In celebration of International Women’s day 2018 I thought I’d share my top five things that make me happy. I’ve stumbled across them at different stages of my 44 young years – some of them I’ve known for decades but haven’t actively embraced, others I’ve discovered in more recent years and now feature as a daily practice. Irrespective of your cultural, economic and educational background, or political views, I’m sure some of these will resonate with you.
Focus on the journey not the destination
Of course it’s a great feeling to reach a final destination – to be named as a winner for a prestigious digital experience industry award, to be awarded a gold medal at a sporting event (I’m thinking of Mo Farah as he stormed to won Gold in the 10,000 metres at the IAAF World Championship in 2017), and for those that know me and my passion for cycling, arriving at the end destination of a long distance, multiday ride, for example the Raid Pyrenean or the Raid Alpine.
But it’s not just about that mille-second when you are presented with your award, accept your gold medal, or pass the finish line – it’s about the relationships developed, new connections made, unique experiences enjoyed, places visited, conversations participated in, the up and downs, and learning’s along the way.
The journey is 99.9% of the experience – the destination is the icing on the cake.
Being grateful – for everything
There are many benefits of practicing gratitude on a daily basis – from a stronger immune system and better sleep, to feeling more alive and experiencing more positive emotions. Some people create a gratitude jars and write a note on a piece of paper every day, then open the jar at the end of the year to read what they’ve written, making the moments captured more meaningful. Others write letters to people who have had an impact on their lives to thank them properly. The simple act of being grateful can change your life.
It doesn’t need to take much time, just a few minutes every morning or evening, which ever suits you best – I guarantee you’ll begin to see the benefits almost immediately.
Play – do what you love
For me this covers all aspects of my life. From being involved with work that I love and that inspires me, spending time with family and friends, making time to do things that I love – just for the sheer fun of it, to investing in personal development to stretch my thinking, and to keep my mind open.
This quote says it well…
“I was early taught to work as well as play,
My life has been one long, happy holiday;
Full of work and full of play-
I dropped the worry on the way-
And the universe was good to me every day.”John D. Rockefeller
I’ve made one small amend – you can work out what it is – the word ‘universe’ works better for me.
Have a goal – and go for it
Everyone has goals they’d like to achieve. It could be to launch your own business, to take your family on a special holiday each year to experience an amazing part of the world, to be financially independent by the time your 50, to live fearlessly, to handle conflict with integrity.
Some goals can be achieved in the short-term (3-6 months, like passing your driving test), or over a lifetime (like living your life purpose 24/7). The key thing here is to know what you want to achieve – what’s makes you tick, what’s your bliss, what’s your calling?
Discover and identify your goal or goals, believe you can achieve them and go create.
Go with the flow – change is good
Whether we realise it or not, we often subconsciously try to control situations to avoid change, or to engineer circumstances to achieve a specific outcome (and avoid change). Yet however I look at it, change is good. When one door closes, another door opens. Be open to change, to new ways of thinking, and new ways of doing things – you may just find change helps you make improvements in your life, and the lives of those around you.
As the big man from Apple said:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forwards; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future. Believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even it if leads you off the well-worn path; and that will make all the difference.”Steve Jobs