How to Determine Your Level of Happiness

“The quality of your life is determined by how you feel at any given moment. How you feel is determined by how you interpret what is happening around you, not by the events themselves…” — Brian Tracy

It is interesting that many people determine how well their day is going by what is happening to or around them at any given moment. These people allow external things to determine how they feel as well as the quality of life they will enjoy. It seems comical now, but my Dad has a habit of saying, “Look what you’ve done, you’ve ruined my day.” I have now learned enough to know I do not have the power to ruin his day UNLESS he gives me that power. Little ole me ruined his day. Unknowingly or knowingly, he had given me control of how his day was going to turn out. Isn’t this what many of us have done, if not every day at least once in a while? Of course it is. We allow others or our surrounding circumstances to dictate how our life is going to turn out.

As you grow, you will find sophisticated people do not allow others to dictate the level of their happiness, their quality of life, or how it will be lived. As for unsophisticated people, let’s take a look at an example of how they allow others to affect their level of happiness: This particular unsophisticated person’s entire day is planned without an extra minute to spare. They are in a hurry to get ready for work and have been up for almost two hours finishing a presentation they are giving at the office this very morning. Prior to taking a shower they grab their electric shaver only to find out the battery is dead. They plug it in, but because the battery is so low, it will not turn on. In a panic they need an instruction manual. The only one they can think of is to go online to find it. After finding it, they read it will not run while being charged. In further panic they decide to use a razor in the shower winding up with a face full of white patches from the Kleenex pieces placed on each cut or nick.

The first shirt they put on gets blood on it so they look for another. After putting on the second shirt it is found to have a tear in the under arm and thus removed. A third shirt is found and put on, but while standing in front of the mirror it is seen have a stain on it. Eventually finding a wearable shirt, it is found the there is a need to change the slacks picked for the previous shirt. They look, but don’t find a pair that matches so, they have to pull a pair out of the hamper; this pair of pants requires ironing and Febreze. In a rush they finally make it out to the kitchen where their wife, all the while listening to their semi-quiet grumbling, offers to help get them some breakfast. They are short with her grabbing an apple and a protein bar as they grumble their way out into the garage. It is there they find one of the tires on their SUV is flat. Flabbergasted and throwing a tantrum, which their wife hears; she stays indoors so as not to become the sink hole for her spouse’s anger. They take off their shirt to begin the process of replacing the flat tire.

It is during this process they find that removal of the spare tire requires an engineer’s expertise. They consult the manual, which has directions and pictures, thank goodness, because reading will take too long. They are looking at pictures as they move around the vehicle trying to find a place that looks like the picture; it is the last place they look. Once the ‘hidden cover’ is removed, they see a bunch of pieces held in place by funny shaped piece of metal with a hole in it; a threaded bolt sticking out and a plastic coated yellow wing nut. This entire conglomeration has to be taken apart first in order to get the tool needed to remove the spare tire out from under the vehicle. To make a long story short, they finally get all of the pieces out, let down the spare tire, jack up the vehicle and replace the tire. They then are going to put these tools back in their prospective place, but after looking at it for several minutes you throw it all in the back and close the hatch.

During the middle of all this it is realized they will be late so they call the office telling the receptionist they are running behind and give her a few of the reasons, expecting some sympathy. They don’t get much as the boss has already asked her if you have arrived and are setting up your presentation. The meeting is very important with one of the company’s major clients attending. They go back into the house to tell their wife she has to take them to work. She is quiet, but then tells of all her important, impending appointments. The only obvious response is to make the comment that nothing can be as important as what you are doing. Being flustered, they go back out and finish the job, but now have to clean themselves up due to being greasy and sweaty. They finally reach the office 35 minutes late. The clients are not happy, the boss is not happy; no one is happy. THEIR DAY HAS BEEN RUINED…

Surely, something similar has happened to you. You may think this to be the exception to the rule, but it does happen. How you responded to each and every unfortunate situation will determine the overall outcome, not only of how your day started or, how your presentation turned out, but how your day ended. It all starts with your response, for how you have been responding to what has been going on around you is the determining factor for how things are going to turn out. For example, if you want Murphy of Murphy’s Law to get involved then simply put things off to the last minute. What you will find is things will usually not work in your favor. First of all you waited until the final morning to finish your presentation. Secondly, your electric shaver had been beeping at you the last several times you used it, but you didn’t plug it in. Thirdly, you didn’t set out clothes the night before. Fourthly, you were already behind the eight ball when you entered your garage so Murphy simply saw to it that you had one more obstacle to overcome just to get your day started.

Had you trained yourself how to interpret the events happening around you then what was happening and why, wouldn’t have been such a surprise? You would not have been angry or disappointed at anyone with the exception of yourself. You could have laughed at it knowing why it happened then used it as an opportunity to turn things around to your favor by your response. With this attitude, you would be able to laugh at Murphy, be grateful for your wife, and not make excuses to the receptionist about showing up late. You could also have made a joke about yourself and the events of the morning, which would have helped to get those in attendance of your meeting to laugh at and with you. This would have endeared them to you while you shared with them your fantastic presentation. In order to do this we sometimes have to change the prescription of our glasses so we can begin to see the opportunities in situations rather than only the down side. We must learn to discipline ourselves so that events no longer dictate the level of our happiness or quality of life.

More importantly, we must learn to live by a TWO key rules:

Rule 1: Don’t blame the event, blame your response. Stop blaming others when procrastination has put you in the current situation.

Rule 2: Life is TEN percent what happens to you and NINETY percent your response.

It is easier to live by rule number two when you understand AND follow rule number one. Give it a try…

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…

Respectfully,

Rick Cox