Strategy For Happiness

I have this grand idea that when I retire I’ll be able to make a modest living by promoting kindness. Perhaps it’s far-fetched, but I like to imagine a world in which a person can get paid by shining a light on the nice things people do. This idea has occupied a lot of my thoughts during the dark months of the recent Seattle winter. And over the last few weeks I decided to do something about it.

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In fact, I decided to take my own advice. You see, I often tell my middle & high school students at Puget Sound Community School, the school I co-founded with my wife in 1994 and still serve as director, what I think is a pretty sound strategy for happiness. I tell them it’s a secret, but really it’s not. It’s pretty simple, although lots of things conspire to make it complicated. Here it is.

First, identify something you want to achieve in the future that excites you now. Pay attention to that second part — the “excites you now” part. It’s critical that what you want in the future fills you with excitement in the present. And, listen, it can’t be what someone else wants for you. In fact, it needs to be something that YOU not only want, it has to be something that gets you FIRED UP today.

Next, take one step today that moves you along the path to achieving that thing you want in the future. It need not be huge, just that it gets you closer to it. After taking that step, reflect on the information you got from it and re-evaluate what you want to achieve in the future. Has it changed in any way with this new knowledge? If so, adjust what you want to achieve accordingly.

Continue this day by day, doing a new thing that moves you toward what you want. Consider the new information you get and adjust your future goal to it, making sure you remain excited by it in the present. When you do this, opportunities will start to appear to you, sometimes seemingly out of the blue, things related in some way to who you want to be. To who you ARE. When these opportunities appear, accept them. Say yes.

What you’ll find over time is that you are living the life you want to live and not waiting for that future achievement to be reached. That goal, that thing that excites you, only serves to get you moving in a particular direction. Staying tuned to it and excited by it takes care of the rest.

So what did I do today that moved me toward my goal of making a living by promoting kindness? It took me all of 20 minutes. I wrote a description for a kindness workshop I’m offering via silent auction to help PSCS raise funds.

How about yesterday? Yesterday I spent several hours updating the Secret Agent of Compassion website I created a couple of years ago.

Want to help me out? Click on the links above to learn about my kindness workshop offer and how I got involved with the Compassion Games. Who knows. Maybe you’ll be part of an opportunity for me.