This is not about an article about meditation and inner peace – although both can contribute greatly to you happiness. Its about how you find happiness going after the things you want from life. Today I’d like to talk about how your personal growth can contribute largely to your happiness. In my previous articles, I have stressed a lot about why self-awareness is key and why you need to live life consciously. My topic today is a build up from both and allow me to state here that without that element of self-awareness being present in your everyday life, that state of being happy would constantly elude you. Even if you are happy, it would be fleeting, immaterial and temporary. While I’m not an authority on the human psychology of happiness, I believe that the theories I would put forward has had some proof of success in my personal life and those of the people around me.
1. SELF AWARENESS IS KEY
As I mentioned earlier, that constant state of knowing yourself, your emotions and feelings and being aware of the things that truly matter to you can largely be described as self-awareness. The reason for its importance is simple. When you know what you want and can understand your reactions to certain things in life, it’s easier to plot your life journey around the things that supposedly makes you happy and the things that matters to you. Without this fundamental knowledge, you go from a point of action to simply reacting to the things that happens to or around you. This means that you spend the bulk of your time questioning or worrying if a certain event or scenario is good or bad for you rather than being able to make an informed decision on the spot about the things that truly matter. You mostly find yourself waiting for life to happen to you or other people in your life – family, boss and friends – to make your decisions for you and end up blaming things on them or fate.
Point is, to find true and lasting happiness, that journey starts with you. It’s about knowing what you want, the things that truly matter to you and the things that bring you joy. And it doesn’t matter where or how you are going to find them, knowing them is enough to point you in the right direction of where to look. Arm yourself with this knowledge if you truly want to be happy – you’d find it living your own life on your own terms and not the life other people have dictated for you.
2. GO OUT AND DO THOSE THINGS
Now that we have agreed on the important step of self-awareness, the next step is action. Wishes aren’t horses and wanting something isn’t the same as working for it. Allow me mention here that I am not just talking about career moves or financial buoyancy, I’m also including the little things we take for granted – family, friends, relationships, thoughts, actions, the words we speak, spirituality – anything and everything that even remotely contributes to making you happy. Which is why, whatever it is that truly matters to you, that is what you should spend your time and life doing. Why because, with every effort made, failure or success achieved, you know for a fact that this thing, whatever it is, means a lot to you, you’ll learn how to be better with every experience and that feeling of joy you get from doing this thing is everlasting and would never go away as long as that is what you spend your life doing. An example, a pastor would always be happy preaching the gospel because he know that is what he wants from his life and that feeling of helping another to find salvation is better than any other thing in the entire world combined. A Wall Street wolf would always be at home with numbers and stock options and every new prospect of a good day at the stock market excites him regardless of how much his account balance is at the moment. Nothing is better than making more money to him at that moment and while a lot of people would not understand his life choices, it remains that – it is what matters most to him at that moment, and as long as that is what truly matters to him, he would continue to find happiness in those numbers.
Keep in mind here the fluidity of the things that brings us joy. What makes you happy as a kid is not the same as what would bring you that feeling in your 40’s. The feelings should never change, but those activities that brings us that feeling, as long as we continue to put in all of our best efforts would bring us happiness regardless of the outcome – success or failure. Your personal or professional growth would continue to align to what you truly want from life because every failure or success teaches you how to be better at that thing over and over again.
3. THE PEOPLE YOU SURROUND YOURSELF WITH
Take out time to examine the people in your life. Are they the kinds that brings you closer to what you want from life? Knowing what you want and going after it can only take you so far if you do not have the right kind of people around you. Who is your support system? Family, friends, mentor, coach, teacher, boss – whoever it is you have chosen to cheer you on into your personal journey for happiness is very important. Surrounding yourself with people who support you dream and vision is another crucial step to this journey. And note here that it isn’t about the quantity of people that we have in our lives but the quality of those whom we have chosen as the ones who truly matter to us. At the same time, it really doesn’t have to be the same set of people all through our lives. The people that made positive contributions to your growth as a teenager would not be the same set of people you would need in your late 20’s. Which is why, just as you would continue to evaluate the things you want from life, you should also do an audit of the people in your life from time to time. Your success and failures needs to be shared with your support system. So should your joy and the things that make you unhappy. They should be people who can objectively examine your actions and decisions and call you out on your bullshit if need be. Do you have those kind of people? Now is a good time as any to do an audit.
At the end of the day, happiness really isn’t something you find, it’s something that you create out of the things you want from life and the people around you. And just as human beings are in different shades and sizes, the things that makes us happy vary widely from one person to another over time. So here is my suggestion, read this article all over and practice the following: know what you want, go after them and surround yourself with people who would be positive reinforcement. And if at any point none of these make you happy, then do a re-evaluation – is this what is really important for me in life? Answer that question as often times as possible and their lies your personal journey to happiness.
If you have read up to this point and you have questions, leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget to share.