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SALT LAKE CITY — Have you noticed in yourself (or others) a never-ending pursuit to change your situation and get something better? Do you find yourself believing if you could just get “there” or have "that," you’d be happy? But when you get “there” you realize you are already wishing you were somewhere else even further along?
The truth is, as long as you believe “better” is somewhere else, you will never be truly happy or present.
As I mentioned in last week’s article on dissatisfaction, humans naturally seek change and improvement because it ensures evolution and the human race continuing. You’re wired this way for a reason, but it doesn’t always serve you. The good news is when you become mindful of this subconscious instinct, you can stop believing that somewhere else is always better than where you are now.
You must understand that where you want to go or what you want to get isn’t necessarily going to be better; it often just gives you a different set of problems. Think about the young woman who says, “I am finally getting married, and all my problems will be over.” Every married person can attest that her problems aren't really over, just replaced by different problems.
This is the nature of life: No matter where you are or what you have there will also be things you don’t have that you wish you had. Likewise, there will be things you do have that you wish you didn’t have. This might be a letdown for you because your subconscious mind really believes in a magical future where everything is right. But don’t worry, I’m going to explain how to get your happy back today.
In my work as a human behavior expert, I have come to believe there are 12 types of people in the world and four value systems we can be wired for. Understanding these four systems can show you what you subconsciously believe you need more of to be happy. Remember, seeing your craving behavior is the first step to changing it. Which of these value systems resonates with you?
People-focused people:If you are this type of person, you tend to crave more friends, better or deeper connection, influence, adventure or comfort, and a better love interest. If you are this type, you don’t like to be alone and are often seeking more time with your current friends or new humans to be in relationships with. You believe once this happens, then you will be happy.
Task-focused people:If you are this type of person, you crave solutions to problems, things being right, projects completed and jobs done. You get frustrated with jobs like dishes and laundry, which are never finished. You don’t feel safe and satisfied until jobs are done and off your plate, but your never-ending to-do list means you can’t ever get there. You seek accomplishments, money that is a reward for hard work and better performance. You believe once these goals are met, then you will be happy.
Things-focused people:If you are this type of person, the things you own are the scorecard of your worth. You can’t get enough, newer or nicer things. You could have high standards and need the right labels or brands, You could be a shopaholic or a collector. If you could just build, create, buy, or own something better than exists now, then you would be happy.
Ideas-focused people:If you are this type, you crave solutions, change, order, better systems, more knowledge, learning around an obsessive hobby, or just being right and making sure people know it. You seek change in the world and better behavior from other people, then you will be happy.
Does one of those groups sound more like you? Take a minute and own what you are currently seeking that your happiness depends on. Sit in your craving for that and consciously decide how much happiness you are willing to give up today, for that craving. What if you chose to be happy right now without that thing? The truth is, if you can’t set aside your cravings or need for something else and choose to be happy now, you never will be.
Last week's LIFEadvice
In his song "Beautiful Boy," John Lennon said, “Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." You can still have goals for the future and strive to achieve them, just choose to see where you are today as your perfect classroom too. Don’t waste too much time wishing you were somewhere else or you will miss the amazing sunset, fulfilling moment, or precious time with loved ones today.
A gratitude practice that might help is making a list of everything you are grateful you don’t have and everything you are grateful you do have, and choose to focus on those.
You can do this.
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