How do you manage bad news? How do you stay motivated? How do you manage your attitude?
We all want to be happy. This deep desire for happiness is screamingly obvious in the marketing messages for almost all products and services. The pervading message behind most marketing is that this product or service will give you what you are missing and you will discover and experience "happiness".
A wonderful formula I read about how to determine happiness levels is happiness levels = your expectations - your reality.
Now you might think, "does this mean that if we had no expectations we would be happy"? That is a good question and as tempting as that is to explore - think about the last frustrating conversation you had when the other person did not do what you thought they should/would/could have done - I'm going to ask a better question: "If happiness is so closely linked to expectations, how could you reframe your expectations to weight the formula in your favour?"
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In a world obsessed with instant gratification, it is easy to get lost in everybody's favourite radio station - WIIFM. The What's In It For Me focused frequency keeps us feeling entitled that the world should be serving us, giving us what we want, meeting our needs and creating experiences that make us feel good. This is a flawed model. We have no control over what people will do. They in turn are not mind readers and are trying to please a wide range of people. What would happen if you focused on what you could control?
Set the expectation upon the one person you can influence, teach and learn to rely on - YOU! When you interact with people and services consider asking, "what can I do?" Being kind to people is a choice. Showing compassion, understanding and expressing gratitude are all options and choices we have available to us.
Next time you go to town or interact with team members, clients or suppliers, focus on what you want more of. You know what makes you happy - look for opportunities to notice when these moments arise, do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Behaving like this grows an appreciation for what is good in your world, it creates an attitude of gratitude and, over time, it changes both your expectations and your reality.
I'll finish with a favourite quote of mine from Etienne de Grellet, "I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."
• Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.