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A Recipe for Happiness

Last week I wrote about the concept of mudita, also known as finding joy in the joy of others. This week I’d like to continue with the theme of joy and happiness, because who doesn’t want more of that?

The following is my three-ingredient recipe for happiness:

1. Accept your life as it is right now.

2. Shift the perspectives and attitudes that are holding you back.

3. Change your experience of life.

Step One: Accept Your Life as it is Right Now

How often do you say the following types of things to yourself:

  • “I’ll start dating again just as soon as I lose 10lbs.”

  • “Even though I hate my job, I’ll look for a new position once I’ve got more experience.”

  • “I will start taking clients as soon as I have my new business set up perfectly.”

  • “I’ll go back to school when the time is right.”

Sound familiar?

We often postpone the things we want to have, do, and feel until we think are in the perfect situation to make a change. On the one hand that sort of makes sense, but on the other hand, what if you never make it to that perfect spot where you think change can happen? You may never lose those 10lbs, or set your business up “perfectly,” and thus never get started on the things that really matter to you.

This mindset comes with a couple more potential traps:

  1. You get yourself to the “perfect situation,” and it’s not what you expected it to be, so you postpone change again, or

  2. You wait years to finally get started and then look back and say, “Why didn’t I do this sooner? I missed out on so much happiness."

It may be hard to accept your life as it is. Maybe it's not great, maybe it's terrible, nothing is going right, and you're unhappy and lonely. Accepting your life as it is at this time doesn't mean you're accepting that it will always be this way, you're simply willing to acknowledge that this is where you are right now. This will allow to you move forward from where you are, no matter how shitty things are.

You don't need to get to a better place before you can start a better life. You can start a better life today, right now.

Here’s the secret: there is no perfect time or situation in which to make a change. If you’re unhappy, the time is now. The key is accepting where you are right now in your life and using that as your starting point, rather that waiting for the “perfect” time or situation before you begin. Sure, right now may not be ideal, but it’s where you are, and your “perfect time” may never come, may not be realistic, or may be off in the distant future. When you accept where you are right now and use now as your springboard, you will find happiness sooner rather than later.

So What, Who Cares, Doesn't Matter

  • So what if you are 10lbs more than you want to weigh? Do you think the right guy is really going to care?

  • And who cares if you don’t have as much work experience as your would like before changing jobs? Is it really worth another year of stress, misery and exhaustion to gain a little more experience?

  • It doesn’t matter if your business isn’t set up perfectly, get the word out there and start working. You have the skills, so put them to use. You can always fine tune your website, social media or whatever else later on.

When you accept your life as it is, you become free to stop postponing, which means you can go after what you really want right now! Happiness is closer than you think.

Next week I’ll be taking about the step two of my happiness recipe: shifting the perspectives and attitudes that are holding you back from finding more happiness. Stay tuned!

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