The Happiness Connection  

You are the creator

My mom and dad have an amazing neighbour who helps them with all sorts of things. Recently, he pruned the trees and bushes at the back of their house.

The result was a big pile of clippings that needed to be hauled off.

My mom told me about all the work that had been done and how much brighter it was in their house. She also expected the strata’s landscaping company to be a problem.

She anticipated there would be a fight to get them to haul the pile of branches away.

Her comments caught my attention for two reasons.

Setting an intention for what is going to happen, affects the outcome. If you assume something is going to be difficult, or result in a fight, there is a greater chance that it will.

Think about your attitude when you expect to have a problem, versus the times you think everything will happen effortlessly?

Your facial expressions are likely to be different.

Your tone invites the response you expect.

If you want life to be easier and more peaceful, consciously set an intention that everything will go smoothly, rather than with difficulty. Your brain will look for evidence to support your attitude, so choose wisely.

The other thought that came to mind revolves around attachment to outcomes. If I do this, you will react like this.

It exists on the assumption that we know what other people will do in specific situations.

This is what my mother did.

She wanted the clippings to be taken away and decided to put her mental energy into believing it had to be done by the landscape company, and it would require a fight to get them to do it.

If there is one thing I know about people, it is their unpredictability, especially if you don’t know them well.

Set your intention without deciding how everything should unfold. I’ve been working on this skill for the past year, so let me give you an example from my life.

Recently, I made a poor choice for internet security. I realized this quickly and set an intention to recoup my money. The outcome I wanted was to get a refund, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

With an attachment to the result, anything other than getting my money back would trigger negativity. Anger and frustration are both exhausting states to be in, especially for an extended period.

I can’t control what other people do, so I can’t manipulate outcomes that involve others. With a new let’s-see-what-happens approach, I chose an action and then waited to see the response before decided on my next step.

I don’t expect the best or the worst.

I hope to get at least some of my money refunded, but I recognize that might not happen. I’m letting the situation unfold, rather than thinking it’s my way or the highway and I’m trying not to dwell on it.

Does detaching from the outcome mean I want my money back any less?


Will it cause me to put less effort into my actions?


It does, however, save me from settling into a storm of negativity.

I am getting a lot of time to practise detachment. My communication with this company has been going on for almost three months without any resolution.

I’ll keep working on it, but who knows what the result will be.

In my Mom’s case, she could have saved herself a few days of worry if she had detached from believing she knew what the outcome would be.

As it turned out, they took the branches away without any problem.

I’m a fan of not crossing bridges until I need to. I’m learning to accept the possibility that there may be more than one bridge that will get me where I want to go.

You can’t prepare to cross a bridge until you know which one, you’ll be taking. It’s a little like playing chess. You can think about possible moves, but you can’t commit yourself until you see what your opponent does.

  • Set your intention
  • Accept that there is more than one way it can be achieved, or that it may not happen at all.
  • Decide on a first step and do it.
  • Wait to see what the result is before spending more mental energy on your next step.

I have found this practice challenging, but the peace it brings to my life is reward enough to make it a worthwhile struggle.

If you don’t like living in drama, releasing your attachment to specific outcomes could be just what you need to achieve more peace and ease.

As Doris Day sang:

"Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que sera sera."

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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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