One of my favourite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho… (To see my list of recommended books and some of the reviews, please visit the resource centre).
The Alchemist is packed full with gems of wisdom woven into an intriguing tale.
In this post I want to point out one element that really resonated with me (amongst a number of wonderfully written suggestions and examples).
Coelho’s story cleverly points out that that each day in many of our lives can easily become just like the next. His reasoning as explained in The Alchemist is we fail to recognise the good things that happen in our lives on a day to day basis.
Positive Psychology research backs up what Coelho writes about in The Alchemist. An increasingly large number of research studies validate the positive impact that savouring life’s everyday joys can have on our overall sense of life satisfaction, our happiness, our sense of purpose and wellbeing.
For many of us it is so easy to get sucked into the current
And when we do get sucked into that mindset, it impacts our choices, our decisions, our actions and our overall assessment (albeit often a sub-conscious assessment) of the way we feel about our overall life satisfaction.
It can also leave us feeling quite numb about life… being too caught up in the ‘fast lane’ chasing what society expects of us (or what we have determined that society expects of us), and leaving us very rarely living in any moment with clear intention – we’re constantly distracted, disengaged, or just too damn tired to care.
What this creates is a life where we are existing, and not a life where we are living.
I was speaking recently at a corporate conference on The Impact of Intentional Trust on Success, when during the break following my presentation, amongst a number of people who came to chat with me, a comment by Sarah got everyone around at that moment nodding in agreement.
What Sarah said was simply this…
“Trying not to compare myself with others who seem to have it so much easier or better than me is so hard… I just keep doing it – even though I know it’s a no-win game.”
This is something that Liz and I often discuss. Just like Sarah, we too are constantly challenged by this what seems to be an innate drive to want to compare ourselves to others… when we already have so much.
Fortunately, Liz and I really are on the same page on this… in that we are so grateful for all that we have, and realistically know that having ‘more’ won’t really impact our overall sense of happiness, life satisfaction or wellbeing. So we quickly snap back into our intentional focus, and the moment passes.
It’s Not Easy Not To Compare!
I point this out because it isn’t easy – as I’ve said… it does seem to be an innate drive for us to compare ourselves to others. This is supported by research outlined in Nohria & Lawrence’s excellent book ‘Driven’ where they talk about the ‘dark side of wanting to belong as a driver of human beings.
However, if it is something you’re struggling with, perhaps savouring the joys of your everyday life and being grateful for what you already have, can be a bit easier if you compare yourself to those less fortunate, rather than comparing yourself always to those more fortunate.
Some time ago now I started a ‘Gratitude Journal’. I started very diligently, and happily, making entries about what I was grateful for. Now while I don’t post to the journal daily, or even weekly any more, I do have a ‘task reminder’ in my diary (this becomes my pattern interrupt through an intentional default) – when that reminder comes up, Gratitude and Savouring Life’s Everyday Occurrences becomes top of mind. I reach for my Gratitude Journal… if I feel that there’s something (on immediate intentional focused attention) that I’d like to add to the journal I do… but most of the time, I just flick through the pages – and I can’t help but smile as I do.
What’s your pattern interrupt? What will you create as an intentional default that gets you savouring life’s everyday occurrences and being grateful for what you have?
The overwhelming evidence that this is good for you – not just good for you emotionally, but also for your health, your relationships, your creativity, your life satisfaction and a range of other areas of your life that all strongly suggest this is something you ought not be ignoring.