The Start of Happiness is much more than what you expect. Sure, The Start of Happiness is about helping you find happiness and also about changing the world through making a difference in the life of others, however there is SO MUCH MORE to what this movement is about.
Since starting this community, I have had a number of conversations with people around what is the key message of The Start of Happiness. Most people I speak with assume that this movement is simply about making people feel more positive, become more friendly and embed simple tips and habits to help change their lives and change the lives of others. This is obviously one aspect of it, but there is another HUGE aspect of The Start of Happiness that I often see myself explaining.
Those that are part of the Facebook Community would have noticed that the cover photo has recently changed. This is to help convey further what The Start of Happiness is all about. By the way, if you haven’t yet checked out the Facebook page, head there now and ‘like’ it!
As you can see from the Facebook page, there are a number of aspects that are being communicated.
Firstly, it’s stating that happiness is a choice. No doubt about this one and this is NUMBER ONE of the 43 Habits of Absolutely Happy People. Happiness is about a mental state – a state which you can choose to be in. Put simply, you control your thoughts and therefore you control how you feel. The Start of Happiness can help you learn how to take control of your thoughts, your feelings, your behaviours, and ultimately your life.
It is reinforced by the fact that The Start of Happiness is about taking action. Again, this has been clearly communicated in our About Page. The term ‘Start of Happiness’ is a call to action. It is about doing something in your life to ensure you are living happy and it is also about doing things to help change the world by making a difference in the life of others. The Start of Happiness can help you learn what actions need to be taken to find happiness and live a fulfilling life. With the power of support from the wider community, there is to be no stopping you.
It is what’s on the right hand side of the cover photo that is new. This is what seems to be coming up in conversation a lot of the time. I wanted to share with you the bigger picture of what The Start of Happiness is about.
The Bigger Picture of The Start of Happiness
Happiness is so much more than just a ‘positive feeling’. Happiness IS a positive feeling, but it’s what happiness leads to that is most significant. To me, this is MUCH more important than just having that nice, content feeling.
Why? What can be better than happiness? It’s not than there is anything that is better than happiness, but happiness leads to certain thinking, certain behaviours and certain outcomes that reinforce happiness to ensure it is sustained.
I’ve been researching personal development, health and wellbeing and positive psychology for well over a decade. There are some interesting happiness models out there, most commonly Tal Ben-Shahar’s Four Quadrants Model, but this simply classifies humans into four quadrants that represent their outlook in life.
The world is so outcome focused. People feel as though if they achieve something they will become happy. For example, you may have heard yourself or others say things like “life will be so much easier if I get that promotion”, “once my mortgage is paid off I will be so much happier” or “if I bought that shiny, new car I will be so much happier”. But I’ve come to learn that this is NOT the case. It’s completely the OTHER WAY ROUND.
Happiness is in the journey. Happiness IS the process. Happiness is what we ought be to feeling EVERY SINGLE DAY, not just once we experience an outcome. Everything STARTS with happiness.
“There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way” – Thich Nhatt Hanh
Welcome to The Start of Happiness.
There is a lot of research that has been conducted on the benefits of being happy and how happiness can lead to positive outcomes in a variety of areas in life. However, I have not been able to come across a simple ‘model’ that explains this.
To me, it is simple. For those that I have had conversations with, they agree it is simple and effective.
The Happiness Model
As mentioned above, happiness is much more than just experiencing a positive feeling’. It is what happiness leads to and the journey of happiness that is most important in life. Happiness affects our everyday life and in every area of our life.
The Happiness Model shows how the state of happiness links to other outcomes in life, all with positive side-effects. It depicts the process and sequence of events that show a circular flow, kind of like a spiraling action.
Ultimately, the happier you are, the more clarity you have, the higher the performance you deliver, the greater your successes and the bigger your rewards. This all leads to continual, evolutionary and sustained happiness. Let’s explore in detail.
Happiness leads to a positive state of mind or clarity of thinking Think of a time when you have felt invincible, that you could not fail and that you knew you would succeed in whatever it is that you did. You would have been in a happy state, or a positive state of mind.
When we are stressed, anxious, nervous, fearful or sad, we become very internal with our thoughts which eliminates the opportunity for clarity of mind. Our thoughts become jumbled, potentially negative – “this is not right”, “I don’t think I can do this”, “what if they say this”, “maybe I shouldn’t”. This does nothing but cloud our thoughts and hinder our confidence.
Being in a positive state of mind leads to greater confidence and greater belief in being able to achieve what it is that you want to achieve.
People around us are more aware of our positive state. This leads to enhanced relationships, better networking and others more willing to assist and help us out.
Having clarity of what we want to achieve and how we are going to achieve it then leads us to performance.
Having a positive state and clarity of mind leads to greater ability to problem-solve and greater ability to perform.
Think again of that time you felt invincible and that you could not fail. How was your performance? I’m pretty sure your performance would have been at super-high levels.
When we are in a happy state and have clarity of mind, our positive thoughts also lead us to be more optimistic in our outlook in life. This helps us to challenge ourselves, take risks and act on opportunities that are presented to us.
Think of a time when you challenged yourself and pushed your boundaries because you knew that you could do it. What was the outcome? You would have expanded your world, your beliefs and enhanced your confidence to be able to perform again and again.
Being in a positive state of mind, having clarity of where you want to go, what you want to do and how you’re going to get there also gives you more energy to perform. It gives you more intrinsic motivation to spring out of bed at perform at your peak.
Performing at such a high level leads to something that we all want in life.
Performing at such a high level leads to success in whatever it is that you are pursuing.
Success depends upon what your goals are. It may be that you have a more successful career, getting a promotion or delivering an exciting project. Perhaps it is losing 10 kilograms in 10 months, or it might even be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face.
Whatever your goals are, you will achieve success quicker, faster and better by being in a positive mental state, thinking clearly and performing at peak levels.
The thing is, you DON’T have to wait for success to realize happiness. This is something that marketers and business leaders all over the world do not want you to know, as they want you to purchase their products to make you feel happier or for you to work your way up in their business to earn more income. However, what’s the point of this? This is all short-term, unsustainable happiness.
Success without the prior elements of happiness, clarity and peak performance, is not really success.
If success to you is getting that promotion, you could be slaving your precious hours away by working long hours and doing work you do not love, all while being stressed, having cloudy thoughts and performing at an average level. Sure, you may reach your goal, but is that REALLY SUCCESS?
Happiness and success are in the journey, it’s part of the process, it’s how you feel every day. Happiness and success are not outcomes.
When all the elements of happiness, clarity of mind, peak performance and success are achieved, this leads to greater rewards.
Who doesn’t want greater rewards?
Greater success in life leads to greater rewards. Keep in mind that true success is in the journey, is in the process and is part of everyday life. Through this process, your rewards are much more satisfying.
Sure, rewards can be monetary, and through this process of positive thinking, clarity of mind, performing at peak levels at achieving ultimate success in your pursuits, your monetary rewards could be extremely high! I see a few more millionaires being made amongst you after reading this post.
But keep in mind that money does not buy happiness.
The real rewards are the non-monetary rewards.
It’s seeing the effect of what you have done come to life. Perhaps you got the promotion you were after and received an up-lift in salary. The monetary reward is there however this quickly fades in terms of its effect on your overall wellbeing. However, seeing the project you implemented come to life and seeing its success long after your time in the role is the real reward. You have made a difference, you have made an impact, you have done something bigger in life that has helped the world in some way.
It may be as simple as putting a smile on someone’s face and knowing that you have made a difference in their life. This is the real reward.
It may be that after losing 10 kilograms in 10 months, you have embedded healthy habits into your daily life that you will carry with you for the rest of your life. You may have become an example to others and a role model for your friends in being able to achieve this. This is the real reward.
Circling back to Happiness
It is the non-monetary, long-lasting and deeper and more meaningful rewards that lead to continual, evolutionary and sustained happiness.
Evolutionary is a funny word to be throwing in here. But happiness is evolutionary because it evolves with purpose and meaning.
It’s kind of like a spiraling effect. Everything starts with happiness, but everything can lead to happiness.
Through understanding the process of and applying the principles of The Happiness Model, you will be able to develop your positive thinking and clarity of mind, reach peak performance, achieve ultimate success, gain deeper and more meaningful rewards and experience evolutionary and sustained happiness.
This is not something to be done overnight, but it is definitely something that we will be going through over the coming weeks and months.
A key question is, how do we start with happiness?
We have gone through the 43 Habits of Absolutely Happy People and some of these habits connect deeply with The Happiness Model. We will explore the key habits as they relate to clarity, performance and success over the coming weeks and months in preparation for what is going to be an awesome year in 2013.
Happiness is part of the everyday process. Happiness is in the journey. Happiness is in the meaning and the purpose behind what it is that you’re doing.
Everything Starts with Happiness.
P.S. Thoughts? Feelings? Agree? Disagree? Would love to hear from you in the comments below!
P.P.S. I’m going to be putting out a survey next week to help me gain an understanding of where you currently stand on the Happiness Model and how you are currently pursuing your goals. This will help me develop some AWESOME content to help you which I’m super-excited to be doing! It’s a BIG piece of work that you’ll love!