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How to Be Happy

Last evening I had one of those wonderful warm glow feelings when all seems to be just right. These things can still surprise but we can also re-programme ourselves to be more susceptible to happiness. The old adage coined by Kahlil Gibran about the cup being half empty or half-full comes to mind. Can’t we just chose to be half-full? Coaches know this to be at the heart of coaching. We can ‘self-coach’ to ‘resource’ ourselves with a healthy mindset – then happiness is more likely to flow! With such enormous differences in wealth in the UK (the UK has the 2nd worst ‘gap’ between upper- and lower-quartile earnings in the world, after the US), many people are naturally predisposed to noticing the difference between their own life-style and that of others. The culture of so-called ‘celebrity’ (mostly of rather untalented people who have acquired wealth) almost certainly does not help. Instinctively, most of us know we do not have the connections to repeat their ‘success’ and if we did, would it make us happy – truth is, almost certainly NOT! Celebrity does not make you happy any more than money does.

And a proportion people who compare themselves unfavourably feel undervalued and discouraged. Sometimes they also feel resentful and unfulfilled. All these people could choose to change their mindsets to ones which instead move their focus to something more positive (whenever they notice their ‘one-down’ comparing-process going on). A positive step might be to think of what really matters:

  • the quality and depth of our relationships,
  • love, caring,
  • the sharing in our lives.

It is also important to realize that it is possible to have such positive, ‘soft’ thoughts and experiences and still keep the ‘hard’ edges – for example: desires to succeed in career, income, status and so on. These soft and hard aspects are not incompatible – that’s because of the way our heads have developed over millenia – we keep both!

The brain is hardwired to compare (and you can see from above that there are strengths and weaknesses in that) but it is also hard-wired to remember patterns of thinking and behaviour (whether we want to remember them or not). So when we slow down to smell the coffee, to appreciate the phenomenon of a flower, to marvel at a small bird surviving the winter weather, we can choose also to be determined, focussed and effective (if these are things we always did) – the brain simply does NOT forget what it used to do!

And if you didn’t have focus, determination and efficacy and now want the whole package on offer (smelling the coffee, appreciating things of real worth AND wanting success) then yes, you can have these too! It is simple mindsetting. Self-coaching is a good place to start and if you can afford it and want it, coaching can help us too. Why is that? Because coaches can see the patterns that we cannot see and because they provide us with honest feedback that our friends may not.

Yes, I’m content and acknowledging that it took some work on my part to feel content now, not just events happening hapharzardly in my life! And that too is a good and positive experience to take forward. These acknowledgements and successes build on one another and create not only a positive mindset, but to raised self-confidence.

Self-confidence is context-specific. That means it is easly knocked back again. But if we keep building self-confidence (in several contexts of our lives) then we slowly build self-esteem. Now, self-esteem is internally-contextual – that is, when stuff happens to us, self-esteem does not give way – it gets us effectively through the tough times too. Invest now for the future, after all, interest rates in currencies are very low, so we may as well focus on our own development instead! To your highest!  Angus.