My latest fortune cookie was full of simple wisdom: “Don’t pursue happiness, create it.”
It’s only the second time I’ve ever saved a fortune—and the other one (prominently displayed on my bulletin board) says: “You will write a book.”
Tying those two together, I wanted to get some words down to continue to train my craft—and also to have something to reflect upon on a day when perhaps life isn’t looking quite so rosy.
1. I will slow down and be grateful. I have learned that even through hard times, I can always find something to be grateful for. When I count up and concentrate on these things, I can’t help but smile. Being grateful stops the question “why me?” in its tracks. If I move too quickly, it’s easy to lose track of the small things that deserve big gratitude.
2. I will never compromise my position as the leader of my own life. I will make choices and put in the work that leads to my happiness. My happiness will enhance the lives of people around me. Other people matter, but if I put them first, I get lost.
3. My actions will speak louder than my words. If I am speaking the words, but not following them with actions to reinforce or achieve my goals, the void that is left between the two creates a desperate battle with my ego where happiness cannot exist. My ego stays healthy when it is humbled by the work that needs to be done to create lasting happiness.
4. I will handle conflict with honesty, respect, and understanding. But, I will not compromise for the sake of agreement. Happiness comes with the confidence of knowing and trusting myself. Escaping the need to have people come alongside and agree with me allows me to live freely. My freedom and happiness are inextricably linked.
5. I will seek the place where my mind, body, and spirit connect. I will critically select content that has the power to expand my mind. Podcasts, books, articles, and even movies can elevate our thoughts and develop our minds. Selection is key, so don’t cram—and by all means, choose things that won’t set you back. Adequate sleep, healthy food, and exercise set my body on track for maximized happiness. Without these, I am foggy and unable to manage complicated situations and emotions. My faith and freedom allow me to be myself, which feeds my spirit and guides my intuition. My biggest steps away from lasting happiness happened when I’ve silenced my intuition and didn’t listen to my own gut.
5. Most importantly, it is no one else’s job to create happiness for me. No friend, partner, or child in my life is responsible for helping me find or sustain my happiness. Creating lasting happiness is not about keeping my ego fed with compliments or pats on the back reinforcing that I am doing the right thing. True happiness comes when my insides and my outsides are a genuine reflection of each other. It takes courage to find that place—and I will seek it every day.