Hello gang! This phrase, Progress = Happiness is something I learned at one of the Tony Robbins events I went to. I think a lot of people have an idea in their head, something to the tune of “wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to work?” “I could do fun things and travel more, and not worry about my job or money.” I agree, I think that would be a BLAST… for about 6 months. And then, my guess is, it would get boring. Stay with me here 😉
Why? I do think it would be nice to not have to worry/ think about money.. however I think we all need a job to do to be truly happy. That job could be many different things: corporate, having your own business, volunteering, raising children, projects around the house etc. the list goes on and on.
But as far as just traveling around and laying on the beach and drinking cocktails, that would be fun for a while, but wouldn’t be very fulfilling.
Think About Something You've Made Progress On...
Maybe it’s something you’re working on right now, or something you’ve worked on in the past. I’ll give you a current example from my life.
I decided to do this painting project, which I thought would be so clever. I would put painting tape all over the walls in a geometric pattern. Then I would paint the walls grey (in a certain way so the paint didn’t bleed under the tape… and also incidentally takes WAY more time). Then I would tape the outsides of the lines (which takes twice as much time as the first round) and then paint the lines gold.
I greatly underestimated the time this would take. At first I thought I could do it all in a day, haha. Just putting up the geometric pattern in tape took 10 hours. So far, there have been about 40 hours put into this project and it’s not done. Sounds incredibly frustrating doesn’t it? And sometimes it is.. like when it’s 11:00 pm on a weeknight after work and I’m still working on it.
However, at the same time, it’s incredibly REWARDING. Why? Because I’m making progress, and doing something cool, and I also think partly because I’m working with my hands.
Getting Into Flow
A neat perk of progress is it can help you get into flow. For more on what that is and how to get into it, check out this article. I’m sure you’ve felt this before. It’s when you are doing a task, but you’ve completely lost track of time. You are enjoying yourself, and are likely feeling creative. This happened to me when I was creating the geometric pattern on they walls. I like a new creative project, and I found that hours would pass by without me realizing it. If Scott stopped into the room to say hi it would startle me because I was so concentrated on what I was doing. Other tasks you may feel flow during could be: playing music, dancing, exercising, mowing the lawn, cooking, doing a puzzle, doing a wood working project, wrapping presents, etc there are endless possibilities.
Ok, What About When You Accomplish something... Then Are You Done?
Alright, let’s say you finished a giant project or accomplished a HUGE goal, how great do you feel? INCREDIBLE right?!
How long does that feeling last though? If you completed that project and then stopped working on other things, would you be content?
Here’s a personal example for me: When I graduated from chiropractic school. That was a huge accomplishment for me; 8 years of college, a doctorate degree, and I had also completed certifications in acupuncture and animal chiropractic. BIG MOMENT! I was elated!
Then about a month later I started to get restless, I was thinking, “What’s next?” Also, “Shouldn’t I feel happier about this?” I had thought, when I reached this point of graduation I would have this feeling like “I made it!” and that I would feel happy all the time…
But I wasn’t progressing on anything, I went on a trip to Thailand with my mom which was phenomenal! And as soon as I got home I was itching to start the next thing… which is when I started planning my business.
To Continue Being Happy, We Need to Continue With Progress
So in a nut shell, we need to be continually progressing on something to be happy. You can work on several different things at once, or maybe you prefer to do one thing at a time, but as long as you’re making progress you’ll feel better, even if it is sometimes frustrating!
This doesn’t mean you’ll be happy all the time. I think there’s an odd perception right now that people think they should be happy all the time. No one is happy constantly. Life involves lots of different emotions and situations. And as you’ve heard before, part of what makes happiness so wonderful is because you know what the alternative feels like.
Choosing to Live In A Beautiful State
This is another thing I learned from Tony Robbins. We can’t be happy all the time, but we can choose to live in a beautiful state (any of those good emotions: happy, silly, playful, fun, joyful, grateful, kind, loving etc.)
That sounds great, but what about when something happens that puts you in a non-beautiful state? You get in an argument or something doesn’t go the way you want or a big problem pops up. And suddenly you’re sad or angry or disappointed or frustrated or impatient or worried etc. What do you do?
When this happens to you, how long do you stay in that non-beautiful state? An hour, a half day, many days, a month? That doesn’t feel good, right?
Here’s what to start practicing (key word, practicing: this takes time and constant work to maintain, but it’s worth it!). When something sets you off into a non-beautiful state, acknowledge that emotion. And then try the 2 minute rule.
The 2 Minute Rule: A Way Into A Beautiful State
You’re allowed to feel that non-beautiful state for 2 minutes, but then try to get to a beautiful state. This takes time to accomplish, at first when you try to change your state in 2 min, maybe it’ll take an hour or two. But keep working at it, the time will keep getting shorter and shorter!
How do you get there? You can change one or more of these 3 things in the emotional triad. Also from Tony Robbins, you can read more about it here.
Language, Focus and Physiology.
Language: The words we choose are very powerful, if something doesn’t go well and your language to describe it is something like: “This is horrendous, it’s the WORST thing that could happen.” Or to describe the same thing you say “That was unexpected or a bit of a challenge.” Very different feel right?
Focus: I have a tank top from Tony Robbins that says, Where focus flows, energy goes. I love that quote. Pay attention to your focus, it’s important! Let’s say for example, I was supposed to teach a yoga class and they cancel last minute. I could go down this rabbit hole: What a waste of time, that’s two hours I could’ve been at my office seeing patients, I spent all this time driving for nothing, that’s going to throw off my whole day… etc..
Or I could have this focus: Well this is frustrating, however maybe I’m meant to do something else today, or maybe it will work out better at the rescheduled time, maybe there is a reason for this. (Side note, often when this has happened, I have ended up getting sick on the day I was supposed to teach or something will happen in my life that I need to address that day and the rescheduled day actually works much better). Not always, but often.
Physiology: Think about what your body feels like when you’re worried or pissed off or annoyed. Are you standing up straight, shoulders back, but relaxed? Doubt it, I bet you are slouching, or are clenching your fists or crossing your arms. How is your breathing? Long and slow? Probably not, more like short and shallow. What if you sat up straight, closed your eyes and took a few deep breaths, feel any better?
Another easy way to change your state with physiology is movement, put on a high energy song and dance around the living room or go get some exercise or take a walk. Music is very powerful for changing state, maybe put together a playlist of some songs that always make you feel better.
In Conclusion: Find Something To Work on! Start Making Some Progress 🙂
So if you’ve felt like you’ve been stuck in a rut or maybe you are feeling restless or unhappy or unfulfilled: start something! As soon as you start making progress you’ll start to feel better.
And like you’ve heard often: Enjoy the journey, because once you’ve finished, you’ll soon find you want to start the next thing. If you just enjoy the moment of accomplishment, your happiness will be fleeting. Celebrate the little things!!