Happiness…can not be assumed

Happiness…can not be assumed

As the Chief Happiness Officer of The Happiness Institute and as someone who’s picked up the nick-name “Dr. Happy” there are many out there who assume that I’m always blissfully and joyfully happy…

…well, I’m not!

I don’t see this as in any way reflecting a failure on my behalf; or that I’m not doing my job; or that I don’t practice what I preach; or that the principles I practice don’t work.

I do work hard at my happiness and my job and I do believe in what I preach and I know that the principles I espouse are effective…

…but nothing works all the time and nobody is happy all of the time! That’s just a fact of life and it’s important to note, as I have many many times before, that it’s perfectly normal and appropriate to experience distress from time to time, to feel frustrated or sad from time to time, and to be angry or down on occasions. There’s nothing at all wrong with having these emotions (as long as they don’t become too extreme or cause too many problems in which case you might like to consider making changes) but what is problematic is not managing them as quickly or as effectively as possible.

Which is what I learned this morning and as part of this, that one of the key causes of distress may well often be misunderstanding and the making of assumptions. Let me take you back a few steps…

…yesterday I experienced a degree of distress associated with an interaction I had with a close colleague. This is someone I trust and respect and 99% of the time work very well with. But on this occasion, almost certainly because we were both very busy and didn’t communicate properly, we both became frustrated about a particular issue.

To move forward 24 hours, everything is resolved, I’m feeling 100% better about the whole situation, and a positive plan is in place to remedy the relatively minor (but still significant) issue at the heart of this post.

So what is this all about?

It all came down to her assuming I meant something (which I didn’t) and me assuming she was thinking something (which she wasn’t). Clear and open communication clarified things within minutes and, notably, restored happiness all around.

So be careful of mind reading and of making assumptions; when unsure and/or upset about something talk to the relevant person. Happiness is a valuable commodity…protect it and foster it by talking and assume only that assumptions are typically unhelpful!

Your thoughts?