Having the courage of our convictions

Thursday, January 31, 2013 Permalink

A theme throughout Domonique Bertolucci’s The Happiness Code is that of ‘being the best you can be’.

And this, she says, takes courage – the tenth of her keys to happiness.

“You need to own your decisions and have the courage to see them through.”

She suggests we need to do the ‘right’ thing, not the easy thing.

And in talking about doing the right thing, she doesn’t just mean morally. Again Bertolucci says we need to be true to our values and do the right thing for us.

“Don’t rely on the opinion of others. Only you will know what’s right for you.”

I haven’t talked about it as much as I possibly could, but I’m really struggling at the moment. I’ve gained weight and am feeling apathetic about EVERYTHING to do with my body and my weight.

I’m continuing to feel ‘directionless’ in my life – uncertain of what I SHOULD be doing next, uncertain of what I WANT to do next.

But… I do not regret the decision I made just four or so months ago to pack up my life and move – my own literal sea change – taking a break from work and trying to find some zen in my world of ‘work-is-everything’.

Bertolucci recommends:

“Be courageous in your decision-making. Stand by your choices and never look back.”

No matter how much I’m struggling I have a visceral reaction (and not a good one) when I think about my old life – my daily commute, my days in the office and so forth.

Bertolucci notes that, for some however, pursuing their own needs can appear selfish.

“There is a big difference between being self-ist and being selfish – putting yourself first doesn’t mean you have to put everyone else last.”

She agrees that caring for a child or family is usually seen as our most important role, but notes that it is rarely our ONLY role. She recommends against putting ourselves and our needs last.

The airline oxygen example popped into my head as I was reading her words. Almost everyone has been on a plane and listened to the safety instructions: in the event of an emergency and appearance of oxygen masks parents are told to don their own mask first, before helping their children. An unconscious parent is of no use at all. Similarly, a desperately unhappy parent can cast a similar spell on their offspring.

I like the logical flow of Bertolucci’s book and her ten keys to happiness.

I may well do a wrap-up post down the track, but what’s jumped out at me over the course of the book is:

Finally, and most importantly, I realised that I desire perfection less than I thought. Being the best I can be is what I’m eager to strive for – however apathy or complacency or fear, means that I’m currently aiming for ‘just fine’ or ‘okay’.  Which is not… okay.

Rather than summarise the ten keys myself, I’ll leave you with this clip from the book’s site which does it far more eloquently than I ever could.

Do you find it easy to make the tough choices?
Which of the ten keys ‘sings’ to you?

  • jules
    January 31, 2013

    The one that stands out to me is to Get Out of the Way….

    • Debbish
      January 31, 2013

      Yes, we can sometimes be our own worst enemy!!!

  • Marion
    January 31, 2013

    Hi Deb! I would say for you to quit over-thinking things. If you went to a therapist and asked her what you should do, deep down inside you know exactly what she would answer. Everyone knows their own answers, people just don’t want to face those answers. <–That is where the bold part takes place.

    Then prompt action with less thinking. Just do the things that need to get done, without any internal debate or waffling that eventually allows a cop-out. Getting back on track feels really hard at first. Believe that if you make the right actions, even if they feel robotic or you are cranky about it, that day after day, consistency of the right actions will eventually make you happier. I know I sound stupid saying it, but have faith in the process. If you do all of the important little steps each day, great results will happen for you.

    Btw, have you picked out your cute new dress yet? I'm still hoping that you get one. In the U.S., we are in the middle of winter, but I do have some spring skirts waiting for warmer days. 😀

    🙂 Marion

    • Debbish
      February 1, 2013

      No cute little dress yet Marion. Seems a long way away in fact.

      I know you’re right about the less-thinking / more-acting thing.

      In the commitment post I just did it hit home that EVERY decision I make (no matter how small -ie. to buy cornchips or not) should be in line with my values and my goals. And at the moment they aren’t. My actions really aren’t helping me at all!

  • Lou Lou
    January 31, 2013

    I hope you start feeling better soon. I agree with the ‘over thinking’ thing, sometimes it’s better to just get on with things.

    “Don’t rely on the opinion of others. Only you will know what’s right for you.” sang to me. It’s harder to do, particularly as a women 🙂 we tend to talk to 100 people, need to hear whatever one else thinks and then make a decision.

    Hope you have a lovely sunny day!

    • Debbish
      February 1, 2013

      Like you Lou Lou I talk decisions over with others, but generally do what’s best for me ultimately. I told someone this morning, it’s one thing I’m happy with: that I go with gut-instinct and try to do what I think is right (for the world in general, and for me!).

      It’s only when it comes to food etc that I let myself down!

  • Jess
    January 31, 2013

    I would say right now I make the easy choice over the right choice a lot and to my detriment longer term. I’m also not good at letting go of the negative things that have come as a result of my choice. I rethink and regret and rethink some more.
    I will have to buy this book!!! I hope you do get a lot out of your sea change. It is hard because you make a big change, which you are happy about. But change is a bit stressful and it is hard to find your rhythm again, once you do you won’t look back!

    • Debbish
      February 1, 2013

      I’d recommend the book Jess. I got it for Christmas from my mum although she hadn’t realised it is about a year old now. The author’s just released a new book so I might need to check that out.

      She also has a workbook on her site, which I didn’t download before I read the book (D-oh!). Having said that, writing helps me process things and I got a lot out of committing to these posts!

      PS. I’m all about the instant gratification rather than long-term goals when it comes to food and eating, so completely understand what you’re saying!


  • Miz
    January 31, 2013

    I dont find it easy BUT once I make the decision I dont ever look back and wonder what if….

    • Debbish
      February 1, 2013

      I ask ‘what if’ but not in a way that I blame myself. Mostly I am okay with choices. I worry more about my ‘actions’ AFTER those choices!


  • Satu
    February 1, 2013

    I’m familiar to indecision and know how painful it can be. I’ve agonized over major life decisions for years but last week I made (an unexpected) decision. I know there will be reverberations because there will always be. On the other hand, I would have reverberations if I had chosen differently.

    I know you read Zen Habits. I just watched Jonathan Fields interview Leo and loved what he said in the middle – that even though people think he’s very focused and organized, he still struggles with his habits! I was very happy to hear that because it made me think my own struggles don’t mean I’m a hopeless case.. I can relax. 🙂

    Here’s the link:

    • Debbish
      February 1, 2013

      Thanks Satu will check it out. I was just re-reading some of Leo’s posts about habits and love his ‘zen-like’ (hee hee) approach to making tiny changes and starting with the easy things!

  • Coco
    February 1, 2013

    Maybe your “best” includes feeling complacent about things you think you “should” care more about? Not that you shouldn’t take action, just that you may always need to push against that complacency/apathy. We don’t all always have an inner drive to do the hard work it take to accomplish what we “want” to.

    • Debbish
      February 2, 2013

      Hi Coco and thanks for your comment. You’re right about the ‘shoulds’ – I have a lot of trouble separating the things I think I SHOULD be doing versus those I want to be doing. (And now I wonder who gets to decide that anyway….)


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