Do you really know what makes you happy and/or what will make you happy?
Well, yesterday I came across one of Mark Manson’s post on Linkedin where he said and I quote “You are probably bad at knowing what makes you happy (or miserable).” I found that intriguing, because I had been thinking a lot about happiness and wondering the real answer to the question ‘what makes you happy?’
So I clicked on the link and downloaded his free e-book on happiness. I read all 25 pages in one seating.
He shared what I think most people already know but only on a superficial level. Happiness is not based on wealth or in accumulating material possessions. It is not really the end goal that makes us happy, but the growth we experience in pursuit of the goal.
I am not going to repeat all he shared, but the quote below from the book captures for me the essence of his message
“Happiness is the process of becoming your ideal self”
I spent the rest of the night thinking about what I had read and then it all really clicked this morning on Facebook (yeah, I know who would have guessed that social media could be a source of enlightenment lol).
Anyways, there is this lady on Facebook whose posts I read very often. She is the embodiment of confidence and living life on your terms.
I was reading her most recent post and it all clicked for me. Like I said I had been reading her posts for quite a while and this particular post was like the final piece of a puzzle I had been trying to solve for months.
I think for the first time I can clearly articulate what happiness means for me and what my journey in the pursuit of happiness will look like.
I can finally answer with all certainty the question
‘What Makes You Happy?’
My answer to that question in a nutshell is:
Being in control of my life and it’s outcomes, and also actually knowing that I am in control and owning that with boldness and confidence.
Okay, that may be a little wordy, but I will tell you what I mean.
Just like you, I have goals and dreams and hopes and aspirations for my life. I have this picture in my mind of who I want to be and I have been working towards becoming that person.
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However, I had always felt the picture I had of my future self was like a puzzle with so many pieces that required an effort to put together in a way that serves me.
Anytime I thought about that person I want to be, I always had in mind a set of actions I needed to take, and it was never really about what I was feeling or what I would feel.
The picture I had did not fully capture every aspect of my life as one single piece. It felt like trying to combine different pictures into one. I needed an anchor piece that the other pieces would branch out from.
Today I figured out that anchor piece and it is knowing on a deep level, with boldness and confidence that I am the architect of my life, and that I am in control of the direction my life is moving towards.
What makes me happy and what would make me happy in the future is to become a little bit more each day in control of my life. And not just being in control, but also knowing it and living life like I know it.
The knowing and living like it part is important. It is the part that proves that you actually believe you are in control of your life.
I mean, before today I didn’t wake up each morning thinking I wasn’t in control of my life, but in reality, I wasn’t really acting like it
I was doing actions that I believed were moving me towards the goal of being my ideal self, but that very act meant I was constantly reminding myself that I wasn’t that person and even though I remained hopeful that I would be, I didn’t feel empowered enough to feel certain that I would be.
With a new anchor picture/goal of being in control of my life. I can be that person right away by being in control of this moment and then build on that.
It starts with me knowing that I am able to control my actions and design my life in a way that will work. It is knowing that I already am what I hope to be and that I am in charge of manifesting what I already am.
happiness occurs when you decide to pursue what’s in you ~ Mark Manson
It means that I know that I am able to defy all odds and surmount all obstacles. In fact, my new anchor picture makes me want to seek out challenges just to crush them. WHy? because I am in control of the design of my life.
A huge part of it means I take responsibility for everything I produce, good or bad. This means that I am responsible for my actions and my responses and reactions to people and events.
I don’t pass the buck to someone else. For example, taking full responsibility for my actions, mean I can’t blame my daughter’s behaviour as the reason for my lashing out in anger.
Being in control of my life does not mean everything will be rosy or go just as I planned, or that those around me will behave exactly how I want them to. It means that I choose how I act and how I respond to life’s events
It means if I make a plan and it doesn’t work out, I don’t cop out and blame the system for my failure, instead, I take full responsibility and get back to the drawing board to come up with another plan.
You can’t feel in control of your life if at any moment you are ready to blame someone or something for your outcomes.