“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful. ”
– Mark Victor Hanse
Ever think “I will be happy when….I finish x, start x, do x, have kids, get married, get out of debt or they change…” What if the “I will get happy when” is a never ending ‘to do’ list? What if the only time to get happy, is to do it NOW. Do it when the divorce papers arrive. Do it when the child is born less than perfect. Do it when the company fails. Do it when you think it’s impossible to do it.
How? I had no idea. I couldn’t even imagine the possibility. I mostly only knew what I didn’t want. So I made a list of what I wanted, which sort of looked like this:
I want to be happy.
I want to have purpose.
I want to be a good mom.
I want to have a good marriage.
I want to be thankful for what I have (because I believed that would help bring me joy).
I want to be of service to others (because when I helped others I forgot about my unhappiness and it brought me joy).
What is your “I WANT” list? What would it look like?
Then I had a mantra that went something like this.
How does this thought help bring joy into my life? If the thought did not help bring joy into my life then I trained my mind to think about something I was thankful for. Sometimes I walked around the house calling out things I was thankful for. I may have looked crazy. Better to look it than to be it with crazy negative thoughts consciously and unconsciously running through my mind.
I did this a lot. It seemed just when I decided to be joyful (on the side of a mountain in 2009 while reading a book that radically changed my focus) the walls of my life caved in. It was one obstacle and challenge after the next. I clung to the mantra. I had doubts. Others doubted me. I was scared. I felt foolish at times; holding to the vision of being joyful in the midst of outward calamity and internal metamorphosis. It really didn’t seem like the convenient time to radically change!
I realized I didn’t have to wait for life to be perfect in order to be happy. That I didn’t have to be perfect in order to be happy. It was ok to make mistakes, and I could still be happy. It was ok if people saw the vulnerable, the scared, the fearful and the insecure side of me. People will make judgements. I will make judgments. I have learned the more fearful we are, the harsher the judgments will be. All the obstacles and mistakes are a part of my experience that brought me here.
“I certainly don’t regret my experiences because without them, I couldn’t imagine who or where I would be today. Life is an amazing gift to those who have overcome great obstacles, and attitude is everything! ”
– Sasha Azevedo, American actress, athlete and model who overcame epilepsy
The time for joy is NOW. Are you living in your joyful state? What is your attitude?