I bet in your life you have met at least a couple of people who are contagiously happy. They ease a tense room just by walking in. You feel better about yourself every time you talk. They enjoy giving without expectations. And everyone wants to be around them.
Very happy people are not perfect, but they do tend to embrace their quirks as their best features. Others fall in love with the strange things they do, because it's mesmerizing to know someone who is glad to be different and brave enough to let you see them. A person who is truly themselves makes everyone else feel more open, positive, and creative.
I have a feeling that happiness attracts success more than any other quality. Wouldn't you want to be friends with the person I described? You'd probably also like to work with them. So why not make it a goal to be that kind of happy ourselves?
If you don't think it's possible to change the way you feel, know that happiness is cultivated, not innate. That friend you know who tends to see the bright side wasn't born that way. Being happy takes work. If you want to be happier, then you need to make a habit of doing things that increase your happiness.
As an experiment I started a new morning routine, giving myself from waking till noon to make whatever I want. I've had a lot of fun reviving a few projects and learning new techniques.
Realistically, I know very few people will be able to spend their whole morning on skill development and to be honest that's not the point. If you read the Miracle Morning, you'll find that even starting out with a 5 minute self care ritual every day will have massive results on your overall happiness. A lot of people find that they get such noticeable productivity gains from the investment that their routine grows into a full morning over time.
I know it sounds crazy, but I cut 5 hours from my work day, gifted them to myself as structured creativity and now find that I get more done in all areas of my life. If you are afraid that allowing yourself this kind of time freedom is selfish (like I used to), here's what's convinced me to continue:
- Now I'm happy when I wake up. I literally jump out of bed at 6:30 every day including weekends excited to get started
- The immersive process of crafting is a lot like meditation. It feels very good to lose myself in something for so long
- I feel more like me, and old ideas are re-emerging
- Starting hard or boring work is easier
- I'm way more open in my writing
- Suddenly I have a pile of handmade goods
On Monday, Rob gave me another call and we talked about the progress I've been making and my new goals for the next little while. I told him I've been feeling so much happier with this experiment and it's had a cascading effect on my confidence. I feel ready to bring some of my cards to the local shops, and really appreciated what he had to say about that.
"What if you just went in for a conversation and got curious about the shop keeper and what their life is all about?"
Because to Rob, when someone shows true curiosity in him it makes him curious about them in return. Channeling happiness steers interactions to the positive. When you're happy you want what's best for others and they can feel it. Mutually beneficial things happen when relationships develop this way.
P.S. If you're a creative type you should check out Rob's podcast Inspirational Creatives. I can't tell you how much confidence and community I've got from his show.