Are you happy?
I mean consistently, get out of bed, enthused about another day happy?
Or, do you wake up and wonder if it’s the weekend yet? Or worse, if it’s the weekend already, do you still wake up and wonder when the weekend is coming?
I was talking with a client the other day and he told me about a psychologist he heard being interviewed on the radio, and the psychologist had a very simple three-step process to being happy. He said that if you examine all the happy people in the world, they generally all have these three things in common. Here’s what they are:
#1) Someone to love. This is an important ingredient for happiness for many reasons, but one of the biggest is that it gets you thinking of someone else other than you. Let’s face it – the quickest way to feeling miserable is to think only about yourself all the time. If you don’t believe me, just try it for a few hours.
When you have someone to love, however, you spend much more of your time thinking about their welfare instead of your own. Also, you now have someone to share life with – both the good and the bad. You are no longer in this thing alone. You have someone on your side and someone who knows you and cares about you. This someone to love can be a spouse, a partner, or someone you are dating or in a relationship with.
The person can also be a son or daughter, or even another family member. In some instances the bond with a pet can be strong enough for awhile. I remember once I got a cat and told my chiropractor, and she asked how long I had been without a pet. I told her over 10 years and she said, “How did you go so long without unconditional love?”
John Lennon said, “All you need is Love.” It turns out there are two more things you need to have:
#2) Something to do. Boredom is a killer. It can kill a relationship, a vacation or just a weekend. In fact, compare how you feel when you don’t have anything planned for a weekend to how you feel when you wake up with a list of things to accomplish or enjoy. It’s a different experience, isn’t it?
Mark Twain said “To be busy is man’s greatest happiness,” and I agree. That’s one of the reasons I love sales. In sales there is always plenty to do. There are people to call, deals to close, clients to work with, and sales reps to train. I have a thousand things to do in my business, and I love them all.
After work I fill my time with the gym, with writing, with friends and, of course, with spending time with my wife. Together we make plans to get together with friends, find ways to help others and then engage in one of our favorite activities – planning vacations and trips together. And that leads to the third thing you must have to be happy:
#3) Something to look forward to. The other day, I was looking at an email from a travel site I subscribe to (travelzoo.com) and they had just sent out their weekly travel specials. I almost deleted it because I have a very busy second quarter coming up, but I opened it at the last moment.
When I went down the list of travel deals they had, I was amazed to see a deal to Honolulu for five nights that included air for two and a five night stay at my favorite hotel on Waikiki Beach – the Mona Surfrider. It included airport transfers, breakfast for five days and even two cocktails each evening. The price was amazing. Ten minutes later my wife and I were booked!
What’s amazing about this is how I felt immediately after I paid for our reservation. Before it I was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the work I had to do. But the moment I got off the phone with Pleasant Holidays, I was a changed man! There was a lightness in my step, and all I could think about was getting there and sitting on the beach watching the sun set the first night. I could already feel the soft trade winds blowing and the Hawaiian band playing there under the Banyan Tree. Heck, I get excited by it just writing this!
It was at that moment I realized and remembered how important it is to have something to look forward to.
As I listened to my client describe the three things you need to be happy I smiled to myself when I realized I agreed. In that moment, happiness was simple. And when I hung up with him and thought about it some more, I realized that I was indeed happy.