Shift your mindset: Happiness in the pursuit vs. the pursuit of happiness

October 5, 2022

Shift your mindset: Happiness in the pursuit vs. the pursuit of happiness

“It’s curious to me that we have laws in place to make sure no one infringes upon our right to happiness, yet we are so often a willing impediment to our own enjoyment of life.” — Steve Rizzo

Are you happy? Often, we think that we can only be happy once we’ve obtained a big goal: “Once I got that promotion,” “After I’ve bought/built a house,” “Once I make a seven-figure bottom line, …then I’ll be happy.”

While that may be true, achieving something truly is something to be happy about and celebrate, but often, what we feel is a temporary sense of relief. We think, “Now that grind is over. I can relax.” But then, we start feeling antsy, looking for the next fix.

Or we start to see more problems propping up because of the thing we achieved. Suddenly your workloads are more demanding after getting the promotion, now that you have the house you have to maintain it and that also costs a lot, and you need to keep grinding to maintain that seven-figure bottom line.

When we attach our happiness to our achievements, happiness starts to feel fleeting.

Some people believe that if you are enjoying the job you are doing, you are doing it wrong. Or you are being complacent. Or lazy. And that’s not true at all. We keep putting off our happiness for later, for when things are over, because we believe that in order to achieve something that has meaning, we have to suffer for it.

Challenges are part of growth. And it will hurt. But the pain you feel in overcoming challenges doesn’t have to “make you suffer.” There’s no harm in enjoying a good challenge the way you would enjoy solving a difficult puzzle or doing a hard workout routine. There’s no reason why we can’t find joy in the now, or in the doing.

Steve Rizzo puts it beautifully in his 2019 Success magazine article when he defined what enjoying the processis: 

“Let me quickly define for you what I mean when I refer to “the process.” It’s not just the steps you take in a direct effort to achieve a particular goal, but it is your life in its entirety. This means all daily activities that make up your life—whether picking up your dry cleaning, shopping for food, feeding the baby or taking a nap. In other words, “the process” is your life.”

Instead of “pursuing happiness” we need to shift our mindsets and find happiness in the pursuit.

How can we go about this shift in mindset? I believe it is due to the change in our daily routines. Do the routines you have reflect how you want to live your life and what’s important to you? Are your routines revolving around bettering yourself? Or do you just let yourself react to things that come your way, instead of actively shaping where you want to go and who you want to be along the way?

We’ve heard a thousand times that the morning routine is important. But I believe that your evening routine is just as crucial to your success. I talk about routines all the time, and over the years of testing out several routines to see what works and what fits, I’ve come up with two sets of routines: one for the morning, and one for the evening.

For those of you who know me, I love acronyms, so of course, I made an acronym for both sets of routines as well.

My acronym for morning routines is MARVEL. It stands for:

M - Meditate/Pray

A - Affirmations

R - Record your previous day

V - Visualize

E - Exercise

L - Learn/Read/Listen

Most people see this and think, “That’s a lot. I don’t have time in the mornings to do all that.” But you can go through this whole routine in just 10 minutes. The important thing is to start your day being mindful and intentional of how you want your day to go, and how you want to feel throughout the day. 

A little bit of reflection, with a well-rested mind, on yesterday’s accomplishments and room for improvement also helps you feel better about what you’ve done, identify what you can prioritize today, and how you can be better than who you were yesterday.

For my evening routine, I used the acronym PREPARE:

P - Plan for tomorrow

R - Review what happened today

E - Exercise

P - Practice Gratitude

A - Affirmation

R - Reflect on your actions

E - Embrace the night

While the events of the day and how you felt are still fresh in your mind, take some time to write them down. Or if you are the type to use voice memos, record what happened during the day. How did you feel? What would you have done differently? What did you do well that you’d like to repeat and reinforce?

What are things that you are grateful for? This exercise is very powerful, especially when you are having a rough day.

And the most important part of this routine is to embrace the night. The day is over. You have your hits and misses. You’ve already done all you can for the day. It is time to rest fully and be fully present and mindful in resting and restoring yourself.

The more you do these exercises, in a way that looks for the happiness in both the things you did right and the mistakes you made, the more your attitude towards the everyday things in life will change. Instead of seeing happiness as an end goal, you start appreciating things to be happy about in the journey.

And the journey, at the end of the day, is what really matters. 

Thanks for reading A Brilliant Tribe.