What is it that makes your soul sing?
What is it that would make you happy?
You, and you alone, have the power within you to achieve your happiness,
proceed on that journey with caution.
Why the warning?
Because what you think would make you happy right now may not truly be what will make you happy.
Would enough money to pay your bills right now make you happy? I know that would make me happy, but where am I when the bills are paid? Am I still happy? Probably not because next month will have its own set of bills.
Would a job that challenges you or a boss that appreciates you make you happy? Temporarily, maybe. But job challenges can get overwhelming and bosses can change. What then?
LET’S LOOK AT THE KEYS OF BEING HUMAN
For many years, I taught a course called “Oral Communications.” In it, students learned about the art of communication in its various forms. When we got to persuasion, we examined Maslow’s scale of human needs. Maslow’s premise was that in order to move from one of the five levels of needs to the next, we needed to satisfy the needs of the level we were on.
The highest level of need he called “self-actualization.” Here you were you were able to satisfy your basic needs and living up to your fullest potential. In other words, you had a roof over your head in a space where you felt safe and secure, a bed to sleep in, food on your table, stable relationships, and you were proud of your accomplishments. Here, you were beginning to see a need to help others and stand for what you believed. But be aware at all times. At any time, you could tumble back to the level of how to fulfill the basic needs of food and shelter.
If we look at the concept of a “key” in relation to being human, Maslow’s scale of human needs only alludes to what we need.
A “KEY” in its basic concept is something we use to gain entry. If a “KEY” is all it takes to gain happiness and we actually possess the “KEYS”, what are they.
KEY 1: AN OPEN MIND
Last week, I got what I had been waiting for since March 5th – the review of my query letter for historical fiction and the review of my first two chapters. I had put the whole package together in less than two weeks after attending an online historical fiction workshop.
The query letter in her mind was missing a few things. Instead of reacting with a “how dare she – I worked hard on that,” my mind went “Yup. I knew that, but there wasn’t time before the deadline to find that information.”
In the review of the chapters, she had numerous suggestions that included the need for the characters to be deeper and more of the explanation of history to be woven in. I could have been irate, but I knew that I was still at the beginning of digging deep into Tennessee’s role in the Civil War and the War’s effect on the citizens of the state.
Instead, I read the response with an open mind, wrote her a thank you letter, and am more fired up to know about the end of the Civil War and the bourbon industry and the Southern Exposition.
Having an open mind allows us to analyze the information that comes at us daily – no wait, hourly. An open mind prompts us to research a variety of view points. An open mind allows us to explore the world without judgement.
KEY 2: VALUE EDUCATION & PRACTICE SELF-EDUCATION
Education didn’t begin the day you began pre-school or kindergarten, and it doesn’t end the day you are handed a diploma. Education is a life-long endeavor. Education happens when you read a book, whether it is fiction or non-fiction; education happens when you learn a new skill; education happens when you meet new people; education happens when you read or listen to the news because the world is ever-changing.
Seek to learn something new each day.
In our house, yesterday, we watched a video on wood-turning and learned a trick to help cut perfectly round bowl blanks without frustration.
In our house, this past week, we watched the program “How It’s Made.”
In our house, yesterday, I began reading the book Hidden History of Civil War: Tennessee. It’s a slow read because almost every paragraph presents something I didn’t know about the Civil War.
NEVER miss the chance to learn something new – to self-education – to self-improve.
KEY 3: SPEAK IN THE POSITIVE
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of taking a workshop entitled “Awaken Your Dreamer.” In it the facilitator helped us explore the ways we allow negativity into our lives and how to switch on the positive vibes.
One of the tools she gave us was to use the phrase “I get to” instead of “I need to” or “I have to.” These last two phrases create stress because what happens if you don’t get that task done?
“I need to vacuum my house today.”
And if you don’t get that done?
Kelly prompted us to change our way of thinking: “I get to vacuum my house today because my vacuum has finally been repaired.”
Eliminating “need,” “have to,” and “can’t,” as well as other negative concepts has been a difficult venture for me. However, the days where I am positive AND I remember to speak to myself my self-affirmation, I feel better and I get more accomplished.
KEY 4: EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
As a teacher with 34 years of experience and a parent of two boys and two step-daughters all in their 30’s, I needed to approach the day with an attitude that I had certain activities and tasks scheduled, BUT I am aware that SOMETHING I didn’t have on the calendar or schedule might just happen.
Expecting the unexpected has me
- leaving a bit early because traffic might be more congested than usual. So I get where I’m going early – I have a book to read, or my tablet and phone these days.
- ready to jump in the car or hop on a plane to help my kids in their struggles.
- saving a bit of money each month – just in case.
KEY 5: RAMP UP YOUR OWN MOTIVATION
I’m old enough to remember the phrase “Are you going to get that homework done or do I have to light a fire under you to get it done?” It was the question my mother used to ask me when she knew I had homework, but I was busy practicing piano or violin, sewing, or delving into a good book that was not part of that homework.
You HAVE to learn to motivate yourself.
What do you want?
- Do you want the interview for the job or that promotion at work?
- Do you want the summer body you’ve always dreamed of?
- Do you want to be healthy and fit?
You have to get up out of that chair. You have to make the effort. You have to ask for help.
Other people can make suggestions all they want, but it is YOU that needs to get up and get moving.
As for the passport to happiness, see me later this week.
If you enjoyed reading this or were inspired, I would appreciate it if you sent it out into the world. Share it with your friends. Share it on social media.
May your coffee be just as you like it, may your treats be sweet, and may life treat you well this week. I look forward to seeing you soon on my porch for some coffee and conversation.