Recently, I posted the above coaching question to Facebook.What do you suppose were the responses to this query? There were actually very few people who chose to answer the question on my wall. Perhaps others took time to ponder and answer it in their own life. Frankly, I hope this is the case but i’m not so sure that it was the case. More and more we find ourselves in a world that is stuck. We are stuck in our jobs, mortgages, bad relationships and old patterns. For many the idea that tomorrow can even be happier is foreign. This Washington Post advertisement for their Mega Jobs issue came to mind when thinking about this situation.
Yet, deep within us all is a desire to live a life that is filled happiness and fulfillment. More and more the idea that life can change and that the individual can influence those changes has become a difficult for people to embrace. the fact of the matter is that each of us is creative, resourceful and whole. This means that we can exert some form of positive control over our lives. How is it that we can begin to reassert our dominion over our lives? How can we not only regain control over our lives but how can we make them places of growth and joy?
1) Listen to your parrot: Are you surrounded by nay sayers? Many of us have folks in our lives that exhibit negative attitudes. It would be easy at this point to say, get rid of your parrot. No one needs negative people around them. The fact of the matter is that many of those people are important to us, regardless of their attitude. I suggest starting at an easier place. Are there friends, colleagues or family that live out a life that are filled with optimism for a happier future? If so, make time to surround yourself with them and take strength from their example.
2) Appreciate what you have: Time and time again people miss the goodness in their lives. The Christian tradition has a spiritual practice called the Daily Examen. This practice encourages a daily retrospect of blessings. This practice holds one of the essential components of seeing a positive future. Don’t over look the happiness you have. Whether it’s as simple a as front row parking space or as grand as a new child, celebrating what is good in your life is powerful. What do you have today in your life that is creating happiness for you?
3) Stop comparing your life to those of others: The mentality of keeping up with the Jones’ has led more than one person down the road of disappointment in their lives. Not to mention that it fails to take into account that Mr. or Mrs. Jones may be unable to experience joy. Every individual is given their own individual life to live. To continually compare our lives to those of our neighbor down the street or the latest Hollywood star doesn’t help us to value or celebrate our lives. Seeking out our own happiness is just that, our happiness. It isn’t about someone else’s life or success. What does YOUR happiness look like?
4) Dream Big: The practical nature of humanity traps us in today. We are beholden to all the stuff that surrounds us today and fail to realize that tomorrow is a new day. Disney’s “Carousel of Progress” ride has a reoccurring theme song. “It’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, shining at the end of every day, and tomorrow is just a dream away.” Tomorrow is not just the chain reaction of today. It is an opportunity for creativity and for us to make it what we will. Sure there are parts of our lives that are beyond our control, but not all of it is. When was the last time you dreamed big about your life? What was that dream? Did that dream become reality? Do you have a dream for tomorrow?
5) Do something about it: The parrot in the Post ad knows his words because day after day his owner has mumbled them to him. “Not another day… Not another day,” doesn’t lead to positive change. The Post wants you to pick up their paper so you can get a new job and be happier. It is incumbent upon each individual to make the changes in their lives and not just be a victim of circumstance. Are you surrendering to your current reality or taking action to change it? What simple actions can you take to increase your happiness and joy?
These five suggestions to increase your happiness aren’t the be all and end all. Like everything in life your unique situation calls for varied action. I hope that these five simple ideas and the questions included will help you to gain some momentum towards a happier tomorrow.
I would also suggest that if you feel stuck or don’t know where to start, seek a partner. As a coach I am well aware that for many an outside voice can go a long way in moving from “Not another day” to “A great big beautiful tomorrow.”
For information on what coaching can do for you or to schedule a free session click the links above.