Practice makes perfect, right? Wrong! First of all, nothing’s ever perfect. I’d even say you don’t really want anything to be “perfect”. Why not? Well, once you’ve reached it, where else is there to go but backwards or, even worse, nowhere? Practicing happiness or anything else should be a process.
How To Start Practicing Happiness In Your Life Now
When this post was originally written, the Winter Olympic Games were just starting (in Vancouver, no doubt!), I started to think about the art of practice and perfection. Watching the athletes get ready to compete, I am in awe of their strength, dedication and focus. There is no doubt these athletes are striving for pure perfection.
The point of practice isn’t perfection
We want to strive for perfection, yes, but that’s only going to work if you understand that it’s not just about the destination but the journey, as well. That’s why it helps to look at process when it comes to those outcomes we’re reaching for. Because what would be the point of getting to where you always wanted to be, if you’re beat up and worn out by the time you get there? Where’s the happiness in that?
Happiness is a process as much as an outcome
I mean, don’t get me wrong. A hard-earned victory is awesome. But think about it; should happiness in life be restricted to success in finances, or business, or career, or the attainment of goals?
We have all been there at some point in our lives, saying something like, “If only I had [fill in the blank], I’d be so much happier.” Hey, sometimes we may even get whatever it is we think will make us happy, but what usually ends up happening? We’re psyched for a little while—if at all—and then we find out it wasn’t really enough to make us as happy as we thought it would. There’s always more.
You can work your butt off to get to where you want to be by practicing your delivery, your backhand swing, your investment strategies—you can practice anything until you get it down, but that doesn’t mean things are always going to turn out perfectly. Practice doesn’t make perfect.
Practices becomes habit
Practice becomes habit, and habits become permanent unless we consciously change them. We’re practicing something all the time through our habits, even when we’re not really thinking about it.
— YPF (@ypfglobal) June 8, 2017
If you practice the thought that “I’ll be happy when [fill in the blank] happens,” then guess what? You’re always delaying your happiness until [fill in the bank] happens. Not because things will never be great, but because you’ve become a master at being unhappy. Unhappiness will be your habit!
You have to practice being happy no matter what is going on in life; whether you win or lose, succeed or experience temporary setbacks, whether everything is the way you have always dreamed or if you are still on the road to your next major destination.
Practice whatever you want to be in the future now
If you want to be more patient and less reactionary, practice patience now. If you want to be a manager of your own personal wealth, start managing your finances now, no matter how much money you earn. If you want to be successful, then practice being successful now. If you want happiness, start practicing happiness now.
The key is to enjoy the process, enjoy the journey. We can have moments of perfection, times where we wouldn’t want a single thing to change, but it’s unfair and unrealistic to ask that of life all the time. But it’s totally within our control to practice being whatever we want to be right now!
Exercise: Start Practicing Whatever You Want To Be Now
- Start small. What are you going to practice right now? What’s that one thing you want to achieve and are willing to enjoy the process while making it a habit?
- Engage in things that you’re already good at and challenge yourself to be better
- It’s okay to move in small increments.
Share with me in the comments what you plan to do whether it’s practicing happiness or something else.
This article has been updated for relevancy and accuracy. It’s original publish date was 02/10/10.