Last week’s challenge was from chapter 3 of An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness. This week’s comes from chapter 4, “When Happiness is Hard.”
Gurus have been telling us for decades that we choose what our lives look like. In reality, however, it’s a little more complicated than that. In the real world, we don’t always get to choose between being miserable or being blissed out of our minds. Sometimes the choice we have to make is between shitty and less shitty.
Being faced with hard choices, one in which all options are less than ideal, sucks. It can make us feel powerless and happiness seem impossible.
Neither is true.
And, as long as we have choices to make – even if the choice is hard – we have power. We have the power to move towards our own definition of happiness.
The first step is to recognize the choice. To name it. To identify for ourselves what, exactly, our options are.
And if those options suck, we can kick and scream and pout for a bit. We can be pissed off at anyone else who contributed to our current circumstances. We can be pissed off at ourselves even. But then, with both the possibilities and our responsibility put out clearly before us, we can move forward with intent and embrace the consequences as ones we have selected.
This week, I challenge you to identify what choices you need to make.
Are there tough options in front of you?
Security of a job you don’t love vs. The uncertainty of walking away
The familiarity and comfort of the status quo vs. The pain in the ass of rocking the boat
The ache of resentment from leaving things unsaid vs. The nightmare of conflict from opening your mouth
We already make these choices every day, but all too often we make them behind our own backs. We tell ourselves we have no choice, and then we have nothing to do but be ticked off at the results. Acknowledge the choice and you can be happier knowing that you are, in fact, in charge. Plus, you can give yourself the opportunity to make the decision that is most in line with your values.
Figure out what choices are in front of you, and take responsibility for them.