How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites you?
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Let me ask you: Are you happy? How often? If often, please share your "secret with" us. If not, what actually makes you unhappy?
Some years ago one of my teachers told an interesting story: He pointed out that new-born babies could swim and would find their way to the surface; only the fear and panic reaction of the parents / guardians of them drowning ("Don’t go to close to the water!") would make them afraid of water.
I couldn't found a proof for this statement, so please do not test!
What this example however helped me to understand is that fear is a "learned" skill', adapted from our environment. Babies know two root feelings - joy (easy to see in their faces) and anger (easy to hear). If everything is okay in their world, they are in joy, and if something is not okay, for example if they are hungry, nappies need to be changed etc, their "alarm system" goes off: they get angry and let you know. They don’t know fear. That’s what we teach them.
In most of my consultations a main question is: "Why am I not happy? What is wrong with me? It is rarely the cause why I am contacted, however rather sooner than later the question comes up all the time. Highly successful people, having amazing careers, positions and possessions, admit: they feel lonely; very lonely actually. And whatever they are doing does not bring lasting happiness. Whatever they are adding to their life possibly brings a short-term satisfaction, yet does not allow for continuous joy. Successful people are in no way happier than people with a lower or medium income.
Sometimes I actually have the feeling that they are even less happy. Living in South Africa, I often see people in wealthy areas looking way more unhappy, broken and lost; and people living in townships - they smile more often, laugh brighter, share even when they have little. Maybe it’s the disillusion of the "better off's" that nothing they did got them where they hoped to get to?
Is happiness the road, or the destination?
In my understanding, neither nor; or both.
Happiness to my understanding has nothing to do with what you have or don’t have, where you travel and how you travel, if you have a destination or not. Happiness, I more and more believe, is the natural state of being. Like you pushing a cork under water, it pops up every time - it naturally floats on the top. So is happiness. We are just so used to hold our happiness under water. It’s the attachment to "not having".
Like the baby, otherwise we would simply feel joy or anger, still. Our environment added worry, fear, pain and trauma. We are worried and afraid of the future, caught up in pain, feeling traumatized by past experiences, unresolved conflicts and undissolved processes.
Don't you have moments where you are suddenly light and at ease, for no reason? Where maybe someone tells a story, or starts laughing, and you just feel great and happy? What is the reason that sometimes you just feel happy, without any of your circumstances have changed?
Maybe we have to go back to the question above: What actually makes you unhappy? Would losing your job, your house or your partner make you unhappy? Would losing your leg make you unhappy?
Let me suggest the following: It is your attachment to something that creates the worry and unhappiness.
Most people don’t like their job. They are unhappy in their job. Now your manager tells you the company might have to make your job redundant. Shouldn’t this be a reason to be happy, then? No, people unhappy about their work are also unhappy to lose it.
In a corporate engagement, I made the following observation: Two people, same job, same income; both received their payslips. One’s reaction: "Oh God, how shall I pay all my costs with this income?" The other: "Oh praise you, Lord, thank you so much, I am so grateful."
I observed two people in a horrible car crash, right in front of me. One getting out, screaming „Oh my God, my car, my car, my car“, the other „Thank you Lord, I am alive.“
FREE QUIZ: How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites You? Find out in less than 2 minutes. Check Out Now
FREE QUIZ: How Close Are You To Living The Life That Truly Excites You? Find out in less than 2 minutes.
Attachment. It’s not what you have or don’t have. It’s your attachment to what you receive, have or might lose that makes you unhappy. If you give up your attachment to the past, your story and your pain, you can actually realign with the natural state of happiness.
You don’t agree?
Let me tell you the story of Annette. Whenever I see her, she smiles, and her light shines bright. Is always everything perfect in her life? Sure not. But she seems to process the things that could make her unhappy very quickly. I asked her once if she would share her story on MasterStories.com, as she is a true inspiration. She asked me „Why? What’s so special about my story? I’ve only lost a leg, so what? Doesn’t stop me from being happy?“
Her secret of happiness: Live every day full.
What’s bothering you right now? In comparison, would losing a leg be worse? [Yes, it’s a tattoo or her artificial leg; a cherry tree.]
1. Identify what makes you unhappy
Have a notebook with you. Write a journal. Have a reflection every evening, and add to the list what made you unhappy - feeling worse as before.
2. Identify what you want to see in your life, in the world.
Same as above - but this you do in the morning, or on your way to work. Add every day at least one item what makes or would make you feel better; what you would like to see more of in the world.
3. Process your story
Unhappiness is either related to worry (future), however mostly to unprocessed hurt or trauma. Start to engage with your past.
4. Own you past
Whatever you want to hide and forget, gets bigger and bigger. The only way to get over things is to own them. If you want to feel happy, you must be willing to face your past, own it, and forgive.
5. Give up the attachment to past and pain
By forgiving and completing the past, the pain will fade out and finally disapear. No one will have power over you any longer. Forgiveness and completion is mostly a process, not a single act. Each time you forgive (again), the process gets more and more complete.
6. Smile often, give freely
You cannot get what you are unwilling to give. Not only will make you smiling and laughing feel better, but the effect on and return from your environment will be multifold.
7. Be grateful for what you have, and share it.
Gratefulness and appreciation is a key. Sharing is a principle. Learn to share even from your need, not only from your overflow.
8. Live every day full.
Embrace every situation and emotion.
9. Be what you want to see it the world.
Look up your list, and start to embody what you want to see in the world.
10. Love every day fully
The best service that you can be to yourself and to anyone is to love life, and to create through your example.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jay currently lives in Cape Town, South Africa. A place he calls home. Jay’s expertise is to support and guide inspired individuals to transition from a profit oriented business career to a purpose driven business career and fulfilled life. He recently started MasterStories.com, a platform on which individuals can share and process their personal story. Most excited however he is about starting The Bridge with his nephew Henri, who currently resides in Prague - two generations, inhabiting completely different parts of the world, coming together for the mutual intention of uplifting three and more generations! - Check out Jay and Henri's FREE QUIZ "How close are you to living the life that truly excites you?"