It seems as if every media outlet these days is offering an article, blog, book, or talk on happiness. Virtually everyone has a view on the formula for bliss. Most provide conventional advice for what you can do to increase the probability of true contentment and success. Fewer emphasize the critical connection between what you do and who you choose to be. Very few offer a roadmap to help you on the important life journey of self-knowing, or insight. Respectfully, I offer the view that both individuals and groups will be happier when this form of unconventional insight becomes the norm.
In my experience, there are five powerful ways for you to increase your insight.
Be present – When you are totally aware and conscious, you can use all of your senses to learn the most possible in the current moment. Try to maintain your total focus on the tasks at hand and enjoy the quality of experience that results when you are not thinking about the past nor focused on the future. Your ability to be totally attentive and in the moment energizes any activity you choose to focus on, including building your self-awareness.
Be accepting – When you choose to accept people and circumstances for who and what they are, you can escape the frustration of trying to change people and/or change the past. When you accept the past, as well as remain open to circumstances and people, you open yourself to the possibilities of learning from all situations and from every individual.
Be still – Contrary to many Western cultural norms, perhaps your most important choice is to develop the deeper understanding and truth that come with the inner balance of being still. With all the noise that surrounds you regularly, you have the wonderful opportunity to find a quiet place to listen to the voice that matters most—your own. Your ability to develop trust and confidence in your own voice will offer the greatest potential to learn who you truly are.
Be generous – When you choose to be charitable with your possessions, your money, and your time, you will experience a powerful inner peace. By achieving the important balance between giving and receiving, you eliminate much of the possibility of arrogance, and you will remain genuinely and truly humble. Humility will help you remain open to a greater understanding of who you are.
Be grateful – It is easy to be grateful when things are going well. It takes inner strength and composure to remain grateful when facing one of life’s difficult periods. You have the choice to remain appreciative of the opportunity to learn lessons from the challenges you are asked to face. By doing so, your experience can be transformed and you will learn more about your true self, which will bring about happiness.
What is perhaps most unconventional about this approach to insight is the progressive combination of these individually important attributes, each of which is a choice you can make. By choosing to be increasingly more present, accepting, still, generous, and grateful on a regular basis, you will heighten your understanding of yourself and tap into a deeper meaning of happiness that is unshakable.
This is the fourth of a series of five blogs about the All-In Roadmap elements: