Your Bill of Happiness
By: Charles (Bill) Carpenter
Your BILL of Happiness
I often close my seminars and presentations with a little acronym from my name. I call this my “personal bill of happiness”. After closing the day I share the acronym and invite anyone interested in the entire formula to see me for a free gift. The following article is included with that gift.
I am often approached by people who are curious about my smiling personality. The most common questions are:
- How do you stay so happy?
- How do you recover so quickly from upsetting situations?
For most of my life I just responded with a sort of empty, “Oh, I don’t know.” To this day I am not really sure I understand how I manage this or where I learned it, but I have identified four principles that help shape a happy personality and I summarize these four principles in an acronym, BILL.
Invest in yourself
These principles will help you achieve a higher level of happiness as you seek to understand and implement them. While the principles may be explored and applied by anyone, most find that a coach or mentor is helpful in personally applying the principles for a long-term life plan. Grab a pen and note pad and we can explore the “BILL of Happiness” together.
The first principle is pretty simple, yet profound and very impacting. It is seldom that we meet someone that really lives this principle. Be yourself. Many simply are not comfortable with themselves because they lack what I call the three V’s. The three V’s are Value, Vision and Values.
What is your unique value as a person? Your unique value is made up of five personal traits: personal experience, academic knowledge, social knowledge, interests and strengths.
Personal experience is collectively; all of the lessons learned from your life’s experiences, your beliefs based on those lessons learned, habits, interests, disinterests and overall perceived absolutes.
Academic Knowledge is collectively all of the knowledge you have obtained through formal or informal education.
Social knowledge is collectively all of the social skills you practice as a result of personal experience and embraced academic knowledge. Your social knowledge is more about what you practice than what you know. For example, you may know that it is poor etiquette to interrupt others while they are talking, yet your personal experiences may have left you with a habit of interrupting others rudely.
Interests are collectively your unique set of desires and passions. Favorite foods, colors, music, books, activities, people etcetera.
Strengths are collectively your talents, passions, accomplishments and implementation of the other four traits.
None of the five traits are of any greater value than another. You may score very high in one and low in another. Fortunately a true value can not be placed on any of these traits. If I have a tumor on my brain that is killing me, then I would place high value on a person that held degrees, (Academic Knowledge) had hours of operating room experience and an excellent customer track record in the field of neurosurgery. In another scenario, if I am lost and wandering late into a winter night in New York City, a homeless high school dropout with the knowledge to draw me a map back to my car, is more valuable than the brain surgeon.
I said all of that to say this, “every human I meet has unique value, and brings unique value into my life.” As a result I feel we should treat all people with value.
Hopefully as you grew up you had people in your life that affirmed you as a person. These people would point out your strengths, the things about you that they enjoyed and the value of your knowledge leaving you feeling valuable as a part of society. If you have never had this then perhaps it would be a good idea for you to sit down with a coach or a close personal friend and use the “self value booster” to explore your unique value as a person. If you did not receive the “self value booster” with this article, request a copy from Bill at email@example.com.
Value of self begins when we better understand our strengths, weaknesses, limitations, interests and habits and how others perceive us. I will use myself as an example. As a person and a speaker I know that one of my strengths is my ability to make others laugh, I have not concluded this on my own, but based on feedback from literally thousands of other people. Because I know this to be true I do not feel frustrated or defeated when I have a dry audience that doesn’t laugh, since my knowledge and experience tells me I am OK, I conclude that it is the audience that needs therapy.
The second V is vision. Being a visionary person means you are always reaching for something. Have you ever noticed that baby’s hands are always reaching, reaching for just anything, and in death our hands are folded and content. I believe we actually start dying when we stop reaching. Health experts will tell you that the best thing you can do for your long-term health is to have post retirement goals and ambitions. Some how, we are wired for significance.
I often caution people to beware of dreamy visions. What I mean by dreamy is out of reach or unrealistic expectations. Little will do more to suck the life out of you like failed attempts at overly lofty goals. Understanding your personal value, strengths and preferences will help you keep you head out of the clouds.
Answering just a few questions should start you on your way to creating a realistic yet exciting vision for your current career, long-term careers, (if any) and post retirement plans. By answering the following questions and matching your response to your core values (the third V) you become clear about action needed to insure your success and long-term happiness.
- What three activities do I most enjoy?
- What are my three greatest strengths?
- What three things would I most like to accomplish in life?
- What kind of a legacy would I like to leave with my family?
- What would be the ideal title of my biography?
- What would a perfect post retirement day look like?
- What am I doing now to make all of this a reality?
- What more could I do?
- What planning needs to take place?
By values I am referring specifically to your core values. Core values are life guiding standards or boundaries. These standards help keep us consistent. In fact when you meet people who are inconsistent, moody or often changing you will find they seldom have solid core values. As a result they are constantly changing as they either attempt to live the values of others, or wander aimlessly with little or no direction, producing no lasting results.
Again I will use myself as an example. As I share my core values with you I am not suggesting that you should adopt or even appreciate them. You should sit down and seriously consider your own; if you have a significant other in your life you should work together to create a list of shared core values. I will share with you my top five core values.
1. My relationship with God
2. My relationship with my family
3. The value of all people
4. Excellence in everything
5. Thoroughness at all times
These five values help keep me consistent, thorough, motivated, balanced and happy. When you have core values you will find that you make healthier decisions, feel more confident and experience stronger relationships both personally and professionally.
When I center my vision on my core values I am passionate, convincing and effective at everything I attempt.
V+V+V = Identity
When you consider these three V’s you find they are dependant one upon the other. My personal self value empowers my vision and my core values keep me constantly producing results. Keep in mind that your V’s may need to be adjusted and modified with time and new experience. The best way to ensure your long-term happiness is to work with a personal life coach that can help you shape the V’s to your own personality and life experience to avoid frustration and burnout.
No One Can Be You Better Than You Can
Of the four principles in your BILL of Happiness, Be yourself is perhaps most important. One thing is certain, you are the authority on you; no one else can do it better. As you better understand yourself you will become more comfortable being yourself.
I would like to end this principle with a few rules for being yourself.
Four Rules for Being Yourself
1. Being yourself does not license complacency.
2. Being yourself does not license bigotry.
3. Being yourself does not license resistance to change.
4. Being yourself does not license mediocrity.
Invest In Yourself
Interestingly when you become comfortable with being yourself you feel safe improving yourself. In years of experience coaching and training people I have observed that the most fulfilled, successful and happy people invest in their happiness and personal development. Regardless of our strengths we will always have need for improvement and development. I have identified three recurrent personal investments you must commit to for assured lifelong happiness, they are as follows.
Personal Development (PD) must become a life long commitment. When I decide to stop growing and resist the changing times, I choose to become obsolete. Read books, listen to audios, attend seminars and conferences and readily consider any advice anyone is willing to offer. Some experts suggest at least fifteen minutes of PD time per day.
Network Development (ND) empowers me to solve problems more efficiently, get more done with less in less time and to grow myself. All of the great ideas for getting ahead in life simply are not in one head. I often respond to my customer’s questions with his profound response; “I don’t know the answer to that question myself, but I do know the best person to answer the question. Can I get you that answer tomorrow or do you need it sooner?” Because I keep my network growing my value is growing proportionately. Some ways I can invest in my network include; conferences, social events, community events, sending greeting cards to customers and service providers and always having an appropriate business card on hand.
Personal Recreation (PR) keeps me alive, alert and healthy. Without recreational time I am sure to lose my enthusiasm for whatever I am doing. Attention should be given to three needed recreational investments.
Personal daily timeout: Just relax, listen to some music, read recreationally or call an old friend. You should experience five to thirty minutes of relaxation in a busy work day.
Vacation time should include lots of rest, fun and reflection. During this time ask a few important questions of yourself.
Am I investing my time wisely?
Am I doing important things?
Are my actions producing the results I want?
Could I be working smarter?
Avoid handling any business during vacation time. If you have a family, make sure vacation is also a time for reflection for each of them.
Health and fitness goals will keep you in top shape to enjoy your early retirement and post retirement goals. Make sure you get plenty of exercise and the right foods on a regular basis. Drink lots of clean water and let your doctor and personal life coach keep you on the right track for long-term happiness.
Without question these principle will make it easier to love yourself when lived consistently. Some who know me might find it surprising that I put this principle before Love others, so I’ll explain why love yourself must be first.
If you tend to be critical of yourself you will be likewise toward others. When you do not value yourself it is difficult or impossible to value others around you. Even Jesus Christ told His followers to love their neighbors as they loved themselves. Let me clarify, loving myself doesn’t mean I am oblivious to my weaknesses and frailties, quite the contrary. It is when we love ourselves that we will face our weaknesses and challenges in order to change and grow. Self loathing and hatred lead us to complacency and hopelessness.
Here are four things you can begin doing immediately to express love for self.
· Positive self talk (I call this affirmative prayer)
· Monthly personal development planning
· Spend time with affirming people who love you (avoid toxic people)
· Occasionally lavish yourself with gifts or luxuries
It should come naturally and easily for us to love those close to us, but love is not often a word we apply to our working relationships. Let me bring love into perspective for us. Love is never selfish, envious, pious, critical, harsh or unreasonable. Love is sharing, caring, sacrificing, committal, valuing and understanding. Here are some things you can do to express love for others that will surely put a smile on your own face as well.
· Pay meaningful compliments
· Be interested in others lives and accomplishments
· Give as often as you can to help others
· Give your time to help others
· Encourage others often
· Be positive
· Be passionate
· Be there
To copy or reprint this article in any way you must purchase a reprint license. For unlimited use you may purchase a license for only $5.99. Get your reprint license by visiting www.lulu.com/charlesspeaks and choose the article you want to use and check out. Thank you in advance for your professionalism and integrity.