Why Knowing What You Want is Crucial to Happiness
If someone asked you, “Do you know what it would take to make you happy?” You would say yes, right? But, are you sure? Or do you know what you have that makes you unhappy, and you think that if you fixed that, then you would then be happy? There is a crucial difference between both, as the latter really doesn’t make you happy.
Our mind works by giving us more of the things on which we focus. If you are focusing on being a problem solver, your brain will always look at further issues to provide you with what you want (solving problems), and that is why, every time you seem to tackle one, another one comes up. And what happens then, is that we go further down the rabbit hole of precisely what we are trying to avoid?
I want to share with you a simple process that I have used to create the life I want and being happy doing it. There is just one rule, be completely honest with yourself. After all, it’s your life that we are talking about:
- Ask, “If I couldn’t fail, what would I do/have/be that will lead to my happiness?” Have you always wanted to be a professional dancer? Write that down. It doesn’t matter if it seems too far-fetched. After all, it’s just a list, right? Go wild.
- For everything on the list, ask: “Do I truly want this, or is it someone else’s?” Sometimes we think that we would like something because that is what we have been told we should want. For example, if you wrote down, “being a lawyer” (or a dancer, or an astronaut) is that yours? Or was it your grandmother’s dream for you? Keep only those items that are truly yours.
- For what is now left in the list, ask yourself: Is this something I would truly want to be/do/have? Will this improve my life and living? Will this make me happy? Or am I trying to fix something with this? Keep only those things that will make you happy and be an improvement in your life? Try rewriting. For example: “I would like to lose 20 pounds” can become: “I would like to have a flexible, athletic body.”
- Take all the items on the list and look at what excites you. It doesn’t matter if it sounds feasible; it just has to make your body ignite and your face smile.
- Read through this new list, write down every objection that comes up when you read it. For example, an objection to “be a ballroom-dancer” can be “I’m too old for that.”
- Now read through all your objections. Ask yourself: if this was not true, where would I start? What can I do, with whom can I talk today to make it happen? I have news for you, even if your objections seem true, they are not. We have been trained to think that our fears and doubts are true, but they are only concepts that our mind makes up that we use to stop ourselves. To change the power, we give to these concepts, we need to ask every day, if this was not true, what action can I take today to make it happen? And then, start taking action.
- Keep flexible and embrace change! Look at your questions every week. Has something changed? Follow the process again. Maybe something lost meaning, or you have a new item to add?
- Have fun! When you start taking action for what you want as your life, look for what is fun for you, and if there is something that you think is needed and doesn’t look fun, ask, “how can I have fun with this?”
- Be patient with yourself! Don’t expect immediate results. We live in a culture that values instant gratification, and this leads to frustration. This process is a daily practice that does not lead to an objective, and it is more of a journey. A journey where the target changes daily, and where you can choose, instead of the dream to be happy.
- Start a daily gratitude journal. Write at three things each day for which you are grateful. When you start doubting yourself, read this, it will remind you of what you have already accomplished.
When we start focusing on what we want and start taking actions towards that, our life starts changing subtly, improving our levels of happiness and our experience in general. This approach is very different from what we have been taught but much more efficient. I have worked with hundreds of clients doing just this, and they have accomplished things that seemed impossible at first while being happy in the process.
What if you could gift yourself more happiness and more fun in your life, just by knowing what you want?
About the Author: With over 20 years of experience in executive roles within world class corporations, Elena Blanco is a skilled communicator and negotiator. She has created and lead high-performing teams and successful business strategies both in the public and private sectors. She is an entrepreneur, with an international practice where she coaches others on how to change their lives for the better. She is a Being You facilitator, a special program of Access Consciousness, and a business coach with an MSc. in Economics. Her unique combination of corporate experience, coaching and entrepreneurship, along with her passion for creating a greater world, gives her the capabilities to empower others to create more in their lives and businesses.