How many times have you said, “ I would be so much more happier, if only I had…”
There is nothing wrong with wanting more in life, unless you are putting off being happy, waiting for that one thing to come along.
How do I know this? I had a rude awakening to acting like a “spoiled brat.”
The day I arrived in Quito, Ecuador, the owner of the guest house where I would be staying, had me place my luggage in a room beside the entrance and showed me around the house. I figured this was the stock room and would be back to pick it up when she showed me to my room.
We went back for the luggage and with a big smile she said, “You will love it in this room, you will have so much privacy here.” Okay, maybe my Spanish wasn’t as good as I thought. Surely I misunderstood. My room could NOT be the stock room. Actually, now that I had a better look at it, it was the garage that had been poorly renovated into a bedroom.
There was no way I would be sleeping in a garage for a whole month! I immediately got in touch with my Ecuadorian friend, “Please, you have to help me! I desperately need to find another place to stay.”
We walked for hours going from apartment to apartment. Nothing! She just wouldn’t give up, determined to help me find a place. At some point, I got tired and decided I would stay at the guest house for one night and deal with it the next day.
We must have tried between 20 to 30 apartments (I actually lost count). Then it hit me. How blessed was I to have a friend who cared this much for me? I mean she probably went home with blisters. I had behaved like a spoiled brat. I realized, I was NOT going to find another apartment. The universe was giving me a kick in the butt.
Suddenly, the thought of not having a place to stay, made me value the fact that I had a bed to sleep in.
Later that evening, I met the three other people who were also staying at the guest house. We had supper, talked and laughed so much. I wanted more of this.
I chose to stop putting off being happy and having fun waiting for the perfect condition.
The next morning, I told the owner I would stay for the month. I met amazing people that have become my special friends. Hey, I even got to cook my famous lasagna for them.
Opening myself to meet new people and experiences, did not depend on the condition of my bedroom.
There is a big price to pay if in the process of wanting more, you forget about everything you already have and not take the time to be grateful for them.
The price: Your happiness.
This experience taught me 2 practices to being happy right now:
Want what you already have
This doesn’t mean to “settle” or give up on following what you want. It means enjoying the present moment even if everything is not perfect. One of the most valuable lessons I learned is that to truly feel fulfilled, you must change where you focus your attention. Choosing to accept what you have and living a life of gratitude for it, will remind you of everything you accomplished to get to where you are and have the things you already have. Wanting a bigger house, better job, make more money, travel, lose weight, will never really make you happy, even if you get there. Once you do, you will focus on something else you don’t have. Sound familiar? You are where you are. The way you choose to respond to your circumstances and feel about yourself, can make you happy, RIGHT NOW.
Focus on what you can control
Most of us focus so much on fixed end goals, which is fine, but it is important to set goals we have control over. You see, if we treat things like, making more money, getting a promotion, winning a hockey game or finding the perfect relationship as an end goal to be happy, we are limiting ourselves to creating value that is meaningful. All these things are the result of a goal, not the end goal because we do not have control over them.
What do you have control over?
How about focusing on improving, learning, progressing and growing a little more each day? Setting smaller goals and focusing on getting better from one day to the next, will bring you excitement and happiness as you move forward towards your bigger dreams.
Actions you can take right now and accomplish, instead of just one big one that is way out there in the future.
Two things will happen:
- You will not set yourself up for disappointment and frustration. Your goal was something you had complete control over.
- You will look more deeply at challenges in your life and realize that they are there for you to keep learning and growing. You will realize just how much control you have over choosing things that will give you happiness, fulfillment and peace, RIGHT NOW.
This is something I don’t always do well. Adapting to different cultures and challenges with writing has not always been easy. So, I practice everyday to look around and enjoy the present moment even if it is not perfect.
What simple things do you value in your life to feel happy right now?
If you got a few tips on how to get what you want, let us know by clicking the “Like” button on the left.