The Happiness Connection  

Key to freedom's door

Do you value freedom?

Whether you answer yes or no may well depend on what freedom means to you?

I love having the freedom to make my own decisions and follow my own path. I don’t need to be free from commitment or routine, as long as they are routines and commitments I have chosen.

It also explains why being micro-managed is a definition of hell for me.

I expect I am not alone.

Autonomy, or being in control of your life, is one of the three elements of motivation, and has been proven to be an essential component of happiness.

Being able to make your own choices and decisions sounds great, but autonomy does not exist in isolation.

If you are in control of your life, you must also be responsible for it.

Responsibility and autonomy are partners. When one rises, so does the other.

If one falls, you can be sure the other will do the same.

For example, if you have a boss who watches over your shoulder to make sure you are doing things the way she wants you to, you will feel less responsible for your work.

You won’t worry as much about doing it to your highest standard, as you know she will check it, and change it if you didn’t do it the way she wanted.

However, if your supervisor ensures you understand what is expected and then leaves you to complete the task in whatever way suits you best, you will naturally feel it is up to you to get the work completed successfully.

If mistakes are made, or changes are necessary, you are more likely to feel it is up to you to get things fixed.

This can be useful to know as the holiday season approaches. You may be feeling overwhelmed because too much responsibility falls on your shoulders.

When this happens, pass some of the tasks to others.

When my children were young, Christmas shopping, cooking, cleaning, entertaining, decorating, communicating, and everything else fell on my shoulders. My husband helped, but I was responsible for making sure everything got done.

It wasn’t until I got wise enough to pass off both the tasks and the responsibilities that my load began to lighten.

The cleaning might be less thorough, and some people may not receive Christmas cards, but I now hand off tasks along with their corresponding autonomy and responsibility.

Once they are given to someone else, I stop worrying about them.

This is easier said than done, but, with practice, you can learn to do it.

I believe this is important for leaders, employers, and parents to realize. If you want anyone to take responsibility, you must also be willing to let them take control.

They need to own their decisions rather than do what you tell them to do.

If you take control of anyone’s actions you should also expect to take responsibility for them.

Accepting responsibility is a vital part of living a happy life. Help others do this by handing them a greater level of autonomy and remember with every mistake comes an opportunity to learn.

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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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