“Be happy with what you have while working for what you want.”
—Helen Keller, American author and educator who was blind and deaf
Image from Unsplash by Gabrielle Henderson
To what degree does today’s quote apply to how you live your life?
We’ve all heard over the years that happiness occurs in the present, however I frequently observe most folks still living by the phrase I’ll be happy when….
To what extent is fulfilling your expectations synonymous with happiness?
How often and how much is your satisfaction diminished when things fall short of your hopes and dreams?
What is working and going well in my life? How is your gratitude for these things already a source of happiness?
What am I working for that excites and inspires me?
How are your efforts and progress toward these objectives also a source of happiness?
Each small step forward matters.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by NASA
Who isn’t familiar with Neil Armstrong’s famous quote, That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind?
Hearing those words never ceases to inspire me with hope for a better future.
Although we all wish to take giant leaps in our lives, those moments are rare. If, however, we focus on how our small steps lead to bigger things, we can all climb steadily to the peaks of our lives and reach for the stars.
How can you more fully recognize and acknowledge the small steps you and others take each day?
How can even your atomic efforts result in quantum leaps of achievement and life satisfaction?
“Abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.”
—Wayne Dyer, late self-help author and motivational speaker
Image from Unsplash by Braden Callum
When is enough enough? How much money, possessions, status, and achievement lets you know you’ve made it?
Western society keeps fanning the flames of a “more is better” world. Many of us seem to be trapped in a vicious cycle of gluttony where our appetites are never satisfied — often to our own detriment.
Where do you find yourself running this race? To what degree do you find yourself on a treadmill getting sweaty but not getting anywhere truly satisfying?
What are the absolute essential elements of a good and meaningful life?
How tuned into and appreciative are you of the things you already have?
Try quietly sitting in this space to explore the peaceful abundant feeling it can offer.
“There is no tomorrow, only a string of todays.”
Image from Unsplash by xandtor
A few weeks ago, I spent three days at Sea World in Orlando with my wife Wendy, our daughter Rachel, and our two grandchildren.
With a double stroller as our base of operations, we adults got in far more than our 10,000 steps as we took in all the sun and sights!
Peak experiences — including our hands-on interactions with dolphins and Beluga whales — kept our full attention, with plenty of opportunities for photos to save these moments for posterity.
How would living your life as a string of todays help you squeeze more satisfaction from all the todays and tomorrows to come?
“Think of yourself as dead. You have lived your life. Now, take what’s left and live it properly.”
—Marcus Aurelius, ancient Roman emperor & Stoic philosopher
Image from Unsplash by Usman Yousaf
What does it mean to live a “proper” life?
At the end of your life what would you like people to say about you?
How would you have answered these questions 10 or 20 years ago?
As we age, many of us notice changes occurring in our minds and bodies.
Usually, this a gradual process and most of us come to terms with the finite nature of our lives.
We usually strive to do better and make the most of it.
What if instead of a more gradual process your life was coming to an abrupt end? How satisfied and complete would you feel and what regrets would you experience?
The movies Defending Your Life with Albert Brooks and Groundhog Day with Bill Murray offer many laughs and some good examples to consider.
Satisfaction = What you Have (divided by) What you Want
—Arthur C. Brooks, American social scientist, musician, and columnist
The satisfaction equation looks so simple. All we need to do is acknowledge all we have, divide it by our wants, and make sure the result is a number that puts a smile on our face when we brush our teeth before bed.
We could easily do a fast status check and feel OK, or we could do a more thorough analysis to optimize our results. Consider digging deeper here and actually do the math.
Take two separate sheets of paper with the headings What I Have and What I Want at the top. Place these sheets in a location where you will see them throughout your day. For the next few days, jot down items on each list. Keep asking yourself What Else? before you move on to other matters.
Before you do the division problem, consider how a little addition or subtraction might increase your satisfaction.
“The greedy one gathers all the cherries, while the simple one tasted all the cherries in one.”
Image from Unsplash by Shane Babali
What does the word greedy mean to you? Who do you personally know that fits your definition?
Are you a collector of things or even experiences? Consider the following list:
- The amount of food in your fridge and pantry
- The number of collectables on displayed in your home
- The number of degrees or awards you’ve received
- The number of cities, states, and countries you’ve visited
- The number of books you have read
- The amount of money you have saves and invested
- The number of ornaments on your Christmas tree
In what other areas are you or others engaged in a quest for more? What hidden costs are you possibly paying in your desire for greater well-being and life satisfaction?
Where do you find yourself gathering more and more of life’s cherries? How might savoring the cherries that you have or the ones that simply come your way lead you to a far sweeter life?
“Don’t forget how badly you once wanted what you have now.”
Image from Unsplash by Ismael Paramo
How satisfied are you with your life? Examine who you are on the inside and take a look on the outside to explore your intrinsic and extrinsic accomplishments.
How do your observations compare to the answers you would have offered from 5, 10, or even 20 years ago?
Which of your efforts — based on what you wanted — have come to fruition, and how pleased are you today?
Take the time today to count your many blessings. How rich do you feel?
Consider having a conversation with a friend, family member, or colleague to expand the value of this exercise to more fully appreciate how far you have come.
“Keep on going, and the chances are that you will stumble on something, perhaps when you least expect it. I never heard of anyone ever stumbling on something sitting down.”
—Charles F. Kettering, 20th Century American inventor and engineer
Image from Unsplash by Jose Aljovin
The average inventor produces about three patents in their lifetime. A prolific inventor produces around 15. Charles Kettering, who founded Delco and worked for General Motors from 1920 to 1947, was the holder of 186 patents.
He was clearly a person of action, not one to sit things out on the sidelines.
Another one of my favorite quotes from Kettering is:
“My Interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.”
Where are you currently stopped in your life?
Where are you sitting it out, hoping that things will miraculously improve on their own?
Where is it time to stand up and get going again so that you can stumble on something that will add greater meaning and satisfaction to your life?