10 Dec Happiness is…focusing on the right things!
On what do you focus for happiness? Are you really prioritising your time and energy in the best way to maximise your happiness?
Two (completely unrelated) conversations I had at the end of last week prompted me to reflect upon a few key issues. As anyone that knows me knows all too well, I'm pretty dedicated to what I do. I love what I do and I'm quite passionate about spreading the principles of positive psychology as widely as possible and in the process, making as many people happy as possible. I gain great satisfaction from knowing that I've helped, even just one person, live a better life and enjoy life a little more…and I spend quite a few hours each and every day and week working on this!
At the same time, however, I know that to do my "job" effectively I need to take care of myself (i.e. my physical health & wellbeing); I also need to (and like to) take care of my family, spend time with my friends, and spend a reasonable amount of time engaged in recreational pursuits such as listening to music and reading and walking and more.
The point is, to make others happy I need to make myself happy and I know that when I get that balance right then everyone benefits.
Now I'm well aware that different people have different priorities but these two conversations, to which I referred earlier, reminded me how many people get their focus wrong…and for many of these people it's due to their focus being excessively on making money and/or achieving (public) success.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing at all wrong with making money or achieving success; in fact these are both very worthwhile pursuits. But in both cases the discussion revealed that these people's focus on business or the professional aspects of their lives was at a cost…and the cost was friendship.
If we review the positive psychology research we can easily see that there's no doubt that friendship, positive relationships, is one of the most important contributors to happiness. Financial security is important; so too is accomplishment…but friendship, relationships, connectedness and belonging would all out rank these other two and win a power play hands down!
It may well be that happiness is not a priority for these people; in which case their focus may well be fine.
But if you deem happiness and living a good life to be at, or near the top of your list then I highly recommend you review your priorities and ask yourself whether or not you're focusing on the right things; because if happiness is a primary goal then be clear about what you want to achieve and work hard to achieve it BUT make sure you don't lose sight of other key aspects of wellbeing including your health, and the other people in your life.
So with the festive season almost upon us, take some time out to spend with friends, and family, and enjoy time with colleagues at work. This time spend with friends might not put dollars in your bank account or lead to any public accolades but it will definitely put positivity points in your happiness account!