If you are relying on anyone or anything else for your happiness, stop that right now. If you feel like you’re not quite doing what you want to be doing and you’re not quite the person you want to be, let reading this be the sign that you have a change to make.
There are those who take control of their life and there are those who are life’s victims. Which do you want to be? The type who confidently assesses their own worth or the type that complains about feeling undervalued? No one can ‘make’ you feel anything; you’re in charge of every emotion. Giving away control of your feelings? Sort it out.
Here are 6 ways to create and control your own happiness:
1. Make a change
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always been given. If you always avoid difficult conversations, you’ll always work with a team that isn’t up to scratch. If you always blame others, you’ll never take ownership and you’ll never be the best you can be.
Everything that happens is a cyclical process that will continue until you make a change that puts you on a new course. Happy with where your life is going? Great! Go you! More of the same. Feel like you’re missing something? Make a change somewhere. If what you’re putting out there isn’t working or isn’t manifesting the results you want, it’s only you that can get you back on the track to happiness.
2. Evaluate yourself
Be prepared to give yourself honest and ruthless feedback, and don’t forget to learn each time you mess up. If you’ve already assessed and addressed your own weaknesses, why does anyone else’s opinion matter? Get comfortable with your strengths – look for opportunities to use them. Nothing you hear in a formal appraisal or passing comment should surprise you. Don’t rely on others to point out your shortcomings.
3. Stop comparing
It happens all the time. You’re happy with your job until you hear about someone else’s and it sounds much better. You’re happy with the growth of your business until you hear of someone else’s growing faster. You feel like things are going pretty well until a peer does something you’d love to do. If you compare your life to anything other than a former version of itself, you’re asking for unhappiness. Even some of the most successful and inspiring people I know have moments where they want to swap places with someone else. It’s madness. Sure, there are other things you could be doing, but choosing to do them would mean forgoing your current path. Keep forgoing your current path and you’ll end up flitting around with no agenda, copying the last success story you read on the internet. Make comparisons with no one but your former self.
4. Define happiness
Ever seen the BBC show Saturday Kitchen? In each episode, James Martin, the presenter, cooks one of two dishes for the special guest – their food heaven or their food hell. My food hell is a seafood linguine with some kind of pea, mint and fennel sauce. Every part of that dish absolutely disgusts me. Yuck. I know, however, that the dish I’ve described will be someone else’s food heaven. Life and work are the same. The choices you make and the reality you live will be someone else’s version of hell, and vice versa. The happiness you seek has to be based on your version of happiness and not someone else’s. Definitely not based on TV adverts, celebrity Instagram pictures or the lives of friends and relatives.
5. Keep your lips sealed
Work out your own plan before you ask for comment. Be sure of your next move before you open up to receive advice. Recognize that every time you share your intentions, you leave yourself susceptible to be influenced. Get clear on your plan, put the work in, then share the results, not the journey.
6. Design your life
In the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, he advises an exercise where you take a piece of paper and write down: every day, every other day, every week, every month, every quarter, every year. You then write down the things you’d like to do in those frequencies. They could be ‘go for a walk’ every day. ‘Have a meal with friends’ every week, ‘go to Disneyland’ every year. Anything you like! Try it out – write them all down and use that piece of paper as a blueprint for living a life full of your favorite things.
If you can’t define what makes you happy, then you will forever be confused as to how you achieve it. If you can define it exactly, no amount of Insta-envy or assessments from others will touch you. Accept that what you’ve just written down will be someone else’s version of hell and plough on regardless!
Only you have the power and inclination to control your own happiness. No external factors should penetrate your inner core. No one can make you feel anything you don’t want to feel, it’s all a choice. You’ve got this!