“He’s tellin’ me more and more,
About some useless information.”
My buzzword for the last few words has been ‘happiness’. I’ve been obsessed with happiness. What it is. How we can get more of it. Why we’re not happier. Why we desire for things that don’t make us happy. My enquiry has taken me through neuroscience, psychology and philosophy.
Most importantly – especially as a student and teacher of yoga – is the internal enquiry. You can read all the scientific studies you like, but until you LIVE something, it’s hard to speak or write or teach it with any authority. And every time anyone asked me about “how to be happy”, I had to start by explaining that happiness isn’t what they thought it was. Which isn’t a very good place to start when you’re trying to help people!
I have a nifty little system for working our way towards satisfaction, A.C.T.S.:
- Assess and Accept.
- Choose your Changes.
- Take Action.
- Savour in Satisfaction.
You cannot do anything in your life until you accept the current situation. I had to accept that people have a very wide ranging sense of what ‘happiness’ is. And that perception isn’t really what I’m aiming towards. It’s not that I don’t want people to be happy! It just doesn’t really sum up what I do.
So I searched for what needed to change. There’s always something you can change. Ideally we change the situation. If we can’t change the situation we change our mindset towards the situation. Now, I can’t change people’s perception towards the word ‘happiness’. But I can change whether I use the word. So I had a good think about what I wanted from life and how I want to help other people feel. I quite like ‘content’, but I wanted something that feels a bit more fiery. I wanted a word that evokes a sense of achievement.
And satisfaction was the word.
So I’m now taking action. I’m creating a membership and a course to guide you towards living a satisfied life. And this is the big bit of A.C.T.S. It’s the bit that takes some time. It’s the work. And work shouldn’t be a dirty word. Work is progress. Work is development. Work is improvement. Work is satisfying.
So what is ‘satisfaction’?
For me, satisfaction is available to us every day. It’s about waking up in the morning feeling excited about the day ahead and invigorated about the challenges that may be before us. And going to bed at night being content that you have done everything you could to move towards your goals, and that you’ve lived the day in line with your values and purpose. It’s about feeling that life is good enough every day, and not ever feeling a desperation to escape from it.
All my external research and internal enquiry has lead me to believe that the satisfied life is something to strive for. But also that it is completely achievable. Sorry, Mick, you were wrong. You CAN get some satisfaction. It’s not permanent state of being (more on that next week!) But we should be experiencing satisfaction in our life more than dissatisfaction.