Have you ever thought about what really makes you happy?
Not what other people do to make you happy, or how many likes and comments you’ve gotten on your last social media posts, but what do you need to do to make sure you’re reaching your genuine happiness?
I’m creeping up into my mid twenties, and I’m still pretty sure I have myself 55% figured out, if that. And not in the “I’m having a quarter life crises, somebody help me,” kind of a way, but in the way that I’ve acknowledged that there are so many things that I still don’t know about myself, I’m still unsure of everything I love doing, and definitely need to discover a hell of a lot more of things that I’m not even sure I like doing. The fact is, I’m open to discovering new things about myself, all in the quest to achieve self actualization, in other words, I’m ready to discover how to better achieve my full potential and feel great about it.
Despite being an entrepreneur, I spend a lot of my time doing things I need to do, which takes away from the hours I could be spending trying out new things out and keep learning about myself. Of course, there’s always time to do things you want to do, but what if you don’t know what that is?
Exactly, this ish gets complicated.
The overwhelming truth, is that in 2017, passion can be found in hula hooping, acrobatic dancing, or even writing on a typewriter. With so many options, the feeling of discouragement, and anxiety is greater than ever. Shoot, my whole life, I feel like I was trying to find “that thing” I loved and felt like I could do for the rest of my life, my one true talent. In my younger mind, there was never a win-win because I never discovered my one thing. I compared my raspy voice to that of my talented sister’s, no one responded, I compared my chicken scratch drawings to my brother’s eloquent art pieces, no luck there either. I was always trying to chase my happiness based on the idea that I needed one talent that set me apart from other people, until I realized my happiness can never come from just one thing.
The road to my happiness has always been way more complex than that.
Jo circa 2010 at a ripe 17 years of age with a driven mentality, but so much more growing to do. Not much has changed, while other things have completely transformed.
I look back at my early teens and my college years, and I was like an octopus, getting my tentacles on everything I could, to see what I didn’t like. I was following advice given to me by mentors, which was, “finding out what you don’t like is even more important than finding out what you do like.” While this is a way to approach the overwhelming wall of, “WTF do I want to spend the years of my life doing to be happy?”
It’s not the only option.
What’s been helpful to me to distinguish my five factors to happiness has been doing a series of things that I naturally want to do, and identify common themes with all of those things. Something obvious that’s always stuck has been writing. I’ve written since the age of six; ever since I learned how to speak and write in English. I’ve written about lovers, about career moves, about friendships in the making, etc. All those stories live in journals for my eyes only, so no one else could tell me that I’m a writer by nature, I had to figure it out my damn self.
What it boils down to is thinking about the five things that you naturally need in life to be successful, and finding activities that have variations of those five things to keep near you at all times.
For instance, my five factors to happiness are:
1. Conversations and experiences with interesting people
2. Writing and documenting those experiences, keeping the memories
3. Fighting for the freedom to travel, make a living out of it, and never have to clock into a job
4. Working out and being active to mark moments in my life with sweat stains
5. Home life, stability, friendships, loyalty to things
Ok, the last one might be a run on, but the point is, amidst my crazy passions, without my friends, family, loved ones, and a healthy dosage of loyalty, I turn to dust and blow away with the wind.
Going into this new year, and having just landed in Los Angeles with fresh eyes, I’m determined to make 2017 the year of doing things that bring me closer to the five factors that make me happy. I admit, 2016 was awesome, but not by my effort. I felt like I was coasting along with the growth of the show, I worked, I worked out, but I didn’t network, and I fell apart half the time. I wasn’t miserable, but I definitely wasn’t ecstatic. As someone who’s addicted to living, I clearly went into withdrawal from leading a life filled with experiences with other people, so the success didn’t taste as sweet.
Why you ask? Because I simply wasn’t making an effort to find activities that would help me meet interesting new friends. I came to LA with a closed off perspective – I’m here to work, grow the channel and blog, be an entrepreneur. All of which we did, but the happiness meter wasn’t where it could’ve been because I cut out the top thing that makes my world go round, and that’s people.
Long spiel short, I encourage you to think about the five factors that keep you feeling balanced. There are always at least five things that you need to do to hit a reset on your attitude when cynicism, depression, and funk start to set in. Once you identify those factors, make sure you’re making an effort to keep them in your daily routines, and I’m positive you’ll be happier in the long run.