In his book ‘Happier,’ author Tal Ben-Shahar outlines 4 archetypes–characteristics of people as they relate to happiness. Some people are “Rat Racers”–only looking toward the future to be happy, while sacrificing in the present. Others are Hedonists–seeking pleasure exclusively in the moment with no thought of the future. Nihilists hold their negative view of the past to be miserable now and also project a negative future for themselves. And of course, the final archetype–the Happy person–is the one who is able to be grateful in the present, but also stays hopeful for a more fulfilling future.
New Years is a great time for the happy person. Reflections and gratitude for a great 2012, and optimism about what they will create in 2013. Are you there in your mind??
Personally, my only wish for 2013 is to continue creating something bigger than myself and making a greater impact. I want people to feel like they can do anything as a result of working with me. Simple :)
So, here are 9 ways I plan to do that. They might help you too!
1) Take action and then TRUST that you can handle whatever happens.
If you’ve been waiting to take a risk or make a choice, think about the worst possible outcome and then ask, could I handle it? The answer will always be yes. Might not be pleasant, but you could endure it. And then you could figure it out. And then you could learn from it. And then you could get stronger, smarter, better. You always have the tools to handle anything that comes along so long as you believe you do.
2) Assume your expertise.
I spent many years saying, “Why me? Who am I to do x, y, z?” and not only did it get me nowhere, it continued to subtly affirmed that I had nothing to offer. Every single person has unique expertise, experiences and knowledge that make them 100% unique in the world. Every single person has something to contribute. Every single person can teach something. So, instead ask “Why NOT you?” And then simply try and see what happens.
3) Be gentle with yourself.
We don’t like this concept in the physique world, because we feel it’s synonymous with not trying. Not the case. Plenty of self-compassion research shows that when we are gentle with ourselves and able to acknowledge our mistakes, we are more likely to learn from them, get better and actually strive for more. It doesn’t mean we give up and give in. And in fact we become MORE motivated because we have finally given ourselves permission to move forward without needing to be perfect. The net sum is that we get much further.
4) Always choose to have the experience. Because the alternative is standing still.
SAY YES. If you are constantly saying you’re too busy, too tired, too stressed, too scared–you are missing out on LIFE. You are choosing certainty and security over growth. This can be difficult, but once you begin practicing simply saying YES more, you find that the alternative–not doing anything–is simply not an option anymore. How many times will you say BIG YESSES in 2013?
5) Consider others, but not at the expense of your own happiness.
This can be tricky, and we often put others’ needs ahead of our own because we think we don’t need it, and we can make the sacrifice. That ‘s fine, except for the fact that constantly making the sacrifice leads to a) resentment/bitterness and b) you not doing what you need to do for you to move forward and succeed. The best way you can help others is by getting yourself better. And when you better yourself, you have the patience and understanding to interact with others in a more positive way.
6) Stop waiting around for other people to change.
Whenever you have a complaint about someone else, ask yourself, how can I take action so that I am not miserable anymore? Dr. Jillian asks herself a simple question whenever she’s making a decision, and that is: “Will this make me miserable or not?” and then she chooses the path of least misery. When we wait on others to make us not miserable or to express-deliver our happiness served up on a platter, we’ll find ourselves waiting forever. People will always do what they do. Stop being surprised, and instead, take action to make yourself happier, without depending on anyone else to take up the slack. Like Byron Katie says, if you’re waiting for others to be different, you might as well be trying to teach a cat to bark :)
7) Never stop learning.
This is a key value of mine, as you know. Trying and failing is a great way to learn. But so is reading, coaching, mentorship and online programs. In the past year, Jade and I together have spent over 25k on coaching and education, and I’ve read 83 books, many of them on business, psychology or mindset. I like to say that every answer you could ever need is a book, online course or person away. Use the resources around you to better yourself and to better your brain. I believe that knowledge is power insofar as it allows us to take action and make a change for the better. This “tip” will be on every single New Years list I ever make because it is never over. Learning is forever, and it’s the most fulfilling journey if you choose to pursue it.
8) Quit being afraid of failure.
Ready for a secret? You are going to mess up! Everyone does. To think you can go through life preventing anything bad from happening is absurd. All you can do is understand this, and then when you find yourself struggling, find the bright spot in the situation. Can you be GRATEFUL for your struggle? Could you see it as a good thing–something that makes you stronger, better? If you find yourself feeling bad about mess-ups, just know that every successful entrepreneur has messed up more times than anyone, and it is precisely because of those struggles that they are ultimately successful.
9) Practice empathy.
People want permission to be human, and when we judge them for being anything but perfect, we are making a judgment that there’s something “wrong” with them, and we are “right.” I catch myself doing this sometimes, and because we are judging creatures, it’s a hard habit to break. However, the most generous thing you can do for someone else is to see where they’re coming from. Put yourself in their shoes. Give themselves the benefit of the doubt. Allow them to be human. You can create the most fulfilling relationships if you let people be themselves without judgment. And by using “the benefit of the doubt” as a tool, we can also understand why people do what they do. We all act out of insecurity so if someone pisses you off, you don’t need to take it personally because you can now understand that they are acting from their own insecurity. The need to take offense and take things personally falls away. It’s liberating for them, but more for YOU.
2013 is going to be an amazing year. You can do anything you want. You are so powerful in the world. There’s nothing that’s off limits. Why NOT you? Do it. Do it this year. Do it now.
Wishing you the best success in 2013! Let me know all the amazing things you have planned!