Yesterday I was catching up on some emails and opened up Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s Tuesday Tip.
This motivational email gets delivered to my inbox every Tuesday but it’s been some time since I’ve read one. I’m not sure what made me open this email rather than deleting it like I have been recently. Maybe it had something to do with the title…
The BIG Lie About Success and the Little Secret of Happiness
Dr Zimmerman provides his own personal commentary every newsletter. It’s wedged in between adverts for his courses but there’s always a gem or two. Something to make me stop and think. Sometimes it reminds me to get back into good habits at work or refocus my energies on some simple basics. Sometimes it reminds me that people are people everywhere, wanting to be heard and make a difference, even when they appear belligerent, uncooperative and downright irritating.
Other times, like yesterday, it reminds me about the importance of being happy.
Those simple, often unexpected moments of quiet peace or contentment. The moments where I do what I love and love what I do – at work, at home, with friends and strangers. On the train, at the supermarket, in the coffee shop, walking in the park. In the midst of the familiar and in the maelstrom of the new. Everywhere and anywhere.
Not all the time. But creating the enviroment for happiness to occur is important. It’s like opportunity – if you stay open, things show up. Stay closed and what’s often right in front of you stays invisible.
The newsletter shares some tips – and I found myself nodding…
1. Learn to be happy with less
I am reminded not so much of stuff itself but of stuff to do. Busy-ness. It’s easy to get busy in life with stuff to do that merely fills my time and does not make me happy. I want to invest more time and energy in the things I love to do – expanding my horizons at work, writing, theatre, books, music – and the people that make me feel good. The ones I know about (you know who you are) and the ones I’ve yet to meet.
2. Seek silence
Peace is an amazing discovery. It took moving across the world for me to find it. I’m not sure whether it’s connected to my physical location or my state of mind but my promise to myself is to stay in touch with what speaks to my soul, even when the route there looks scary.
3. Remind yourself things could be worse
Zimmerman shares a snippet from the cartoon series Peanuts which sums it up perfectly:
Snoopy…was lying in his dog house on Thanksgiving Day, he mumbled about being stuck with dog food while all those humans got to be inside with the turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie. “Of course, it could have been worse,” he finally reflected. “I could have been born a turkey.”
Wise dog that.
4. Understand what you seek is spiritual not material
Zimmerman refers to this as mastering the ‘art of living’. Being able to handle anything that comes your way. I’ve heard people say that God never gives us more than we can handle. Well I don’t really do God stuff. But I have to say something always ‘turns up’. The universe always provides and I have belief that it will all turn out in the end. It just might not be the end I was expecting. But there’s often happiness there all the same.
5. Look for evidence of peace
There’s a longer list in the newsletter itself but these were my top 3 so I’m keeping an eye out for:
- Less interest in judging other people as to what they “should” do.
- Less interest in the conflicts and gossip that surround me.
- Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
So here’s to making Gidday from the UK a space for happiness to occur. Let connectedness abound and “shoulds” die a thousand deaths.
But I give you fair warning. Look out for frequent attacks of smiling.
Remember you could have been born a turkey!