(Distinctions are subtleties of language that, when gotten, cause a shift in a belief, behavior, value or attitude.)


Yes, this Distinction seems obvious, but there is a key question you can ask which opens it to deeper use.

“Do I do things to be happy, or do I do things to keep from being unhappy?”

When you are engaged in happy-making activities (or contented, pleasing, grin-inducing, joy-filled, any of the words which are the running companions of happy) you tend to find yourself in an uplifted state of being. You want more. Happy evokes happy.

People who are running from unhappy have a completely different goal; they want to stop some pain, whether they are conscious of the pain or not. The old story of the man beating his head against the wall and when asked why, gave the reply, “Because it feels so good when I stop!” No it doesn’t, there is just less pain. Many times we have stuff in us, old stories, old memories, which are uncomfortable and we do behaviors thinking they are making us happy when all they are doing is causing the pain to abate for a while.

One other question about happy — do you have the right to be happy or to do happy-making activities? Some don’t. They have to ‘earn it,’ ‘defer it,’ or ‘deserve it.’ If so for you, you might want to revisit that model.


Coaching Point: When was the last time you were really, deeply, fully happy? As you bring that feeling back up do you want more of it?


Copyright 2011 Steve Straus. All rights reserved.