I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately.  I’m not sure why – it just seems to keep popping up.

I had a feeling this might be one of those random posts that don’t really fit anywhere so I decided to do it as a Friday Few post because they tend to be kinda random too!

For some strange reason, there has been something in the air in the past 6 months where I seem to be surrounded by people going through a lot of unhappiness in their lives for all kinds of reason.  It’s a huge contrast to my mood because, as I told one friend the other day, “right now, I’m just… happy.”

And I am.  In fact, it’s almost scary to write that – like somehow I’m tempting fate.

where does happiness come from?

I have no idea.  Some people seem to be naturally happy and others don’t, regardless of circumstances.  So are we born with it?  Or is it a product of our environment and circumstances?  Or both?  Can we make ourselves become happier, regardless of what is happening in our lives?  Valid questions – especially as a small business owner, and a creative one at that.

I think most people start out running a small business because they’re following their passion and their dream.  So if you are doing those things and you’re not happy, perhaps you need to ask yourself some serious questions about what you’re doing.

And as a creative person, there is often an underlying belief that artists are unhappy, struggling and full of pain and angst (a myth I don’t subscribe to at all).

So can you make yourself happier, despite your circumstances?

visualizing happiness

We’ve all heard about what a powerful tool visualization can be and how pro athletes use it regularly, seeing themselves in their minds on top of the podium, winning the race, etc.  I always wondered if it worked.

About 3 years ago, I started writing a story that I never finished.  I fished it out a few weeks ago to see if I wanted to continue with it and I was a little shocked.  The heroine was the person I wanted to be, living the life I wanted.  Fast forward three years… all the things I wanted for that character (in other words, for me), I had… right down the to yellow lab.

Was it a coincidence?  Or if you think it, it will come?  Or, was the act of actually writing it, even though at the time I wasn’t aware of what I was doing, that made it manifest itself.  Can you write yourself happy?

the happiness project

Around the time I was thinking about the story I had started writing, I came across The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin on a ramble through Chapters.  I’m on a strict book buying ban right now until I decrease the pile of unread books in my house but I couldn’t resist a peek given all I’d been thinking about lately.

I wound up buying it.  Who am I to ignore a sign? Hehe.

Rubin is a successful writer who had a sudden realization one day that “the days are long but the years are short”.  Was she making the most of it?  Was she as happy as she could be?  So she set out on a year long “happiness project” to see if she could make herself happier.  Each month she tackled a different area of her life, building on the prior months – everything from money to career to spirituality.  It’s actually a fascinating book if you’re curious.  Rubin goes about it in a very systematic way, researching happiness and trying pretty much anything to see how it works as well as tracking her results and progress.  As she says herself, she felt her success was due in large part to a Resolution Chart she kept.  So perhaps by keeping a visual representation of what she wanted to achieve and then tracking it, she was essentially, visualizing her happiness.

If you’re curious about The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin keeps a popular blog on the project full of ideas to help you increase your happiness.

could you be happier?

Are you a naturally happy person?  I don’t know if I am or not.  I know I spent a long time being unhappy with certain aspects of my life until I had the realization that I could complain all I wanted, find excuses not to make changes but ultimately, I’m the only one who controls my happiness.  So I made changes.  And right now, I do feel happy.

If you’re not happy, do you know what would make you happy?  If you do, what’s stopping you from getting it?  Are you willing to wait until a life shattering event happens and shakes you up enough to make you realize that while the days are long, the years are short and so is life?  And most importantly, are you willing to be brutally honest with yourself about why you’re resisting making the changes that could bring you a more fulfilling life?  Or are you willing to take the steps you need to take to bring happiness to you?

What do you think?

That’s my ramble for this week!