The Happiness Connection  

Assume power position

Ten weeks ago, I wrote an article called Finding Your Sweet Spot.

It addressed the idea that it isn’t what happens to you that determines how happy you feel, it is how you react to the things that happen to you.

Happiness is a choice and if you want to be happy, you should choose to view your circumstances in a positive light.

For anyone who missed my April 16 column, let me give you a quick recap.

I shared the sad story of the death of my iPad.

Because my iPad had been struggling to work properly for some time, my husband had offered to buy me a new one for my birthday. I liked that idea, and babied my ailing one along, hoping it would last until June.

Sadly, it stopped functioning 67 days before my birthday.

I was distraught, and sure that I couldn’t manage without it.

My first thought was, ‘How can this happen to me?’

Rather than staying in that place, and wallowing in my grief, I took control of the situation. I wasn’t powerless. I had choices.

  • I could get my birthday gift early – although I prefer to get my gifts on the day.
  • I could wait 67 days and get my present on my birthday.
  • I could be in a bad mood until my new iPad appeared, whenever that might be.

I went for option two, and chose to view the unfortunate circumstance as an opportunity to try something new. If my children could manage with just a phone, then so could I.

That’s where the column stopped, but because hearing a story that doesn’t have an ending is very unsatisfactory, I am going to share the final chapter of my iPad tale.

I was convinced the love for my iPad would never wane, so I began to look for a replacement, immediately. I found, and purchased one, brought it home and put it on my bookshelf where I looked at it daily.

Although I was tempted on several occasions to give in to my longing, and rip open the package, I stayed strong. I didn’t open the box until my birthday, which was on Wednesday.

Was I happy for those 67 days? I wasn’t happy about not having a tablet, but I also wasn’t unhappy about it. I viewed the situation as an experiment, a time to try something new.

Let me share what I learned during those 67 days.

Knowing that I was the owner of my decision made it easier to accept.

If my husband had told me I had to wait until my birthday for a new iPad, I may have been more negative and resentful about the situation. I mention this, not because my husband is likely to say that to me, but because this is something that parents often do.

It is important for everyone, including children, to be given a level of control over decisions that directly affect them. Decision making takes practice. Start small when they are small, and let the importance of their decisions grow as your offspring do.

They are likely to feel less resentful about a tough decision, if they make the choice, rather than you.

It was comforting to know that I could change my mind if I wanted to.

Knowing your decisions can be changed, or tweaked gives a level of comfort to the situation. It isn’t always possible to change your mind, but it is almost always possible to course correct if you feel your initial decision is no longer serving you.

Having this knowledge is especially good in the early days of decision making.

This challenge gave me an opportunity to discover if my belief that I needed a tablet was true or not.

There are times when we hold a belief that may have been true at one point, but is no longer the case.

I believed that I couldn’t live without an iPad. I proved to myself that I can, but I also discovered that I have needs that cannot be met with a cell phone alone.

I’m not just the owner of a tablet because I want to look like a tech nerd, I have one because the big screen is advantageous for my aging eyes.

Anticipation is agonizing, but it made the moment of receipt so much sweeter.

I haven’t looked forward to a birthday this much in decades. It was a special day, because I knew the wait would end. I appreciate my iPad more now than I would have if I hadn’t seen what life was like without it.

I developed some new and improved habits.

I used to tell people that if they phoned my cell when I was home, I probably wouldn’t answer, because it would be downstairs in my purse, and I wouldn’t hear it.

Things have changed.

I am used to carrying my phone with me wherever I go. This not only makes me look trendy and younger, it means I am quicker about communicating with people. Because this is the primary communication tool for my business, that’s a good thing.

There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment to boost your positive well-being. That’s how I felt at the end of this experiment.

Don’t let challenging circumstances knock you off your perch of happiness. Once they strike, dust yourself off and take charge. List all the possible ways you can deal with a difficult situation, and then choose the one that makes the most sense for you.

Assume the position of power. After all, it is your life.

More The Happiness Connection articles

About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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