I’ve written about the beginning of this journey, which started a year ago (except of course, that it started long before that). In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about how my beliefs affect my experience, and the extent that I can *choose* to feel a particular way. Obviously, you can’t just push your “happy button” any more than you can push your “financial success button”. (If you know where those things are, please send me a message!) But the last year has been an experiment in how to choose financial success by making conscious choices, and by examining my unconscious choices.
In an unexpected parallel experience, I also found myself becoming more and more happy. There are some obvious reasons for that. (Being able to pay the water bill makes a person surprisingly happy when one hasn’t been able to do it in the past.) But I have a theory.
I think that making a conscious choice to be happy and to choose paths that seem likely to lead me toward more happiness will have unexpected side benefits. I think that if I choose happiness–actively and with intention–I’m going to find that interesting ripples spread out into my community, create a new level of physical resilience, and even further improve my financial situation. But, even if I’m wrong, I’ll probably be happier so I’m seeing this as a kind of win-win sort of experiment.
I had an acquaintance several years ago who was quite well-off financially. He was also quite young. He had made it his goal to make his first million dollars by the time he was 25. He said, “Making a million dollars is really easy. You just have to gauge every single decision you make through the filter of what choice is more likely to make more money. As long as that is your sole criteria for making decisions, you’ll have a million dollars in no time.” I find that story a little bitter-sweet, as I can’t imagine a life where that was my only criteria. I also like to balance things like going for walks in the woods, and having coffee with my husband, and enjoy craft night with my girlfriends. None of those things are choices that will make me more likely to be a millionaire, and I wonder how many of those things my acquaintance missed out on in his quest.
But that story has stuck with me ever since I heard it. And when I started thinking about consciously choosing happiness lately, I thought about that. I wondered, what would happen if I made every choice in my life based on what will bring me the most happiness? It’s hard to know sometimes what will make me most happy. Would I rather eat sushi for dinner tonight, or save that money towards our travel fund? Would I rather take on this overtime project, or work on my knitting? But it’s still an idea that got lodged in my head. How would my life look different after a year, if I spent that year really literally choosing happiness as best as I could?
What do you predict? Have you ever tried anything like this yourself?