Updated: Aug 19
Happiness is not something that happens 'to' you.
It doesn't find you.
Or come as a gift-wrapped moment in your life.
It is a result of your present state of being.
And how you spend your time.
A simple example is winning the lottery.
On the surface it could seem like lottery = happiness.
However, it won't fix a failing relationship, it won't make you healthier, it won't make you more self aware or emotionally intelligent. In fact it might make all of those things worse!
Happiness is dependant on the current state that you live in.
What brings you joy?
Grab a pen and write down the 5 things that are most important for you to spend your time on (remember time is a non renewable resource and as such it should be invested carefully).
Then write down (honestly) the 5 things you currently spend most time on.
Then have a good look at how you can make that list match up better.
Fiona is working 40-50 hours a week in a bank. She has 2 kids. A great partner.
She loves playing golf, riding horses and hill walking. She also has a notion to learn to play the piano.
What should she prioritise her time on?
Outside of work and general household things she has her weekends free and potentially a couple hours each evening.
We discussed how she could combine the things that make her happy and dispose of the things that compromise her happiness.
We agreed that she never 'needs' to work 50 hours.
That her and her husband can play golf together.
The whole family can go on occasional hill walks together, but it is secondary to playing golf as she much prefers golf.
The horse riding gets relegated to now and again, but never in the place of the things she really really enjoys - golf with her husband.
She never accepts invitations that take up lots of her time and that impacts on the time she spends with her family.
So even though she loves hill walking, when invited to a weekend away with her friend in the hills, she said no. She would get more joy from playing golf with her husband and then hanging out in the garden as a family.
The piano is a nice idea, but not for just now.
She agrees that once she has chosen how to spend her time, she will never wish that moment to pass quicker so she can be somewhere else. And she will focus on how much happiness that decision has brought to her.
This is a very basic example - it is to illustrates that having simple and clear priorities can make decision making much more straight forward.
Fiona is no longer conflicted when making choices about where to spend her time.
Her partner, kids and golf are the things she really enjoys.
And where she now focuses spending her time.
Other things can wait.
Including extra hours at work.
Everyone's lives are unique and only you can look at your life with brutal honesty and see if you are making great choices that contribute to your contentment, or if you have a mistaken feeling of obligation (to others, social expectations etc) to spend your precious time on things that suck joy out of your life and constantly have you wishing you were somewhere else.
Prioritise your happiness.
Prioritise your time.