“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
For most of us we are on a pursuit of happiness—however you may define happiness (which can take many different forms and morph over the seasons of our lives). The founders of the United States understood the pursuit of happiness to be a fundamental right. But just because we have that freedom for that pursuit, does not mean we are always good at it. For the most part, we are passionate about happiness and some of us will go though great lengths to get it, yet the pursuit of happiness can remain elusive.
It is difficult for most people to answer yes to the question “are you happy?” One reason may be that they do not know what their values are or what they value—often because of distraction and imposed expectations (your own or others). It is easy to lose sight of what matters most in the pressures and routines of daily life. Losing focus happens.
It is worth contemplating how much of your time and energy everyday is focused on what you value most. When things are not going the way you want them to, how quickly do you return your attention to the quality of life you want to create and have?
There are many reasons why we lose focus in our pursuit of happiness. This list can be quite extensive. But overall there are a few that rise to the top and are common to most of us.
- Money: We often confuse wants and needs and spend more than we have, putting ourselves into a cycle of debt and constant worry about finances.
- Relationships: The company we keep can affect our behaviors for better or worse and sometimes we are in relationships that do not match our values or beliefs or are just not healthy for us.
- Pride: We get caught up in worrying about what people think about us. It is hard to sustain an image that is different from reality.
- Power: We want to be in control or have what we think is an “important” or influential position.
- Entitlement: When we think we earned something and that something is “owed” to us, we often end up not making the best decisions, being angry or envious.
All these result in distraction and before we know it habits or behavior and thinking are formed and become the why we live and function—therefore impeding our own pursuit of happiness.
As your fundamental (and Universal) right to happiness, you have the power and the wisdom to break the cycle. The first step is to be completely honest with yourself. Bring your fears and your truth to the surface, face them head on and this will reveal the areas of your life for change. This will help you understand what you value most. To help you take action, here are a few steps.
- Contemplate and write down when you have lost your focus.
- From the list, what is one area or a common theme that rises to the top with which you struggle the most?
- Think about why and set an intention to make change.
- Work consciously a little bit everyday to put the intention into thoughts, words and actions. Over the course of time the change you seek will happen and become your new norm.
The quality of your life is for you to define, create and live. Take a step back and ask yourself are you happy and if you hesitate take time to think about why and empower yourself to make a change.