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In Pursuit of Happiness and Success in the New Year

Aug 17, 2007
At this time of year it is customary to wish people "Happy New Year". The truth is that whether you are happy or not is simply a choice for whatever your circumstances you have the power to choose how you feel. It is one of our greatest gifts.

"Everything can be taken from a person but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances - to choose one's own way."
Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankyl was a holocaust survivor. His wife, brother, mother and father did not share his fate. They died in the concentration camps. Yet, it was during his own internment through which he tortured and made to endure the most heinous of indignities he discovered that, no matter what his captors did to his body, he alone was master of his mind.

You hear of so many people saying that they want to be happy but this, that and the other is happening in their life right now which is robbing them of their happiness. They think that if these situations were to be resolved that they would be happy. They believe that if they are successful that they would be happy. In reality they have the ability to be happy and feel successful all along. That power lies within us and will flow through and from us if only we stop placing obstacles in its way as we would dam a stream by pacing boulders across it.

It is our ability to control our emotions rather than let our emotions control us that helps to give us the strength to handle whatever life presents us. Am I saying that we should never feel sad? No. However, just as a situation can cause us to feel sad there must also be something about that situation that can make us feel happy. After all, it is because we are able to feel sadness that we can appreciate happiness. We cannot know one without knowing the other.

Also, have you ever noticed that even we are happiest there is often a tinge of sadness? Like when you watch a beautiful sunset. The joy that wells up inside you as you witness such beauty and splendour is tempered by sadness because you realise that you will never experience that particular sunset again. Or when you witness two people that you love get married. You may feel as though you are bursting with happiness for the couple yet there is often an irrational touch of sorrow. Or have you ever noticed that when something is very amusing you can laugh until you literally cry. Funny that.

So it is natural for us to see and experience both sides of any given situation. And we tend to do so when we allow ourselves to fully live in the moment. However, we also have the ability to direct our focus. When things aren't quite going our way we often choose to focus on the negative. The irony is that when we are able to see the positive in any situation as well as the negative we can deal with it in a more balanced way and enhance our chances of transforming the situation into one that is desirable.

It is the difference between being proactive and reactive. We may sometimes have no control over things that happen to us but when we relinquish our ability to choose how to respond to a particular event then we relinquish all control. We give away our power.

Looking at it another way, when we allow our circumstances to control how we feel we are living solely through our senses. However, what differentiates us as humans from other animals are our higher intellectual faculties. Our free will enables us to choose how we think about any occurrence or event in our lives. Our imagination allows us to escape the physical confines of our amazing yet limited bodies and explore the unlimited realms of our minds to conjure up anything we choose.

"Our unique human endowments [self-awareness, imagination, independent will] lift us above the animal world. The extent to which we exercise and develop these endowments empowers us to fulfil our uniquely human potential. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power - the freedom to choose."
Steven Covey, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

As a New Year dawns there is an enormous pressure to increase our pursuit of happiness and success. Many people erroneously believe that success is tied to happiness. They attach certain prerequisites to the achievement of success not realising that success too is a state of mind and so is also a choice.

"Don't aim at success - the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it."
Viktor Frankyl, Man's Search for Meaning

Isn't life a wonderful riddle? So my advice to you is simple,

"Be happy. Be successful."

And then the things that you do as a consequence will only add to your happiness and success.
About the Author
Nickolove Lovemore is a Life & Success Coach and a Certified LifeSuccess Consultant. Contact Nickolove to arrange a complimentary coaching session. Send an email to goal_achiever@GetReports.com to receive a special series of FREE reports and other resources that will assist you in achieving your goals in 2007.
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