Sunday, February 5, 2012

A is for Attitude: Move Toward Happiness

It's important to establish ground rules by emphasizing that it's how you feel about yourself that will determine your effectiveness.

How you feel about yourself is more important than where you are.

It's all very well setting lots of goals for yourself but if the thought of them fills you with dread you're not going to get very far. This is why most goals you set are doomed to failure - because what seems like a burning conviction one moment can quickly turn into a damp 'maybe' a day or so later!

The trick is to set 'aspirations' that make you smile and fill you with a warm fuzzy feeling that will last.
Born to be Mild

This is what Robyn and I learned on a road trip to Darwin. We were filled with love for each other - high on traveling and having fun when we sat down and drew up a list of 101 things we'd like to do in the following year.

There were good, noble things there like writing books and creating charity foundations - things we knew we had to complete. But alongside, there were less serious, even silly things like meeting movie directors and visiting the pyramids of the world together.

We wrote things down that made us laugh - like arriving in a limo at a movie premiere for our own movie.

And we think that's the trick - to give yourself goals that seem like fun. When you tell yourself you need to get a novel finished, don't stop there. See the book in stores. Imagine yourself at the signing - chatting to your publishers, your fans, the press.

Imagine the reviews and the Hollywood options that will come your way. Why not? You may as well enjoy yourself - even if it all seems like a fantasy. 

Because the subconscious mind seems to like fun. We already know the subconscious likes images - real or imagined, it's all the same. 

And if you plant fun images of your future into your subconscious, your every day actions over time will pull you closer to this new, fun reality.

Are You Ready for Success?

In order to be successful, you need to be ready for success. Too often, just at the point at which success is about to come bounding down your hallway, a little voice inside your head says, "I'm not ready for this." 

And, as much as you're sure you deserve a break, that you have every right to get more money and perhaps a little fame, that little voice will stop you from reaching out and taking the success you're offered.

Moving towards happiness may mean you have to think hard about your current life.

We're told often when we're growing up that we should be responsible, that we have duties and need to make sacrifices - that this is all part of being an adult.

But really, is this true? Do we really have to go through life miserable just because our parents, teachers and bosses say we should?

Pah! Look at it this way.

Say you're a father, bent on providing for your family. You work hard, all hours, to bring home money. You're always tired. Your wife rarely sees you and, despite all the apparent comfort in their lives, your children resent you for being such a workaholic.

You'd like to be there for your family but your work, your sense of duty, compels you to work harder - to imagine you're indispensable to your job. You're busy, stressed and miserable most of the time.

How much better a father would you make if you were happy first?

What if you decided that being happy was the most important thing? 

What would you do?

This happened to me:

At one point in my life I decided I should settle down, get a secure office job, a profession, and climb the corporate ladder. I trained as a corporate buyer and moved into contract management. My glittering future seemed set...

But having children changed all that.

When the boys came along I asked myself, "What kind of father do I want them to have?" 

Did I want them to see me as some boring office type that was unfulfilled and who whinged about the sacrifices I'd made for them?

What sort of role model would that make me?

Would they rather see me as a happy, successful artist that felt proud of his life and achievements? Wouldn't that make me a much better role model - someone who showed them, through his actions, that compromise was not the only option in life?

Of course I decided on the latter, despite any and all of the consequences. It wasn't easy but I made the change. I began writing full time, on a wing and a prayer - because I knew that my being happy would be what was ultimately best for the boys. 

And it's worked out just fine.

Being Selfish is Okay

Moving towards happiness is about being selfish, I admit. But being happy makes you a much more productive and useful human being. Being unhappy doesn't help anyone - least of all yourself.

So, think about what makes you happy. Think about how you can get rid of all the things - and people - in your life that make you unhappy. Seriously consider changing your circumstances to create your perfect life.

If you need more time to just be happy, make it so.

Why not? It's your life.

And you have a duty to yourself to be happy first.

To Your Success!
 rob at home
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The Easy Way to Write

Welcome to the official blog of the Easy Way to Write from Rob Parnell, updated weekly - sometimes more often!