I had a professor in college who was a bit of smart aleck and one of his favorite phrases was “Happiness is wanting what you get, not getting what you want.” He used this quite frequently when giving us weekend assignments. I know this phrase is around with other additions but at that time in college I had never heard it before and I thought it was just plain stupid.
I have come to reconsider my young adult-self’s opinion and I believe my life experience is the reason. I am not sure when inspiration struck but one day while pondering this phrase I decided to give it at try. I thought what if I just said “thank you” for whatever happened? What if I found something to like in what was occurring? This is somewhat like what the character Pollyanna does with her “glad game” but with a twist.
When I know what I am hoping to achieve – what I would consider the “success” of my objective – and I don’t get the results I wanted, I will stop and look at what DID happen and ask myself how was getting “this” giving me what I wanted? And surprisingly enough I found in each scenario how I was getting what I wanted at least in the “end result” of my goal.
You see we say we want something, like a new home with specific items, or a new car in a particular color and style and when something else happens we get upset. For instance you are saving for your dream car. You have it all picked out when one day your company transfers you to New York City where having a car is more trouble than benefit. You are frustrated because you didn’t get your wish and you had worked hard for it. BUT – and in life there is always a “but” – you did get your end result/goal. Ask yourself what was the reason you wanted the car? You might find it was because the brand make and model had an excellent safety record, or was reliable or was comfortable. Perhaps it was a “green” car and good for the environment and your pocket book by using less gas. The reasons behind our wishes are what we want to focus on here. So getting the job in NYC just happens to be within walking distance to your home and if it is raining your building has a car service to drive you. So right there you have reliable transportation, comfort and good for the environment and you get to where you are going in style….NYC style.
I recently created a wish list of what I wanted to have happen for my life before a big family event. I didn’t achieve a single one of my wish list items specifically but I did get the end result I had been working for. The energy, feeling and health I needed were all there for me when the big day came. And when I looked at my list of “wants” the reason for each one was what I received even if the specific way I thought it would play out was different. This event is now one of my happiest memories ever!!
So the next time you find yourself unhappy for frustrated with the way your life is moving along, stop and ask yourself…
- What exactly did I want or hope would happen?
- Why did I want it play out this way?
- What result was I hoping to achieve?
- What feelings did I want to have?
- Just what is my “happy end result?”
- Next look at what DID happen and see if you did receive your “core reasons” after all
- If not then ask yourself “how does what DID happen benefit me?” It might be a next step toward your master goal.
You might find that you did get at least part of what you wanted after all.
’till next time,
Your Personal Space Coach