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  • Dr Matt James - Empowerment Partnership

Happiness is a State of Being

Dr. Matt James of the Empowerment Partnership talks about how Happiness is a state of being that can occur spontaneously anytime. People with no money can be happy, and people with loads of money can be happy. People who are out of shape can be happy, and people in shape can be happy. Single people can be happy, and people with a partner can be happy. One thing you might notice is that people in all of those situations can be miserable too. So, what’s the difference? First is the perspective they choose. A student of mine recently chose a radical way of looking at her “shelter in place” situation. She was starting to get frustrated and bored with it. Then suddenly she thought, “Oh my gosh, this is the most luxurious solitary confinement ever! I can go out and walk my dog. I have a full refrigerator and can get groceries when I want. I have internet so I can get any information I want. I have a TV and can watch movies and shows.” She started thinking about Nelson Mandela in prison for 27 years, much of it in isolation and comparing it to her situation. This new perspective gave her a real sense of gratitude and happiness—even though the situation hadn’t changed. The other difference in being happy or not in the very same situation has to do with achieving what’s important to you. For people who are happy without much money, money is not that important to them. If they have enough to get by, they’re happy. To others, wealth has a lot of meaning, whether it’s financial security, freedom to do things they want, or financially supporting others, and causes they believe in. Happiness comes from within and your perspective, and it also comes from achieving results that are important to you. Let’s focus on the results side of happiness. If what you truly want in life is to be happy, one of the first things you need to do is take a step back and ask, “What result am I aiming for that will allow me to become happy?” The results you want, the things that make you happy, are unique to you. Empowerment has a lot to do with the results. It’s not just walking around feeling like Wonder Woman and doing nothing. That’s not true empowerment. One way to measure your empowerment is by weighing your results against your excuses. Imagine a scale like Lady Justice holds. On one side of the scale, pile up all your excuses. On the other side, pile up all the results you’ve achieved. Which side is heavier? Empowerment is taking responsibility for your perspective and your results, taking full ownership of your reality. If you aren’t getting the results you want, the only finger you should be pointing is at the face in your mirror. This isn’t to say that you “blame” yourself. Blame in any form, whether it’s blaming others or beating up on yourself, is a waste of time. Instead, what you want to do is take an honest look at what’s going on. Here’s a way to start that process:

  1. Start by writing down all of the “reasons” why you haven’t achieved what you want. It doesn’t matter how true and valid they sound; these are excuses. These excuses are what you have used to not get the results you want. And as long as you hang on to them and defend them, they will keep you spinning your wheels and not moving forward.

  2. Debunk the myths. Take each excuse one by one and dissect it using questions like: “Is there anyone who has ever achieved this result who__________? Fill in the blank with your excuse, such as “…who had horrible parents?” “…who lives in Iowa?” “…who is over 50?” “…who has to work a fulltime job?” If you aren’t sure if someone has achieved what you want with your circumstances, Google it.

  3. Change what needs to be changed. When you take an honest look at the results you want and what it will take to achieve them, you’ll probably notice that you can’t be who you’ve always been and get different results. Some of the excuses on your list are pointing out those areas you need to change. Let’s take the classic excuse, “I don’t have enough time.” Everyone has 24 hours in a day, right? Time itself is not the issue. It’s how you chose to use it, how you set your priorities. If you look at your daily To-Do list or your monthly calendar, you can see what you’ve prioritized. And I’ll bet you that the people who have achieved the results you want spend their 24 hours differently from how you’ve spent them.

To learn more go to the Empowerment Partnership

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