Friday, April 20, 2007

Being ready

I'll talk more about this in the future, but I'm starting to believe that all these tips, self-help, change-your-life type strategies out there, primarily only work for people who are on the verge of change anyway. Someone who is unhappy is not going to read a "7 Steps to Happy" article and have everything click. It may be able to nudge them slightly in the right direction, but even that is a longshot.

Probably what happens with people who need change is that they may read about how to do it, but it doesn't mean that they're ready. And don't kid yourself, you can't change if you aren't ready. It probably won't be until they've done some deep thinking about their own life and potentially have some major triggering event that proves the need for change.

So, do these "get happy now", "change your life", "become a millionaire" schemes really work? They certainly appeal to everyone, which makes them an easy sell. I believe that most of the people doing the selling realize that it isn't going to work for most (because they aren't ready), but they can justify it to themselves because they can give that final nudge to those people who were on the verge.

I thought about this while reading over a few "steps to happiness" lists on other blogs, and wondered why I never try anything like that here at On Happiness. Perhaps I think it's a bit pretentious? Or maybe it's because I know most people will read the ideas, think they sound good, but then never act upon them? That's pretty much what I did after reading those blogs anyway.

But then again, I want people to be happy and maybe the point of that information is to create awareness for those who aren't exactly ready. The key to happiness clearly isn't learning a bunch of tricks, but you have to at least be aware that it's truly is an option for everyone.

Instead of tricks, think of them as habits. Actually, I'll invent a term right now. You've heard of work ethic? How about "happiness ethic"? No one goes from being lazy to being a hardworker overnight (though it certainly seems that some people are just born hard workers!). It's a gradual process.

Treat yourself right, and make decisions and choices that promote happiness. You owe it to yourself.

1 comment:

Claude D'death said...

Fortunately or unfortunately, I think that, in this society, there is a money motive behind nearly any action, and the authors of self-help books are no exception.

No doubt, change comes slowly to we humans -- it's pretty much required if you're an actor in a play that so far has run 14 billion years. Ultimately, I think the quickest and "most-likely-to-stick" route to happiness is self-realization. The author of this blog might consider exploring that avenue in future posts.