Here’s Why You Are Closer to Happiness Than You Think
"There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." -Denis Waitley
“You don’t have a choice in the matter.”
Like you, this is a phrase I have heard many times in my life and more than once, these words have unknowingly defeated me. Yet, the most valuable thing I learned from the experience is that this phrase couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s undeniable that we cannot control all the events in our life, good or bad, however we have a wondrous ability to guide the outcome.
Although it can be easy to forget, one of the greatest powers we have is the power of choice. No matter what the situation in our lives, we have the ability to determine how we will react to what has been presented to us. Like a driver travelling down an old dusty road we can stay frustrated by the bumps on the current journey or we can change to the route that will lead us to happiness. Occasionally, you will need to pack a little courage for the trip but ultimately the determining factor will be the direction in which you choose to go.
Like pinpoints on a map, choices create a mental path that can lead you towards or away from your dreams. Each choice that you make to be happy, each choice that you make to never be defeated and every choice that you make to push on will aid you in manifesting what you truly desire in your life. Just as gas fuels a car, the choices that you make fuel you on the journey to reaching your goals.
Have you ever noticed that depending on the car a different grade of gasoline is required to keep it running efficiently? The same works with you. When you fuel up on decisions and choices that others make for you it’s often not long before you find yourself on the side of road with the hood up. Instinctively you know that you should have stuck to your own grade but sometimes fears and insecurities cause us to falter in our decision making and give the decision making power to others. What is best for someone else is not always good for you and though you can be guided by someone else’s journey, only you can truly fuel your own.
To ensure optimum performance, it’s important to fill up on beliefs and hopes that will facilitate better decision making in your life. This starts with understanding what is meaningful to you. What makes you happy? What inspires you to be a better person? What makes you feel invincibility as your superhero cape blows in the wind? All of these elements come together to shape what brings you joy and fulfillment in your life.
If the answers don’t readily pop into your head, start by making a list of things that interest you using these 10 questions as a starting point:
What would I like to do, RIGHT NOW, which would bring me the most happiness or pleasure?
What qualities do I possess that I am really proud of?
What have I done in my life that I am really proud of?
If I had time available to contribute to a charity, or some cause, what would it be?
What am I usually doing when I suddenly realize that time has flown by, and all my focus has been on that one task?
What do I want to do on my next vacation?
Who in history would I most love to be, and why?
What do I most regret not doing, so far in my life?
At the end of my life, what would I most regret not having done?
What challenge would I love to overcome, and then help others achieve the same?
Once you have made your list, look at it closely and see if you can find a recurring theme. Does helping others come up frequently? Does adventure appeal to you the most? Is your heart bursting to share a message with the world that only you can tell? Whatever it may be, determine what you have in common across your list and write it out. Think of this common theme as your unique mission statement that is now your driving force. This theme can transform and evolve as you cruise through the years of your life but the heart of it will remain unchanged. It will also play a role in keeping you on track as you encounter life’s potholes.
When you are able to gauge what is important to you in life, the next step is to look at your life and determine if you are aligned with what gives you meaning. Whatever it is that drives you, ensure you incorporate it into your life each and every day. Is giving to others your passion? Then give out smiles to those you meet along the way. Does the thought of success get you out of bed in the morning? If so, always remember to congratulate yourself on your achievements throughout the day, no matter how small the task. Are you a lover of nature? Get out of the office and walk to a green space on your lunch break. Better still, plan a really cool vacation.
The next time you encounter a situation that has a less than desirable outcome, pause and ask yourself, “What do I chose?” By understanding your values and utilizing the power of choice to ensure your daily life is in alignment with these values, you map out the path that will keep you on the road to happiness.