Most people get stuck in what I call a C+ life. In school report terms, you ‘could do better’ and, for many, life can become a bit mundane. The solution isn’t to lower your sights. In fact, I’d argue the opposite!
Too many people settle for C+ in the hope that A* will happen at the weekend or next year or when they retire. It’s almost as though we set out to expect mediocrity in the hope that something good might happen and surprise us. Accepting mediocrity is a defence mechanism because you’ll rarely be disappointed (but you’ll also rarely be genuinely happy!).
The solution is what I call ‘realistic optimism’. Not some rose-tinted Polyanna approach that annoys people and papers over the cracks of reality, but a genuine expectation that today is going to be a fab day because you’re going to choose to be upbeat, passionate and positive. In a spooky Matrix-style psychological shift of mindset, you are more likely to have a fabulous day. The downside is that, despite your best efforts, the day might still conspire against you and you might be disappointed. But, hey, tomorrow you go for it again…
You see, happiness isn’t actually real, at least not in the sense that you can cart it around in a wheelbarrow. Happiness is a mental construct that you’ve created in your head. And genuinely upbeat, happy folk have certain mental habits that allow them to create more of it.
So, the basic message in our books is to stop waiting for the right person, job or moment (yikes, they might never come!) and learn the basics of how to create more happiness from within.
And, if you’re going to have a happier life, you need to put some effort into being your best self – those A*s don’t happen by accident.