In my last post I talked about the new direction I was going to take with regard to what I was going to be writing about. Well, surprise, surprise…I’m changing it again. So, what is it now, you ask? Actually nobody is asking that question because absolutely nobody is reading this blog. And I mean that 100% literally. So, my decision to change the ongoing blog subject will have zero impact on anybody! But in the event that there is a reader or two, I will explain. It’s actually very simple. I’m going back to my original plan to write about things that make life better. I will be trying out various things that make people happy and writing about them. But there will be a slightly different approach this time.
This time, I will not be reading advice other people have and trying it out. What I am going to do this time is take the ordinary things in life and observe what impact they have on my happiness level and what I can do to improve those things and make my life happier. I am going to go through every detail of my life, examine it and ask what kind of impact it has on my life, how necessary it is, whether or not I should keep it and if I do keep it, what I can do to make it better. I am going to examine the little things in life…the details.
Over the course of my life, I have observed that everything in life has an incremental effect on happiness. It either slightly increases it or slightly decreases it. I first noticed this after I got my first pair of contact lenses. I worked up the courage to make the switch to contacts knowing that it was going to mean sticking something in my eye each day. The day after I switched, I noticed my happiness level increased considerably and it never went back down. Why? Because I could see clearly and didn’t have to mess with glasses. Up until this time, I wore glasses but I didn’t like how I looked in glasses and I didn’t like the inconvenience of constantly having to wipe them off when I did wear them. I also constantly walked around with a glasses case in my pocket. So, I wore them only when I absolutely needed them, which was at night or when I was inside and needed to read something far away. (i.e., a classroom chalkboard). I really needed them during the day as well but unless I needed to read something far away, I could get by. The first day, I emerged from the house with my new contacts in, I was amazed at how clear everything was. I drove to work and was amazed at the beauty of the mountains in the distance. I arrived at work and could see things I was never able to see before. I realized that all this time that, not only was my eyesight bad, but that I had been missing out on the simple joy of seeing things. My overall happiness level incrementally increased that day and never diminished.
Since then, I have noticed other little things that make me happy that I had never noticed before. I’ve noticed that when I come home from work and my wife has cleaned the house, I feel happy inside. I have never cared about making the bed but my wife insists on it, so I do it. I’ve noticed that when I am in the bedroom with the bed made, I am happier than when I am in the bedroom when it has not been made. I can go on, but I’ve noticed in life that little things have an impact on the quality of our lives without even realizing it.
I have always taken a top-down approach to resolution-making. You make goals at a conceptual level and then break it down to action steps. I still believe that and you have to take that approach for major life goals. But life isn’t just about the big things. It’s about the small things as well. Getting out of debt will make me very happy. That’s a big thing. But there are probably a lot of little things in my life that go unnoticed that once changed, could have just as great of an impact on my happiness level as debt-elimination. So, I’m going to begin taking a bottom-up approach to resolution-making as I examine the little details in life and the effect that each of these details has on my life. Hopefully you will benefit from the insights that I am able to glean from this little experiment.