‘I’ll be happy when…!’ Have you ever said it, thought it or acted in a way that demonstrated it? I know I have, many times. I’ll be happy when I make the team. I’ll be happy when I make the money. I’ll be happy when my book is published. I’ll be happy when I have found my soulmate. I’ll be happy when I am looking the way I want. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s great to be happy when you achieve anything significant, but why wait till you reach that far off destination, when happiness every moment of everyday will direct you there?
The problems with the, ‘I’ll be happy when,’ scenario is that, when you do actually achieve it, whilst maybe elated, you’re still not really happy. Why? Because; it took too long, you could have done better, there are other people who are achieving more, and you still need to achieve greater things, to be happy. Wrong! I can tell you from bitter experience, happiness will not come as a result of arriving at a destination, happiness is developed in each and every day as you love who you are, what you do and where you are heading,
I thought the most memorable, fulfilling and happy time in my professional footballing journey would be when the hard work and pain was over, and when I would finally make the team. In fact, it was that mindset which caused me to miss an abundance of happiness available in the process of achieving it. Looking back today, I can see clearly, the best part of my professional sporting career was the 20 months of rejection, doubt, overcoming, pain and discomfort between my first senior game of football and my second. At the time I was frustrated, annoyed and victim-minded each week that, yet again, I was passed over for selection. I didn’t realise it would be this challenging time that would prepare me for the rigors of the sport and a successful life after football. A life that is full of joyful challenges. If I knew then what I know now, I would have been happy with every day, every challenge and every seeming set-back on the journey.
In fact, today, with years and wisdom on my side, I now find it easy to be happy every day. For three reasons. The first reason is because I love and accept me, and believe I am good enough just as I am. As are you, by the way! The second is because I choose to be happy. Yes, happiness is a choice, and is not dependent only on great circumstances or goal achievement. The third reason is because I know everything that happens, good or seemingly bad, is to help me become a better person, learn something I need to learn and lead me to the purpose I am on this planet for. In fact, I was having this very conversation with the wonderful Fiona, who has just started the process of writing her first book. We were laughing about all the challenges that we have faced over the years and made the declaration that, there’s nothing bad that happens, it’s all content! It’s just great content for a blog, a book and a story that will entertain, inspire and help other people. That’s a great reason to be happy.
The physical, mental and emotional wellbeing benefits of being happy everyday are widely researched, studied and documented. If you have to wait until you arrive at a destination you are missing the greatest joy and fulfillment in life, which is waiting for you in every moment of every day. If you choose happiness, every day and in every situation, you will get to the destination you want without the stress, and, you’ll love the journey. Please know that happiness is a direction, not a destination.