“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” – John Lennon
What makes you happy?
Take a few moments to think about this. Write those things down. Anything and everything that you can think of.
My partial list (in no particular order) would include: my girlfriend, my family, baseball, a thought-provoking conversation, someone who smiles at me, someone who holds the door for me, high fives, fist bumps, choreographed handshakes, funny jokes, dressing in sweatpants, dressing in a suit, bow tie Tuesdays, bacon, morning coffee, meatloaf, animated movies (especially Kung Fu Panda 1 & 2), sour patch kids, my Batman mask, finding and reading a good book, discovering an inspirational article online, team bonding, crossing something off a to-do list, pellet ice, the cool side of a pillow, beating a level in Candy Crush, getting new hats, wearing colorful shoes, buying new shoes, finding a new TV show to watch, quiet morning reflections, praying over meals, a great homily at Mass, a glass of red wine, singing in the car, talking baseball, a nice firm handshake, seeing other people smile, watching people do what they love, watching people love what they do, the Food Network, attempting to cook, watching do-it-yourself TV shows, having a good dream, a good workout, a warm shower, etc. I could go on and on.
Day after day, I hear so many people discussing things that make them angry, things that frustrate them, things that disappoint them. Some days, I am guilty of being one of those people. I rarely hear these people talk about things that are making them happy.
Through some of my reading, I came across the studies of world renowned researcher, Barbara Fredrickson, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She spends much of her time discussing how experiencing positive emotions will help enhance your mind, provide resilience, and assist with maximizing your potential. In her book, Positivity, she discusses her research, which has found that if we maintain a positivity ration of 3:1 (three positive emotions to every one negative emotion), we will be able to achieve a mental state of human flourishing. In a flourishing state, we will be able to achieve things that we did not think were possible. It can truly make a difference in the ways in which we live our lives.
Take a look at your list. Think about all of the things that make you happy. As you go throughout your days, start looking for other things that make you happy. Spend your days talking about the good things that happened. Let the bad things go or deal with them then move on.
What makes you happy? It is time to start tipping the scales in your favor and begin running toward that 3:1 positivity ratio.
Bring your best today!
P.S. If you want to have a general starting point of where you fall on the positivity ratio, Dr. Fredrickson’s two-minute quiz is available for you here.