Happiness and achievement (or lack thereof)

Happiness and achievement (or lack thereof)

Yesterday I sent out this happiness related tip to my www.makingchanges.com.au database. It is, I believe, very relevant to happiness and it received an enormous response so…I thought I’d post it here as well. I hope you enjoy it…

Hi again making changers and thanks again for all your positive feedback (you seem to be liking the tips lately…which is great). As I’ve done before, I encourage you to let us know what you think of these mailings and also, to send in your questions or any topic ideas you’d like us to address.

This week I once again refer to a personal experience and this week, my happiness or life lessons come not from my wise children but from my wise wife!

At the end of last year I returned home to the wonderful distractions of kids and dinner time and baths and getting two children ready for bed. I know many parents don’t look forward to this time of the day (often referred to as “the witching hour”) but I must admit that most of the time, I find it a wonderful remedy to the stresses and strains of working life. There’s something about the innocence and mundane nature of such normal, common activities that I thoroughly enjoy.

Anyway, the other day I turned to my wife and kids and asked for help (I was half-joking at the time but was interested to see how my family would respond). I’d had one of those frustrating days when almost every minute seemed to be “wasted” fixing problems or dealing with irritations…I felt I’d achieved nothing.

Now every day I try to wind down and finish up focusing on the positives from the previous 12-18 hours, reflecting on what I’ve achieved and reinforcing myself for jobs well done…but this particular day I was really struggling. So I asked my wife and kids to help me find some positives in my day…

…I must admit I lost the kids pretty quickly as my son had a new toy he had been obsessively playing with for days and my daughter was absorbed in her nightly bathing ritual which seems to take an awfully long time; but luckily my wife seemed intrested and in her typical style she hit the nail on the head with one simple question.

“Why”, she asked “do you have to achieve something every day?”

Now at this time of year New Year Resolutions are all the buzz and at any time of year I’m quite a fan of goal setting and of working hard and of achieving (because I think, in different ways, all these lead to happiness) but this question struck me like a hammer on the head. I’ve achieved quite a lot in my life and I achieve quite a lot most days so there’s no need really for me to be too hard on myself. In fact, if I could accept that life will always include some of these “wasted” days then maybe I wouldn’t really see them as “wasted”. These are days just like any other and they’re unavoidable…maybe even valuable!

So what do you think? Do you think it would help you to see value in the struggle days? Would you experience more happiness and maybe even achieve more if you could accept this?