Friday, November 4, 2011

Your Shot of Happiness

I have been thinking about the concept of happiness a lot lately and even wrote about it in a blog post a few weeks ago. I decided to read the book "How We Choose To Be Happy" and write a series discussing the 9 choices of extremely happy people.
Formerly consultants who solved personnel issues, authors Rick Foster & Greg Hicks decided to turn their attention towards happy people. As part of an extensive research campaign, they set out to talk to happy people and learn their secrets. What they discovered was that these people all seemed to create happiness by making the same nine choices. This blog series will explore each of these 9 choices as discussed in the book. Why am I doing this? Because I think a lot of us tie up money with the concept of happiness and one of these does not necessarily precede the other. I also believe that many of us are always searching for something to make us happy when maybe all we need to do is choose to be happy.

Choice #1: Intention - "the active desire and commitment to be happy, and the fully conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness"

According to Foster & Hicks, the intention to be happy is what drives us towards living as happily as we can while also driving us toward the other 8 choices of happy people. This is why intention is at the center of the wheel (see above). If we don't intend to make happiness a reality in our lives, then we have by default chosen something other than happiness. In addition, the authors believe that we do have control over our happiness - just as I can "make myself miserable," I can also do the opposite.

"Those who wish to sing always find a song" - Swedish Proverb

How To Create Intention
Rather than just trying to get through your day, create a story each morning about the day you intend to have. Through these stories you will create your own realities which ultimately drive your feelings and actions. The most important take away from this chapter is that you can learn to be happy and intention is the first step in that direction - "at the heart of happiness is the realization that we can always choose our reaction."
"Why not seize the pleasure at once? 
How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation?" - Jane Austen

Action Items
1) Set your intention and revisit it throughout the day
2) Make a list of your most important intentions. Evaluate your list and eliminate the items that are responses to other people's expectations or what you feel you "should" do
3) After every item write the following phrase "...and I intend to feel happy doing it." 

"Joy has nothing to do with material things, or with a man's outward circumstance. A man living in the lap of luxury can be wretched, and a man in the depths of poverty can overflow with joy"
- William Barclay     
Stay tuned,

What do you do in your everyday life to make sure you live with the intention of being happy? What struggles have you encountered when trying to remember this intention?
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