Thanks to one of ABSA's good friends (and a personal friend of mine) Chris Croft for these great thoughts to start of 2022!
I wonder if this omicron variant will finally be the end of this stupid and frustrating virus epidemic? I guess it will always be with us now, but perhaps in a minor role that we manage and live with. So the question is whether we learnt anything about happiness, and what can we be doing as we enter this post-Covid world in order to maximise our happiness? Here’s a little list, hopefully one or two will strike a chord and give you some ideas or some inspiration:
Present: it’s tempting to look back to the old days before Covid, or to worry about what it holds in the future, but happiness can only be found in the present, doing things which bring us into a state of flow where we are totally absorbed. So forget the past and don’t worry about the future, (a bit of planning of course but not too much fretting), and make sure you’re living every day in the present.
Other people: 80% of our happiness comes from relationships with other people, spending as much time as we can with friends (and focusing on our good friends, and getting rid of the ones that have stagnated or become toxic, perhaps should never of been friends in the first place). And also helping other people, whether they are friends or relatives or strangers: so take every chance you get to help people. We get a lot of happiness from relationships with other people, and I think we have all realised since we’ve been locked down that we have really missed these relationships.
Small stuff. Both during lockdown and now that it has finished you’ll probably have realised that small things count for a lot. The small things that we were not able to do, and the small things that got us through being locked down. Savour the small stuff, take time to smell the roses, because the big ambitious achievements take ages to arrive and are often disappointing - there’s lots of happiness to be got from the small stuff.
Thankful. Many of us are just happy we are alive, and happy that most of our relatives are still alive after what we’ve been through. We’re thankful that we can go back to the life we had before, …maybe a slightly better version of the life we had before. A daily gratitude diary where you think of three things you’re grateful for at the end of every day and write them down is a great way to get a second bite of happiness from the good things that have happened, and to make sure that we don’t take our lives for granted. If you’re reading this on a computer you’re probably in the top 5% in the world when it comes to wealth; you may not feel wealthy but you ARE compared to most people, and we should never take this for granted.
Courage to come out of our comfort zone. It feels quite radical even leaving to come out of the house and go to a crowded pub or a football match, but once you’re used to those things again you could maybe keep pushing your envelope, keep doing things that require a bit of courage, because that’s where learning and achievement come from - and happiness follows from those.
Overcome procrastination. It’s so easy to put things off, and having lost a couple of years I think you would agree but now that we’re free again we should really get on and do all the things that we have missed during this period of inactivity. Now that you CAN do them again, don’t put them off. Visit India! Learn kite surfing! Get married! Do that parachute jump! Spend time with your parents!
Variety. Dabbling in lots of things brings more total than being an expert in one thing, more than being great at one thing and be able to beat other people at that one thing. So now is the time to take up new hobbies and try new things, maybe writing poetry or swimming or learning the saxophone - don’t worry about being bad at it just give it a go. What have you always wanted to try but not got around to doing?
Ideal job. A lot of people have been reevaluating their employment, particularly as working from home has felt very different to going into an office, and some people have preferred it (at least for some of the week), enjoying a break from relentless daily commuting, which is known to reduce our happiness substantially. What’s your ideal job? How are you going to get it? And if you’re a manager, make sure you really look after your people well as they start to come back to the office. Communicate with them, involve them, delegate interesting work to them, and thank them, otherwise they might well leave - and that is expensive!
Do and Be, - not Have. When you’re thinking about your goals for the coming year, think about what you would like to DO, and what you would like to BE, not the things that you would you would like to HAVE. Having things doesn’t make you happy, it’s what you do with them. That flashy car will not make you happy, but going driving or racing with your friends in any car probably will, assuming you like that kind of thing! That expensive new guitar will not make you happy after the initial glow of ownership wears off rapidly, but playing music with friends on any old guitar WILL make you happy. What do you want to be spending your timedoingin 2022?