Marcus Buckingham's articles in the Huffington Post keep reverberating with me. As a psychologist, he is concerned with women's happiness (dear to all our hearts!) and has written that women today are less happy than they have ever been, and worse, are increasingly unhappy.
To test yourself as he tested many thousands of women, answer these questions (answer below):
1. How often do you get to do things you really like to do?
2. How often do you find yourself actively looking forward to the day ahead?
3. How often do you get so involved in what you're doing you lose track of time?
4. How often do you feel invigorated at the end of a long, busy day?
5. How often do you feel an emotional high in your life?
"Women who could answer positively to the questions above had, on some level, simply decided that they were going to be happy. They made that choice." He has the prescription for "those of you reading this and thinking "I can be happier. I want to be happier in my life."
1. "Focus on moments, more than goals, plans or dreams."
These strongly positive moments he calls "strong moments." "When you do experience a strong-moment, it is authentic. It is true...you know how a specific moment made you feel...Whatever you are picturing, it will be a vivid, detailed moment, and as you think about it now, you feel yourself change...This moment, and the emotions you feel as you relive it in your mind, is you, in truth."
2. Accept your strong-moments.
Accept "which moments strengthen you and which don't reveals to you exactly how you can live out your dreams, whether at home or at work."
3. Strive for imbalance.
"Balance is the wrong life goal" Buckingham says to "pinpoint the strong-moments in each aspect of your life and then gradually target or tilt your life toward them. This means being as deliberate as you can about making them happen. It means investigating them when they do happen, looking at them from new perspectives, and celebrating them. Above all, it means giving them the power of your attention."
4. Learn to say "yes"
To a full, if imbalanced life.
Take the strong test at the sidebar, and check out his articles and books, "Now, Discover Your Strengths" and "First, Break All The Rules."
Turns out, I am a "Creator." A lot of this could be true of me (and many I know). It says my best quality is my "ability to find patterns invisible to others" (and I thought mathematicians like my friends are paid to do that!) Find time to be by yourself (I am very good at that.) The test cautions to "Be careful: Don’t think so long, you never do anything" (which might explain my total lack of productivity, even as far as answering mysterious email messages are concerned) and calls, my "smartest career move: Any job where you’re paid to produce new content." which might happen in the future, although it hasn't happened yet with this blog. I'm okay with that. I do already have lots of strong-moments. Guess that makes me happy.
What about you? It's a fun test to try.