It always surprises me when you ask people what makes them happy and their answer is “I don’t know…I’ll have to think about that.” How could you not know what makes you happy?

Most of us tend to separate our lives into two distinct areas; the working world and our personal life. In many cases, as long as one of those areas is joy filled and satisfying, we will stop there with the satisfaction that at least one area of our lives is going in the direction we want it to.This complacency keeps people in situations that they could make better, and eventually is the result of another “if I had only knew” story for the future.

You will often hear stories that start off like this:

  • My job makes me miserable, but coming home to my family makes it all worth it.
  • My personal life is a wreck, but work is going really well.

We like to think that the goodness from one area of our lives will bleed over into the other enough to make it bearable. We do this and ignore the ways in which we could truly make our lives better in both arenas by dealing with each separately. Why can’t we be happy in both areas of our lives? Do we really have to be unhappy with one to be happy with the other? It is not selfish to think that you can have the best of both worlds as this is your one and only life.

How do we obtain happiness in both work and home?

Being happy with your job and obtaining happiness at home starts with one simple concept…keep the separation. By separating your home and work life, you are not depending on the good aspects of one to bleed into the other. More importantly, you are not allowing the bad of one to upset the balance in the other. Have you ever had one of those days at work that you just couldn’t shake off? You came home to your happy family who is eager to see you after a long day only to spew the mess all over them only to ruin what could have been a great night. Did you fight with your wife from the day before affect your performance at an important sales call because your head wasn’t right? As you can see, by letting the positive and negative of each spill into each other, you are letting those circumstances affect outcomes.

Once you have found that separation, you need to really sit down and focus on what brings you happiness out of your personal and home life. Once you have found what really lights you up inside, you can start to grow and expand on those (given that they are healthy…don’t start smoking more crack!) aspects and create a better life for yourself.

This is your one and only life…take action…

When it boils down to it, it really is that easy to find out what you need to do to make a happier life for yourself. The hard part is taking action on those ideas and keeping your eye on the end goal. There are people in this world that do not like to see progress and you will see adversity in your quest, but you have to not let others stand in the way of your goals. After all…you don’t have to be satisfied with their ideals and life…only yours…

Photo by Daniel Gebhart