When you wake up every morning are you excited and eager for a new day? Or do you wake up every morning and continually hit the snooze button as you dread the thought of starting another day filled with activities that are not emotionally compelling to you? Are you excited about your life, or are you living a life of quiet desperation?
Since I was a kid I have always looked towards the future with optimism and excitement. The thing I have always struggled with is being happy along the journey to achieving my goals and creating a life I have always dreamed of. It’s easy to be happy when you have momentum and everything is going well. It’s incredibly challenging to remain happy when you are impacted by market and economic changes, relationships that end, unexpected challenges, your plans or ideas not working like you envisioned or watching millions of dollars of your personal net worth evaporate in a very short period of time.
Happiness is an art. We learn and grow through our challenges. It is in times of great difficulty and challenge that we are able to strengthen ourselves emotionally to get through difficult times. The reality is, everything that happens to you in your life only has the meaning that you give it. If your girlfriend dumps you unexpectedly when you thought everything was going great, it’s like a swift kick in the balls. You could make the choice to decide that getting dumped means, “Now I’m free to get what I really want! It’s party time! I’m going out tonight!” However, what meaning do we typically give these situations? It’s the end of the world! I’ll never find anybody else! I’ll never find anyone better! Eventually and sometimes years later, we find ourselves in better relationships and with partners who are better suited for us which makes us even happier than we ever thought possible. But we need the pain, and we needed to learn and grow.
What happens when you’re supposedly loyal business partner and investor bails out on you at the last possible minute, after you have personally risked your business, your working capital and your credit to reorganize your company after he personally reassured you through the whole process that he was with you? Then he says, “Hey, it’s nothing personal. It’s just business.” You wonder what happened to, “You have my word. Don’t worry, my fund is going to invest in your company. I do everything with honor and integrity.” Here’s the kicker, on the way out he says to you, “Hey, I helped you save your company.” Had you have known he was a man of low integrity and no honor, you would have never become involved with him. You live and learn. Next time around you’ll know how to spot a snake in the grass like him. By their deeds shall you know them.
So how do you manage your state when the shit is hitting the fan in your life? How do you manage your state when you realize you no longer have the same internal enthusiasm for your career or business that you once did? When you realize you really hate getting up in the morning and going to a job you used to like, but now it no longer challenges you, you’re bored, you’re tired of your business partners and no longer share the same goals or your new boss is a real asshole?
The key to effectively managing your state during difficult times and challenges, or when you are hit with the reality and realization that the success you want is still several years or even decades in the future, is to see things as they are, not worse than they are or better than they are; but as they are. To prevent yourself from suffering, you must learn to accept where you are in life, and although you can’t change the circumstances of your life right now, you ALWAYS have the power to change what the circumstances of your life mean to you.
Another tool that will help you manage your state is a gratitude journal. A pad of paper or a nicely leather bound book will work just fine. A good thing to do every morning is to jot down things you are grateful for. Everyone has something they can be grateful for in their life. Even if it’s just being grateful that the sun is shining today, or that it is finally raining after a long drought. If you get yourself in the habit of writing down things you are grateful for every day in your gratitude journal, you will condition your mind to focus more on things to be grateful for. This in turn makes you happier. You get what you focus on in life.
So if you are at the point in your life where you realize it’s time to change your career, sell your business, end relationships that no longer serve you, buy out your business partners or go your separate ways, go back to college, start an exercise program, etc. then take some time to focus on your purpose and creating a new compelling vision of the person you want to become and the things you want to accomplish in this next chapter of your life.
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Author, Speaker, Peak Performance Coach, Entrepreneur
“My present happiness is all I see. Saying it instructs the subconscious to focus on perceptions & data that support your happiness.” – Marianne Williamson