Find Time To Reflect

Find Time To Reflect

Ever since childhood I have found this moment of the year – those final weeks of August before returning to school or a job – to be my most reflective. The days tend to be longer and slower, the warmth of late summer lends itself to swimming in lakes, firing up barbecues, playing baseball, and spending more time with family and friends. There is separation created from the grind of homework or the stresses of managing a business.

Most of all, this period of the year is often the best opportunity to take a step back, inhale, exhale, think about life, and ask: am I happy?

As a poor kid from Brooklyn, New York, born to first generation immigrant parents who didn’t attend college, I was fortunate to start, build, and sell for millions a new media company at 28 – becoming wealthier and more successful than anyone I knew my age. Despite money, confidence, freedom, and the quick attainment of the American Dream, I wasn’t the person I wanted to be. I hadn’t achieved internal peace. Instead of contentment I was filled with regret for what I had taken for granted.

So, I set out to live life in a different way: to ensure that when I’m at the end of this journey, whenever that day arrives, I won’t have anything to regret. I’ll be at peace. And I’ll be happy.

When life slows down just a bit during the end of another summer – I reflect on whether I’m maximizing my chances of achieving happiness. Over the years I’ve learned that happiness increases the odds of success, not the other way around.

How does one ensure they can become happy? In my view, here are six, common steps towards becoming happy and successful:

1. Goal-Setting: write down what you hope to accomplish in order to realize a happy life. Some goals may be basic, some may be lofty. Treat this as if you are putting together a business plan.

2. Communities of Interest: Become active in various communities – whether recreational, religious, professional, civic – broaden your network by becoming a participant. Building connections and staying social will pay dividends in the long-term.

3. Personal Expression: Find an outlet to let your true feelings flow. Whether that’s a close friend, significant other, confidant, blog, diary, or just singing in the shower – we all need to be able to express ourselves and analyze our present state.

4. Gratitude: Maintaining the ability to display thankfulness, especially when the going gets tough, enables perspective and humility. Gratitude for big things – healthy children, economic security, a strong family life, and gratitude for little things – a beautiful sunset, a great song, a long walk after a tough day.

5. Empathy and Giving Back: Returning to the world what you have been given will provide long-term fulfillment and enrichment. Generosity, in big and small ways, gives you purpose and satisfaction as others are lifted thanks to your kindness.

6. Higher Calling: No matter what it is – having a mission or a conviction – whether it’s religious or not, helps us find happiness. That can be searching for a medical cure or educating at-risk youth. Find what you love and figure out how to pursue it passionately.

If you are fortunate to have a little time off between now and the return to work or school, I recommend taking time to reflect on whether you are strategically maximizing your odds of achieving happiness. And if you have any suggestions or ideas for others, please share them in the comment section.

 

Posted by:

Ted Leonsis

Founder, Chairman, CEO, Monumental Sports & Entertainment; Co-Founder, Revolution Growth

 

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