Postponing Happiness Into The Future
Most people have this tendency of postponing their happiness until some ideal moment in the distant future.
- Teenagers think they will be happy once they move out of their parent’s house and start living on their own
- Some people will be really happy only when the Steem value will rise above 1$
- Other people will become truly happy only when they will buy their own house
- Or until their debt on the house is totally paid for
- Some can become happy only after they've made their first million dollars
I think It's great to have personal objectives, because:
- They keep us moving forward
- They give us hope for the future
- They keep us driven
Houston, we have a problem
Not allowing ourselves to be happy until our objectives are met will keep us locked in a state of frustration and prolonged unhappyness.
We will find plenty of reasons not to be happy until an external condition is met or until a certain event has occured. And usually, we have no control over that external occurence or condition.
But you see, personal happiness is only ours to control. It is not something that belongs to our friends, family or employer. Sure, there are things outside our control that do happen and can either make us extremely happy or extremely upset. Usually the latter.At the end of the day, the way we react to external events is totally within our hands. (errmm.. actually hearts & minds). We just need a tiny weeny bit of perceptual training.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so this should sum the situation up:One of the best personal development techniques I’ve ever used is called
The Reversed Gap
And it goes like this:
Instead of focusing on the forward gap (everything that is wrong in the present moment and doesn't allow us to be happy), how about doing something that can potentially increase our level of happiness?
It's all about moving our focus away from those things we're lacking in our current life experience. And let's move our focus on everything good that happened between Now and a moment of our choosing, some time in the past.
Here's another pic:
You see, this automatically shifts our awareness on the positive aspects of life, some of which we too easily forget to acknowledge.
Here’s how to make the perceptual shift.
Choose how much you are going to glance back in time: 3 months ago, 1 year ago or maybe 2 years ago?
Then, for each category below, write 3 things that have improved during that time and which you are really grateful for.
- How have your health and fitness improved?
- How has your intellectual level improved?
- How have your friendships deepened over time?
- What new skills have you learned?
- How has your career improved for the better?
- How has your spiritual life make you a better human being?
- How have you become more creative over time?
- How has your family life improved?
- How has your love life improved?
- How has your involvement in the community increased? (and yes, contributing to Steemit does count)
Do notice the questions start with How. It's not about considering if they have improved, but on thinking on how have they improved from the start.
Of course, you can slip into the dark side and focus on everything that went wrong since then. But that would be missing the point of the exercise.
Shifting our focus and acknowledging the good that has already happened to us is a very powerful tool for clearing our perception. It increases our well being in the present moment.
So, here’s my invitation to you:
Try it out!
If you really put your heart into it, it will take you some 15-30 minutes to complete it. If done right, it will make you feel better about yourself and give you a little boost of confidence and trust in life.
Every time i feel a little upset that things don't go my way, I remember to do this exercise. It never fails to uplift my mood and increase my gratitude levels.
I first discovered this method from Vishen Lakhiani of Mindvalley. You can watch him talk about this in the video below:
(the smileys used in the pictures were designed by Roundicons from Flaticon, the entire smiley pack can be downloaded from here)
Take care now, bye bye!