Yesterday I was sitting in my office. The wind is howling, its cold ……. and to be quite honest I was feeling just a tad down about life. My get up and go had got up and left. I didnt want to feel this way – but I did.
So I googled, “how do I become happy” ……… in 0.34 seconds I had 438 000 000 hits. Starting with the 7 steps to happiness up good old Wikihow’s 12 steps (with pictures nogal!) to happiness (love wikihow ………. it will teach you how to build a sandcastle and teach you how to be happy).
So this is what it said ……..
“Happiness – its what we all strive to find and keep. Nobody is jolly all the time, but some are definitely more fullfilled than others. Happiness has little to do with materialistic needs, goods, wants or high achievements, it boils down to your outlook on life, the quality of your relationships and basic amenities (ESKOM!!!!!).” It then tells you to check step 1 and beyond for tips and tricks……
Optimism seems to be ruled by your baseline of happiness, and each of us have our own baseline, and no matter what happens good or bad, these feelings of happiness or failure, will always revert back to our happiness baseline ………. which reminds me of a story ……
Every Friday I give the kids R20.00 each to buy lunch at school. Now as we all know, in this day and age, 20 bucks doesnt get you very far. Now because Rosie is in hostel (we will get to this story another time), Jamie has the mammoth task of taking and delivering this 0.00000001 gram twenty buck note to his sister every Friday.
She is optimistic that on Friday ‘s she will bring her tuck money to school. He finds joy in telling us that she only talks to him at school when she wants money from him.
On the Friday in question Jamie doesnt eat breakfast, and by the time first break comes he is HUNGRY, and not normal hungry but cold 17 year old boy hungry, he is OPTIMISTIC that 40 bucks can buy him more than 20 bucks can and therefore will make him happy.
As he gets to the school tuckshop, he sees Rosie on a return trip with her arms FULL of tuck goodies, there are chips, sweets and fizzy cooldrinks.
She asks him “have you got money for me?”
He makes a snap decision, (a bad one), “No”, he answers, “Mom didnt give me this morning”. Now Jamies optimism levels are running high, he knows, that Rosie will not tell on him because she doesnt tell on. He also reasons that her arms are full of food that her baseline needs have been met and he has a bigger need for the money than she does.
The day carries on as normal.
At the dinner table I ask “Rosie did you get your lunch money?”
I try a different tack.
“Jamie did you give Rosie her tuck money?”
Now in our house dead silence is rare, and it normally means NO I DID NOT DO WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO.
Jamie says “she already had money cause I saw her walking with a lot of food”;
Rosie says “while I was waiting for you I went and bought food for my friends with their money”;
Jamie says ……….
Rosie says ………..
Jamie says …………
Rosie says ………
No winners here, except maybe Jamie because his first break happiness levels had been elevated, but now his happiness levels were well below his baseline because he had been caught.
Rosies baseline happiness levels were very low at first break, but now they were hitting the stratosphere because her brother because of his own actions was deep in the doo doo.
Anyway I digress …….. tiny tricks to being optimistic
* Add up the little joyful things that happen during the day. They are there just look for them.
* Feel deeply grateful for the things you have.
* Veiw the glass as half-full, rather than half-empty.
* Put yourself in situation where favulous, fortunate things are likely to happen to you. Its easier to remain optimistic if you set yourself up for success. Cheating on your sister, or stealing a bicycle – whilst temporarily thrilling – will rarely end up well for any party involved.
* Think of those less fortunate than yourself.
BUT MOST OF ALL
Learn to enjoy life.
So there we have it – step one of being happy.
So what makes me happy? Feeding carrots to a horse, my husband just phoning to say he loves me, when the kids are not constantly bickering, having uncomplicated friends ……… little things …… the list is endless.
Whilst I was at it I googled “what do I do if I am bored”
Dear wikihow responed immediately:
“Pick your favorite TV, film, or book character, and imagine what they would do if they were with you right at that moment” – now I can honestly say this is the most random piece of advice I have ever been given.
So I pick Jeremy Clarkson.
So what would Jeremy Clarkson do if he was bored?
He would pick up the phone and call Richard and James, and off they would flit to an amazingly funny and ridiculous adventure. So maybe it wasnt such random advice, and believe me hanging out for a day with Jeremy, James and Richard sure would make me happy!!!!