Someone asked me, “What makes you happy?” and this got me thinking, reflecting back on my life. When I was young I used to dream about what I wanted in my life, the things I thought would make me happy.
Here are some of the things I wanted:
- I wanted a nice house, to live in the city.
- I wanted a pony, who didn’t?
- I wanted a car, specifically a mini.
- I wanted vacations by the coast.
- I wanted money, lots of it. ☺
- I wanted a career.
- I wanted a degree.
As I got older and had fulfilled most of the list above (I’m not sure how much money is lots of money I should have been more specific), I wanted different things:
- I wanted a family.
- I wanted a nice house in the country.
- I wanted a better car.
- I wanted a different career, a more rewarding one.
- I wanted a dog.
- I wanted a vacation home.
- I wanted a higher degree.
Was I happy? Some of the time yes, but much of the happiness was short-lived because it was connected to accomplishing what I thought would make me happy. When I got a new car I was ecstatic. I loved my car but then after a while the excitement wore off.
What I learned through my life’s journey is that happiness does not come from acquiring cool things, including qualifications, it comes from something else. Happiness comes from the way we think about life and the things we do. For example, gratitude and kindness can increase your happiness.
The PursuitofHappiness.org shares The Seven Habits Of Happy People:
- Acts of Kindness
- Exercise and Physical Well-being
- Spiritual Engagement and Meaning
- Strengths and Virtues
- Positive Mindset: Optimism, Mindfulness and Gratitude.
So while I was busy chasing the things that I thought would bring me happiness I wasn’t paying attention to what would.
Well, I do have the things on my wish list; there is nothing wrong with having things. The difference is I am intentional; I pay attention to my relationships; I have a career that allows me to stay connected with and BE supportive of others. I know what my strengths and virtues are, and I use them. A positive mindset is a way of being for me, and it is the foundation of my coaching business.