Here is a link to a short and inspiring article by Jeff Haden on Inc.com about how to be a happier person:
Here is an even shorter (perhaps less inspiring) 10-second Executive Summary:
Experiencing a broad range of emotions makes you happier because:
- the low points in life help you appreciate the high points
- the lows make you more resilient
- all of the above makes you a better decision-maker, creating more highs.
For me, this suggests we should embrace any context in life that systematically exposes us to a broad range of emotions. The higher the highs and the lower the lows, the better. It could be writing, parenting, a long-term relationship, advocacy…basically any difficult endeavor that is worthy of our best effort over the long haul. (See The War of Art by Steven Pressfield if you want to read a really good book about this.)
Some contexts don’t come naturally, and the lows tempt us to look for the exit.
Right now, this context is my life as an entrepreneur.
In one day I can go from:
- the high of seeing an increase in website page views
- the low of discovering they are all bots
- the high of connecting deeply with a client
- the low of sending “friendly reminders” to please pay your bill!
Here are a few guidelines I have created to maximize my chance of happiness on this entrepreneurial rollercoaster that is my life.
- I will celebrate the highs. People can do this with me, but no one else can do this for me.
- I will not abandon myself in the lows. I commit to keep showing up so I can reap the full reward of resilience.
- I will have a bias for action. I will have faith that I am getting better at this every day, and the more decisive and action-oriented I am, the faster I will get to the next high.
What guidelines would you make to maximize your chance for happiness in your most challenging context? Please comment below.