Every personal development/self-help blog has one, the “100 ways to find/achieve (fill in the blank)” list post. Here’s mine on finding happiness:
Action x 100
I bet you thought you were getting a quick and easy list to read huh? Sorry.
No matter how many things I could come up with for my list, people would read it and then move on to something else. Reading doesn’t accomplish crappola unless you put it into action. A list is easy and usually generates more blog visitors than anything else, because people are lazy and like lists. I admit I like them too, but they rarely, if ever, have any real effect on my life. There’s nothing wrong with coming up with an extensive list of things which we think will make us happy, the problem is… it is still just a list. A list can even be a set of decisions, but unless actions are taken… well, nothing happens. A list and decisions are hypothetical, on paper or in our minds. Actions move through space and time and affect the universe around us.
Three frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump. How many are left? … Three, he only made a decision to jump yet took no action.
My suggestion is to make a short list and break it down into sub-lists of actionable ideas or processes. I have experienced many life changes and types of spiritual awakenings, none of which came about with intense meditation or intellectual masturbation alone. Sure some great ideas or areas of growth are revealed during these times of reflection, but unless I take action on them, they’re just that, ideas. Putting ideas into action affects the forces around me with whom I interact, thus altering my destiny.
Take for example Inner-Peace. Few will argue that happiness would certainly involve inner-peace. But how do we find it? We don’t, it finds us as a result of taking action such as those I presented in The Spiritual Serenity Series: 7 Steps to Inner Peace and Happiness.
I heard a story recently that illustrates this point. Let’s pretend I do not know how to swim and I’m driving down a coastal highway looking out at the ocean. I know that if I were to stop the car, get out, and jump into the ocean I would drown. However, unless I stop the car at some point, I’m never going to learn how to swim. Something has to change (stopping the car) for me to even have the possibility of learning how to swim. It’s like the saying, if nothing changes then nothing changes. No matter how much I think about stopping the car or learning how to swim, nothing will change as long as I keep driving.
Another great example is Derek Siver’s post that Ideas are just a multiplier of execution:
To me, ideas are worth nothing unless executed. They are just a multiplier. Execution is worth millions.
AWFUL IDEA = -1
WEAK IDEA = 1
SO-SO IDEA = 5
GOOD IDEA = 10
GREAT IDEA = 15
BRILLIANT IDEA = 20
NO EXECUTION = $1
WEAK EXECUTION = $1000
SO-SO EXECUTION = $10,000
GOOD EXECUTION = $100,000
GREAT EXECUTION = $1,000,000
BRILLIANT EXECUTION = $10,000,000
To make a business, you need to multiply the two.
The most brilliant idea, with no execution, is worth $20.
The most brilliant idea takes great execution to be worth $20,000,000.
Fortunately, great execution isn’t necessarily required to find happiness. Just do something.
My short list:
- Love Myself
Actions: Treat Myself with respect by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. Do something nice for someone else… anonymously!
- Want Less
Actions: Prayer and meditation. Helping others when given the chance, as a result I find I have everything I need. Show gratitude for the things I have like washing my car, mowing my lawn and telling those close to me how much I appreciate them.
What’s on your short list?
photo credit: Storm Crypt