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Pointing Your Arrow Towards Happiness: Lessons In Self-Awareness

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Much of your day is self-directed. Sure, we have work, we have responsibilities to children, friends, and the old daily grind. AND, in all this time we have today, we have options to point our arrows towards happiness and away from the things that make us mad, sad, or anxious.

What Are You Pointing Your Attention Towards?

Finding the things that bring you joy and giving them more attention in your life is a great way to begin the process of enriching your experience of life. What things bring you joy? Here are a few of the items on my list.

  • Talking to my kids on the phone or (FaceTime even better)
  • Playing tennis
  • Writing
  • Meditating
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Kissing my partner
  • Taking a nap (with my partner if possible)
  • Listening to music
  • Playing music
  • Spending time with my bare feet in the dirt
  • Giving a hug (hold it for just over 60-seconds, let your breath synchronize)

I can add these little moments, little joys, all along the path of my day. The more little joys I can manage, amazingly, the better my overall mood is for the day. Go figure.

What are the little joys you can add to your daily routine?

sharpening your arrows

Sharpening Your Arrows

As we move towards our passion and joys, we also have opportunities to practice and get better at some of the activities. We can join a meditation group. Join a group tennis lesson on Tuesday nights. We can learn to play an instrument and become part of the music creation adventure. We can take a couples massage class. (If we’re lucky enough to have a partner.)

So, at this moment today, think about the things that bring you joy. Find the space in your life to add more of these moments into your life. Take some lessons. Add to your community by joining a group that practices your new discipline. Find what makes you glow, and tune into that vibe more often in your life.

It’s an easy concept, but everything in your busy life will try and interrupt your progress. Don’t give up. Keep repointing your arrows. Keep sharpening the tips. And return your focus throughout the day: the bullseye is a joyful journey.

The Joyful Journey

Each day this responsibility falls to you. Only you can find and groove the joyful activities in your life. If you have kids, you can begin to show them how to tune into what makes them happy. You can encourage them to join teams, sing songs, jump rope, walk in the woods, throw balls of every kind, fly a kite, swim in the river, map out the stars at night.

There are a million journeys. There are also a million more ways to add little joys to your life and the lives of those around you. Be a little joy giver as well. We can share our joy in small and simple ways as well.

While my kids sometimes get embarrassed with how easily I engage strangers around me in conversation. I engage everyone. Sometimes, I’m even too much for myself. That’s why extroverts turn into introverts for short bursts of isolation and alone time. I do over do it. But I over do it with joyful abandon.

Pulling Back the Accelerator

Let’s say you are racing towards the goal you have in mind. Let’s say you are striving to find the next relationship in your life. You want it so badly. You push a bit too hard with the new potential partner at the first date. They simply cannot take you. They vanish. It’s best that you let them go. If they can’t handle you in a happy state, think what they would do if you were down?


We can slow our roll a bit. And most of the time, giving a bit more space, giving the pause a few extra seconds, will allow the other person an opportunity to join in the conversation. Sometimes, I know, I drive a monologue. It’s not my strong suit, relationship-wise. It is how I make my living, however. I can learn to dial it back in my relationship to another person. I can try and match my partner’s pace and energy level. That’s how I WANT to be: in sync.

Low key and laid back are not two terms that are often associated with me, but I’m learning. I’m dialing back in my daily life. I’m learning to pull back on the accelerator a bit, in life, in business, in my alone time even. But more importantly, I’m learning to give space to the person I’m with, to give them air, to give them a moment to respond before I rush along into the “rest of my story.” I’ve always got a story. I mean, that’s what I DO as well.

calm the fk down

In Relationship, I Am Learning to Calm the Fk Down

I want to live a calm life. Not too calm. I mean, I don’t want to be chill ALL THE DAMN TIME. But I would like to conserve a bit more of my energy for things that are important. I sometimes find myself shooting off at the mouth (jokes, puns, diversions) when I should be a bit more observant and quiet. I really notice this in my business meetings in my new job. In Zoom it is really obvious when someone is interrupting and over-sharing. I am learning to mute myself, both in life and in Zoom meetings.

Pushing the mute button is a power move for me. I can’t comment. I can’t add the quick-ass joke. I can’t do my Robin Williams frenetic impression. I am learning to leave my Robin Williams personality in my closet. In some ways, I am learning to tame my unhinged energy, and give space and air to those around me. This is different than the bull in a china closet mindfulness that I wrote about a few days ago. This is simply a more mindful walk through life.

Giving others (friends, lovers, business associates) the opportunity to JOIN in the conversation is a good thing. I need to do more listening and less talking. << These things I know. These things are also harder to practice than to preach. It is interesting when business life informs my personal life, but somehow my Zoom interactions for work have informed me of my overbearing and interrupting style that clashes with some of my colleages. I’m guessing it clashes with some of my potential and past partners as well. Oh well.

I will do better tomorrow.


John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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