This is one of a six-part series on zoning in on where you’re at on your experience radar. How does it translate into your life – all aspects; lifestyle, career, finances, goals, play, adventures, people you meet, and how you’re living your life, every day.
When I was a kid, I took special interest in finding out what people were doing. How they were leading their lives. I wanted to know what people did, and whether they were having fun. I wanted to know if what they were doing was what they wanted, or in fact needed. Who were people hanging out with and why? What kind of careers did people choose for themselves? And how did they communicate? That was of particular interest to me – how people communicated and, did what they say translate into action. Much to my surprise, more often than not, there always seemed to be a disconnect.
So, I ask you; Are You Experienced? And what kind of experiences have you, and do you have? If you’re not quite sure just yet, I promise you that by the time this six-part series is complete, you’ll understand how to move from deciding to doing.
Much of what we believe to be true in life is either backwards or simply not true. We fall into this idea that a good job, lots of money, awesome stuff, true love, and the perfect body are going to make us happy. What we find is that when we reach these desired accomplishments, we’re not that elated by the achievements. Sure, we may feel pleased with ourselves at the time, however this too shall pass. We wonder, every time, why am I not happier? And then strive and/or reach for that similar next best thing – to then again, not find what makes us happy.
You see when you’re not happy with yourself, when you haven’t found contentment in your own skin, then anything and everything that you do will fall short of sustaining happiness. There are books upon books on happiness and prospection; Martin Seligman, Dan Gilbert, Edward Diener, Sonja Lyubominsky , Michael Fordyce, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Michael Argyle, Robert Emmons, and Shawn Achor to name a few, are expert in the field of Psychology, happiness, prospection and more and yet they don’t have it all figured out either. Or at the very least we have a heck of time translating the information into action.
One question I’d like you to consider, and answer for yourself is – If you didn’t compare yourself to anyone or anything, how would you be feeling? How do you think you’re doing in life? How are you leading your life?
One aspect of our possible lack of happiness is that we draw social comparisons. We see, most probably through social media, the perception that everyone is leading a better, more exciting life than we are.
By the way, what feels like everyone, may be a handful of people. That’s why when we see people negatively exposed or their life unravels badly, some, find themselves relieved. “Phew, they really don’t have a great life. Actually, it’s kinda crappy.” And so, for that moment – that very moment one may feel better about oneself. And yet, does one actually need to know that other people’s lives are crappier than their own in order to feel better about themselves?
The fact of the matter is, we know through research that kindness, gratitude experiences, and giving (whether we want to realize it or not) makes us happier. We know through the research, thanks to Carol Dweck and her book; Mindset, that there are characteristics of those that have either a fixed or growth mindset. It really comes down to, how do you show up in your life? And more importantly, how do you want to show up in your life?
For most, it’s uncomfortable trying to figure out what it is that you need in order to lead a fulfilling life. It takes effort, thought and some kind of plan, or as Dan Gilbert likes to say is that he stumbled on happiness (based on his book; Stumbling On Happiness). Or at the very least, keep your eyes wide open. There are clues to what it is that you need and want all around you. And it takes action.
You truly do know when you’re not ‘feeling it.’ You know when things don’t feel right. You can’t find happiness in stuff. Maybe the anticipation of what you think you want, and the moment you get it – sure, that’s kinda cool – and yet it dwindles. Then you may find yourself chasing even more stuff to make yourself feel better. It’s a vicious unhappy cycle.
I leave you with this until next week when we dive into Part 2 of Are You Experienced where I write about, how do you get there – how do you find those experiences that are going to enrich your life?
Part 2 – How Do I Get There?