Thinking Your Way to Happiness
What makes you happy?
– A new job or a luxury car?
– A young-looking face without wrinkles or a slimmer body?
– A vacation package at the Cannes Resort in France?
– Sharing a succulent sirloin steak dinner with your best friend?
Any of the above would sure make me happy for a while. But lasting happiness is from within.
It isn’t WHAT you have,
Or WHO you are,
Or WHERE you are,
Or WHAT you are doing,
That makes you happy or unhappy.
It is WHAT you think about. ~Dale Carnegie
Imagine holding your fork in your left hand, a serrated knife on your right, cutting a piece of slightly browned, grilled medium rare, juicy sirloin tip steak. You are looking across the table, smiling to your companion who is doing the same. You lift your right hand; open your mouth, then, pop in the piece of meat… I don’t remember the last time I had a steak in a restaurant but writing this makes me happy, relaxed, satisfied, and content. Life is filled with moments to cherish and other times, moments to dread.
Here is one of my dreadful moments six months after I quit my full-time project management career to venture out to live my “dream”, aka my life calling as a motivational speaker, counsellor and author. I am checking my emails and I am reading these messages:
- Two of my credit card monthly payments are due,
- My remittance advice for the first month of counselling pay is $49,
- One counselling couple has cancelled their appointment for tomorrow,
- An event planner declines my proposal for a potential speaking engagement,
- There is no response from any potential publishers on my new book proposal.
I am thinking to myself, what a terrible mistake I made to quit my job! What am I getting myself into? No counselling clients, no speaking engagements, no teaching assignments, and no one is interested in my new book. Worst still, the bills are piling up.
I feel sad, disappointed, worried, disturbed, frustrated, annoyed, scared, and mad.
At this point, I sink into the chair and munch on the biggest bag of Cheetos while staring out the kitchen window looking at the pine trees and crying my heart out.
Inside my head, these thoughts keep repeating like a broken record: Nothing seems to be going right; all my effort is going to waste; living my calling remains an elusive dream… As I finish my Cheetos, I believe that I will never be able to succeed in speaking, counselling and writing. So, I stand up, go to my computer, open my browser and start searching for project management jobs in www.jobbank.com.
No, I don’t want to give up my dream. I don’t want to have all those negative feelings. If Carnegie’s quote makes sense, I should be able to think differently and still feel happy despite of my circumstances.
I pour myself a glass of water, sit down on the couch and start writing on a blank piece of paper.
My Gratitude List
- I am thankful for my five clients that completed their counselling sessions recently. They appreciated my service and I am grateful for their trust in me.
- I am thankful for the few book orders from my friends and blog subscribers. Their willingness and interest in supporting my work warms my heart.
- I am thankful for my husband. He supports my career change decision and works around his schedule to accommodate my requests for his help in running errands.
- I am thankful for my mentors. They generously contribute their time in reviewing my writings and giving me helpful pointers in fulfilling my publishing dream.
My Action List
- Contact local bookstores to request them to carry my books.
- Contact nearby churches, drop off a review copies of my book and marketing materials for speaking engagements.
- Conduct research on popular speaking topics and write out speeches to build my speaking portfolio.
- Write articles on managing emotional issues and helpful strategies for meaningful living.
- Conduct free informational workshops on effective communications and building harmony in relationships.
When I review my gratitude and action lists, I feel energized, hopeful and motivated. I can’t wait to start working on my tasks. Living my dream takes effort, courage and determination.
I am feeling positive again. It is possible to take our negative thoughts captive by thinking differently. Our circumstances do not have control over how happy we are. What we think determines how we feel.
Can you relate to how thinking can shape your feelings?
How does wishful thinking differ from positive thinking?