Why happines is a huge advantage?

When I was growing up I read a lot of books on improving myself and the importance of having goals in life. I came to the conclusion that if I set goals and achieve them then I would be happy and fulfilled. People who I respected and the success literature I read all said that I would be happy when I achieve my goals. As a child it was when I passed certain exams or learned a new move in Kung Fu or Karate since I was passionate about martial arts in those days and mainly inspired by Bruce Lee.  Until I achieved my goals I had to be serious and focused all the time on my goals. I did not allow myself to celebrate until I have achieved my goals. I also believed that if I worried about my goals enough then I was more likely to achieve them since I was focused mentally on them. I believed that happiness came after I reach my goal, however before that I have to strive, struggle, suffer and go through the pan barrier.

As a person I was considered relatively successful since I had achieved a lot of my goals. I set a hundred goals to achieve in 10 years and had only achieved 72 of them. I felt like a failure even though I was doing well in my career, finances, proud of my family and developed a whole range of new skills. People held me up as a role model in the community but I felt like a completed failure. It seemed illogical. It dawned on me that I was never ever going to be happy because as soon as I achieved a goals I would set another higher goal immediately. I set a goal to write 100 papers and as soon as I reached a 100 a set another goal of 200 and then 300 etc. I realised that goal setting was a never ending process and I should not be linking my happiness to achieving goals. As far as goals go I would never get them all done. There will always be more to aim at and achieve.

I had to shift my thinking. I had to start off with being happy and then work on my goals. I  decided to create a state of happiness, joy and gratitude before I do something. Be happy first then focus and work my goals. Therefore, I will happily achieve instead of achieving to be happy.

I had a plan on how to approach my goals.

Before working on my goal

I decided to do one of the following things prior to working on my goals.

1. I visualised and really felt as if I had already achieved my goals. I would enjoy and celebrate achieving my goals.

2. I did deep breathing exercises and meditated for a few minutes before starting on the tasks required to get closer to the goal.

3. I repeated a positive affirmation several time regarding the goal I was working towards.

4. I listened to upbeat music that would get me in a good state of mind.

5. Write down 3 things I was most grateful for in my note book.

After working on my goal

I decided to reward myself after as well so my happiness was extended.

1. Reward myself in some way by having a cup of tea or a cold drink.

2. Go out for dinner with family or friends.

3. Buy something I wanted.

4. Feel great about myself and what I had done.

5. Watch a film or sports event.

About 5 years ago I wanted stretch myself and set a goal 10x bigger than I had ever before. I decided to write 20 pages a day of  manuscript. Previously, my average had been 2 pages a day so 20 pages was an impossible goal but I reasoned even if I achieved anything more than 2 pages would make me feel like a success.

I decided to do the following things:

1. Keep my pen and writing book with me 24 hours a day.

2. Relax as much as possible during the process of writing.

3. Appreciate and really enjoy every letter that I would write.

4. Be grateful for every word or idea that came to mind.

5. Not judge anything I wrote.

6. The most important thing for me was to maintain a state of appreciation and happiness at every moment of the day.

After 10 days during this process I averaged about 17 1/2 pages a day. I felt an incredible sense of achievement and joy throughout. The period was the most joyful and productive of my career up to that point in time. My belief changed from “I need to achieve my goals to be truly happy” to I can happily and joyfully achieve anything.

This small shift in thinking has changed my life and prospective everything i decide to tackle in life. I still set challenging goals and achieve them but now I do it from a position of appreciation and joy.


One response

  1. Hi Wahmed

    I read your story with much interest and not least because I have a similar story to tell, though not quite identical.

    As a very young kid I had anxiety problems, I would break out in hives and my hair regularly fell out, I suffered amnesia quite a lot. I don’t remember much of those very early years, or who I lived with then, but I have only recently realised my parents were switched at some and I was placed with another family in Scotland 1962/63. At that time I had an American accent and I couldn’t get out of the habit of writing in dollars and cents and although I never found it hard to make new friends, I found myself misplaced with this new family who didn’t seem to understand that people on tv were human beings like the rest of us. just acting out roles. They sent me for elocution lessons so that I fitted in better. Although still a young kid I didn’t really understand their way of thinking about many, many things and books became one of my best allies.

    The next door neighbour, a Mrs Lorimer didn’t recognise me and neither did Agnes’s mum (who I came to know as Gran). We moved soon after, a few weeks or months after I woke up in that strange little cottage and it was not really until then I first went to the police. They didn’t believe me though and took me back. When you are a kid it is very hard to speak up against adults. Agnes told the police that she didn’t think I was her kid but that she didn’t know what had happened or how I came about but she did promise to look after me regardless. Life speeds by with such haste when you are a kid, there is soo much to learn and do and those early years were soon forgotten.

    Suddenly I found myself to be the eldest of four, I didn’t really understand how that came about so quickly and put it down to my having a bad memory but as I had to look after them most of the time, it strengthened my confidence in my abilities no end and my anxiety problems soon disappeared as I was focused on making sure the other kids were ok. However, even as a young kid I was too aware of Health and Safety risks, it was almost as if I had been trained for the role and I was forever pointing out dangers to Agnes (I made her get a fireguard for the sitting room and put all bleaches and medicines in locked cupboards, just little things like that that she didn’t seem to know about). I had to teach the other kids to read and write as Agnes was heavily sedated for most of her short life. Looking back now, I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together then. It seems now that her daughter had been killed in a car accident and I am not sure whether they have taken me from a hospital or I have come from somewhere else. Though it would seem that the first scenario is a possibility as Agnes told me on an odd occasion that my blood group was different after the car accident and she couldn’t figure it out. I can’t really explain much about it all to be honest, because it was like I had put a wall up around it all. I knew that something had happened but I couldn’t figure it all out and as time went on I forgot about that first day waking up on a settee in a strange house and screaming for my Nana Nellie and my Mommee (who she incidentally didn’t know) later I put a lot of what she said about my past down to her medication.

    I loved dancing and music and these were my two other allies. Until, one day my dog chewed my ballet shoes and made himself really, really sick. I blamed myself for not teaching him properly and although I never gave up dancing completely I took a deeper interest in my books and music. On apporaching 50 I did gain my bronze and silver awards in Salsa Dancing, and won awards in poetry and photography.

    I too read many self help books, but I think the one thing that helped me the most was my confidence in my ability to learn, and I think I tricked myself into thinking this quite by accident. I think as kids we all latch on to a particular song or tune and I was no different there. I loved Elvis and found a track on one of his albums called “The tortoise and the hare” I think it went a bit like this. “You’ll be surprised what you can do, if you will only try. …..Confidence, a little thing called confidence……………the famous hare wound up nowhere and slow coach won first place.” I had been struggling to teach myself to read music, but after playing this for several weeks and I am sure it played a vital role in teaching my sub conscious that I could learn, things just suddenly fell into place and I was playing the piano in no time. Later whilst still at school I got a part-time job in a hotel kitchen to pay for my lessons and although I found myself on my own again at 16 it seemed my confidence was more than that of an adult in older years and I had no problem in finding and holding down a job.

    I learned appreciation and joy at a very early age as to begin with we didn’t have a washing machine and I had to wash things out by hand. Apart from anything else I had to appreciate just how much soap powder and water had to go into the machine so that I didn’t end up with a kitchen full of soap suds, which incidentally happened more than once. Later I appreciated how much extra time I had and put it to good use.

    Appreciation and gratitude though can be shared in a million and one ways. By helping someone else, by thanking someone or something, by giving something in return, by giving for the sake of giving and that can be virtually anything at all and needn’t necessarily be just to a charity but through the love of people, art, music, sport, writing etc,

    Being happy is a state of mind, some of us are lucky to be born with it, it might come along with the joy of learning to walk. Whilst we fell down and got back up with a million and one bruises we tried again and again, until one day we were walking naturally without having to think about it too much. There are a lot of traits that can be found from learning to walk, commitment, perseverence and happiness and joy from overcoming the obstacles that we found there can show many of us we have more skills than we know and… for the majority of learning practices very few of them leave us with as many bumps and bruises. Some other people may find happiness grows with confidence and learning, or just with focusing and helping others, some with sport or activity alone, and others by rectifying their diet and lifestyle. Some people even “act” happy until they feel it.

    Showing happiness and gratitude is a great way to help motivate people around you, and… strangely enough it creates its own kind of energy which helps us achieve our goals and targets but….. for the majority of us we need to be sure we keep others safe and do things properly, we have to be sure we know what we are doing and educate ourselves to assess risks and foresee possible problems so that our happiness and gratitude is not short lived.

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