What can make you happier? Let’s try a quick quiz to see what you think. Select all the answers below that apply to you:
I will be happier when …
- I get the title I deserve at work
- I get a raise
- My kid get accepted into a prestigious college
- I am in an exciting, loving relationship
- I am in great physical shape
- All of the above
- None of the above
- … who knows
It’s a tricky question, because what we think will make us happy often does not make us happy, and if it does – not as much, and not for as long as we believe it would. Because “happiness is not included” by default into anything else. It emerges. Sometimes. When? Let’s see.
Clients often begin our conversation by describing something they want to accomplish: a promotion, a job change, moving, improved relationships, expanding a family, or climbing the next (literal or metaphorical) Everest.
Often, the real driver behind these desired accomplishments remains unspoken: wanting to feel happy (or to feel something at all), be deeply moved, doing what
But just like your feeling of certainty often has nothing to do with the facts (i.e. you can be very certain about something that just isn’t the way you think it is), the feeling of happiness often has nothing to do with accomplishments.
There is an underlying assumption of subsequent happiness in a plan that goes something like this: be great at [fill in the blank: sports, music, math, chess, all of the above], make excellent grades in the honors classes, get into a top ranking college, find a respectable well-paying job, meet a good partner somewhere along the way, and … Ta-Da! Happiness is here!
This is the point in their lives at which clients show up on my doorstep.
“Nothing is really wrong, but… something is not right” – they say.
The goals are met, but the happiness hasn’t followed.
Maybe, the original goals just weren’t ambitious enough? – clients ask. Maybe, a truly extraordinary goal is required in order for happiness to follow?
Here’s what no one tells about a prospective life plan: happiness is not included.
When you get a raise, happiness is not included in the raise. One could be rich and miserable.
When you get married, happiness is not included in the marriage. One could be married and miserable.
When you travel, happiness is not included in the travel. One could be seeing the world, and feeling miserable.
When you have children, happiness is not included in parenting. And when you don’t have children, happiness is not included in not-parenting.
You only find on top of the mountain what you bring with you. You’ve got to bring happiness with you if you want to find happiness there.
We are conditioned to think that the feeling of happiness is a reflection of what is happening to us. Although happiness may temporarily be fueled by what is happening in our lives, happiness is more of an inner sense of wellness that we can cultivate.
We can learn to be well.
And then take that wellness with us to whatever mountain we are looking to conquer. (Here is a quick Happiness Assessment for you, including 10 things you can do to increase your overall sense of wellness).
Quick exercise: can you remember when you experienced a sense of deep pride in something you did? Remember “with all of your senses” feeling that pride. Now, do the same with happiness: remember with all of your senses the time when you experienced happiness. This sensation is your compass toward happiness, not a raise or any other life change. It is not included by default in any of your accomplishments.
Learning to be happy is not the same as learning to be accomplished. We need both, as these are independent skill sets.
Shall we talk about it? I’m at Alina@AlinaBas.com . Would love to hear your thoughts on happiness.
I would like to THANK everyone who participated in the New Year Strategic Planning special promotion with me. Thanks to you, we were able to contribute 3 times the amount of money that we did last year to a music program (band, jazz band, chorus, choir) at a local school. The money has been relayed to the school, and the teacher relayed his deepest gratitude to all of us who made this happen.
Intuition: Myths, Science, and Practice (a workshop for analytical thinkers) on Sun., Dec. 15th, 3:30-5:30. The room was packed, and all the proceeds from the event went to a local family in need. Thank you to everyone who came and made this happen! Please email me at Alina@AlinaBas.com if you have a private group for which you would like to host a similar workshop.
AND A REQUEST:
If we have worked together, and you are open to sharing your positive review/feedback on Google for Alina Bas Consulting, or on Facebook for Alina Bas Consulting, I would be most grateful. THANK YOU!