being happy

ImageI read a couple of articles today, which seem to have a common theme. Personal resources and happiness.

One was by Gretchen Rubin, who is the author of the Happiness Project.
She talks about the 7 things to think about when making decisions. It links to my previous posts about flourishing and living with intention.

The checklist covers the following areas:

1.  Is this decision likely to strengthen my relationships with other people?

apparently our relationships with others are key to our personal happiness, which makes sense right? Anybody in a unhealthy relationship, or with no close friends or family is probably not at their happiest or reaching their full potential. So if we can do something that enhances a relationship that is important to us, then it is worth our time and effort.

2. Will this decision provide me with novelty and challenge?

Gretchen asked this, because those two things are important to her. She knows that novelty and challenge increases her happiness. It works for me too, but maybe for some people they prefer stability. We all have different things that do it for us, but we need to know what those are.

3. What is the opportunity cost of this decision?
Opportunity cost as in if I do this with my time, energy or money, then what am I not able to do as a result? Is it worth it?

4. Is this decision in line with my core values?
Very important, and this core value thing is something that keeps coming up from other sources too. If we know our core values, then we can try and invest our time, energy and resources into things that are in line with those core values, and naturally we will be happier as a result.

5. When I consider a particular course of action, do I feel energized or drained?

now that is a good one. It is trusting our gut feeling. Our instincts often know, but maybe we have to learn to not suppress them. I think sometimes, or maybe often, we make decisions influenced by what we think other people want us to decide. They may not be right for us, and deep down we know that. So how do you feel?

6. How happy are the people who have made that particular decision?

So this is looking at other people who do what you are thinking about doing, or have made similar choices and seeing if it makes them happy.

7. I remind myself to “Choose the bigger life.”
as she says, People will make different decisions about what the “bigger life” would be, but when she asks herself that question, it always helps her see the right answer, for herself. Okay, maybe a bit American for us Europeans, but why? We should dream big, and go for it. This is possibly our one shot at life, we might as well make the best of it.

The second article was by Deepak Chopra, who is a sort of spiritual guru for business people.

Five new ideas about money management

these are:

1 Money reflects who you are. It mirrors your psychological makeup.

2 The highest use of money is to increase happiness.

3 The circulation of money is a symbol for the circulation of ideas.

4 To be free of money woes, expands your consciousness.

5 Money equals success if you can handle the previous four ideas.

Go read the article, the link is just above the 5 rules above. It is thought provoking.
My favourite part, which sums up the article for me is:

” Life is like water. It stagnates if it doesn’t flow. If your mind is tight, worried, and stuck on the same themes year after year, it will stagnate, and so will your money. There are rich people who can’t find happiness in their wealth because they haven’t learned how to connect it with personal growth. But if you expand your awareness, money becomes the representation of how you are evolving. This follows from the core idea that your money reflects who you are.”

Personally I try not to worry about money – maybe it is easy for me to say, as I have a good job and a comfortable life. But I have known hard times too, when I had to survive on very low amounts of money. But I never assumed that I would not be able to. It did not really seem a struggle. I just went with it, spending wisely and getting by.

If we live with intention and think about what our money and time and energy is going on, we can indeed see where it is wisely spent, and where it is wasted. We can of course carry on wasting it, but at least we will be fully aware that that is what we are doing. I think with that awareness, we will probably stop wasting it.
For surely only people with too much – time, money or energy, can afford to use it on things that bring them only fleeting value or happiness. For most of us all of these things are limited resources, to be used wisely and to be enjoyed.

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