The most meaningful lesson I’ve learned in my career…which I will keep on sharing with you…is just how tricky it is to find a sustainable form of happiness.
We all struggle with those dips and spikes and ebbs and flows. Most of us are moody or sleepy, pissed off or under the weather…and the consistent joy eludes us.
Here’s what I’ve discovered
10% of the population is VERY VERY HAPPY. We’re talkin sustained bliss, day in and day out. The “very very happy” do have a formula and it’s remarkably easy to follow (more to come on that in a little).
20% of the population is MISERABLE. Maybe it’s temporary but they are dogged by their shadows and just can’t find a way into the sunshine.
70% of the population is somewhat happy, but feels like something is missing. They COULD be happier and they WANT to be happier, yet there’s ALWAYS something missing.
Let’s talk about the rarest segment, the 10% who are “very very happy” day after day after day. I might meet such a person once or twice each month. Maybe you work with one, or married one, or maybe you are one!
And if you are far from it…
Today I had a conversation with a “very very happy” person.
She was not rich. She did not have a fancy corporate job. There was nothing about her that was even slightly glamorous nor was she a yoga bunny glistening in the summer sun.
Rather, she is a school counselor. She is a hard-working mom. With everything on her plate, she had every right to be exhausted.
You might be saying, “maybe you just met her on a good day, but what about tomorrow or the next day… will she still be happy?”
And with an emphatic YES, I know she will be because she was a SCRAPPY type of HAPPY. Feisty. Think Buddha with espresso caked on her lips.
She had no mindfulness training, never took a yoga teacher training and didn’t have a life coach. Rather, she was self-taught in the ways of happiness. She embraced many of the pillars of positive psychology, namely, the one quality so common in the very very happy:
They don’t need somebody’s approval to be happy.
They don’t need somebody’s love to be happy.
They don’t need some “thing” to be happy.
When I meet someone like this, I throw myexperience out the window and without saying anything, I become the student. These are the best teachers. Because their wisdom is raw and REAL, not regurgitated self-help (which I’ve been known to spew from time to time).
As this lady explained to me, “I’ve been through a lot in life. My plate is full. But whatever comes up, I’ll find the time to rest, to step back, start fresh. I’M IN TUNE WITH MYSELF.”
While many of us might just keep powering through today without anytime for rest and reflection, the “very very happy” types do it differently.
They truly like themselves and what they stand for. They trust their journey, even when it takes a turn into darkness.
None of these costs money, nor requires a prestigious resume, education, background, or career path.
But they do require taking time to stop and take a look at what’s going on in your life.
As Rumi said, “Do you make regular visits to yourself?”
YOUR HAPPINESS REVIEW
This is the time of year in corporate American where people are giving and receiving reviews.
Instead of writing about your colleagues or manager, or filling out that self-review from a corporate standpoint, I invite you to do a self-review that may, just may, bump you into the “very, happy club.”
1. Do you like yourself?
Would you date…you? Would you hire…you? Would you want to kick back and spend a beautiful evening of conversation with…you?
If the answer is no, don’t run frantically to some retreat in Bolivia with a shaman who blows smoke on your eyeballs. Actually don’t run anywhere.
Instead, spend more time in the Pause. All the good stuff will find you in the Pause.The Greek root of the word SIN also means to miss. The great sin is forgetting to stop and savor. Click To Tweet
Try it. Take the next minute to just stop.
2. Can you stand tall and stand alone?
By that, I mean, can you feel proud of your life?
At times, I struggle with this one.
I think we all go through periods where we shrink in the face of our personal challenges.
Shrinking usually means pleading for help, depending on our partners, our friends, our psychologist, or our fitness teachers.
There comes a point where the flag you fly must be your very own. Not a country, or company, or even family.
One of my favorite quotes, “You owe no loyalty to anyone but your own soul, and that is the most sacred form of loyalty.”
3. Are you doing your very best with LOVE?
How close are you with the people you love most? If you have issues, frustrations, resentments, and you are hoping they’ll get better in the future… you better get really good at waiting.
The mathematics of life are as follows:
Love is the great multiplier and if yours is not fully amplified and healthy, you are shi*ting on your health and happiness (plain and simple!)
So let’s clear this right now, together.
What gets in the way of your family time?
Take a moment to think about that and if you want to share your answer, I would love to learn.
Your answer might be:
”Too many screens and gadgets in my home. We never talk to each other.”
“Nobody sleeps in my house so we are all exhausted.”
“My kids are always fighting.”
“My partner is an as**hol*. So there’s that.”
Put it out there, and spill it to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need to, so you can come to LOVE with everything you got!
Before you move onto your next status update I really hope you will take a few minutes to stop, and give yourself a review.
This is NOT about a good or bad review, nor a good or bad year, nor a good or bad effort in life.
This is about HONORING and RESPECTING yourself with a few minutes of time for yourself and by yourself. And THAT is the elusive formula of the very, very happy.