A Simple Way to Be More Happy Today


I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and it began in typical fashion with my asking the question, “How’s your day so far?”

The response was, “Not as productive as I’d like it to be. Yah know, I got a late start and was able to get some things done but not everything I wanted to get done.” He added, “Overall I can’t complain.”

I can’t complain

I want to take a moment to explain the significance of that statement before jumping into the juicy part of this post.

“I can’t complain” is a statement that is focusing on the negative. It has that focus because it tends to follow statements that have decided the current situation is lacking someone, it isn’t good enough.

Case in point, my friend listed everything that wasn’t unfolding at the level he wanted so he offered an it could’ve been worse assessment in the form of the statement, “Overall I can’t complain.”

Sure you can’t complain, but it’s also difficult to find gratitude for the progress you’ve made and enjoy it while your focus is on what didn’t go as planned.

The realization

I pointed this out to him (because we have the kind of relationship where he encourages me to do that) and he said. “Good point.”

I added the reminder that the root of human suffering is dissatisfaction. Which means, that when you judge any given moment as not good enough you suffer to some degree because you’re emphasizing what is lacking instead of what is present.

We as human beings are very good at removing the joy from our experiences by comparing them to what could’ve been or should’ve been and belittling the value of what is.

I’m not suggesting that we don’t strive to improve our circumstances; I’m suggesting that we learn to do it in a way that emphasizes the abundance of what’s present instead of the scarcity or lack or a fixation on what’s missing.

The recommendation

Here’s how I suggest you do it as it is the way others have found effective as well.

However things go in the course of your day they will of course at some point be compared, by you, to the ideal you had in mind when your day started.

Instead of making a comment such as, “Well it isn’t as productive as I would’ve liked.”

You can instead say, “Look at how productive I’ve been.” Then add, “Now what would I have to do to be even more productive?”

The second statement doesn’t suggest you’re present level of productivity isn’t good enough; it celebrates it and sees it as something to build upon. Such as a builder sees a firm foundation as a place to build a home instead of seeing a foundation that isn’t good enough without a house on it. Make sense?

Final thoughts

It’s import to understand that it isn’t expected that you’ll be able to do this 100% of the time. I don’t. The key is to be aware of this tendency so you can catch yourself more often than not and quickly shift your thinking.

You can then take more of those moments back for yourself and experience the joy that is there by celebrating a job well done even if it wasn’t the ideal.

Second, you will celebrate your next step forward. The where do I go from here? The how do I build upon my present success instead of a focus on the how do I fix what’s broken or how do I find what’s missing?

There’s nothing broken, there’s nothing missing, because there’s only you creating the best results you can in this moment. Results that lay the perfect foundation for everything that is to come.

Have a joyous day:)