What puts the light on in your eyes?
Do you know – or has it been so long since you had a chance to even think about what you want, you no longer know what that is?
Its basic premise is that no matter what’s happening in our life, as long as we identify what’s important to us, we can figure out how to bring more of it into our life … now, not later.
The question is, how can we find out what’s important to us?
That’s where the Happiness Test comes in (at minute 10:11 in the TEDx talk).
It can help you identify what you want MORE of and what you want LESS of in your life.
The talk then shares a few Happiness Hacks that show how to bring your life into alignment with your true priroties.
And the good news is, you don’t have to quit your job (or have a job) or win the lottery to do this. Many of these hacks require no money and no “extra time.”
For example, a 30-something named Carl told me he had put GARDENING in Square 3 of the Happiness Box (what he WASN’T DOING that he WANTED TO).
He said, “My parents put me in charge of our family garden when I was ten. I felt so grown up. I couldn’t believe they had entrusted me with that. It was so satisfying to plant a tiny seed, watch it grow into a ripe plump tomato, pick it and have it as part of our family meal. I loved working in that garden. Hours would fly by and I wouldn’t even notice the passage of time.
I left home for college and got a job here in the city after I graduated. I didn’t realize until I filled out that quiz how much I miss growing things.”
I told him, “When you have something that makes you feel that good, it’s like having the answers to the test. There’s no mystery about what would make you happier. All you need to do is find a garden and start spending some time in it.”
He said, “Sam, I live in an apartment building downtown and I work 60 hours a week. That’s not going to happen.”
“Get creative. I bet there’s a community garden somewhere near you. Or maybe even a botanical garden that welcomes volunteers. Could you check that out?”
Guess what? Carl now spends a couple mornings a month in the potting shed and greenhouse of a friend who’s a commercial landscaper. He told me, “This is ideal. I get to dig my hands in the dirt and work with plants whenever I want – or not – and it doesn’t cost a thing.”
That’s what I’m talking about.
Little changes can make a big difference in the quality of our life.
You might also want to fill out the Quiz with family members and friends. Many people have told me this led to some “I didn’t know that” or “I feel the same way” discussions with loved ones.
For exampe, a young wife told me that sharing the quiz with her husband revealed some resentments that had been building up in their relationship. Neither had felt comfortable voicing what they were feeling.
The wife told me, “I felt like a ‘bad person’ because I have so much to be grateful for. My best friend desperately wants to have kids and can’t, and here I am married to a great guy with two children. I felt guilty for even admitting that sometimes I’m not happy.”
When I asked what they changed as a result of discussing the quiz, she said, “I had put EXERCISE in Square 2 (NOT doing what you WANT TO) and FIGHTING WITH MY HUSBAND in Square 3 (DOING what you DON’T WANT TO). He had put BOARD GAMES in Square 2 and FIGHTING WITH MY WIFE in Square 3.
“So, we agreed that he would take care of the kids on Monday while I go to the gym. I take care of the kids on Wednesday when he goes to Game Night at the local pub. We get a babysitter every Friday and go somewhere new and do something we haven’t done before. Guess what? No more fighting and the romance is back in our marriage. Whew.”
Receiving feedback like this makes my day.
That’s my dream. For this TEDx talk to catalyze conversations.
I hope it gives people an “excuse” to talk about what’s missing from their life.
I hope it gives people a sense of urgency so they stop waiting for perfect circumstances and start taking responsibility for creating the quality of life they want now, not someday.
After all, Pope Paul II said, “The future starts today, not tomorrow.”
May you start doing more of what matters to you today … and every day.