As many people have done, I have written about the importance of gratitude as a happiness habit, or as I also like to say, as an act of proactive positivity.
I was listening to an episode of one of my favorite, weekly podcasts, The TED Radio Hour. During the episode, “Simply Happy,” a point was made about gratitude that resonated with me because it reminded me of something else I often say.
Benedictine Monk David Steindl-Rast was being interviewed and said something to the effect of, “It’s not the happy people who are grateful. It’s the grateful people who are happy.”
That reminded me of what I learned when I read The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor. He says happiness leads to success, which is the opposite of how many of us have been trained to think. What he means is many of us were led to believe our life would go like this: we will go to school, after school we will get a job, when we get a job we will make money, when we have money we can buy things, and then when we have things we will be happy.
But it’s the opposite that’s true. It’s not success that leads to happiness. It’s happiness that leads to success. We all spend so much time working—every day, every week, every month, every year, our whole lives—it’s a shame if we don’t enjoy what we do. Even better, if we love what we do and experience happiness at work, we will find success.
And that syncs with yet another of my favorite mantras: happiness comes from investing your time and money in experiences not things. Just as I was writing this I realized the way that applies to work: you will be happier spending your time doing things you love (experiences), than doing things you don’t enjoy just to be able to make money to buy things.
Brother David also said, every moment is a gift and opportunity doesn’t only knock once. He said every moment is an opportunity and while we can’t be grateful for everything, we can be grateful in every given moment for something. He suggests it’s like crossing a street: Stop. Look. And then go. Don’t rush through life. Build stop signs into life.
In this case, stop to make a list of all you are grateful for. You will find the exercise will help you to be happier because grateful people are happy.
How do you practice proactive positivity? Please join the conversation with your comments…