There is perhaps no other topic in the world about which more volumes have been written than the pursuit of happiness. In a world where it becomes increasingly clear that we need to create our own purpose and destiny rather than relying on some metaphysical system to introduce meaning to our lives, shaping our own happiness becomes our duty and responsibility.
I have advocated through my weekly blogs my belief that this happiness, at least in the 21st century western world, is often the result of a number of focused activities:
- pursuing our passions
- aligning our purpose and vision with our identity, goals, actions and habits
- creating a sense of freedom by painting our ideal balance between personal and professional life.
Another useful way to track whether our daily actions to pursue happiness are aligned to the outcomes we expect, is the Be-Do-Have model. Steven Covey introduced this model in his seminal book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The model is based on the idea that after establishing a desired goal, we successfully achieve it by asking three questions in a specific sequence:
- Who do I need to be in order to accomplish this goal?
- What do I need to do in order to accomplish this goal?
- What do I need to have in order to accomplish this goal?
According to the sequence used in this model, the Be question must be asked first because it determines your state of being. It is who you are, not what you have or what you do, that drives influence; it is your identity.
Many people quietly assume that happiness will be the result of pursuing certain activities (‘doing’), or acquiring material wealth (‘having’). However, your answer to the first question of the Be-Do-Have model is the key to your happiness. Who do you need to be to accomplish the goals that will enhance your wellbeing and bring you happiness?
Will you be the hardworking entrepreneur who leaves nothing to chance and takes massive action to accomplish her goals? Would you rather be the solopreneur who works smart to avoid long working hours and spend more time pursuing the lifestyle she wants? Maybe you will be the artist who finds a creative solution to every aspect of his life to tailor it to his satisfaction? Or would you rather be the specialist go-to therapist solving problems for other people you have struggled with before yourself?
Whatever your answer is to that first ‘Be-Do-Have’ question, it should give you a clue about who you need to be in order to ‘be’ happy. Reminding yourself on a daily basis of who you are, will ensure that your daily actions will be based on habits that lead you to exercising your passion and fulfilling your values and purpose in life.