July 2019: Being Happy is Not a One Size Fits All Approach

Introduction

This blog is much later in the month than I had planned, mainly due to my recent holiday in Greece. There, I visited the islands of Mykonos, Paros, Ios and Santorini: amazingly beautiful islands that I would highly recommend.

Whilst there, I took part in a range of activities such as sight-seeing, kayaking, sampling the local night life, sunbathing and much more. For me it was a challenge to keep to a vegan diet, and in a lot of instances, I had to opt for vegetarian meals instead.

I spent quite a lot of time reading, either by the pool or by the sea, something I love doing. I could see many people pursuing a variety of activities too and clearly enjoying themselves, which brings me onto today’s topic: being happy is not a one size fits all approach.

Today I am going to talk about how happiness affects us all in different ways, in the goals that we have and in the ways in which we choose to enjoy ourselves and to relax. Then I will suggest how we should not necessarily follow what others think we should do to be happy.

 

 

Different people find happiness in different ways

Do we all want to be lawyers? No.

Do we all want to be builders? No.

Do we all want to be professional athletes? No.

You can probably get my drift from this…

If you asked a bunch of young kids what they want to be when they are older, you would probably get a dozen different answers. They would all have different ambitions. Everyone is different (although obviously some may want to work in similar areas).

It is vital to find what is important to you and what makes YOU happy. Unfortunately, as we get older, a common tendency is to slip into some ‘safe’ career path that we think may be good for us as it’s a safer option. What may have been once was our dream, may no longer be realistic. What makes you happy though, is not going to be the necessarily easy or safe route, but it may be the right one for you.

The ‘what you want’ and ‘why you want it’, should be personal to you. Not because it’s what we think would look good in front of others, not because a friend or family member has that job and not because it might make you ‘rich and famous’. What you want should be personal to you, and for your own happiness.

For instance, in my case, I like to write, not because there could be potential money involved (there are plenty of careers for that) but because I love to express myself through fiction or non-fiction and share what I feel with others. This makes me happy. This is different from other people whom I know, such as those who are teachers and who genuinely love to help young individuals to develop (or various other reasons for teaching).

Think about the underlying reason you want to do something and why it makes you happy before you start pursuing it. If you are doing something and realise it’s not what makes you happy, stop and think why. You can always change. Do it for you.

 

 

Different people relax in different ways

Going back to my introduction about being on holiday, different people find different ways to enjoy themselves or to relax. For example, different people like different types of holiday. Some people may just like to lie on the beach, some may like sight- seeing, some like hiking, some may like to party all day long, and some may like to do a mixture of the above or other activities. We are all different.

This does not just apply to going on holiday but perhaps to weekends or weekday evenings too (or to your free time depending when you work). Take my favourite for example, which is to go out on a Saturday night and socialise, whereas some people may prefer to chill in front of the TV, read a book, go out for a meal or something else. Once more, there is no one size fits all. You should not worry if what someone else likes doing on a Saturday night, doesn’t feel right for you; we are all different. Yes, if you are in a relationship or good mates with someone, you may have to make some compromise, but when you can, do what feels good for you.

My form of relaxation, for example, may feel like ‘work’ for some. I’m not generally good at sitting around watching TV; instead I like to read personal development books, go for long walks or do a bit of cardio exercise. I have mates who are the opposite to this and who like to lounge in front of the X-Box or TV; this suits them and keeps them happy.

 

 

Don’t be trapped by following what other people think ‘should’ make you happy or what is expected by society of you

I’ve touched on this a little so far but now I am going to talk about other views which may impact on your happiness, or may make you think certain things are expected of you. As I say, what makes people happy differs from person to person, but often in a busy and opinionated world of social media, we let other views impact on what we think is best for us, rather than finding out what is genuinely best for us.

An example of this is the ‘when are you going to get married and or have kids question’. For some people settling down with a family earlier in life is what they want, and that’s fantastic. I am pleased for them. Yet for other people, they may not want to get married or have kids until they are a bit older or perhaps not at all. All are different wants and all individual to the particular person. Yet some people feel pressure put on them for things they don’t want.

Another example is ‘you should pursue a career path in that, it may suit you’. Again, if that is something you want, then brilliant but if it’s not, don’t feel the pressure to go after something that you don’t really want. I remember for myself that someone said I would make a good teacher; although I liked working with young individuals, I didn’t want to go down that path. My drive for creating content and messages to share with people on a wider scale rather than teaching a syllabus, did not fit into that particular career.

You should genuinely ask yourself what you want and aim for that. Don’t let someone else tell you what to do or what not to do. Listening to yourself and caring for yourself are two of the strongest forms of self-love and as a result, happiness.

 

 

You may change what you like or what makes you happy

The final area to discuss is what once made you happy may no longer make you happy. Think back to when you were five years old, then as a young teenager and finally to the present day (depending on your age), did you always want the same things? You may answer ‘yes’ to some things but there’s a high chance that in many areas, you may say ‘no’.

This is because our wants, change as we grow older. Even what we wanted a year ago, a few months ago or even a month ago, can differ from what we want in life now.

I’ll use myself as an example:

  • When I was a five-year-old kid, I loved writing scripts for imaginary films, video games and stories
  • When I was a teenager, I wanted to be a footballer
  • Then in my late teens / early twenties I didn’t know, I just embraced life as I went through uni and into my first job
  • Then in my mid-twenties, I started to discover my passion for writing

 

The point is that you shouldn’t worry if what you want, changes, this is perfectly natural. It just comes down to the question ‘what do you want and why?’, then ‘what are the next steps or what can I do to follow that?”

 

 

In summary

Being happy in what you want out of life, is not a one size fits all approach. Everyone’s purpose and goals are different, and so don’t think that you should go down a certain path or do something that is ‘expected of you’. Understand what you want to do in life and why. Similarly, in enjoying yourself and relaxing, do what is personal to you; you may not be one for lying around on a sunbed or going on a bar crawl like others do.

The final point is that what you may once have enjoyed, may not suit you anymore. We change as we grow, and this is inevitable. If you are following a path or pursuing activities that you once enjoyed but no longer do so, this will not be beneficial to you. Find something that truly makes you happy and that is personal to you.

 

Jonny Pardoe

 

Jonny Pardoe © July 2019

 

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