Friday, November 11, 2011

Shot of Happiness Week 2: Accountability
This is the second in a series discussing the book How We Choose to Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People--Their Secrets, Their Stories.Last week we discussed Intention as the first step in choosing happiness. This week we move on to

Choice 2: Accountability
"If intention is an inner-driven desire to play in the ball game of happiness, accountability is its natural outcome - the urge to step up to the plate and hit the ball."

No Victims Here
The kind of accountability that Foster & Hicks are talking about is the ability to be in control of our lives, the ability to move ahead no matter what life throws at you. A big part of the message in this chapter is that happy people don't see themselves as victims. Rather, happy people focus on finding solutions and looking for what they can do to make their lives better.

"Happiness depends on ourselves." - Aristotle

The authors' research shows that blame along with greed, envy and jealousy are some of the biggest indicators of unhappiness. So how do you overcome the "blame game" and move closer to accountability. Always consider your part in a situation and ask yourself what you can change and what you have learned from this experience. By addressing the one thing that you can change (yourself), you will get yourself out of the useless cycle of trying to change others.

"Let me listen to me and not to them" - Gertrude Stein

Defensiveness and blame are defense strategies that we use to protect ourselves from criticism, hurt or even accountability. But when we assume control over ourselves and our situation, we feel most competent, and feelings of competency and control lead us back to that sense of accountability.

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame." - Erica Jong

Action Items
1) Consider the types of defense mechanisms you frequently use. Is there a payoff in using your defensive strategies?
2) Be mindful of your reaction to tough situations. Try to minimize the blaming and maximize your reactions. Think about what you can do to help the situtation. 
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