Have you ever had an a-ha moment?

You know, a moment when suddenly little bits and pieces of life fall together and make you realize something?

I had one some years ago.

I was at work, in a good mood, smiling. I felt like I was in a bubble; a positive, happy bubble that allowed me to work easily and get things done.

I noticed that my mood, attitude and intention seemed to change the way things were happening and people were reacting around me.

One colleague seemed particularly stressed and in a bad, sighing and complaining mood. I knew what was coming: complainers come in, tell you their horrible story, complain and expect you to join in.

I was not going to have any of that.

I smiled. I kept hold of my happy mood. I listened.

And then I said “You know, I can feel that you are in a terrible situation and what happened really bothers you. If you cannot change the situation around, you can always change your attitude and reaction towards it. You decide whether this bothers you. You decide whether you complain or instead do something about it. You always have the choice.”

This colleague is one of the many I never really discuss anything other than work. And he first looked at me funny. Then he smiled and laughed and said “You know, you are right… It’s just that this and this happened and I have been through this and this…”. He still managed to continue his complaint thread.

“Calm down,” I said. ” breathe. Let it go. If you want to hold on to it, than that is your decision not the other person’s.” – Pause – “You’re right, you’re right.” he said and laughed, wandering back to his office – with a smile on his face.

Whether this smile was due to what I had said and made him realize, or whether he just thought it was weird and astonishing that I, who never had more than professional conversations with him, would all of a sudden give him personal advice, I don’t know. And I don’t mind either way. For either way is positive.

I still had my good mood and my smile and did not let myself get dragged into the complaining habit.

Many people rather complain than ask for what they want. Complaining keeps them in the problem rather than getting them towards the solution. They feel their ego increasing because they make someone or something wrong, hence elevating themselves to a higher, better level. It becomes a habit and a vicious circle.

So let me share what I learned from this a-ha moment: happiness is easier to attain when you have clarity, boundaries, systems that form a solid foundation. This is what I teach in my Create your Life workshops.

Here the most important happiness systems:

  1. Get up every morning saying “Today is going to be a great day.”
  2. Set powerful intentions (‘who to I want to BE’) for the year and for every day: I will be happy, inspiring, encouraging, creative etc today.
  3. Smile. It’s contagious (yes, people follow your energy). It creates an atmosphere. It makes a good impression. It is worth more than words. It’s a free facelift…If you are sad or angry, force your smile and it will start changing your mood.
  4. Decide to go complaint free. It is very difficult. But you can start by refusing to join in other people’s complaining. And ask yourself each time “Can I change this?” If the answer is yes, then change it. If the answer is no, then stop complaining about it for it’s not going to change.
  5. Be a radiator instead of a drain. Not the most common English language metaphor, but very much to the point here: be someone who radiates energy, dynamism, who is positive instead of someone who is negative, a drain on other people’s energy, always criticizing.
  6. Move instead of brood. Say you were humiliated. Will you let this control your life, will you brood endlessly and remain stuck in this moment or feeling? Or can you set it aside and keep moving towards something better? Sometimes this means physical moving your body (go for a walk or run, have a work out, do some yoga…)
  7. Watch your thoughts. No need to do anything about them Just be aware of them. And see how often they move to worry, fear, anxiety or negativity. Just notice them. And simply know, for now, that these negative thoughts make you drift away from your intention, your BE level.
  8. Watch your words. It’s similar to watching your thoughts. Except it’s out there.
    Words to watch out for are: never, always, but, should, hate and any negative words describing yourself (I’m not this or that, I am depressed, etc). And once you are aware of them, start deleting them or using other words or changing them around a bit. Say ‘and’ instead of ‘but’. Say ‘I could’ instead of ‘I should’. It changes everything!
  9. Stop living a life of quiet desperation
  10. Encourage others to be brilliant.
  11. Share your knowledge. Do not use ‘knowledge is power’ to justify a reluctance to share information because some form of advantage can be gained through the use or manipulation of knowledge. This seems to be a big issue at many workplaces. Start with giving information yourself and you will see that it is reciprocated.
  12. Have a positive influence on your colleagues.
  13. Talk about it before it gets too big and starts leading a life of its own. Sometimes problems that seem big are actually really small. It is our emotions that change our perception. Whenever a problem appears, tackle it right there and then. Talk about the feelings you have, encourage others to do the same. Bring in a mediator if emotions get too big.
  14. Change your perspective. By creating new perceptions, you can actually create new realities. When entering a situation or meeting a new person, you may have preconceived ideas or feelings. You may have the whole thing figured out already. Take note of this (don’t judge) and consciously change your perspective. Try to look at it from a completely different angle. Say you’re a homeless person. How would that change the situation or meeting this person?
  15. Don’t try to stop the negative. Just start doing and seeing the positive. We all have our negative thoughts and actions. We all have a tendency to complain, to not feel worthy. Instead of trying to change this negativism, try to focus on the good. This bad situation or problem may give you the opportunity to start something completely different. If you don’t feel worthy, start by looking at little things that are positive.
  16. Don’t judge too quickly. Many situations are not always what they seem at first glace.

Most folks are about as happy
as they make up their minds to be.” 

Abraham Lincoln