Machen MacDonald: Do your best to be happy
It is said that we do things for one of two reasons. We either do or don’t do something to gain pleasure or to avoid pain. The pain that drives many people’s decisions around what to do is the perceived emotional pain they associate with doing the activity and the possibility of the result not lining up with their ultimate desire.
I’ve found that happiness has varying degrees. It seems the quality of our life experience is in direct proportion to our ability to handle uncertainty. Another way of saying that is if we think we are in control, we feel better than when we feel we are losing control or are out of control.
There are all kinds of ways to increase our sense of being in control. Notice I did not say “in control” I said “sense of being in control.”
To think we are in control of anything as we rely on gravity to keep us from flying off the spinning rock we call Earth is a dose of crazy. However, what we are in control of, though we may not always feel like it, is our thinking.
Allow me to share a few of my favorite ways that snap me back to my happy place and back into productivity.
Sharpen your SWORD
S: Stop complaining — Complaining deflects the feeling of being out of control. It’s a temporary band-aid which happens to be placed on the wrong wound. People only complain about things they think should be different and are not willing to take the risk to make it so.
As we complain, we give up our power. Complaining never solved anything nor has it ever helped anyone.
Going forward, let’s be willing to find and share solutions to those things we once complained about.
W: Write out what’s bugging you — Rather than letting things fly around in our mind pinball style, lighting up points of frustration, write them out. When we do so, we will most likely find that there are not as many things against us as we may have feared.
Solutions tend to find their way onto the page as well.
O: Own your actions — Stop justifying your actions by saying you had to do something because of someone else. You ultimately made the decision and followed through on it. Own it.
There are always intended and unintended impacts on ourselves and others because of our actions. We must develop the habit of checking in with ourselves around our actions.
Ask, “Will this action ultimately lead me to my desired outcome?”
R: Reject others’ projections — Don’t take things personally. Perhaps easier said than done. However, if we can remember we all see others and the world through our own distorted lens of our wounds and traumas and not as they really are.
Some people wake up every morning and drink their “Hater-aid” and we just happen to be in the line of fire. This is a case of “it’s not you, it’s them.”
However, if we are getting the same feedback with whomever we are with wherever we go, there may be a grain of truth for us to look at and work on improving.
D: Do your best — To the degree that we know we have done our best at something, we tend to feel more happy about ourselves and our work. To the degree that we know we have not done our best at something, various levels of regret creep in and erode our sense of happiness.
We all have a capacity to perform and then there is our actual level of performance. When the two line up we feel great. To the degree there is a gap we feel less great.
When feeling less than you would like on the happiness scale, pull out your SWORD and go to work at cutting away what holds back your happiness so you can move back up the scale. You’ll be happy you did.
Make it up, make it fun and get it done!
#1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonald, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 530-273-8000.
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“I grew up in Nevada County, in this beautiful place — I now have a love and appreciation for everything I do,” he said. “My goals are to be mindful, keep an open door and be compassionate if someone’s having a bad day. This is a school of fitness — we teach people how not to hurt themselves.”