I don’t believe there is a secret route to happiness, but I know doing what you love is beneficial and I believe in this advice which I offer to anyone who is interested. If you want to be happier – Just learn to know what you love and then find how to do more of it.
In my experience people are regularly less than clear about what makes them happy or what would make them happier. They may have some dreams, but they are usually quite vague. Broadly speaking people just don’t take time out to review where they are in life and where they want to go.
In my businesses we regularly invest time and effort in trying to define where we want to end up (Start where you want to end up). We then take a forensic look at where we currently are (our present position). Usually, if you have done those two pieces of thinking the next step is to identify what is getting in the way of where you want to be (resources, us, obstacles, history).
In terms of developing a really rich picture of where I want to be in life I have found that putting some effort into deeply understanding what I love and why I love it, has been very beneficial. It forces you to ask the obvious follow-on questions. OK, if I love that so much or if I want that so much – what is currently getting in the way, what is preventing me from doing it or making it happen?
In my experience lots of people are locked into lives which they find unsatisfactory for all sorts of reasons. Lots of people dream about being something different or doing something different because they are locked into lives they find unsatisfactory. Many believe their dreams are beyond them (unless they get lucky or win the lottery).
Understanding what makes you happy is a great place to start in finding ways to achieve more happiness. The first step is to just keep asking yourself:
- What do I actually like doing?
- What gets you in the zone, in the flow?
- What is your bliss? How might you be able to find it?
- If there were no obstacles in my way what would I do with my life?
We used to ask: “What puts her in her element”? or (a long time ago) “What puts him in his Oil Tot” (There’s a story about that phrase but we don’t have time here).
Do you see that all these questions are just expressing the same aspiration in different ways?
Tim Ferris – the multi-millionaire who wrote the 4 Hour Work Week book came to the same conclusion. In the book he asks some very similar and very questions:
- What would you do if you couldn’t fail?
- What would you do every day if you had £100,000 in the bank?
- What would make you the most excited to wake up to?
Knowing what you love is a first step on what I hope will become your life planning journey. It’s not the only step, but it is an important one.