Humans are notoriously bad at creating happiness. Most think happiness comes from success or from security and material possessions. However, studies show that that’s not the case.
In fact, it seems that the happiest people are those who feel in control of their lives and the unhappiest feel they need to cope with what happens to them. Your mission is to find out to what extent you have control and how to increase the control you have.
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Task 1: To what extent do you live your life?
Gurus love talking about “creating” your life so much, the phrase has become meaningless. I suggest to think of it as living actively, rather than reacting passively. Here are some indicators of how actively you participate in your life experience.
- When was the last time you made a decision that scared you?
- When was the last time you said “No” to someone?
- How often in the last five years have you set a goal that took longer than a year to accomplish, and then actually achieved it?
- When was the last time you did something fun/beneficial/meaningful you had never done before?
Task 2: Shift to control
You often hear me quoting Stephen Covey, who pointed out that we should focus on what we have control over: our own lives, our own reactions, our decisions. He, too, said that people who do this tend to be happier than those who focus on things outside their control.
How can you take back more control? Here are a few things you can do today to live your life actively.
- Set beautiful, wild, exciting, over-the-top goals. Start working on them today.
- Get a Coach. Seriously.
- Connect to your emotions; check in several times a day and take them seriously.
- Choose three things or people currently in your life to say “no” to.
- Do or plan doing something new today.