Five Facets of a Happy Life (and the Thing that Makes it all Work)

1.  Joy: The ability to be at least a little amazed at every moment.  My dog taught me about joy.  For him, every instant is bursting with possibility, adventure, beauty and wonder.  You might find joy in the way objects are arranged, in the color of your surroundings or the sounds, or in the way your mind takes it all in.  No matter what happened to your last sale, this specific moment is always full of life.

2.  Peace: Which is the absence of strife, both external and internal.  Where Joy is mostly an attitude, a choice, a habit, Peace is a goal.  It’s something we work on every day.  We have to because strife and struggle are a very necessary part of life.  For most of us, Peace has a lot to do with flexibility, adaptability, the willingness to change direction and happily take plan B.  Peace and Trust go hand in glove because Trust is knowing you’re going to be ok no matter what happens.

3.  Productivity: The ability to get stuff done.  We are, by nature, do-ers, planners, builders.  We make things and organize things, we progress step by step through a series of tasks to achieve a goal.  We take pleasure in looking back and seeing what we’ve accomplished.  Productivity gets at doing good work, at being creative, at learning and growing.  And building.  What are you building today?

4.  Connectedness: To feel a kinship with other people.  My guess is the hermit lifestyle would make most of us pretty crazy.  We need each other, casually, constructively, and intimately.  Whether you are a person who is energized by contact and the more people, the better – or one who is a little overwhelmed by crowds, interaction with others like ourselves is one of the things that keeps us grounded and focused.

5.  Passion: The ability to be excited by something for a sustained period.  Passion can fuel all of the other Four Facets.  Passion drives us and makes us resiliant.  Our greatest rewards come when we bring our genuine passion to play.  That’s why it’s so important to know where our passions lie and to allow ourselves to explore and exercise them.

There is one thing that is a pre-requisite for all of this. It’s the one thing that has to be in place before we can push our potential anywhere.  It’s Health.  Joy, Peace, Productivity, Connectedness and Passion all take energy, and if you haven’t noticed, energy is a finite thing.  You and I only have so much of it.  We can increase the amount of energy we have for living by getting healthy. That means eating well, and exercising the body and the mind.

Often it’s small adjustments that pay off big in terms of Health.  I dropped my cholesterol 35 points in 90 days by simply  changing my breakfast routine.  (My doctor was delerious:  he wants to make me some kind of poster-boy.)  I have a friend who’s lost 10 pounds this year by changing very little in the quantity of what he eats.  He just quit eating mammals.  One of the women in my spinning class is off blood pressure medicine for the first time in decades because she spends an hour, three times a week, pedaling herself into a good, heart pounding sweat.

Whether you work to increase your store of energy or are content to work with what you’ve got, ultimately you’ll choose how you’ll spend this rare and valuable resource.  It is a choice not to be taken lightly.  Here’s hoping you choose to spend it on the big five:  Joy, Peace, Productivity, Connectedness and Passion.

One thought on “Five Facets of a Happy Life (and the Thing that Makes it all Work)”

  1. I just had a conversation with a friend about this. The hangup was over Trust. In the paragraph on ‘Peace,’ I said ‘Trust is knowing you’re going to be ok no matter what happens.’ My point – and what confused my friend – is that you can’t really Trust anyone but yourself. That doesn’t make other people – certainly not your friends and family – ‘bad.’ It just means you have no real control over anyone but yourself. With that as a Truth, it makes sense to stop worrying about whether you can trust anyone else. That’s about as relevant as worrying that you might be struck by lightning any minute! Instead, Trust yourself enough to know you’re going to be ok no matter what anyone else does.

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