There are two traps in happiness.
The first trap is deciding to make a tiny change when a big change is needed. If you hate your job, figuring out a way to stop working on the weekends isn’t going to solve the underlying problem.
The second trap – and I think the more common trap – is believing that a small change won’t make a difference, that only radical change can make you happier.
I’m constantly amazed by the big boost in happiness I get from small changes. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to identify the places where a small improvement could yield big happiness benefits.
So try these two steps if you feel like you need a happiness lift.
Look for one of these…
…for a drawer or closet that’s packed too full to shut easily
…for an accumulation of objects that don’t have a place to go
…for a subject that fills you with guilt (“I really owe my grandmother a call”)
…for a part of your body that hurts or worries you (“That mole looks funny, but I’m sure it’s nothing”)
…for an object that you keep wishing for (“I wish I had a decent knife”)
…for something that you’d like to do, but don’t think you have time to do
…for a friend you haven’t seen in a while
…for an obligation that you haven’t fulfilled (RSVPing to a wedding, sending a baby gift, sending in an insurance form)
Take action! Don’t delay. Just pick one item, that’s all. Take care of it. You’ll be AMAZED by the effect.
These kinds of things weigh us down. They make us feel trapped and overwhelmed. Tackling small, annoying tasks is energizing – and sweeping the small stuff out of the way makes it seem easier to tackle bigger changes.
That’s why the two happiness traps are related. The need for small changes can sometimes make it feel impossible to make a big change – even when a big change is needed.
It seems bizarre to say that you might find it easier to look for a new job if your kitchen isn’t messy, but I really, truly believe that for many people, this is true.
Samuel Butler wrote, “Arrears of small things to be attended to, if allowed to accumulate, worry and depress like unpaid debts…If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.”
Lots of great information lately at Dumb Little Man.
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