to hear how you defined happiness in the comments. Declaring it out loud (even in written form) is a powerful step.
Enjoy the process.