Aristotle was quoted, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” If we can choose to be happy, wouldn’t everyone do that? Doesn’t our environment decide our level of happiness? You can decide to be happy throughout your career and your life if you commit to improving the factors that affect happiness and satisfaction. Once the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing are met, level of happiness is directly related to how we react to and within our environment.
To be consistently happy, you must:
- Choose a positive attitude
- Adopt a thankful attitude
- Manage worry
- Surround yourself with happy people
Most people, including myself, have room for improvement in one or more of those areas. Improvement takes effort and often requires building new habits which takes time. Let’s review each of those factors to see how you can reach a higher level of happiness and teach others.
Choose a positive attitude
To choose a positive attitude, you must first understand that everyone has a choice of how they respond to what happens to them. You can think of coworkers and acquaintances that you would describe as “very negative” and others you would describe as “always positive”. The difference between the two is attitude or simply learned habits of unconsciously choosing to respond positively or negatively to the hundreds of the small and large events of each day. Accept that you have control of your attitude and want to improve it. You’ll likely need help from a good friend who will commit to catching you when you make a negative choice to discuss more positive responses to retrain your brain.
Adopt a thankful attitude
You will feel greater happiness if you regularly focus on your blessings and not on your wants. An effective habit to adopting a thankful attitude is counting your blessings each morning as you start your day. Put a reminder note on your bathroom mirror to mentally list 6 to 10 things you are thankful for like “I am thankful for: 1. The health and well-being of my family, 2. Living in a free country, 3. For a warm place to sleep, 4. etc.
Unfortunately, the habit of worrying about things robs happiness by hi-jacking our thoughts away from our blessings and to things that may not even occur. Do not worry about what happened in the past. Do not worry about what might happen in the future. Only concern yourself with the day you are in.
The inability to forgive others can be extremely damaging to your happiness for some of the same reasons of excessive worry. Instead of thankful and positive thoughts, held grudges occupy your thoughts and even work you into a rage if left unchecked. Max Lucado is credited with the quote, “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free . . . and . . . realizing you were the prisoner!” Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, but something we do for ourselves. It allows us to heal and move on.
Surround yourself with happy people
Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, famously said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Think about that group for you and decide if you need others in your top-5 that can help you build the positive habits that will lead to greater happiness.
Choosing to be happy requires self-reflection and a plan to build the habits of a positive and thankful attitude, to manage worry, to learn to forgive, and to surround yourself with the people who will support you on the journey. As you look ahead to a new year, may HAPPINESS be your GIFT – to give AND to receive!!
Here at Great Plains Consulting, we want to wish you all Health and Happiness this Christmas! Thank-you for visiting with us, for allowing us to be a part of your professional journey and for trusting us to build your business or enhance your career!