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HardWired for Happiness...Who Knew?

Happiness, scientists say, is already a part of our DNA. We’re actually hardwired to be happy. Whoa! Who Knew?

So then why do so many of us schlep around feeling dissatisfied. That there’s something we don’t have that we’d be happier, if we did have? Well, after great reflection – and a bit of straw polling – I believe it boils down to this:

We’ve been operating in a flawed model.  The If/Then, or When/Then model of happiness.

If I were thinner, younger, had a better job title, were retired, travelled more, travelled less, were married, were divorced… if only my kids would finally leave home and not find their way back, Then I’d be happy.

We all have our specific if’s that we’re focused on. But what happens at the conclusion of your if...? You need a new if. Reminds me of a Seinfeld episode. 

So. What are the steps? We all want to achieve something. That’s life and that’s good. It gives us a sense of focus and something to work toward. But, here’s where we often run aground. Where we naturally invest our focus. On the outcome, not the actions taken to accomplish the goal. Actions are within our control. The outcome?? Not so much. So how do we detach from the outcome? When we invest in the outcome, (stay with me) to the exclusion of the process, the incremental accomplishments, the check points along the way, we’re setting ourselves up for frustration and continually moving the goal posts. It’s not enough. I’m not feeling the Happy Meal. I need a new If. 

The alternative and today’s take away. Invest in the process! Invest in the reason you started the project. The why it was meaningful for you? The what would it satisfy in you. The actual Being in the curriculum vs investing in the what the outcome might look like. You have no control over the outcome and chances are even if you got it, you may not like it because it bears zero resemblance to what you thought it would. And then you need a new if… Starting to make sense now, isn’t it?

So, focus on the outcome only to the extent it gives you focused roadmap and something to track. That’s positive. But then completely invest yourself in the organic nature of the process. The being of it, vs the doing of it? If you succeed great! If not – equally great! You’ve been granted a new starting point, opportunity to cultivate new resources to bring to bear to the next situation and the one after that. And perhaps a better outcome than the one you first conceived.

Stay open, stay curious, and most of all enjoy the ride. Carry On!