Adaptive Happiness

This week I want to tie a few concepts together to help you increase your ability to find joy in your life. First we’ll talk about happiness sourcing. Second, the influence of adaptation on happiness. Thirdly, the long term effects of integrating them into your life.

The primary issue I want to address with regards to happiness sourcing is Goal versus Process. Goals are incredibly important in making progress and advancing in life. Clear goals are integral to life development. The issue is, goal attainment is the happiness of a comparative instant. Even if the goal is achieved and maintained, the greatest point of joy is in its initial attainment. And that is unfortunately fleeting. We reach it and then we ask… “And now what?” Even if we are are able to recreate that moment and the joy in our minds, it is still a fixed point. That is why it is so important to also find value and joy in the process. The process is full of moments just like the moment of achieving that goal. It is often said that success in an iceberg. We only see that one little bit of a persons journey, the part where they succeed and the result of that success. We do a similar thing to ourselves. We focus only on reaching the goal. Everything else is just the requirements to get there. But an iceberg is HUGE and only maybe 10 percent is even noticed on the surface. That means, in theory, by only focusing on the goal and only seeking joy in the final accomplishment, we are missing out on 90% of our possible happiness. I don’t know about you but, I don’t want to miss out on 90% of my happiness.

However, the journey to that goal is not always easy, and not every step taken is, in and of it self, enjoyable. That is where adaptation comes into play. As I’ve stated in previous articles, our minds love to make connections. And if we get really good at adaptation and at recognizing those connections, we can find joy in almost every step of the way. Think of it this way, if there is a reason, there can be joy. Where there is a purpose, there can be joy. With the things we like, such as for me, actually coaching people, nothing else is needed to bring me joy. However, when it comes to getting a business license, making a business plan, market research, basically, all things related to actually having a functional business, I don’t derive direct joy. Through adaptive thinking however, I can find joy in those processes. I just have to link them to something in my value sets that does bring me joy such as perseverance and follow through, or the vision of someone’s face after a great coaching session, or that trip I’m gonna take because I did the work. I can link those joyful things to those less fun tasks and suddenly I have way more of that 90% back.

Another great way to create more joy is to stay creative. When we actively maintain a belief in our adaptability, when we train ourselves to enjoy unexpected challenges (which inevitably find us anyway), it releases us of a TON of fear. Fear that can push down our joy and undermine our trust in ourselves. Just search graphs of success and you will see they are basically never linear. There are always reroutes in a journey to success because it is impossible to integrate every eventuality. And even if you could, it would still require course adjustments as the eventualities appeared. That uncertainty is the cause of the fear we often feel and the hesitation we often create. What if we looked at like a roller coaster though? or some type of transit that didn’t terrify you if you aren’t a roller coaster person like me. What if you developed a mindset that allowed you to see the obstacles as the joyful opportunity to get creative. That the unexpected is the thrill? It is possible you know. There is a reason that obstacle courses such as the Tough Mudder or the Spartan series races are so popular and why those escape rooms are becoming so as well. Its because people get to not only choose to seek challenge rather than fear it, they get to find ways to overcome, finish, and succeed. And yes, the finish feels good, but so did overcoming all those challenges (we can call them micro victories).

Now just think of if we tied all those together. We could then get joy from achieving the goal, the process, and the challenges. Basically, through developing adaptive happiness, we can go from 10% joy in the end result to 100%! Well, yes, 100% is an ideal in a perfect world but we have now given ourselves the chance at so much more than if we are simply tied to the goal at the cost of all else.

So I ask you this week, what are some of the challenges or tasks required for you to reach a goal that you don’t enjoy, that you find yourselves resisting or putting off? How can you connect them to something that brings you joy? Even if you only find one thing, I promise you, it will improve your journey and aid in your ultimate success and happiness.

And remember,

You Are All Exceptional!

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