Learn The Fine Art Of Being Happy


 

Abstract:
 

A lot of people glaze over when I tell them that my business is basically about creating joy and happiness (by means of prioritising passions and fulfilling one’s purpose). You know how to be happy, right? It’s not that hard!
 

In fact, it turns out that it is. Hard, I mean. Ask yourself how you feel right now. Then think over today, and yesterday, and the day before. How much of the time did you feel genuinely happy?
 

Your mission today is to learn how to be happy.
 
 

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Task 1: Habit versus happiness

 

It’s not a sign of failure when we realise we aren’t as happy as we think we should be. In fact, this is as it should be. It’s evolutionary.
 

Historically, it was paramount for our survival that we detected threat and danger fast. We’re wired to focus on bad things, it’s not just our attitude. This means that in order to be happier, we need to consciously re-train ourselves and change our habits. It requires effort and persistence.
 

In other words, being happy is hard because we need to learn it. It’s against our very nature!
 

being happy

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Being happy bootcamp

 

Here are some ways for you to train yourself to more happiness.

  • Gratitude. Once a day, write down or think of three things you’re grateful for. Really feel your gratitude.
  • Do something that lights you up every single day. Your passions deserve the effort!
  • Connect to another human every single day. If you’re home alone, have a conversation by phone or send them a heartfelt message.
  • Check in with yourself once a day. If you’re feeling less than happy, remind yourself of what went well in the past 24 hours.
  • Get in the habit of saying: “Thank you, life” (or God, or whatever you prefer) whenever something good happens to you.

Who Are You Really?


 

Abstract:
 

All right, this is a philosophical question that’s as old as humanity. I want to look at it from a real-life perspective, because most people run around not actually knowing who they are.
 

If you ask someone: “Who are you really?”, most people will respond by talking about their family or their job. But these things are just life circumstances (and they can change).
 

Your mission today is to re-write your story.
 
 

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Task 1: What does and doesn’t define you

 

I’ve already mentioned that other people can never be who you are. Being a mother or a spouse is a role, it’s not you. You can, however, be a loving person!
 

Your job or what you do doesn’t define you either. Roles can change, your actions can change.
 

In fact, who you are is defined entirely by two things:

  1. Certain talents and natural abilities you were born with
  2. Your story

This second point seems arbitrary at first. You could tell any story, right? The point is: You don’t. In fact, it doesn’t get more you than what you take as truth about yourself. It shapes who you are.
 

who are you

Photo by Aaron Burden on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: Who are you?

 

The beauty of this is that once you’re aware of this, you have the ability to change your story. The same kind of situation in life might lead you to completely different, even contradictory conclusions.
 

Dig a little. What stories do you tell yourself (and others) about yourself? Are there parts that might serve you better if you interpreted them differently? Mind you, this isn’t about making things up or denying the truth. It’s about seeing what’s there and finding a meaning in it that’s in accordance with the person you want to be.
 

Because in the end, you choose who you are. It’s a huge responsibility, but it also means the greatest freedom once you realise this.

No Time For Your Passion(s)?


(I updated the video because the old one was blurry. Enjoy!)
 

Abstract:
 

“I just don’t have the time!” Hands up who’s said that? It’s the No. 1 reason I hear from people when we talk about why they don’t pursue their passion(s) more. Heck, I’ve said it myself more often than I care to admit.
 

There are countless gurus advising on how to maximise your time and productivity. But most of us are exhausted already and unwilling to stuff even more into our days.
 

Your mission today is to learn how to slow down and magically have time for everything.
 
 

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Task 1: Learn about the nature of time

 

Time can be measured and divided into hours, minutes, seconds. It seems straightforward and logical, yet we’ve all experienced periods where time seemed to speed up or slow down and drag. In truth, time is very, very relative.
 

Does time really fly when you’re having fun? I’d say, when you’re truly joyful and do what lights you up, the hours might fly but altogether, time expands and disappears. We’ve all been busy and then fallen in love, and suddenly we found all these pockets of time for our beloved – true or true?
 
 

Task 2: Get rid of Quadrant IV

 

I’ve mentioned Stephen Covey and his Quadrants before: I is important and urgent, II is important but not urgent, III is urgent but unimportant, IV is neither urgent and important. In other words, we can do without IV – it’s quite literally a waste of time.
 

What’s in Quadrant IV? Mostly time spent online. Emails, social media, gossip pages… If you don’t believe how much time you spend there, download an app that measures your usage time. I have never met a person who didn’t underestimate how much time they spend there. Imagine having these hours – hours! – as time for your passion.
 

time for your passion

Photo by Ann Street (Social Cut) on unsplash.com


 

Task 3: Time for your passion(s)

 

The dominance of everything online is so heavy, I’m planning a course for a social media detox. Watch this space. In the meantime, you can take the following first-aid measures:

  • Close your browser when you work. Yes, really.
  • Turn off all notifications on your phone. Social media, messages etc.
  • Check your emails, social media and messages 2-3 times a day.
  • In your bedroom, your phone/tablet etc. is on airplane mode. No exceptions.

It’ll be awful at first, but after a week or so, you’ll feel that you’ve got your life back! Try it and let me know how it goes.

How To Prioritise A Passion That’s Not Your Income


 

Abstract:
 

Everyone talks about making your passion your paycheck. And indeed, it can be very fulfilling; I know a lot of people who are very successful in doing this. My own income is one of my passions, too.
 

However, the real challenge begins when your passion is not your source of income. Clients often tell me they feel like their loyalties are divided between their job and their passion(s).
 

Your mission today is to learn how to prioritise a passion that isn’t your paycheck.
 
 

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Task 1: Should your passion be your income?

 

The first step is to gain clarity on what works best for you. A lot of people feel that in order to be serious about their passion, it ought to be their career or business. But that’s a very limiting view that’s gained ground in our materialistic modern world.
 

You are not your job. If you want to become a full-time researcher or academic, an actor or actress or musician on the stage, then that’s great. But if you would rather pursue your passion in peace and in private, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t prioritise it.
 

prioritise a passion

Photo by Omar Medina Films on pixabay.com


 

Task 2: Prioritising a “hobby” passion

 

We need to lose the phrase “just a hobby”. There’s nothing “less than” about being passionate when something doesn’t make you money – in fact, I’d argue that it takes more passion to stick with it when you have no monetary incentive!
 

You need three things to do this successfully:

  1. A job with healthy boundaries, workload and hours,
  2. Plenty of self care and quality time for you and your loved ones,
  3. Time scheduled to radically spend on your passions.

Have you tried a passions date twice a week with yourself (similar to Julia Cameron’s Artist Date)? You’ll woo your passion like a lover, by turning up at your best and giving it your undivided attention. Play with this. Fall in love and then keep the flame alight – just like you would in a relationship with another human.

5 Ways Out Of The Isolation That Kills Your Passions


 

Abstract:
 

When I was still in Ireland, I was the co-initiator of a monthly arts & crafts market. Our intention was to bring people together who otherwise were all alone with their passions, and it was a roaring success. Initially, people often didn’t even sell anything, but they were still buzzing by the end of the day, simply from the contact and exchange with other humans.
 

Passions need lifeblood, and community is that lifeblood (here’s Barbara Sher calling isolation the “dream killer”). Your mission today is to learn how to use community to fuel your passions.
 
 

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Task 1: Learn how isolation kills your passions

 

Ask people on a football team, players of a multiplayer game, in a theatre ensemble, what the best thing about their work is? They’ll say, the cameraderie and the mutual understanding.
 

Nothing takes more effort and persistence than sticking with something day in, day out, through ups and downs, all through your own effort. If you need to carve out time for it on top of all that, chances are you’ll give up eventually.
 

Realise that you don’t have to do it all by yourself.
 

isolation

Photo by Wonderlane on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: 5 ways to find community

 

Here are 5 ideas to get you going in finding a way out of your isolation.

  1. Look for a local group (google it, ask around) like a book club or a crafting circle.
  2. Look for a course or workshop, or a masterclass.
  3. Visit an event, gathering or faire.
  4. Social media or online forums have groups on almost every subject.
  5. Visit a shop related to your passion, and get chatting.

(5b: Create a group or club around your passion!)
 

In our day and age, we get more and more used to isolating ourselves and hiding away at home behind our computers. Actively, consciously fight against this tendency and nudge yourself into the real world occasionally. Nothing pumps up your enthusiasm like shared passions.