Many people believe happiness comes from within. Articles advise that if you’re honest and accept yourself, if you make the best out of what you have and do in life, contentment and happiness will be yours.
While I agree that attitude and one’s personal beliefs make a big difference in perceiving happiness, I’m not sure I believe that just putting out positive thoughts will lead the universe to provide amazing things (as, for example, THE SECRET maintains).
My dad believed in the security that money brings. For years and years, he worked long hours and rarely took vacations. When he did, he had a hard time sitting still. Often he was very stressed about running his business.
My grandfather believed in cooking great bar-b-que, making delicious pickled green tomatoes and a good game of canasta or bridge. He worked as a carpet layer, and for a while had a carpet store. Sometimes he’d accept a meal or some other form of barter for his services instead of money. He always seemed to be in a good mood. He was one of the happiest people I’ve known, in the moment and long term.
I wish I took more after him. But as a freelancer, my ‘in the moment’ happiness often comes in the form of auditions and gigs. I know I can’t control how many I’ll get; all I can do is put more irons in the fire. Even if I’ve had a busy week, if the next looks sparsely filled, it’s hard for me to relax, believe more work will follow soon…and delve into other projects.
This week began without a single audition or booking. Instead of satisfaction lingering from a productive last week, which included a booking; an audition; giving a successful, well-attended workshop at a writing conference (attendees approached the day after to say how inspiring/helpful I’d been); a close friend I critique for–who thanks me in all of her books–making the NYT and USA Today best seller lists; getting editor/agent requests for various manuscripts; making progress on a non-fiction project and some fun social events, in my mind it was pretty much done and gone. My ITM happiness increased as each of 3 auditions showed up in my inbox (print, VO and short film). Whew.
I’m still working on increasing my cumulative, internal happiness and being less affected by external things I can’t control. One day at a time.
What makes you happy?