It’s been a while, but I’m going to talk about my book again. To be honest, I have mixed feelings about my book (which partially explains my lackluster promotion of it). However, my ambivalence (a word which literally means to hold contradictory feelings about something) toward my book has resolved itself into positivity (by a slight margin).
Since writing the book my goals changed. Last fall, I first wrote to you about how I have fallen into an acting hobby (more here). Then, after landing more and more jobs (commercials, music videos, and short films, more here), acting is something I do more regularly and an actress (or actor if you prefer) is how I identify myself unabashedly. Writing my book, Year of the Blog: How to Achieve Your Life’s Purpose in Five Steps and 365 Blog Posts, was one big step in my journey to pursuing more of what I love. I don’t address acting once in my book, instead, I talk about my passion for writing (which, as you may have noticed, dear Reader of my blog, I very much enjoy doing). Regardless, I feel strongly that the process that I outline in my book can be generally applicable to anyone who believes in their ability to find and cultivate their own happiness.
The process through which I found my happiness breaks down as follows:
Step 1: Self Reflect
Self-reflection is a “process by which you examine your mental state to understand who you are by virtue, value, and motivation.” Taking even a few minutes out of your day to ask yourself questions to deepen self-understanding such as “how am I feeling right now?” “Are things better or worse than in the past” “Am I satisfied with the state of things in my life?” Etc. can help you better “orient” yourself. Through this practice, it is my hope that you can gain better perspective on your life, a better understanding of yourself, and better decision-making skills that will allow you to better pursue your goals. (Yes, I did purposely use “better” a lot in the last sentence… it’s a rhetorical device 😉 .) One way to increase self-reflection is through mindfulness activities such as meditation or even physical activity (I can’t help but self-reflect when I’m jogging actually).
Step 2: Opening Your Heart and Mind
Step two challenges readers to open their minds to new ideas and experiences as well as to develop a positive outlook. “By exploring personal interests, passions, and new information, you are helping yourself both toward your purpose, but also allowing yourself the great pleasure of taking advantage of all the wonderful things the world has to offer which is a reward in itself.” It is the hope that through exploration of the physical world and all the treasures that it holds, you can more easily uncover and recognize the ideas, activities, and other life pursuits that make you happy. Simple steps one can take include reading for fun, practicing optimism, asking questions, among other things.
Step 3: Discover Your A-Ha Moment
Frankly, step three is the least sensical one, as (in my conceptualization) step three is not one that one can simply “take,” rather it’s something that just “happens” to you. The “A-ha” moment is a sudden realization or insight. In relation to finding happiness, the a-ha moment is when you find your passion. I didn’t find my passion until around 135 days into my blogging journey. For me, continuing to read, engaging in enjoyable activities, and practicing self-reflection allowed me to organically conclude that writing is something that did and still does bring me lasting pleasure.
Step 4: Work Toward Your Purpose
Working toward your purpose means sorting out your priorities and committing to take the steps that will help you get to where you want to be going (especially when the steps are hard). Just like with Step two, you can help yourself along here by asking yourself questions including “where do I see myself at the end of this journey?” and “Do I currently have the tools, means, knowledge, or skills necessary to follow through on my journey?”
Step 5: Live with Purpose
This is the point in your journey when you are “transitioning from setting up your new life to establishing a routine that allows you to live most meaningfully.” There are no “happily ever afters” in life (so, don’t go running off into the sunset just yet!). In this step, you will find a balance in your life that allows you to live in accordance with your core values and in harmony with your life’s purpose. In practice, this means making more decisions that allow you to sustain your happiness and deepen it. Step five will naturally look different for everyone and still comes with its own challenges. For this reason, self-reflection is just as important in step five as it is in step one to help you gauge whether you are happy on your course or whether it may be time to change direction.
Revisiting the ideas put forth in the book, I have come to the realization that my passion for acting is up there with my passion for writing, which is a good thing! The more happiness the better, right??
Year of the Blog
I hope you too can find happiness in your life, dear Reader, and especially in your day-to-day, because each day matters. Your happiness matters even when it comes to the little things. You matter.
I hope you will live every day with purpose and take much more pleasure from this world than you ever expected.