Traveling is responsible for a large chunk of my happiness, that’s why I post this exercise I did for a workshop I am currently attending.
Shakespeare: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Or, as Buddha said, “Our life is the creation of our mind.” These I [my teacher] pulled off the Happiness Project and some other places; take some time and answer the questions as honestly as you can and bring the answers with you.
Questions & Answers
Q: What’s a simple activity that consistently makes you happier?
A: Waking up very early in the morning and doing something productive in this small time-block.
Q: What’s something you know now about happiness that you didn’t know when you were 18
A: To be myself and do what I want.
Q: Is there anything you find yourself doing repeatedly that gets in the way of your
A: Poor time-management and the ability to follow through.
Q: Is there a happiness mantra or motto that you’ve found very helpful? Or a particular book that has stayed with you? If you’re feeling blue, how do you give yourself a happiness boost? Or, like a “comfort food,” do you have a comfort activity?
A: I don’t have a specific mantra like “I love myself” or “I am the best” or “Be happy” or anything like that. I do have one funny mantra that has nothing to do with happiness but indirectly relates to a factor leading to my happiness. As I said above, I have a problem with discipline and time-management, thus when I do something big or small (but important), I make detailed, tedious plans with checklists and lists of almost non-reducible units of action. On top of that, I’m telling myself “Be German” or “I’m Germanized.” It works great in some cases pretending that I am a German to force myself in a different thinking and doing mode. This “German” mantra works well because I like learning different cultures and sucker for their cliché and stereotypes.
Q: Is there anything that you see people around you doing or saying that adds a lot to their happiness, or detracts a lot from their happiness?
A: The happiest people I know tend to be confident and either happy with how things are or already doing something they love. Most of the time unhappy people around me do the same things in response to their unhappy situation or situations leading to their unhappiness. They are even aware of it, but continue to do so.
Q: Have you always felt about the same level of happiness, or have you been through a period when you felt exceptionally happy or unhappy? If so, why? If you were unhappy, how did you become happier?
A: My feeling and emotion are never the same. I feel like riding a roller coaster even in the course of one day. I guess it is part of my personality. I have outbursts not only in my feeling but also in how I do things. Different measures of unhappiness require different solutions. I sleep it off, listen to a happy, mood-changing music, buy something (very typical woman behavior), go to the sauna, exercise, get together with positive friends, look at my past traveling photos, travel or run away.
I think that part of our unhappiness is having our expectation not met. When I look back of what I have achieved and have not, I tell myself that for the things I achieved, I wish I could have been happier while pursuing them. For those I am not meant to do, I can’t do either being
happy or unhappy, thus I might as well be happy.
Q: Do you work on being happier? If so, how?
A: Yes, by doing the above. I typed and figured out my personality. I quitted the vocation I abhored. My shrink used to be an online Yahoo group (lol). And I did run away .
Q: Have you ever been surprised that something you expected would make you very happy, didn’t – or vice versa?
A1: Getting older . Sometimes traveling. I keep seeing more and more countries now, but it doesn’t always make me happy.
A2: Traveling of course. I was probably a gypsy in my past life. Before I began my first solo traveling in the US, I didn’t know traveling and bumming from places to places would bring me so much happiness. Another unexpecting happiness was the year I taught for the very first time. I never pecked myself out for a teacher. I had no patience explaining things to people. All my friends in colleges and my parents can vouch for this. I dreaded speaking in front of other people. But after a month teaching, I felt it fitted me like a pair of gloves. That experience made me very happy. Also I notice I felt extremely happy when playing or competing in a team activities.
Where do you fit in these 8 personalities?
I see a bit of myself in all seven types (least Joker, Director) through out different stages of life.
1. The Joker — makes people laugh, plays practical jokes.
This depends entirely on my mood.
2. The Kinesthete — loves to move, dance, swim, play sports.
Same as Competitor. I was a Kinesthete when I was younger in elementary and high school. But I ended up studying and became interested in other stuffs, so I’m not that much active at the moment.
3. The Explorer — goes to new places, meets new people and seeks out new experiences
(physically or mentally).
This profile describes exactly me now.
4. The Competitor — loves all forms of competition, has fun keeping score.
When I was younger in elementary, high school and college, I was dominantly a Competitor. This is somewhat influenced by the nature of Asian educational system. You don’t just earn marks (A-F, 100%, 90%, 50%, PASS or FAIL, 1-5); you are ranked from 1 (top) down to the bottom to whatever
the number of the people in the class. You got raises and rewards from family, neighbors and teachers if you were the best. I got used to this mad competitiveness since the age of five. I play and do activities only if I can win or at least beat many people or at least don’t end up last. Phrase like “win doesn’t matter” didn’t apply to me. Now since I am interested in pursuing other things which can’t be transcribed to win or lose, I am not much a competitor.
5. The Director — enjoys planning and executing events and experiences, like throwing
parties, organizing outings, and leading.
The Director is my opposite as I’m more an idea person. Execution and implementation are my least favorite activities. I only do it for ideas I advocate.
6. The Collector — loves the thrill of collecting, whether objects or experiences.
Perhaps a little bit. I don’t collect stuff as I try to be a minimalist and lead a more
simple life. I do collect experiences though and take many photos of the things
I would love to collect: souvenirs, arts and crafts, paintings.
7. The Artist/Creator — finds joy in making things, fixing things, decorating, working with his or her hands.
Not so much because I am impatient and not much talented with the hands, but I do like
fixing old stuffs before buying new ones.
8. The Storyteller — loves to use imagination to create and absorb stories, in novels, movies, plays, performances.
This profile applies most to me now.
Overall, I think the Explorer and Storyteller fit me at the moment.