How many times have you thought to yourself:
If only I had…
I would be happier if I was just a little more…
Things will be better once…
With more support, I could…
It’s okay, we’ve all had those thoughts. And if I had to guess, I would say that all those thoughts got us to the same place: a place of unmet expectations, disappointment, and discouragement.
Because here’s the thing: living for the future, waiting for someone’s help, or believing you can’t change until something miraculous happens? That’s (1) no way to live, (2) not going to do you any good, and (3) unnecessary, because you already have everything you need to live the life you want.
(record scratch) Wait, what? You already have everything you need to live the life you want?
Yes, as a matter of fact, you do.
How can that be true? We’ve all had those moments when we feel like happiness is just out of reach. If we had more money, more help, more education, a better computer, a bigger house, a nicer car, a fancier wardrobe, a better job—then happiness would be easy, right?
Maybe. Or maybe not.
But you know what is true? That if we had a different mindset, a better attitude, more perspective, more confidence, more openness, more love—then happiness wouldn’t only be easy to find; it would be impossible to get rid of. (And no, I’m not the only one who thinks so. Watch this TED Talk to learn more about where happiness really comes from.)
And here’s more good news: you are already capable of having all those things. Today. Right now. Always.
You have what you need to live the life you want.
You have support.
No man is an island. You are never alone. There is always someone in your corner, ready to buoy you up, give you a pep talk, and get you back in the ring. Whether it’s family, friends, coworkers, a romantic partner, a therapist, a religious leader, a teacher, or a support hotline, there is always someone you can reach out to when you need support.
What can your support system do for you? They can encourage, inspire, and uplift you. They can provide you with resources, ideas, energy drinks, or funny YouTube videos that will keep you going. Your people can help you be happier, healthier, and more capable.
And they’re already there. These people are already in your life. The relationships are already in place. The support is already there. You just have to learn to not take it for granted so you can use it to live your best life.
Quick tip: The most powerful support systems go both ways. The people that you support will be more willing to support you. Do your part to build and strengthen relationships, and your support system will be more clear and more helpful.
You have power.
“Power” is sometimes a word we reserve for superheroes, but believe it or not, we regular humans have power, too.
We have the power to choose our actions. Of course, we don’t always have the power to choose the consequences (which is why some actions will land you in jail), but we do have the power to choose how to act.
We have power over our thoughts. You can choose what to think, and what not to think. You can choose how to respond to certain thoughts—to embrace some, and to reject others. When you control your thoughts like this, it is possible to choose happiness, regardless of circumstances.
With power over your thoughts and actions, you have power over yourself, your life, and your destiny. You can effectively create the reality you want to create. This power is yours, and can never be taken away from you.
Quick tip: Write an affirmation that reminds you of your power to shape and control your life. Repeat it to yourself every day.
You have resources.
Never in the history of the world have humans had access to so many resources that can help them live the lives they want to live. All you have to do is pull out your phone to have millions and millions of resources at your fingertips.
With these resources in hand (literally), you have another thing you need to live the life you want. You have information. You could learn anything you wanted to learn, see anything you wanted to see, become anything you wanted to become.
Beyond the Internet, other resources are available to you, too. Different ways to travel, millions of books on any subject you can think of, access to classes at your local community college. These resources have not always been available to everyone, but they are available to you. They’re already yours.
Quick tip: What’s one resource readily available to you that you aren’t using? Why aren’t you using it? Try to find a way to apply that resource to your life in order to help you “create happy.”
You have strength.
Let’s face it: life is tough. Everyone has faced something difficult at one point or another. But if you’re reading this, you’re still here. You haven’t given up. And that makes you strong.
I believe that we all have some strength inside us. Not the kind of strength that lets you do 100 pushups or run marathons, but that kind of strength that means that you could do 100 pushups or run marathons, if you wanted to. It’s a mental strength, something that inspires you and keeps you going when things get hard.
Whether you regularly recognize it or not, it’s there inside you. It’s just another thing you already have that can help you live the life you want.
Quick tip: Recognize your strength. Think of a time you surprised yourself when you stepped up to a challenge you weren’t sure you could face. Give yourself credit. You deserve it.
You have wisdom.
Everything that you’ve experienced in your life has taught you something. Everything. From what you learned about peer pressure in high school, to what you’ve learned about packing for a trip, to what you’ve learned about parenting—there are lessons everywhere. And those lessons have given you some measure of wisdom.
No, I don’t expect you to be able to wax philosophical in every conversation you have, or to become the person everyone turns to for advice. You don’t have to know everything (in fact, I can guarantee you never will). But you have wisdom. You have what you’ve learned from the experiences you’ve had. You’re equipped to not only live according to that wisdom, but to pass it on to others, should the occasion arise.
Your experiences have already given you more of what you need to live the life you want.
Quick tip: Track the lessons you learn on a daily basis. Look for patterns. Be on the lookout for moments when you’re able to apply those lessons to a future situation. Draw the connection. Let your past lessons serve your future self.
You have dreams.
To dream is human. When you have dreams, you have an important ingredient in the recipe for happiness. Knowing what you want is vital to being able to go after it.
Your dreams might not always be clear to you, and that’s okay. The important thing is that they’re there, and as long as you feel a longing toward something better, then trust me—they’re there.
Let yourself dream. Allow yourself to imagine a future life that you love. Let your dreams become your ultimate motivators. They can and will empower you to “create happy” in your life.
Quick tip: Be more deliberate about recognizing and stating your dreams. Share your dreams with a trusted friend. Create a vision board that allows you to visualize the future you dream of. Remind yourself of your dreams when things feel hard or scary.
You have creativity.
Because I work in a creative field, I’ve heard many (many) people say, “Oh, I’m not creative.” It’s hard for me to not call them out on it, because the truth is, everyone is creative, at least to some extent. Creativity is like a muscle we all have: it’s naturally stronger in some people, but anyone can stretch or strengthen it if they want to.
You are capable of coming up with creative solutions to your problems. You are capable of breaking the status quo. If you want something to change, you can change it. If you want to create something, you can create it.
You can, you can, you can.
Quick tip: Find a way that creativity manifests itself in your daily life. If you can’t come up with anything, deliberately make creativity part of your day. Even simple activities like coloring or cooking can start to stretch your creative muscles.
You have an inner dragon.
We all have an inner dragon inside of us. It’s the part of us that will fight for things we believe in, stand up for causes we want to defend, and apply fierce creativity to help us achieve our dreams. It’s the thing that helps us create magic, positive change, and happiness.
Many of us keep our inner dragons locked up (usually out of fear). Maybe your inner dragon has been locked up for so long that you’ve forgotten it’s there. But it is there. If you can learn to unleash it, you’ll have a powerful ally in your quest to “create happy.”
Quick tip: When has your inner dragon motivated your thoughts or your actions? What did it feel like? Why do you think your inner dragon came out at that moment? How do you think you could unleash your inner dragon more often?
None of these things is something you don’t already have. You have it all. You have what you need to live the life you want. As long as you can recognize that, and apply these tools in the right ways, you can “create happy” in your life, immediately, consistently, and completely.
Use what you have. Live the life you want. You can. I promise.
Live the life you want, with Design.org.
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