Reflect & Move from Hapless to Happy

10 Jun

Like glass, a pristine  mountain lake can shimmer with unadulterated calmness. Toss a pebble into its silent surface, and the ripples radiate from the point of impact. The waves loom large where the water was disrupted but dissipate as the distance extends. The space between each swell grows until the lake achieves its smooth, velvet texture once again.

This is you. Your life. But do you see it? Do you notice it? Do you reflect?

I know far too many people who are going through the motions of their lives. They go through the day to day, they work, they come home, they sit in front of the TV, they go to bed, and they start the process all over again the following morning. These are the same people who complain about being bored and uninspired and wonder what they are doing here. “What’s the point?” they may ask. They lack purpose, meaning, drive, and importantly, experience.

If this is you, and you are in that lost, confused, and depressed place of wondering “is there more?”, it’s time to reflect.

It’s time to look in the mirror, see the glassy stare, and then crack it. (Figuratively!)

If you want to change– if you want happiness–you have to throw a pebble into the pond.

You have to make waves, you have to act, and you have to do it with consciousness.

You must be deliberate, create opportunities for stepping out of your comfort zone, push past where you want to stop, and demand more from yourself than you think you’re capable of.

This isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s downright difficult if you’re unaccustomed to it. Scary even.

Think of the people who you know that demonstrate a sense of aliveness, an authenticity of spirit, a richness and depth of soul. Are their lives “easy”? Do they coast? Things handed to them without devotion to effort?  They may APPEAR to “have it easy”, but this is often not the case. That appearance is often due to the choices they make in their approach to life, in essence, how they perceive their circumstances. I’m betting the people you know who appear most happy are the most busy, most involved, most engaged, least bored, and most accomplished individuals in your circle. I’m also betting that they are the most joyful, despite AND BECAUSE OF their penchant focus on goal-driven behavior and toil toward improvement.

I use happy and joyful synonymously. I want to make sure you understand, however, that they are not the same as pleasure.  Here’s an example: I may not experience pleasure in the discomfort of dieting to get to 5% body fat for my competition. I don’t particularly like being hungry a lot of the time. I don’t relish in the participation of hypoglycemic cardio. The physical discomfort of the preparatory aspects of bodybuilding can be grueling. HOWEVER, I enjoy the mental and physical challenge it requires. I enjoy pushing myself past what I know others would crumble trying to do. I enjoy the assessment and strategy involved in the process and increasing my ability to tolerate pain.

Enjoyment and happiness comes from consciousness. It is a direct result of paying attention to the minutiae and taking an active role in deciding how to view it. Take two guys working in a factory. They are both assembly line workers. The job itself is repetitive. For eight hours they are engaged in the same movements, watching the same belt, the same parts, and standing in the same spot. One of the men wonders if there will ever be something more. He goes home each night and falls asleep in front of the tv with an empty six pack next to him. The other man, however, sets time goals for himself. He has exceeded productivity goals and acquired the praise of his superiors. He has signed up for some community college classes and will be taking those in the evening after work as he wants to advance in the company. He works hard. The schedule is demanding. But he feels confident and happy.

The second man….he didn’t just ASK. He moved to ACT. And he had to reflect in order to move forward.

So how do you go from hapless to happy? How do you enjoy life more? Turns out that research has teased out 8 factors found among individuals who express life happiness and enjoyment. Ready to begin taking control? My previous blog conveyed the importance of not expecting happiness to just happen. You must make an effort, which means not just letting your experiences be those that occur unattended to, but diving into what appears to be the most mundane of tasks.

Enjoyable experiences most often include the following:

1.  Tasks are appoached that we have a chance at completing (aka: realistic goals are set)

2. Concentration (we’re paying attention, not trying to multitask)

3. Clear goals are set, which aids in concentration (succinct, unambiguous, time-limited)

4. Immediate feedback is provided (can only happen when a goal is clear-cut and achievable)

5. The everyday toils and frustrations of life are removed (you must practice filtering them out) to be absorbed and involved in the task

6. The task allows for a sense of control to be obtained

7. Self-consciousness is removed (yet your sense of self grows stronger once the experience is over!)

8. Time disappears.

Ever lose yourself in an experience and wonder where the time went? That sense of flow and unencumbered productivity embodies the above principles, whether you realized it or not! But now that you know, you can create more of these opportunities!

Now go look in the  mirror! And that happiness? GO GET IT!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: