Monday, March 1, 2010

Happiness is a Choice

We can be happy, if we make it our choice.

Many people fail to see it that way. To them, human emotions are the products of things around them. Since they have almost no control over what might come on, they therefore have little or no control over their happiness.


Whether you think they are right or wrong, you are right. Let me explain.

By Vanilla

Where does unhappiness come from?

When the going is not so good, we often blame some people or things which we think are responsible for our state of emotion.

Imagine this scene: A project teammate missed an important deadline and as a result, your team was not successful in getting a business deal. What would have been your reaction?

Many people would start to blame or criticize someone aloud or in their hearts:

  • That stupid* project leader should have monitored the deadlines more closely;
  • That jerk* should not have left things till the last minute;
  • The client was so unreasonable* and refused* to grant a time extension;
  • The winning team was just plain lucky*.
The list goes on.... and note the choice of unhelpful words. (*).

How many times have you, given a similar situation, examined YOURSELF FIRST in one way or another? Most people rarely do that. This is, to me, the start of our unhappiness.

We focus our attention on things in the past and things which we have no control over. After spending much energy on them, we feel exhausted but the outcome remains unchanged. Naturally, we feel frustrated and that we have been treated unfairly. In the process, our spoken words and body language towards others would have damaged the relationship which we took pain to build up. At some point, we may also feel guilty about our own behavior.

There you go, we collect a bunch of negative emotions and in short, we feel unhappy.

It really does not need to be this way.

Some clues to no blues

Let's take the same scene again and this is what you could have done. Instead of blaming and criticizing others, you can channel your energy to something doable. In this way, you would not end up feeling sorry for anything, anyone and most importantly, yourself. Be amazed at the difference it will make.

Ask instead,

  • The project leader did not monitor the deadlines close enough and as a team member, could I have helped him improve that?
  • That team member missed the deadline and could I have seen that coming?
  • The client did not agree to a deadline extension and if I were at the negotiating table, could I have put the deal across differently?
  • The winning team put up some new ideas. What can I learn from them?
Do you notice the way you talk to yourself in the examples above? Each of them comprises of two parts: (1) state and examine the facts (2) reflect them on YOURSELF.

In none of these examples you have put your energy on what you have no control over. Having asked those questions, you can come up with some ideas and formulate some possible solutions. From this point onwards, you have learned something new and ready to use your new wisdom on your next task.

With a simple shift of focus, you would end up feeling more informed and wiser but not at the expense of anyone. That translates to some positive outcome and a sense of achievement which naturally leads to a happier YOU.

By Vanilla

Let's face it, no matter what you do, you cannot undo history. Past events are, at best, points of reference for you to move forward from. They are not something which should appear on your "To-Do List". Rather, they give you ideas on what you could put on your "To Learn List".
(See "To Learn List" in "Lifelong Learning - My Way")

Make it a habit to change the way you view an outcome. Learn to ask the simple "2-part" questions:

1) what happened?
2) what can I learn from it?

I assure you that you will be too busy learning and leave little or no time to feel the blues.

Remember: Happiness is a CHOICE and 'happy behavior' is a HABIT. Make that choice and acquire that habit.

Have a happy day!

"A man is happy so long as he chooses to be happy."

~Alexander Solzhenitsyn~

You might also like to read:

Happiness Quotient

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1 comment:

Inspirational Quotes said...

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