The information presented in this chapter is designed to begin the process of converting the raw material of the happiness list items into an actual plan that will change who you are as a person. In order to convert your random lists into a set of short and long term goals, you can start by examining your natural talents. Your finished goals lists will be your plan for achieving success and purpose driven change. For this to happen, you must first use the raw material in your new happiness lists. Let us now take the time to help you to find the talents that can support the items you wrote in the happiness lists. You will then complete your life plan in the remaining chapters and exercises in your Life Movements Workbook.
Once you write down and reflect on your happiness lists, a natural internal dialogue begins. You have written what you believe will make you happy as well as the things that you need to change to improve your life. When the lists are complete, it is not unusual to feel a bit overwhelmed and somewhat confused. For some guests the overwhelming feeling is created by the sheer number of things that need changing. As uncomfortable as the feeling may be for you, the feeling itself can be an important motivator.
Most of what you have written, prior to the happiness lists, in your autobiographical accounts consists of the activities, behaviors and habits you will need to leave behind to achieve the greater purpose you seek. But often our guests find that items that were identified in their autobiography as requiring change also show up the same way in their happiness list. For example, in their autobiographies drug and alcohol use may have been a problem. Then, in their happiness lists stopping the use of drugs and alcohol may be listed as something that would make them happy. Eliminating counterproductive activities from your life creates happiness, so it is not surprising that changing or eliminating poor habits makes the list. We hope you were also able to dream about new and exciting future activities. Your lists will become the raw material you will use to build your future plan...
...You may be thinking that writing such outlandish wishes, dreams and goals is a great waste of your time. It is okay to feel this way as long as your fears and skepticism don't stop you from doing the writing. Just keep writing; if it's not listed, it cannot become a goal for your future. In the end you will lose out on many things that would significantly contribute to your happiness. By leaving things out, you are allowing your fears of today to stand in the way of your possible accomplishments of tomorrow.
People are willing to ignore the things that bring happiness simply because they either accept their current levels of satisfaction or they have never spent the time to build other possibilities for themselves. Often it is because they are taught certain roles to play in life. People learn to ignore what they want and settle for far less. These limiting positions are handed down from generation to generation and people accept them without question.
What we are saying is simple: question everything! Do you really like what you are doing? Do you enjoy your career? Do you feel satisfied with your relationships? What would you do instead? Keep writing; don't let fear stop you from dreaming of a better future.
You can change! You can mature! You can be happy! These are all choices; your choices! These choices coupled with your natural talents will lead you to new heights with your heart as your guide. The axioms are a set of rules designed to help you achieve your success. They encourage it. You can see the world differently. Allow yourself to reach for things you thought were beyond you. Your dreams are the reason you are alive...
...Be sure that you have been thorough when creating your happiness lists. This process is no different from writing your autobiography; without honesty, self discovery cannot happen, and full development (maturity) will not occur.
If you enjoy something, write it down. If you do not enjoy something, even if you have been doing it for years, leave that item off the list or include it in your happiness list as something that you want to stop doing. Many guests write items that, when they honestly examine them, they realize they either no longer enjoy them, or find those items never did bring them happiness. The activity made the list only because it was familiar. The lists are a real challenge for some people because writing it is the first time that they have allowed themselves to dream without feeling guilty about how they want to live their lives.