“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer
Happiness is a funny thing. It is a feeling everyone is chasing after in one way or another. People are afraid of being depressed, sad, melancholy, average. We are always seeking the answers to chasing away the clouds and finding eternal sunshine. You could safely say our society is somewhat obsessed with finding happiness. I get it. I feels great!
We read things all over social media about the secrets to true happiness. Social media in and of itself it a platform where people post the highlights of their lives, often making them appear “perfect” and worthy of envy. You hardly ever hear about the struggles behind the perfect smiles, the kids screaming after the picture posted was taken, the bad luck or the doubts our social media friends are also facing on a daily basis in between statuses and highlights.
Too often we mistakenly look “over the fence” at other people’s “happiness”, assuming it must be better than our own. But does this bring us any closer to finding our own happiness?
I don’t think so.
In fact, the MORE time I spend on Facebook (for the sole purpose of scrolling through statuses and wondering about everyone else) the LESS satisfied I tend to feel about my own life. What’s going on here?
The Focusing Effect
If I were to ask you who you think is happier in the following situations, how would you answer?
Someone living in San Diego or someone living in the Midwest
Someone who has a big house or someone who has a small house
Someone who makes 50K a year or someone who makes 100K
Someone with 2 kids or someone with none
A lot of people would say that one person in each situation is most likely happier, in general, than the other. But is this true?
According to The Focusing Effect– maybe not.
Studies have in fact shown that higher income does not mean higher satisfaction in life. There may be a difference in how happy someone is, but it is usually a much smaller difference than you might expect.
As far as where you live in the U.S. – there is no dependable difference between how happy someone is in sunny California and how happy someone is in Colorado.
There are a lot of variables that play into these things that we DON’T focus on – California is sunny and warm but Colorado is spacious and has low crime rates, no earthquakes, etc.
Did you know that one of the happiest rated places in the world is actually Colombia, where the average person makes less than $300 U.S. dollars a month?
The Focusing Effect is a theory that says we, as people, tend to OVER focus on certain aspects of situations while ignoring or minimizing others. This skews our perspective and makes it hard to see things as they really are.
What lessons can we take from the focusing effect to better our everyday lives?
#1 The Grass Isn’t Always Greener On The Other Side
As human beings we tend to assume that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But chances are there is someone on the other side of the fence that is looking at our grass and thinking exactly the same thing.
It is important to take time to step back and notice the things that are good about our current situation. There is beauty in finding contentment where we are in the moment instead of craning our neck to see what “might be” better somewhere else.
Happiness comes from a place inside us – not from the amount in our bank account or the place we live.
When we focus on other people’s lives – especially on social media – we usually end up comparing their highlight reel to our behind-the-scenes struggles. It just doesn’t work. How much time do we waste of our own lives fantasizing about someone else’s?
What good are feelings of envy and endless wishing going to do for us? They are simply going to lower our satisfaction and make us depressed! Why in the world would we do that to ourselves?
#2 Do Not Become Attached To Expectations
Expectations are a combination of all our past experiences and beliefs held up to the present moment. Sometimes when we hold onto expectations too much we end up disappointed, unprepared or they simply cause us to MISS the actual moment all together.
Instead of focusing on expectations, why not try living in the moment and allowing whatever naturally occurs to come to you?
When we release expectation, there is so much more LIFE to experience.
As human beings we cling to expectations because they help us feel more secure. We don’t like the unexpected. The possibility of an unknown future frightens us. So we walk around with a textbook in our hands comparing it to every situation we experience in life, instead of just living life with both eyes open and watching, ready to experience whatever may come.
Instead of living in fear of what if, try living in a space of “let’s see what happens…”
Adopt the thought process of – “I am open to every experience that is presented.”
Begin to open your mind and be open and mindful… watch your entire existence shift in the process. This is how young children are. Everything to them is new and fantastic. Their eyes shine in wonder and they are constantly reaching to learn more, see more, do more.
When we are open, we allow for space for more goodness to flow to and from us.
#3 Fill Your Heart With Gratitude
Instead of comparing yourself or your life to someone else’s, be still and acknowledge all the amazing things and people in your life.
If this exercise is challenging for you, commit to starting a gratitude journal and writing 1-3 things you are grateful for daily until it becomes second nature.
The more you do this, the easier it gets and you will begin to see that all that surrounds you and all that you you have within you is pretty incredible.
Don’t let the focusing effect keep you staring at all the negatives in your own life. Try to see your life as a bystander – notice all the things that are there to be grateful for. The universe is on your side, my friends. It is not against you.
When you focus on the positive and the things you are grateful for, THOSE are the things that will grow and expand and become even more abundant in your life.
Life is all about perspective. You’ve been given a precious gift in the life that you’re living. Choose to see things for what they are and make it a point to focus on the positive aspects in each situation. This simple shift has the potential to do big things in your life. Allow it to!
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
During my FitLife transformation, I lost 70 pounds! That's why I signed up for the protocol, but the most exciting result is that I found ME in the process. I had been hiding under a pile of pounds, self-doubt, and grief! FitLife changed my life and I knew I had to share it with others.
-Lynne, Longwood FL
I started with Fitlife back in 2011-2012…I wrote into Fitlife asking for an extreme amount of help. I was 300 pounds, with high cholesterol, and Drew helped me transform my life. I lost over 130 pounds and I no longer have high cholesterol. Not only did I lose weight, so did my husband, who lost over 70 pounds!