Here we are at the end of the first decade and there is still a worldwide recession! More people than ever seem to suffering from clinical depression. Stuck with the double digit unemployment numbers more people are staying overworked and underpaid than ever before. What is the answer? What is the key to the superior life? How can we get away from high blood pressure, heart attacks, road rage and the like? Will we be happy when the mortgage is paid off? Will be happy when we retire? When the kids are up an out? When teething is over? When I'm married? When I'm divorced? When I have that sporty new car?
The answer is "no." Believe it or not, you are about as happy now as you will be then. Studies show money spent on things will give a short term high, and then you quickly adjust to that thing. Think about it. Remember that wonderful feeling you had the day you drove your car off of the dealer's lot? Whether it was brand new, or simply new to you, you were completely satisfied with your purchase. You felt lucky, you may have gone out to dinner and celebrated. Even the next day you went outside and admired your new toy. You may have shown it off to your friends. But as time went by you got used to it. It is a rare person who after a year is still giving thanks for their reliable vehicle or even acknowledging their dependable transportation. Most of us, just get used to the thing.
Then we move on psychologically to the next thing. We decide if we have a rental we will be happy when we own a house. We decide if we have a house we will be happy when we can remodel, or buy a bigger house, or have the house paid off. What ever it is, it's always something. And yet , it's always nothing, not anything worth waiting for, in order to be happy. For if we have a rental, we can be happy about the rental. Maybe it's located in a wonderful part of town, maybe it has great rooms or nice fixtures. Maybe it's super cheap. We can decide to be grateful for things we have right now and being grateful is intricately connected to the ability to feel happy.
Studies show that people who write thank you notes derive happiness from them. People who receive them do too. So why did we ever give up on this lovely custom? Too busy? Too self-centered? Get out a pen a dash off a short note to someone who has done you a favor recently. Surely there is someone who picked up your kid from soccer, loaned you a book, helped you out a work. Recognizing their kindness will create only more warmth. It's never a bad thing to say thank you. Maybe you feel shy and unsure how to begin.
Start by writing by buying a small cache of thank you notes. They are generally smaller than regular cards so don't worry about having tons to say. Start off with a direct reference to what this person did, for example, "Dear Sue, thank you so much for picking up the kids last Saturday from practice." Then include a short synopsis of how this helped you. "I was able to make my appointment on time." End with a heartfelt observation â "You really helped me out." And sign it. That's it! Three components, and it works for any thank you. The more you do it the more natural it will feel.
What is the real secret to a superior life? It's so simple you won't believe it, until I say it, and then you will know it to be intuitively true: Put Yourself in the Driver's Seat. Do what makes you happy, in lieu of what you think you should do, what you feel you have to do, or what you don't want to do. When you are in control you get to know people because they are interesting, not because you want them to like you. They probably will end up liking you, because people like people who are interested in them, but that is beside the point. Be the one choosing and not the one being chosen.
If you don't like your job, then start looking for another one, one you will enjoy. It's always easier to find a job when you have a job. Take your time, be picky, it's one third of your life you spend at work. Can't find anything else that will support your family? Then regulate work to the small area it is, and define yourself by the things you can enjoy in your free time. Use the hard earned cash to make like as eventful as you can. After all, if you have to be at work for eight to ten hours at a time you can be happy that time period or angry, it's all up to you. If you choose to be resentful, you may find yourself fired anyway next time its staff trimming time. But if you choose to recognize that work affords you all the things you like to do, you can make friends with the apparent discomfort.
What about needing a partner to be happy? Most people who think this way are sorely disappointed once they find a partner. Now that their fantasy has become real they have all new worries. What if my loved one leaves me or dies, or is unhappy with me? Once again we see how getting a thing rarely brings happiness no matter what it is. If you decide to love people without regard for how they feel about you, you will have put your Self in the driver's seat. That's where the power is. You can decide this right now. I can love David Bowie whether I meet him or not, start a fan club, read his biography, collect photos of him. But if I am convinced I won't be happy until he LOVES me, I'll be waiting a long time.