Thursday, March 22, 2012

Is curious the new happy? At least for strategic planners :)

This morning the Facebook site Life. Then Strategy (hosted by three very lovely and clever Australian strategists) posted this little text and it stirred up something in me. 
I work with "happiness" as a love coach; I help people heal emotional wounds and get rid of baggages, get a positive attitude towards life and learn new patterns that will make them "happy". And still... I wonder if my view of happiness has been wrong the whole time. 
We strive for happiness as if it is an end goal, as if it is something you GET, as a result of hard work or fortunate events. We want to "be" happy. But what if happiness is a feeling and not a thing, if it is a verb and not  a noun. What if it is an adjective? 
I´ve always preached that happiness has nothing to do with what happens to you or what you have in life - if it´s a boyfriend, a dream job, the perfect car or those cool snakeskin jeans - but more about how you choose to interpret life. If you look at all the faults and flaws, those will jump out of the picture and hit you. If you instead focus on all the things you enjoy, appreciate and love, life will appear pretty amazing! You don´t have to wait for those dreams to come true. Just trick yourself to be happy!!
I have talked about this for years, but I still believe I might have had a stale and stubborn view of happiness. By saying "get a better attitude, and you will be happy" I have still treated happiness as something you can own. You can´t. 
And then I read these little words "curious is the new happy" this morning and they made sense. 
Not really because "curious" is the new happy, but because whatever makes you happy is happiness. The sentence "curious is the new happy" is crafted by strategists... and we are a curious bunch who gets an adrenalin kick out of reading nerdy books and learning new things :). Not everyone becomes happy from being curious though; some people hate libraries and art galleries and for them, it could be "movement is the new happy" or "peace is the new happy". But the point is that the word "happy" is too general to be relevant to all, since different things make different people happy. Just like "love" it has become a word that is weak and meaningless due to over use. 
What is "happy" for you? How does it feel inside? When do you sense it? Every night I go through the 20 things that made me feel happy during the day, and this guides me in life - teaches me that perhaps it´s not the snakeskin jeans, but the connection with my girlfriends that matters, that it´s the run down the coast and not the money that counts. What awakens you?
I guess "happy" is something you do rather than are. It can´t be demanded to appear, but lived. What do you think?
Btw, the cat is Cocos and he is up for adoption now when I am moving overseas... He will make you happy!! lol  

I have to add something I find incredibly interesting, especially since I´m about to move from sunny Bondi Beach to cold Stockholm... 

A study of students from California, Ohio and Michigan showed that Californians enjoyed their climate and the Midwesterners despised theirs. The students in both regions believed that Californians would enjoy greater well-being than others. BUT climate was not an important determinant of well-being. There was actually no difference what so ever between the life satisfaction of students in California and in the Midwest.

Study presented in Daniel Kahneman´s "Thinking, fast and slow"

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