09 Sep Happiness is finding your way round the obstacle course of life
_ã–We may need to solve problems not by removing the cause but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place._ã _ã_ Edward de Bono, Maltese-born psychologist and authority on creative thinking.
Some time ago my wife went away for a long weekend with some childhood girlfriends, and I_ã_m pleased to say that I thoroughly enjoyed doing a few extra _ãÄdaddy duties_ã_. One morning while she was away, after dropping my daughter at school and waiting until it was time to take my son to pre-school, we were playing in a park at which they have some kids_ã_ toys lying around for general use.
My son started playing with a plastic truck and as he prepared to move it along some imaginary path he had planned in his mind it soon became apparent that the myriad of other randomly arranged toys lying around were in his way.
As a rational adult my first reaction was to think about picking up the toys that were in the way, or to remove the obstacles, so I could move the truck along what I thought was the ideal trajectory, but my son didn_ã_t even think of this. Instead, he simply picked up the truck, carried it over the other obstacle toys, and continued along his merry way.
It got me thinking about what we adults often do (or don_ã_t do) when things get in the way of our goals or our happiness!
Do you focus too much on obstacles and what you think you need to do to remove them? Do you allow road blocks to distract your attention from the ultimate goal (e.g. happiness or success)? Because focusing on an obstacle, even if we think we_ã_re trying to overcome it, is still focusing on an obstacle!
What would happen if we, like my son, simply stayed focussed on what we wanted to achieve despite the hurdles, obstacles, challenges that frequently get in our way? Think about it_ã_I suspect we might be far more successful and far more focused on our positive outcomes and ultimately, I suspect we_ã_d experience far more happiness.
So next time you_ã_re faced with difficulties or something challenging, ask yourself the following questions:
_ã¢ What_ã_s the best thing about this situation?
_ã¢ What positives can I take from this?
_ã¢ What can I learn from this situation?
_ã¢ How can I be better as a result of this?
_ã¢ In ten years_ã_ time will this really matter?
_ã¢ How bad is this compared to the worst events in the world?
In addition, consider the following:
_ã¢ 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day
_ã¢ 30,000 children die daily of preventable diseases
_ã¢ 6 million children die annually from malnourishment
_ã¢ 113 million children are not in school
So. How bad does it seem now?
Also, ask yourself what you_ã_re best at and how you can use your strengths to get through it. Are you making the most of the resources (people and other) available to you?