Are you happy?

When is the last time a friend, a family member or professional asked you the question “Are you happy?”  Strange, that such an important and fundamental question is so rarely asked or discussed in everyday life. The only time it appears to be socially acceptable to ask is when someone is getting married or have made a permanent move to another part of the country/overseas.

Yet is it not the most important question of all? A question we should be regularly asking ourselves and each other to help us stay aligned to who we are and what we want to achieve in life?

In financial planning we put strategies in place so you can achieve client’s financial goals on the implied belief that you will achieve happiness once successfull, but the realty can be very different. You may have reached your goal of receive a pension of xxx,xxxpa in retirement but that does not necessarily translate into happiness as these goals are financial only and are often set as a result of generic goals discussion.

 

What is your happiness?

 

What if, we as advisers and individuals reframed our conversations around a core goal of  being happy, what impact would this have on our lives and how we make financial and life decisions? Take a few moments to answer the following questions:

 

  • What are the things that have made me happy in the past?
  • What makes me happy now?
  • What will make me happy in the future?

 

The answer I receive to each of the above questions are often similar as the things that make you happy are based on core beliefs and values that seldom change significantly over time.

Answers are often focused on relationships, self achievement and fulfillment. This list can act as guiding light for you in the everyday and the important decisions of your life. It informs you on what kind of person you want to be and what are the important things to you in life. For example If i take this promotion will it make me happier, aligning me closer to what is important to me?

 

Shared happiness

 

It all sounds very easy but then life happens and often distracts us and takes us off course. How do you learn to cope with challenges and threats to your happiness? Ultimately being able to deal with tragedy and challenges will determine how happy you will be as it as natural part of life.

Since the earliest history of man existence we have lived in communities, for protection, sharing resources and companionship. It is this shared learning that has sustained us as individuals and communities passed down knowledge from generation to generation. This knowledge and sharing is no less important today despite the gradual decline of the sense of community in modern society.

So talking about happiness/unhappiness to friends, family even acquaintances on the street can provide invaluable life lessons on how to deal with the challenges of life. Nobody has all the answers and I don’t believe we are required to make all our own mistakes in life so having these powerful conversations can provide you with lifetimes of wisdom to nourish your happiness.

These conversations will also provide valuable insights into your family and friends visions of their happiness further  allowing even closer relationship based on openness and sharing the important things in your lives. They can also remind you in futures if you stray from what is important to you as only family and friends can.

I would suggest asking 5 people you care for what makes them happy? In their answers you will find a wealth of knowledge on what you can improve their and your happiness.

 

Summary

 

Talking about happiness to family, friends and professionals you work with is a form of social taboo in our modern society where self reliance is expected. In practice happiness should be seen as a core goal with all other decision being aligned and referenced to your key values and motivators. Sharing what makes you happy and listening to the stories of your community will help to learn how to deal with life challenges

This process of aligning your life and financial decisions with what is important to you is key to achieving the contentment and happiness we all strive for.

Trinity Financial Management can help you manage your wealth so that it is aligned to your values and what you want achieve in life contact Frank on frank@trinityfinancial.ie to discuss

This article is provided on the strict understanding that it is for the reader’s general consideration only. Accordingly, no action must be taken or refrained from based on its contests alone.

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