Small changes can have a huge impact on our happiness level. Over my next few blogs I will discuss some of the ways we can achieve greater peace from the confusions and complexity in our lives.
To begin let’s look at the problems (or labeled opportunities if you are an optimist) that you encountered over the past week. Most people can list at least three things that just seemed to upset them in some way.
Think about how you reacted in certain ways then ask yourself why. As babies and small children we really were like sponges that absorbed our parents beliefs, opinions and assumptions about life. Since we looked up to them and relied on them literally for our existence it was natural to adopt their mindset or views of life.
When we reached adolescence or early adulthood our own experiences helped to expand our assumptions and opinions which at times may have conflicted with our parents’ perspectives. It’s a natural phenomena because we see the world through different lenses.
Part of our different view is due to the era in which we born. For our parents life was more predictable, patterns more sustainable and the pace was slower. As an example the generations from the sixties and seventies either used a simple typewriter or penned letters of communication. However, from the mid to late 80’s the dominant communication tool was the computer. A major improvement in speed, efficiency and connectivity ensued yet many of our parents remember a time with nostalgia when receiving a letter or card from someone had an entirely different feeling and connotation. Today ‘snail mail’ is looked upon as archaic.
The basic values of truth, fairness, care, loyalty, respect, equality and freedom continue to be important to us but over time and experiences our interpretations or definitions of them may change and expand. We are products not only of our biological make up and our own life experiences but also the generation or era in which we were born.
One of the hardest things for the older generation to deal with is change. Of course, the era in which they lived did change over time but at a much, much slower pace. The speed of change today seems impossible to comprehend and so for many raised in the early generations it just seems easier to ignore or refuse to engage in change as much as possible. Although they remember an easier, slower paced life they cannot recreate it and may become frustrated, angry and resistant to the world in which they are living.
The significance of the differences in perceptions between generations cannot be overstated. If we stubbornly hold on to the opinions and assumptions our parents had, given our changing world, we are in for a rough ride. Today more is demanded of us. More information, analysis and flexibility is required simply to exist. Life is no longer simple. Our challenge is to learn to become more comfortable and not remain stuck in the world of our parents which has ceased to exist.
There are small but important changes we can make to help us become more flexible and fluid in our thinking. Let’s call them survival skills for the world of 2014 and beyond. Over the next few weeks we will look at some ways that through small changes we can become much happier and content with ourselves and the world in which we live.
I leave you with one question to ponder over the next few days. Assuming our parents had the greatest influence on us, when we look back at them as individuals were they happy? Did we hear optimistic, encouraging views from them about our potential? Did they help us feel as if we could accomplish anything we set our minds to? Did they encourage us to stretch our wings and fly? If you answered yes to most of these statements – you are fortunate and able to take on the speed of change in our world today with confidence.
If you answered no to the questions above my question to you is rather simple but pointed. Why would you perpetuate the views, assumptions, beliefs even behavior that you learned from them if they were truly not happy, confident human beings? Why would you think their life views would enable you to grow into the happy and successful individual you can be? If there is a disconnect for you – stay tuned there will be much more on the topic!
Have a great few days!