I once met a remarkable man in a group of executives from the International Olympic Committee. We were training him and his team on high performance strategies as part of their preparation for the Torino winter games.
He had a senior position and stood out with how he carried himself. He had a lightness in his step, was friendly and funny, obviously intelligent and seemed like an overall cool guy. Someone you easily would like to hang out with.
We were having diner with him and his wife, and during a conversation she mentioned that he ‘prepares for happiness’ every day. As he gets up every morning he actually takes some time to plan how he will create some happiness in his day!
What a concept!
So, let me ask you. Do you consciously prepare for happiness each day as you get up?
Now, there are various ways how to plan your day for happiness and today I’m sharing with you:
The 3 D’s of planning your day for happiness
- Design your intention for the day in the morning
- Deposit credit in your major life areas
- Draw the longer line
Designing your intention for the day
The first 18 minutes after you wake up your mind is almost like a clean slate and quite impressionable. Don’t be in a hurry to let the world rush in.
Instead take a moment to hold on to that inner quiet that is still lingering from your night’s sleep. Begin by taking three deep relaxing breaths. Dissolve any physical tension and settle into a lovely, peaceful state. Feel your own essence and presence cradling you for a minute or perhaps three. Just sit and catch that moment of tranquility.
Then, Invite a sense of gratitude and appreciation for what is working well for you.
Next, feel your mind and your whole being receptive to the intentions you’re going to set for the day.
How do you want to show today? What levels of energy and enthusiasm will your bring to the day? How do you want to engage with the people your going to meet, and the projects you’re involved in today?
How can you bring something new into your day? Happiness research shows that novelty is an important element that helps experience more happiness.
Research also mentions a healthy challenge as being conducive to happiness.
The same is true for creative expression.
How can you integrate these into your day? What would be a challenge that is just slightly higher than the norm that you could set for yourself?
How can you bring more creative expression into your day?
And one of the most important elements to create happiness in your day is connection with others and making a positive difference.
Think of at least one specific person, ideally someone you spend lots of time with that you’re purposefully going to make a positive difference to.
As a changemaker, if there’s only one intention you set, make it that one.
Take a moment to really feel how you’re going to shop up energetically, how you’re going to engage with people and projects, how you’re going to create something new in your day and how you are going to express yourself creatively, and think of this one specific person you’re going to intentionally make a positive difference to.
And once more guide your mind through the day ahead feeling and imagining your intentions as vividly as you can.
Each time you do this, you are programming yourself to have a wonderful day!
Finally, As you step out of bed write down the name of that one person you will make a difference to that day, to reinforce this intention.
Making a positive difference to someone’s life blows your heart right open, and invites Grace into your being. So always, always involve people in your plans!
As you do your morning intention setting integrate the next 2 D’s into the process.
Deposit credit in your major life areas
Another important aspect to create more happiness is to purposefully deposit credit in your major life areas.
What do I mean by this?
Your major life areas are things like your health, your family and friends, your career and work, your purpose, etc.
For each area to prosper you have to invest in it. Like with a bank, you deposit credit so that over time you have more and more of it.
The more you invest in your relationships, the more you develop your capacity to connect with people, the better your relationships become.
If every day you consciously improve your connection with others even one procent, imagine how your relations will benefit over time.
Can I be more attentive? can I be more kind? can I listen better with more patience and understanding? Do I dare to give people feedback in a skilled way so that they grow?
Same for your health. You deposit credit in your health account by making healthy food choices, by making sure you get enough movement and exercise in, by taking care of your sleep and by practicing relaxation and meditation. The more you deposit this credit on a daily basis, by design, the more your overall health benefits.
Do this for all your major life areas and they start to thrive, and as a consequence the likelihood of you feeling more happy more of the time increases.
Draw the longer line
What can you do to gain a new perspective on your challenges and worries and fears so that they become a creative challenge that you can use as stepping stone to help you grow and evolve.
One day Akbar drew a line with his royal hand on the floor of the open court and told his wise men that if they wanted to keep heir jobs they must make the line shorter without touching any part of it.
Wise man after wise man approached and stood staring at the puzzle, but they were unable to solve the problem.
Finally Birbal stepped forward and drew a longer line next to the first one, without touching the first line.
Everyone in the court look at it and agreed. The first line was definitely shorter.
In my experience one of the most full proof ways of drawing that longer line is to to stay focused on that which is productive and positive and make your big vision bigger than yourself.
Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.
There was once an old master who grew tired of his student’s complaints. One morning, he sent him to get some salt. When the student returned, the master told him to mix a handful of salt in a glass of water and then drink it.
“How does it taste?” the master asked.
“Bitter,” said the apprentice.
The master chuckled and then asked the young man to take the same handful of salt and put it in the lake. The two walked in silence to the nearby lake and once the apprentice swirled his handful of salt in the water, the old man said, “Now drink from the lake.”
As the water dripped down the young man’s chin, the master asked, “How does it taste?”
“Fresh,” remarked the apprentice.
“Do you taste the salt?” asked the master.
“No,” said the young man.
The master sat beside this serious young man, and explained softly,
“The pain of life is pure salt; no more, no less. The amount of pain in life remains exactly the same. However, the amount of bitterness we taste depends on the container we put the pain in. So when you are in pain, the only thing you can do is to enlarge your sense of things. Stop being a glass. Become a lake.”