It has been wonderful hearing back from people how helpful the Happiness Quiz-Box has been in helping them identify ONE THING they can do to be happier now, not later.
As promised in the Audible recording, we wanted to provide a sample of it here - with instructions - so you can print it out and fill it out with a friend or family member.
Here's how it works. Have you ever played a word-association game where someone asks a question and you’re supposed to say the first thing that comes to mind? For example, if I say, "Hawaii," you might ay "Beach." If I say "Dog," you might say "Cat."
The goal of this exercise is to listen to and honor your GUT - because it has the answers to your HAPPINESS TEST.
Promise to write down your first response to the following questions. No censoring or second-guessing what comes up. Your first response is usually the most honest response and that's the goal. This is the one place you get to express what you might have been hiding or denying because it wasn't "nice" or "politically correct" to admit.
Please print out TheHappiness Box in the photo above or draw a box on a fresh piece of paper. Divide it into four quadrants and label the squares like this:
Square 1 is upper left.
Square 2 is upper right.
Square 3 is lower left.
Square 4 is lower right.
Now, answer the following questions in the appropriate square.
Square 1: “What are you DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Walking your dog? Spending time with your kids? Getting out in nature on weekends? Going to concerts?
Square 2: “What are you NOT DOING in your life you WANT TO?” Not starting your own business? Not dating? Not writing? Not traveling? Not playing sports or working out?
Square 3: “What are you DOING in your life you DON’T WANT TO?” Commuting two hours a day? Over-eating? Watching too much TV? Working late or on the weekends?
Square 4: “What are you NOT DOING in your life and you DON’T WANT TO?” Yes, this is a double negative. It’s important though because it identifies toxic, unhealthy, unwanted behaviors you've quit and are successfully keeping out of your life. Maybe you used to smoke and don’t anymore, and you never want to pick up a cigarette again.
When you’re finished, circle your responses in Square 1 and 4. That’s what’s “right” with your life. That is what is contributing to your quality of life.
Circle your answers in Square 2 and 3. That's what’s “wrong” with your life. That is what is compromising your quality of life.
Please note: none of us are perfect so there will always be things “wrong” with our life.
The question is, “HOW LONG?” How long have you been doing these things you don’twant to do? How long have you not been doing things you dowant to do?
John Foster Dulles said, "The mark of a successful organization isn't whether or not it has problems; it's whether it has the SAME problems it had last year."
Would you have given the same answers in Sqare 2 and 3 a month ago, a year ago, 3 years ago? Square 2 and 3 are where regrets lurk. Those are the things that, at some level, you're telling yourself you'll do someday when you're not so busy, when you have more time, freedom,motivation, the right person, the right set of circumstances ... whatever.
Chuck Yeager said, "At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results."
That is the point of my book. To turn reasons into results. To change this perpetual procrastination, this default "I'll do it later" mentality, that leads to regrets.
You may be thinking, “But Sam, it's complicated. I don’t have the option to act on what's in Square 2 and 3. I've got a lot on my plate. I'm going non-stop."
I understand. The good news is, you don't have to quit your job, abandon your responsibilities or make wholescale changes to improve your quality of life.
All you have to do is identify one thing you can change in Square 3 and it will often free up time, energy and motivation to do something about what's in Square 2.
What I have found is that if you carve out ONE hour a week for something that puts the light on in your eyes, that lifts your spirits and makes you feel good, that is just for YOU - it can compensate for the other 95% of your life that is a compromise or out of your control.
As Thomas Edison said, “There is always a better way to do something, find it.”
A young woman who had been the lead in her high school plays and active in community theater had come to NYC with stars in her eyes. Two years later, she was still waittressing, sleeping on a friends' couch, and going to one audition after another with no success.
She was about to go home with her tail between her legs. What she wasn't doing in Square 2 was having fun or making friends. What she was doing in Square 3 was getting rejected all the time at auditions and doing a job she hated to pay bills.
These were big problems, but there was an "easy" fix that only took 90 minutes a week and only costs $25. She started going to Daybreaker. (Read their fascinating backstory here.)
Daybreaker is a morning dance party that meets at cool places (an art loft, historic theater, museum or cruise ship) so she gets to experience the city. It has a welcoming committee at the door (instead of a bouncer) so she feels included instead of anonymous or at risk. It features yoga, healthy snacks and uplifting dancing where EVERYONE is on the floor having a fabulous time. It's from 6 am - 8 am so she can still be at work by 9 am. And at $25, she can afford it on her budget.
She said, "I made more friends in two hours than I have in two years. Plus, I'm finally part of a fun community that I enjoy being around and look forward to being with."
Her story shows we don't need more time or money to be happy, we need more ingenuity.
Please note: this didn't require a major life overhaul, it did require taking responsibiity for improving her quality of life vs. kvetching about it. She can't control everything (whether she lands a role on Broadway), she can control doing one thing every week that makes her like her life. Instead of feeling powerless and hopeless, she now feels powerful and hopeful.
Esther Hicks says, "My happiness depends on me, so you're off the hoook."
Please understand, it's not selfish to do one thing every week you enjoy and look forward to, it's smart. Health and happiness are not indulgent, they're an investment.
Post your Happiness Box where you'll see it every day as a reminder that the quality of your life is in your hands. What will you do today your future self will thank you for?
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Sam Horn, CEO of the Intrigue Agency and TEDx speaker, is on a mission to help people create the life, work and relationships of their dreams. Her books - including SOMEDAY is Not a Day in the Week - have been featured in NY Times, on NPR, and presented to Intel, Capital One, Cisco. Sheri Salata, (Exec. Producer for The Oprah Winfrey Show) calls Sam "One of the brightest lights and most accessible wisdom-sharers in our culture today."