In my coaching work, a pretty standard, yet profound question I ask is:
“What do you REALLY want?” – and the answer I often receive is “I just want to be happy.” So what is happiness, really? What does make us happy? And how do we know when we have reached a state of happiness?
As humans we are conditioned from a young age to think “when I reach that next point, when I receive that promotion, when I make x amount of dollars, when I lose the extra 8 lbs. – THEN I will be happy."
But all positive psychology research points us in another direction:
That we must CHOOSE happiness, optimism and gratitude.
And that once we do so, the success that we often strive for, will follow.
I recently heard Harvard trained Positive Psychology researcher, Shawn Achor, quote the ancient Greeks: “Happiness is the joy we feel striving for our potential” – in other words – happiness is in the process, it’s in the journey.
Our minds are quite sophisticated and sneaky… when we reach our goals (that we believe will be the doorway to happiness) our minds will automatically create the next thing to work towards. Therefore our definition of success cannot be tied to our happiness as we are always naturally in transition.
What do you imagine that true happiness would look like for you? What would be different?
For the next 21 days, I encourage you to join me in a gratitude challenge!
Every day, write down 3 things that you are grateful for. 3 new things each day. It can be as simple as “the sunshine on my face” – “the roses in my garden” – “my cup of morning coffee” – there are no rules, just whatever comes to your mind as you focus on cultivating gratitude.
In 21 days, I invite you to reach out to me to let me know how you feel. Let’s me know what’s changed for you, if anything?
Have fun with it!