The Happiness Connection  

Taking the first step

This week marks a milestone in my career as a columnist for Castanet. It was one year ago this week, that my first article was published.

Adults learn by taking time to reflect, not by acquiring information. New knowledge is great, but the learning happens in the reflection.

Before sitting down to write this week, I spent some time contemplating my columnist experiences. What had I learned?

If you decide to take a new first step, don’t worry about what the last step will look like

I considered the editor’s offer of joining the columnist team for a little while before I said yes. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to share my message with the world, but this was a new experience, and it took me some time to take the plunge.

I decided I should have an exit strategy before agreeing to write weekly. How long would I commit for, and would it be a problem if I didn’t want to continue?

I wanted to know my last step, before I took my first one.

I thought I had learned not to do this, but I guess not. I have spent more time than I care to admit trying to figure out stuff that may never need to be figured out.

Let me give you an example.

When the Harry Potter phenomena started, I decided to get the audio cassettes as birthday and Christmas presents for my children. Great idea, but it also left me in a quandary. I didn’t know who to give them to.

I was sure they would both want them when they moved away from home. Should I give them all to one child, split them, or give them jointly?

If my kids were close to leaving home, that might have been a worthwhile consideration, but they were still in single digit years. I imagine you have the same look on your face now, as the friend I mentioned my conundrum to 20 years ago.

Her look was backed up by her words, “Are you crazy?”

Those audio tapes have been long discarded in favour of CDs and audio files. I didn’t need to figure out the last step before taking the first one.

That last step never happened.

It is important to live in the moment when you take those first few new steps. Leave the future and the problems it may, or may not contain, for another day.

Say yes to new experiences

This is a skill that some people find easier than others. Your comfort level with new experiences is unique to you, but regardless of what it is, everyone has opportunities to try something new. That might be going to the local coffee shop by yourself, or doing a parachute jump.

It doesn’t matter.

The more you try new things, the less thought and energy you need to expend to make yourself say yes.

I challenge you to commit to saying yes to new experiences as they arise. You will never know what magic they may hold unless you give them a chance.

I don’t need to reach the most readers, I just need to reach the right readers

I lived in blissful ignorance of whether my column was being clicked on or not until the editor drew my attention to it by saying my column was doing well that week.

How did he know that?

Comparing yourself to other people is not a good practice if you want to be happy, but once I knew I could see the click rate for the articles, I couldn’t ignore them.

Being the column that follows the horoscopes could be very disheartening if I didn’t work hard to avoid the comparison game. Heather Zais usually gets three of four times the number of clicks I do.

Whenever I get sucked into looking at the numbers, I remind myself that I don’t want my words to be read just for the sake of another number on my click count.

I want the people who are drawn to my message to find it.

If one person finds wisdom in what I have to say, then my effort has been worth it.

Whether you are one of my regular readers or this is your first time clicking on one of my articles, I want to say thank you.

I am grateful you have chosen to read my words, and I appreciate those of you who have reached out to me with your own experiences, and reactions.

Thank you, Ross Freake, for inviting me to contribute a weekly column. I’m glad I took that first step.

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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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