Here’s a little interview I conducted with myself.
What Are Your Sites About?
Get Organized Wizard is about taking action to get rid of clutter, get more done and get happier.
52 Weight Loss Missions is about taking action to fix your diet, exercise and mindset habits so you lose weight.
Common thread: taking action. There’s a really good reason for that coming up.
How Did You Wind Up Doing This?
My early career was running marketing communications in large financial institutions. Oops – drool. I think I dozed off writing that.
Although it was vaguely glamorous, paid oodles of cash, and was where I met fantastic people who are still close friends, I was miserable.
I first smelled trouble when I got married and my husband, an IT geek, woke every morning happy and excited to go to work. I’d watch him bound annoyingly out of bed and I knew something was seriously wrong with one of us.
Then came the day I mentioned to a friend that I regularly fantasized* about getting hit by a bus – just enough to wind up in hospital for several weeks and avoid work. She said I needed help.
Not long after that I left. I had no job to go to and no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up (still don’t**).
At the time, the psychologist who administered my Myers Briggs (I’m an INTJ) said she was amazed I hadn’t had a nervous breakdown, given how poorly my personality suited my career and workplaces. *strokes chin* Interesting…
After a short spell of pondering my own navel I went back to school and did a psychology degree followed by a life coaching accreditation. In my Honors year I researched and wrote a thesis on happiness (then not the huge topic it is today; in fact I struggled to find a supervisor).
What I found out about happiness CHANGED. MY. LIFE.
*Thankfully the quality of my fantasies has improved, and they now generally include guest appearances by Hunter Parrish.
** One of my favorite quotes, by Oscar Wilde and introduced to me by Stephen Fry:
“If you want to be a grocer, or a general, or a politician, or a judge, you will invariably become it; that is your punishment. If you never know what you want to be, if you live what some might call the dynamic life but what I will call the artistic life, if each day you are unsure of who you are and what you know you will never become anything, and that is your reward.”
Happiness Fits In How?
Here’s what I found out. (I’ll spare you citations and statistical footnotes. Be glad, as I aced all four years of stats and will happily chat chi squares and degrees of freedom till the cows get caught in a probability matrix.)
As far as we can tell, three things affect how happy you typically tend to be.
1. Your Genes And Personality
Your genes affect your personality, which affects your predisposition to be a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty kind of person.
This accounts for about 50% of your general level of happiness.
There’s not much you can do about your genes, so you have to take this as a given.
2. Your Life Conditions
Your life conditions include where you live, whether you’re single or married, how much money you have – you know, circumstances.
This accounts for about 10-15% of your happiness.
Although you can change conditions, the bummer is that the effect on happiness is short-lived. I was shocked to read studies on people who’d lost a limb or won the lottery, and were back at their previous happiness level a year later.
From everything I’ve seen and read and experienced for myself, people are
happier when they take action and make changes to how they think and act.
3. Your Intentional Activities
The remaining 35-40% of your happiness level seems to be accounted for by the things you do, your behavior, the stuff you make happen.
The great news is that, unlike genes, you can change what you do. And unlike conditions, these changes seem to increase happiness for the long term. By taking action we can become happier people.
Now you may think 35% is a little or a lot (hello glass-full-versus-glass-empty genes). Regardless, it’s all we have to work with, making it a great place to put our energy.
So this is the chase to which my sites cut. Getting people to take action.
So What Exactly Makes People Happy?
From everything I’ve seen and read and experienced for myself, people are happier when they take action and make changes to how they think and act.
- Managing time to get more done, feel more productive, and develop greater self-respect
- Taking charge of business or career to do work that’s enjoyable and has meaning
- Managing life goals and challenges like relationships, personal development, finances, health…
- Getting rid of clutter that causes overwhelm, confusion, and irritation
- Losing weight that creates distraction and loss of confidence, and casts a shadow over daily life.
Now that I know what I know about happiness, I put my own energy into taking action on stuff that matters to me.
And I create programs to help other people take action too.
I’m a member of the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA). If there were a Get Off Your Butt And Do Something Association (GOYBADS) I’d probably be president of it.
I’ve been interviewed on radio, spoken at conferences, and won several awards for my psychology studies.
I’m a qualified life coach with degrees in business and psychology, and post-graduate qualifications in business and professional writing.
I’m in my forties but act about twelve, am charmingly neurotic, and addicted to coffee and chocolate. I live in Sydney with my husband, Craig, and my beloved espresso machine, Tarquin.
I’m into writing, books, simplicity, love, TV, productivity, and staying thin in a world of chocolate.
Don’t go yet! Come join me…