One way to feel happy, people say, is to count your blessings and count them twice. You know what I say? Count your blessings twice a day, every day, for as long as you live.
Whether I’m talking a walk during my lunch hour at work, soaking under a nice hot shower for a physical and mental cleansing, or lying in bed as I gradually drift into sleep, I always have one moment each day to remind myself of what I have. It’s better than dwelling only the things I want but don’t have. That’s not to say that I never think about my wishes and dreams. On the contrary, I find my own balance between being satisfied with what I have and being determined to get what I want. As long as I never forget about my haves, they can never be overtaken by my wants.
What do I think about during those moments? Well, I’m happy to be alive, with air, water, food, clothing, and shelter to keep me going. I am grateful for my stable job that pays the bills, and allows me to afford various leisure pursuits. I am content about having a loving family and great people as friends, plus a world with plenty of wonderful people I have yet to meet. Most importantly, I am happy that life is full of opportunities to discover new and exciting things.
From there, I remind myself of ways I could possibly achieve what I want. As someone looking for love, I tell myself to always keep looking, meet people whenever and wherever possible, have faith that good women are out there, and never let rejection shatter that dream. Also, I still have a nagging wish to pay off my six-figure student loans, so I remind myself to keep paying more than the required minimum each month, take advantage of credit card cash-back programs, and even just consider the monthly student loan bills as being no different from monthly utility bills. On top of that, I dream of making a real difference for the world, possibly through my passion for writing. While I don’t know what things would actually look like when that dream comes true, I’m still doing various things towards that goal, such as writing personal philosophical essays on my Facebook profile; getting involved in happiness movements, including Delivering Happiness; and leading a successful book club in Berkeley, CA.
Once I give myself the motivation and inspiration to pursue my goals, I count my blessings once more, from being alive to having these opportunities to discover new and exciting things.
This is an approach I like to call an HWH, a sandwich of haves, wants, and haves:
Overall, this is an exercise that, I think, could provide the right proportion of being happy with what we have and being hopeful for more.
Now it’s your turn. What blessings do you have that you can count every day, twice a day? What dreams do you have in between, and what are you doing to make them come true? Does this combination of gratefulness and hope make you happy? We'd love to hear about them on Twitter or Facebook, just use the hastag #happybalance!
Anthony Lee is a prolific writer (medical by day, creative by night), an avid book reader, and an insightful philosopher. He joined the Delivering Happiness movement in late 2011 after reading Tony Hseih’s book of the same name, sharing it with his book club, and adopting a new-found optimistic perspective on life. He spends his time thinking of ways to improve the world and keep people inspired. Follow him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/AnthonyLeePhilosopher.