Growing up in our families is a huge source of happiness. I’m grateful today I’ve learned that if I want to be happy and almost all of us do want to be happy, not everyone, maybe someone wants to be miserable, but I’ve learned for myself I want to be happy.
Happiness in Family, Work, Friends, and Community Life Balance
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What I aim at is being present for the people in my life. I found for me helping out and being of service in my family when I do that I find massive happiness that unlocks. The same thing also with my friends, same thing in my community with my Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and with anyone I run across in a store, parking lot, wherever I’m at, that is another chance to serve, to carry a message of love, hope and faith.
It would be nice to love and accept someone as they are. That doesn’t mean I just let people do whatever they want. It means I really see other people as a human being.
I’m grateful today to have my son here. I’m helping him nap this morning and I feel spectacular about myself because of it.
It’s wonderful as my wife gets to sleep in a bit this morning after she woke up with him at 4 in the morning. I woke up at 5 in the morning and we communicate via text message because we are in different bedrooms. I get the carrier here, throw our son in it. He gets to sleep, I get to record my podcast, which is also on Facebook and YouTube and on my blog as well as on a podcast, and I get to feel great about myself for doing that.
I found on days where I do enough as a dad and where I try to carry a message online and where I go to my AA meeting and listen and love people struggling with alcoholism, and when I’m available to love and appreciate whoever comes across my path, and then I eat right and get enough sleep, then it’s easy to be happy.
By contrast, I’ve found by testing it out lots of times, if I’m constantly asking, “What do I want?” and I’m thinking all the time about what I would like to do, I find happiness is extremely elusive. The best I get is a little bit of a high. A little bit of a thrill, kind of like going down a rollercoaster ride.
What I get from showing up as a husband, a father, a friend, a family member, a community member, an AA member, I get happiness that is everlasting and whenever something else comes into play, sadness, depression, anxiety, whatever it is, then that’s my opportunity to learn.
I see that when I’m fulfilling all of my responsibilities, things that I’ve agreed to do like be a husband, a father, an AA member, an entrepreneur online, when I’m filling the responsibilities on the things I’ve agreed to do, then if there is something other than happiness there is an opportunity there for me to learn and grow.
Therefore, whenever I do get down, whenever I do get whatever negative thing you want to throw in there, what I do is I say, “God, help me. What do I learn out of this?”
I often find that’s an opportunity to open my mind a little bit, to see something in a new way, to make a little bit of an adjustment to my life, to be grateful for what I have, to think about what else I could have that’s different, and when I do that, then I’m guided to make small changes that allow me to keep being happy and to keep enjoying my life each day, and to keep fulfilling my responsibilities.
I’ve noticed on some of the days where my life is out of balance, happiness is also elusive. For example, if I err on the side of doing too much online, if I try to just stay in my shed all day, record a course, play some video games, and then I’m trying to do all these things on my website and whatever else I’m doing, If I’m not there for my family enough that day and I’m not thinking of them, then it’s harder on those days for me to be happy.
Our task in life is to balance, to try to do everything in the right proportion. I find that I see a lot of people in the world who, from my point of view, are working too much, then they are struggling consistently with all these issues, frustrated and unhappy.
For me, from my point of view, it looks like a simple solution. Cut back on work and/or change jobs if you can’t cut back on work. It’s obvious, from my point of view, that they are working too much, stressing themselves out because I know what that looks like in myself.
If I put too much of an emphasis on work, no matter what the reason, there are lots of opportunities for me to hustle, for me to show up more and I can make more money.
My wife Laura and I, we have hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt between student loans and our house. Yes, there is a good incentive for me to make as much money as possible, and yes, if I show up in my studio more and help out with the kids less, then I might in the short term make more money.
That’s the same thing with my AA meetings, I can spend on average an hour or so a day going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and sure, that’s seven hours a week. If I spent just maybe a few more of those hours in my business, and I started doing things like accepting clients, and say I took three hours of clients, I could make hundreds maybe even thousands more dollars a week serving clients instead of going to AA meetings.
But if I slip up and get drunk because I was serving clients and not paying attention to my sobriety, then I’m looking at losing everything in my life.
Now, I would be pretty stupid to try to risk losing everything in my life and forgetting what’s important to try to make a few hundred extra dollars a week or even a few thousand extra a week. I find that the money I can make is a secondary thing compared to my primary responsibilities.
I get a lot of joy out of helping out with my son here. He is sleeping this morning. I get a lot of joy out of helping out with him and I’m grateful to have this message to share with you, and I share it while I’ve got him today because that to me is most powerful.
I’ve got him right here in the carrier and we have done lots of videos together and some people, I’ve seen a lot of comments, “Why are you dressed like this? Why do you have your baby in there?”
Because that’s real.
That’s my life.
I’m not trying to present you something here other than what I am.
This is my life and while lots of mornings I’m in the baby carrier with him and I don’t do videos, I just focus on doing things that need to be done without making a video.
Today it felt right. I trusted the inspiration to say, “Look, show up as you are, tell people what you’re doing and share how that might be useful for them in terms of being happy.”
Often, if you want to be happy, it’s often a very small change away. It could be cutting back ten hours a week at work, spending that time volunteering or in your community or with your family. That little tiny change.
“Well, Jerry, I can’t cut back ten hours at work.”
Well, are you happy with the results of your life?
Are you happy feeling how you feel every day?
Then go for it.
I’m happy feeling how I feel every day, and I’ve learned that by being unhappy with my choices on lots of other days. On so many days I’ve chosen to work too much and I know as soon as I start getting unhappy, I’ve pushed the boundaries on one of my limits of responsibilities.
If I work too little, I get the same result. If I just want to hang out with my family all day and ignore all the people online that I’ve worked so hard to get following me, who enjoy listening, watching and reading what I create, if I ignore you, then I get the same result.
All of a sudden I start feeling a little dissatisfied. When I’m contributing to my life and my life is in balance, I feel happy. When something is out of balance, I start not feeling happy and a lot of us want to take the “someone else” way out.
“Well, if my wife wasn’t doing that, if my husband or if my job or if my …”
No, this is your life.
It’s not someone else’s fault if you are not happy.
Now, sure, there are lots of things that can happen, but it is up to us how we look at it and respond to it. I have a friend, she just lost her friend I think yesterday. I think he just passed at the hospital, and yes, there is grief, there is loss, there is change, there are things she didn’t do, although she did have the choice to be his friend.
She chose to be his friend, she chose to love him and that choice doesn’t have to end simply because the body is not there as I’ve experienced with my father and even back to birth, I chose my parents.
Now, I could believe that I didn’t choose my parents and I was the victim of their irresponsible behavior, but which one is helpful for me today?
It is helpful and it feels true to me that I chose my parents, that I chose this life as it is. From that point of view I’m responsible for my decisions and if I’m unhappy it is up to me to do something about it. It’s not up to me to have somebody prescribe me something. It’s not up to everyone else to do something different, so that I can be happy with my life. It is up to me to make decisions that I’m happy with and that today is a message I hope is really useful for you in your life.
I love you.
You are awesome.
Thanks for helping me build the life of my dreams today and I imagine this is a part of you building the life of your dreams.
I’m grateful to carry this message to you.
I imagine you will have a wonderful day today now that you have got my great words of wisdom here.
Edits from video transcript by Michel Gerard at www.michelgerardonline.com.