For years, this has been a loaded question in my life, perhaps one you’ve often asked yourself too. What do I really want? What is my purpose? Do I want to do this for work or that? Do I want to live here, or do I want to live there? Drive that car or this one? Am I on the right path? What could I do in my life to find the happiness I desire?
After watching the movie “The Secret,” like many others, I wrote myself a big fat check, put it on my bulletin board where I would see it every day, and then waited. Hoping that one day there would be enough money in the bank to cash it, somehow, some way, and all of my problems would be solved, and thus, I’d be happy. It sounded like a good idea at the time; after all, I was deeply in debt, unsatisfied in my chosen work, and not in a good place relationship-wise.
Several years later, frustrated by the fact that the check I wrote to myself for $10,000,000 still can’t be cashed, knowing if I were to try, I’d be laughed out of the bank and likely end up in jail. I began to think that perhaps this “secret” wouldn’t work for me and that I would need to work even harder or try my chance at the lottery to ever be able to cash that check.
So, that’s exactly what I did; I worked hard, put in more hours at the office, started new projects, I marketed, advertised, networked, spent money to make money, and even bought a few lottery tickets occasionally. And despite all that, I still couldn’t cash that check. So, one day in a fit of anger, I grabbed my copy of The Secret, broke the DVD in half, and threw it in the trash. (Yes, I do have red hair)
In addition to being angry, I was filled with questions and self-doubt. I looked around at people I thought were successful and felt even worse about myself. Perhaps I was doing the wrong thing or working in the wrong profession. Maybe I needed to move, buy a new car, make new friends, read another book or take another class. Something to let the Universe know that I was ready for my financial abundance, that I wanted to cash that check, finally.
“After all, that FAT check was what I thought would make me happy!”
Then one day, I got to thinking about it another way. Rather than looking at what I needed to do to get what I didn’t have, I looked at the many blessings I had in my life. At the suggestion of a mentor, I began a new ritual of daily noting three things I’m grateful for. I started looking for things that made me smile, like the bird singing outside of my office window, the sea shells on the beach nearby, or the smell of the freshly cut lawn. These little things helped to distract me from what I felt I was missing.
Something magical started happening, not overnight and not all at once, but little by little I began to forget all about not having enough money in the bank to cash those checks, or anything even remotely close to it. I stopped thinking about what I didn’t like about myself and started noticing what I loved about my life and the people around me. Rather than think about the dream house I didn’t have, I started looking around at how lucky I was to have a comfy and safe home to share with my family. Rather than thinking about being a guest on Oprah because my new book caught her eye, I was thankful for the people who read my blog and the feeling that writing brings me.
“Jotting down three things daily made me feel…….HAPPY, and soon I realized that what I thought the fat check would bring me, I already had everything I thought the check would provide.”
I’d wanted that money to prove to myself and the world that I was successful, that I’d don’t something special, and that I was worthy. All those things I thought would bring me happiness when really I had so many things around me to be happy for that I was completely overlooking.
Cars, vacations, lovers, jobs, jewelry, money, houses, etc., aren’t the things that make us happy. The little things in our lives are real blessings and give us something to smile about. Sure, I’m still hoping to cash that check one day soon, but until then, I’ll be right here, doing the things that make me happy with the people that make me happy because, after all, that is the REAL Secret to a life worth living.
Wishing you a life filled with happiness.