I imagine you have set yourself a few goals? Small goals, long term goals, business goals, personal goals, you know exactly what it is that you want to achieve, you even know how you are going to get there ... but in amongst all of this solid, concrete, tangible planning and possible results, are you happy?
Today is International Day of Happiness and I ask you this, isn't it your right, your responsibility to the human race to be happy? To be happy not just for yourself, but for those around you, for your family, for your friends, because when you are happy you are more open, productive, loving, healthier (both physically and mentally); in other words "happiness is the key to success."
We are living in world now where happiness and well being are becoming much more of a focus, you just have to look at the myriad of blogs and vlogs and websites out there that talk about the hows and whys of well being. This is just not a good thing, but a GREAT thing, because we are all unique human be-ings and therefore we will all have difference requirements when looking after our happiness and well being. What makes one person happy and content may make another person apathetic (the best example I can think of is the argument I've had with my flatmate over which is best - yoga or pilates, I'm for yoga, she's a pilates girl through and through, neither of us are wrong or right, we are just passionate about what each practice does for us). So in this blog post I am not going to rehash things that you have already read, processed, and materialised, instead I want to give you a little insight into how I can be happy, living from my story of disability and anxiety.
I have been disabled from birth, having been born with missing limbs, and for some people this would be a tragedy, an end of a life not even begun. Growing up with the family that I had, however, meant that I never felt that I was different or lacking in any way. In fact I had probably the happiest childhood I could have, I remember it as light and bright, hot summer days spent out in the pool with my parents and siblings, eating hot chips under the carport with friends, picking up lizards as gently as I could, haring down the path on my trike - it really was the quintessential Aussie childhood ... and I remember being happy, because I was living in the moment, as most children do. My teen years were spent training for the Paralympic Games, I did have emotionally wobbly moments here, as all teenagers do, but only part of the wobbly moments were to do with my disability, but in general I was happy, in fact I was loving life (even the 5am starts). In my twenty's I went to University and learnt, learnt how to think independently, to think outside the box, to think deeply about life, about purpose; my interest in Buddhism grew, and loved the freedom to do my art. I was happy. My thirty's have been tougher, as having a go at my PhD in a squeezed amount of time proved to much for my mental health and I ended up taking anti-depressants for anxiety ... I then started my own business, and as you fellow entrepreneurs out there know, it's stressful, extremely gratifying and satisfying, but stressful to run your own business ... I went through some dark times with bereavement ... but I am now, emerging out the other side ... dare I say it, happy!
On International Day of Happiness, even with my most recent bereavement of losing my Mum to cancer, I would like to declare I am happy, in this very moment I am happy ... and here's the thing, I am glad I am, because my Mum always said to me, she just wanted me to be happy, and I am.
So what is it that has helped me maintain a level of happiness and contentment throughout my life? It is something that I only became aware of, gave a name to when I started reading about Buddhism, and that is being present. My most happiest times of my life have been when I've been most present.
So my action for you today, on this International Day of Happiness, is to try and be present in everything that you do, be present in the shower, when you eat breakfast, when you drive your car, be present when you speak to colleagues, eat lunch, go for a walk, be present when you walk in the door at home, when you cook dinner, when you talk to your family and friends, and see, see if you can just be happy today.