How many times have you heard that question?
Usually it is after a pretty disappointing situation. Where you expected something better than what happened.
Penelope was talking about how happiness is often dependent on our level of self-discipline. How we need to find easy “entry points” to get back in the zone. And how more control over our lives brings us an increased level of happiness.
JD started off with a book review and ended with some insightful thoughts of his own. He stated that he always thought having more stuff would make him happier. However, over time he found out that he could actually be happier with less.
In my life, I have always been an “efficient” person. I always loved finding ways to do more with less. My unhappiness came about because I loved to be in control, and was always sad when things didn’t go my way.
I was and am still competitive. I like to win. No, I really like to win! In fact, I expect to win. And more often than not I do.
This may seem prideful, and it is to a certain degree, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I go after things that I want more than most people.
In other “positive psychology” studies it has been mentioned that happiness is mostly a mindset, and has little to do with external things. In fact, they are starting to make the argument that we have a base line level of happiness that is hard to change at all. It may fluctuate up and down based on events and circumstances, but it always returns to a certain level.
Back to my unhappiness about not being in control…
Some things you have control of in this life, and the main thing you have control of is you. You can’t control people, you can’t really control nature, and you can’t control the future. You can act upon all those things, but you can’t always control things with absolute certainty.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me unhappy sometimes. I want to be in control. I want to make things go my way. Alas, they certainly don’t always go my way…
Expect less, achieve more?
I think there is something to be said for not expecting to win, but to try anyhow and see what happens. If you know you are doing your best, how much does the outcome matter? How much can it matter? You did your best right?
The same goes for your expectations of other people. Sure, expect them to do their best. If they fail, you can be their encourager for next time. If they win, you can say you knew they had it in them all along. Just don’t hold unreasonable expectations of people. Don’t expect yourself or others to win all the time. And certainly don’t expect them to lose…
Just expect the best in everyone, including yourself. I think that is the real key that will help us all be happier people in the long run!