Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his research on happiness defines that happiness is 50% your genetic makeup (Thanks Mom & Dad), 10% your circumstance, and 40% your choice. Knowing that my life is simply a series of choices that I make and knowing that true knowledge begins the day that I realize how little I know, I am humbled by the opportunities that are all around.
What Csikszentmihalyi is saying is that our happiness is a subjective rating, or simply based on whether or not we view ourselves as happy, and has proven to not be directly tied to the amount of money that we have. Happiness is tied more directly to living into a purpose that is greater than one’s self. I would agree with Csikszentmihalyi based on my own experience in business. Whether I have made a great deal of money or almost no money, my happiness came from the work that I was doing and the difference that I was making.
Over the last 50 years, the amount of money that people have made has increased by 250%, but the percentage of people that indicate that they are happy has remained at 32%, or just under one-third of people in the United States. This means that even though people are chasing the “brass ring” in business, they are finding that the brass ring wasn’t what they wanted. This is where humility and contentment come in. We have been told over and over again that it is the “new thing” that will bring us happiness. If we just have the widget 3000 instead of the widget 2000, all of our dreams will come true. If we can just get a new car, better clothes, a new job, and the list goes on and on, then we will have the joy that we have been looking for. The simple truth is that those things are not what bring us joy.
It is finding our fit in life that helps us to find our joy. If we are not humble enough to give up the trappings of society’s description of success in pursuit of our own definition then we will never find the place where we fit. Csikszentmihalyi describes this place as “flow.” Interestingly enough, this is the spot that requires us to pay less attention to everything around us and more attention to everything inside of us. Our conscious minds can process 2000 bits per second of information. Our unconscious minds can process 400,000,000,000 (four hundred billion) bits per second of information. That is a huge difference! However, when we are in a flow state, doing what brings us joy and what we were designed to do, we reduce the conscious number even further. We lock in on approximately 10% of our conscious capacity and eliminate the rest of what is jockeying for position within our minds. This means that we are less informed about everything that is going on around us and more in tune with the thing that truly drives us.
To Your Success!
Jody N Holland
Throughout our lives, we seek happiness. We want to find the perfect job or the perfect mate or the perfect home in order to be happy. We look for things and people that will bring us the joy that we feel is missing in our lives. We search for ways to change our lives in order to find ourselves, our joy, or even our peace. The challenge with the search is that it is often in the wrong direction. Happiness has never come from stuff, or people, or places that we live. Those are things that we may desire, but they are not the end-game.
In lesson 121 from A Course In Miracles, I was reminded that to give forgivenss and to receive forgiveness are one in the same. My personal unhappiness doesn't come from whether or not I am successful in life. It comes from whether or not I am holding on to unforgiveness. When I refuse to give forgivenss, I am also refusing to receive forgiveness in my life. I condemn myself to unhappiness when I refuse to see the light in other people. I condemn myself to receive anger from others when I hold onto anger at others. My desire is to be at peace, which means that I must see the light that shines in those around me, even in those that I have previously seen as ones who have done me wrong.
We spend way too much time in our lives believing that others need to see the world from our angle. We look at people who are different from us, who have done things that we don't think are right, or who we perceive have wronged us and we become angry. Someone posts something on facebook that we disagree with, so we are offended and withhold joy from them. We refuse to forgive people who voted for one candidate or the other. We hold barehanded onto the acid of unforgiveness, waiting for it to hurt the other person. All we are doing is hurting ourselves. We are hurting our chance at joy and peace and happiness by being angry with others. Today, I choose to see the light in others, to see the good. Today, I choose to let go of the need to be right and simply love. Today, I accept that forgiveness is the key to happiness.
To Your Success,
Jody N Holland
Jody is a writer, motivational speaker, consultant, and entrepreneur. He has been the keynote speaker at over 250 events around the world. Jody speaks more than 150 times per year at different programs, and he has given more than 10,000 speeches during his career.