The Secret to a Happy Life
Some of us look to social media or somewhere on the World Wide Web for inspiration that brings a smile and lightens our day. On the other hand, some look outside to see what’s going wrong in the world. Both strategies move our focus to the outside instead of within. Let’s take a moment to stop for a while and reflect on what it truly means to have a happy life. What would be your answer?
Breaking Through the Rut
We all experience extreme stress at some point in our lives. Things beyond our control often knock us down, engulfing us with emotions that weigh heavily on our minds, hearts, and spirits. Can we possibly have one single power that can lift us out of our misery? The answer is a resounding YES! It is the power of choice.
My favourite mentor of all time is Tony Robbins. He speaks of the importance of taking control of our choices. He says that it is not so much the conditions of our lives that control our destiny but more so the decisions of our lives. Can you think of a decision you have made in your life that, if you had made a different one, would change your life? One of the most significant decisions I have made is to continue my education after having my first child. At the age of 21, I had the choice to find comfort in being a stay-at-home mom or continue pursuing my dreams. Although staying home to care for my child is a great and noble path, I had a deep desire that called me outside my role as a mother. I listened to my heart, which took me on an amazing journey to where I am today. The truth is, I never stopped being a student, whether it be in academia or just in life. This choice made me who I am today, and proud of who I have become. It’s your turn. Can you think of 1-2 decisions you have made that impacted you? How did it change what you do, who you are with, your lifestyle, and your beliefs and perceptions about yourself?
New Choices, New Experiences
If there is something in your life that you want to change – perhaps your job, your relationship, or the body you are in – you have the choice. Decide to commit to taking action, making the small decisions that lead to big decisions. Let’s start with what you focus on. When we choose what we focus on, we make conscious choices to change our lives. Amidst the things that are going wrong, some things are going right. We can choose to focus on what’s wrong, or we can choose to look for what is going right. Another choice that Tony talks about is the importance of the meaning we give things. What we believe about ourselves, about others, and our experiences. Our perception defines our reality. When we go through challenging times, we can see it as a demise that ends us or an opportunity to grow and learn from our circumstances. The last choice we make after deciding what to focus on and the meaning to give it is deciding what actions to take. Our destiny is determined by what we choose to do.
What Determines Our Choices?
Tony talks about two things that impact the choices that we make:
- State of Mind – our state of mind directly influences our emotions. When our mindset is one of defeat, life challenges can take us down. When we are in an empowered state, we can lift ourselves and conquer the obstacles ahead.
- Blueprint is the story of what we believe our lives should be. Our life experiences influence this blueprint. It becomes a set of rules that we either follow or fight as we go through life. The point where we decide whether to follow our blueprint or rearrange it is pivotal in our lives. The dissonance comes from what we desire most and what we fear most.
Steps to Sustainable Change
Life always calls us to grow and improve. It is an ongoing process, and this is what makes it beautiful. The obstacles and conflicts we go through call us back to ourselves, an opportunity to make changes and grow. Progress requires change. If you are currently experiencing a dis-ease in your life – be it wanting something to change in your body, your job, or relationships – start with the following steps:
- See life as it is, but not worse than it is. This means being somewhat optimistic but not beyond bounds. It does not mean repeating affirmations over and over. Look closely at what is true but don’t make it so horrific that you just give up. When we see the worst in things, we might learn to be helpless amidst the challenges in our lives.
- Get to the real truth and deal with it. It is insanity to do the same things repeatedly and expect a different outcome. Seeing the real truth in our circumstance help us make conscious decisions about what action to take next. Do you have to recalibrate or make some changes? Take action. Tony says deal with the card you are dealt with.
- Get a vision and get strong. Come up with a compelling future. Paint a picture of an image to strive for. The hope we give ourselves will help us through the tough times. How would your life look like if you took definitive action toward your goals?
- Get a model. Closing the gap from where we are to where we want to be requires learning from others’ experiences whenever possible. Looking at other people’s success stories, studying how they rise from failures and downfalls, and applying their strategies can help us tremendously navigate our lives.
- Give much more than you expect to receive. Focusing on something bigger than ourselves gives us profound reasons to keep going in life. We should continue to try different approaches to achieve what we desire.
We must look at our choices When making sustainable changes that move us forward. Our decisions shape our lives. The decisions we make are shaped by our mental state, including our emotions, how we interpret them, and our personal beliefs and experiences. The obstacles that we go through in life bring us to a fork road. It challenges our thinking and prompts us to take actions that take us out of our misery. During these moments, it is crucial to see the circumstances of our life as it is but not worst than it is. By allowing us to process our experiences without being overwhelmed, we can avoid becoming paralyzed and take action. When we can look at the truth for what it is, we will feel more empowered to take a step towards a vision that we set for ourselves. Another critical step in making change happen is learning from others who have travelled a similar path. When we can establish a stable ground to land on, we can look at the bigger picture and find hope and motivation to keep on going.
What obstacles are you facing right now? Are there changes that you want to make in your life? Share what steps you are committing to make moving forward.