In late 2012 – early 2013 I worked through a book I’d received for Christmas.
I’m not usually a fan of non-fiction or self-help type books, but found myself enjoying the challenge offered via Domonique Bertolucci’s The Happiness Code.
I’d only just finished (what I hoped was) my last full-time position, taken a redundancy from a long career in government, made my seachange and was poised for happiness.
Anyone who’s read through my posts written between September 2012 and mid 2013 will recall there was much soul searching as I struggled with my non-professional identity and a life not defined by what I did.
Suddenly I had to ponder WHO I was. Rather than WHAT.
I was recently reminded of one of the chapters in Bertolucci’s book. I think it came about as others were sharing their New Year’s resolutions or goals and the like.
The chapter’s about goal setting. It’s about working out what you want.
Something I struggle to do.
However, Bertolucci suggests we do it from a position of knowing what we DON’T want.
This approach really spoke to me. Whether it’s because I’m naturally a negative person, I’m not sure… but I’m far better at knowing what feels wrong than what feels right. I trust my gut (or my intuition – #whatevs) – something which sings when I’m faced with things that cause discomfort.
Joy, happiness, contentment is harder, and a rarity for me. But I most certainly know when something’s not right.
I know what I don’t want.
When I first read this chapter I realised I’d been unconsciously working through a process of elimination for much of my adult life… leaving jobs, professions, cities and countries when I realised they didn’t fit with my values or when my discontentment grew out of control.
I read these now – 3 years later – and many still speak to me.
But I’ve changed more in the past three years than in many (many) before that, so it’s time for a rethink.
I’m not going to share all of my thinking here, but in essence:
I don’t want my life to be ruled by rigid diet and exercise. I know I’m obese and unfit so need to make some changes, but I’d like to find a balance rather than dieting strictly and hating the life I’m living UNTIL I reach a weight that allows me to enjoy life again.
I don’t have the resilience or nerve needed to run my own business. I’m happy working for myself, but hate the sales’ stuff that comes with selling yourself. So… I don’t want to be a copywriter or a freelancer wondering how I’ll be able to pay my electricity bill or begging for clients.
But… I do enjoy sharing my own thoughts and ideas. So, I want to pursue some feature writing opportunities… perhaps starting with sharing my book reviews elsewhere. And once I realised this it meant I knew I needed part-time work to pay the bills rather than rely on freelancing as a form of income generation.
Thankfully the perfect part-time job came along and (three weeks in) I’m already feeling a sense of relief I’m not ‘expected’ to be earning a living via my writing.
So, it seems that slowly and surely I’m moving towards some new goals and a happier life. #touchwood #andnotthefrog
Are you able to identify what makes you happy, or would this ‘what I don’t want’ process work for you as well?