Happiness By Proxy: how to find your own happiness through the happiness of others.
Mom said it was better to give than to receive — turns out she was right!
Keeping Up with The Offners
Life has been moving fast for us lately. The largest, and most notable events were:
Our daughter is almost two!
My partner was recently promoted at her job.
I was named "Speaker of the Year" by a global group of Meeting Professionals!
…and those are just the huge events.
But throughout that time, even though we’re both incredibly fortunate people in many senses of the word, I’ve found it difficult to remain grateful and happy.
Recently, I heard a ‘trick’ to instant calm and happiness; so of course I brought my curiosity and skepticism into the mix and decided to try it (but did not expect it to work).
I was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve used this method on several occasions, and want to describe it for you now so you can try it as well. I’d love to hear your feedback on how (or if) it works for you.
Find a quiet(er) place where you can sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
Try to remove as much noise, turn your phone on airplane mode, and eliminate as many distractions as possible. — for many, doing just this step for 5 minutes might be enough to calm one down —
Close your eyes, and focus your thoughts on a person in your life.
Be detailed as you think through their day (or what you think an average day might look like), and wish them happiness for every aspect of their day.
To help illustrate this technique, below is a sample ‘script’. Keep in mind this is a full, detailed version of what I might say so feel free to skip this bit if you’ve already got the gist.
Here, I’m using my friend Dave as an example. Dave recently got married, and is on his honeymoon right now:
I hope Dave has an amazing, and memorable day today. I hope he has the chance to enjoy his favorite routine as he wakes up, and that he feels refreshed and calm and excited about the day. I hope he is excited about the days activities, and shares a laugh with his new bride as they embark on today's journey. I hope they share many special moments throughout the day, and enjoy each others company fully. I hope the weather is just perfect, and that each activity brings more joy and fulfilment to their experience. I can picture Dave laughing heartily, and the smile that puts on his brides face. I hope that makes him happy. I hope Dave gets to enjoy the day and is excited about the future events of the evening. I hope Dave can take in all the days experiences, and gets to refresh and relax too. I hope the dinner that Dave has with his bride is special. I hope he gets to enjoy his favorite food, and some good wine, and feels that today was a great day.
So, as you can see that’s really detailed.
The goal is to try and get a clear mental picture of the day you’re describing as you go through this exercise.
When you try this, do you see a picture in your head of all the good things you’re wishing for someone else?
If you haven’t already done so, take a break from reading this and try it out for yourself.
Did you do it?
Ok, so here’s the ‘trick’
This visualization exercise; by taking time away from your own internal monologue and problems; by focusing all your internal energy on someone else; you’re doing two really important things:
You’re meditating. You’re taking a brief pause in your day, free from the non-stop thoughts about your day, and focusing on a mantra…in this case it’s hoping good things for others.
You’re replacing the ‘talk track’ in your head with 100% positivity. Most of us, even the eternal optimists, have a negative talk track running in our heads. That negative self talk is like a cancer…it can spread and it can demotivate, sicken, and even ‘paralyze’ its host.
The first time I tried this, I wasn’t three ‘wishes’ in before I felt a massive smile growing across my face. I try to incorporate this into my day now, 2–3 times a day or as time permits.
Please share this info with your network; with your family and friends. Imagine how great tomorrow might be if we all channeled similar positivity to others…and by proxy got that same happiness for ourselves!