Posts Tagged ‘happiness’
The past few months my life has exploded with goodness. I think I’m happier than I’ve ever been. Why? It’s not the fact I just returned from a trip to Alaska (although that doesn’t hurt!) Many simple things have been bringing me joy lately, and I feel it’s time to share. I’ve changed the way I think, and made small changes to how I use my time. It’s transformed the way I look at the world.
Remember how I made a year theme to do “more socializing, less social media“? I’ve made effort to reach out to people, take time in-person. For me, that satisfies my need for connection. As human beings, we all yearn to be connected. Social media can never ever take the place of a hug, feeling someone’s peppy energy, or looking into their eyes.
I also had another simple year mantra: Less stress, more fun. Here at the mid-way point in the year, this is also going well. Every day I take time to do things I really love. I start my morning with “truth time.” I exercise and care for my body with healthy food. I play with my babies. I find inspiration in reading good books, talking with interesting people, and most importantly, taking time with myself — to think, feel, and listen to what’s happening in the quiet recesses of my mind. This leads to kindness. As Gautama Buddha said:
You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
Why do I share a peek into my personal journey? I am enjoying the thoughts of many authors, speakers, philosophers, entrepreneurs — and I want to pass on how these habits help me. I find truth, in it’s variety of sources, frequently intersects. The more truth I invite into my life, the happier I feel.
I also share because this has impacted my writing journey in a few exciting ways. Here are three happy updates:
- I have started a business, Professional Communication Consulting, LLC. I am working with several fascinating clients, doing a variety of corporate communication projects. I’m doing things like writing case studies, blog posts, marketing emails, and making plans for a corporate anniversary. The funny thing is, I used to think of myself doing this. I had fear for years of not knowing all about starting a business (who does?) or failing (so what if I do?) or finding a balance between being a mom and a professional (that’s worked out too). Once I got up the nerve to get a business license, I found my previous concerns melted away. I make mistakes. I let them go. I’m willing to learn. Isn’t that the whole point, anyways? My new professional website is in the works; I’ll share more about that when it’s up.
- Academic Publication. My thesis on managerial gratitude is now published in Corporate Communication: An International Journal. This is a thrill for me. It took an intimidating two-year process of revisions. I’d never worked so hard on a project before. Thank you again, to those who participated in my survey; as promised long ago, I will be sending out an email with the finding highlights.
- Working on a book. I’ve mentioned many times here how I dream of seeing my name on a book. Being an author has intrigued me since the time I wrote little books as a child and made my family library cards to check them out. This will be a long process, but I am not in a rush.
Perhaps you’re thinking, “Oh, she’s just happy because things are going well.” Then again, are things going well because I’m happy? I think it’s probably both. Our thoughts tend to become reality, which makes our reality a reflection of what we think. I believe we all deserve to be excited about our lives, to go from one success to another. I keep asking myself, “Why not me?” and I say the same to you: “Why not YOU?” Go after your happy.
I recently stumbled across a fabulous TED Talk. Elizabeth Gilbert, known for her internationally acclaimed memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love,” shared insights into what it was like to have skyrocketing success as a writer.
Surprisingly, such writing fame made her feel the same misplacement of self as she did in her years as unpublished waitress. The heights of success and lows of rejection felt the same to her subconscious: an unsettling distance from her center. After that explanation, she really caught my attention by saying she needed to get back “home” as quickly as possible.
Gilbert describes home as “what we love more than we love ourselves.” For her, it’s writing. When I grant myself the time and space to flow with words, I really feel at home too.
What is “home” for you?
We’re surrounded in words: food packaging, billboard ads, tweets, newspaper articles, targeted Facebook ads, and text messages. Ads target us with increasingly sophisticated technologies. Admittedly, I contribute to the phonetic flurry of marketing messages, while doing my best to create relevant content that’s worthy of eyeball time. In observing and critiquing other marketing material, I notice patterns of catch phrases, like:
Advertisers seem to lure consumers on an Easter-egg-like treasure hunt for happiness, persuasive pathos at its best. After all, is there anything we want more than to be happy? While a brilliant marketing tactic, I’ve spent considerable time thinking about whether I agree with deploying such a power-packed word in the name of sales.
Above you see a sign from a local women’s gym. Every time I pass by, my eyes shoot straight to that top phrase: “Happiness is a gorgeous figure.” Really? Is that all it boils down to?
We’ve all seen Coca-Cola’s “Open Happiness” tagline, which has been selling sugar water since 2009. On Coke’s happiness site, they declare: “The quest for true happiness is not really a quest at all, but a decision and a choice. So don’t wait another moment. Open an ice cold Coca-Cola and choose happiness!” Interesting.
I’m quite a Disney fan, and I’m sure you’re aware they’ve declared their land “The Happiest Place on Earth.” While it’s a joy for my family, I know others who do all in their power to avoid it.
The most far-fetched happiness ad I saw on my way to work. It’s from CLEAR, and apparently they’ve solved the happiness equation too: “Happiness can be found with a mobile internet provider.”
And let’s not forget Happy Meals, which can change a child’s life for $2.99. At least they’ll be cheery while chomping those chicken nuggets and playing with the soon-to-be-broken toy, right? Just wait until the next day, when they throw a fit for more “happiness.”
Does happiness really boil down to the Mad Men advertisers’ definition on this Youtube clip: “What is happiness? It’s a moment before you need more happiness.”
Advertisers know the “pursuit of happiness” is near and dear to Americans, branded into the U.S. Declaration of Independence as one of the “inalienable rights” with which all human beings are endowed by their Creator. But do they really expect us to believe happiness is found in a gorgeous figure or downing a bottle of Coke? (And don’t those two contradict?!) Do you agree?
While I don’t have all the answers to the marketing mix, I don’t believe true, enduring happiness can be bought. Nor does it have a price tag. True happiness, for me, is found in meaningful, loving relationships. It’s a product of being true to myself and my values. It’s found in enjoying nature, progressing and learning, and engaging the creative process.
I’d love your thoughts on the topic: Can happiness really be found in a Coke, as the ad says? What’s your philosophy on happiness in our world of consumerism? Do you have other examples of “happiness placement” in ads? Let’s hear it.