“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.
If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Albert Schweitzer
Are YOU having your #bestdayever TODAY? Did you have the best day ever YESTERDAY? Are you intending to have the best day ever TOMORROW? If not…why not?
When we think about having the best day ever, we equate that with an expectation: if today is going to be the best day ever, it has to be better than yesterday. If today is going to be the best day ever, tomorrow can’t possibly live up to this moment. If yesterday was my best day ever, today can’t possibly be.
We come to this grand conclusion as a society that our happiness or having best day ever orbits around success. If all the right things fall into place, we will have the best day ever. If nothing goes wrong, we will have the best day ever. If we set the correct intention, we will have the best day ever. If we keep all our promises and never make a mistake, we will have the best day ever. Ultimately, we come to the conclusion that if we do or achieve x, y, or z, we will experience success and that success is in having the best day ever and because of that success we will be happy. In other words, we equate having the best day ever with the expectation that success creates happiness.
Happiness is an action. It’s a choice. Success is not a fixed point in the universe with happiness revolving around it. We always think we have to work and work harder and it is only when we achieve success-the promotion, losing weight, being in a fulfilling relationship, following through on a promise-that we will be happy.
For the longest time, I equated my “success” (my worth, my talents, what I could or couldn’t do) with the number 96.5. In the throes of my eating disorder, I equated who I was with the number that read on the scale. The voice in my head told me, If you get thinner, you’ll be successful. If you are thinner, everything will fall into place. If you are thinner, everyone will love you and you will be happy. But, that’s not how success works. If it did, I would have been happier with the success of reaching 96.5 lbs. Hell, I would have been blissed-out-beyond-belief, rolling in the riches of everything falling into place, when I got to 90. But I wasn’t happy. Things were falling further out of place. I didn’t feel successful. In fact, the more I lost, the more miserable I was and the more I told myself I had to lose. It’s the same concept whether you’re battling an ED, climbing the corporate ladder, or searching outside yourself for the success that you believe will bring your happiness. It won’t.
There’s a relatively new field known as Positive Psychology that instead of focusing on what’s wrong with people, the diseases and disorders that plague us; focuses on the strengths and virtues that enables communities and individuals to thrive. It’s a field that is founded on the belief that people want to live meaningful and full lives-that people want to live a life they love in a body they love (sound familiar?). And, in terms of success and its relationship to happiness, Positive Psychology proposes that when we are happy, our mindset and mood are positive and when that happens we’re more motivated and ultimately more successful. If you’d like to learn more about Positive Psychology, click HERE to visit UPenn’s Authentic Happiness website. It has a ton of free resources and questionnaires that you can fill out on areas like happiness, compassion and gratitude. Definitely worth a look!
Something that was reinforced for me in completing February’s #30dayServiceChallenge is that repetition builds habit. Seeing each day as my best day was a habit. It cultivated a habit of focusing on what was right, instead of what went wrong. It cultivated acts of service and in helping others I found myself uplifted. EVERY day can be the best day ever if we view it as daily strokes of effort. It doesn’t mean that we won’t have a really shitty day. We probably will. On those days maybe being grateful it’s over or simply asking an empowering question like, Please show me the lesson in this, is all we can do. It doesn’t mean we won’t break a promise. We might. But, what it does mean is that we get back up and on our promise in the next moment we can. Not the next day or week. The next moment. Another daily stroke of effort. Happiness is a habit. Gratitude is a habit. Kindness is a habit. And habits requires action. The more that action is repeated, the more we strengthen those muscles of gratitude or compassion or happiness. Repetition builds habit.
Are YOU ready to have your best day ever?
In honor of March (which boasts National Happiness Day on March 20th), I am launching a new 30 day kindness challenge. It’s a challenge that centers on Random Acts of Kindness or RAK’s but rather than viewing this challenge as something to-do, I want you to view this challenge as a way of living. We refer to them as RAK’s but in reality, they’re not random. In reality, we’re connecting back to our heart center-to love-and sharing that with others. We’re helping people and helping people help people. Kindness is contagious….in a good way. I invite you to join me in 30 days straight of kind acts. If you miss a day, no worries. Start the next day and start with day 1 again. It might sound crazy to start all the way back at 1 if you miss a day, even at day 26; but 30 days straight of something builds some killer mental strength. That’s true commitment. That’s real determination. And when we build THAT strength, we are better able to handle whatever comes our way. Click HERE to get all the details on the Kindness Challenge!
The same way that you intend to be a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher before you become one, begin your day by intending to make it the best one yet. That choice alone is a powerful one and that choice is YOURS.