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Five Keys to Happiness


by Tim Connor

Let go of old baggage

Was it something your parents did 20 years ago? Something a customer said last week? Or something a spouse or friend said yesterday?

Old baggage is emotional stuff we carry around with us for days, months or even years. It is usually negative stuff like old hurts, resentments, anger or some kind of pain inflicted by another person. It can also be just carrying around some old guilt, failure or fear that impacts our current relationships and life in general.

Why do people hold on to all of these old feelings? Everyone moves through life with their own very personal agendas, needs, and life issues. Old baggage starts to feel very comfortable after a while, so comfortable as a matter of fact many people die never able to let go of these hurts, slights, and pain.

There is one very good reason to let go of all of this stuff. One of the major causes of stress today is suppressed emotions that fester in the body taking their eventual toll on some aspect of our physiology. One of the biggest causes of stress today is all of this old baggage. So why let it go? It may kill you if you don't. What do you need to let go of today? What is preventing you from letting it go? What harm is being caused in a current relationship, your career or business by not letting it go?


Live without regrets

Regret in life weighs tons. Living with words spoken or unspoken, deeds done or deeds left undone, and actions taken or not taken is one of the biggest burdens many people carry with them through life, and some to the grave.

To live each moment in life with a happy perspective and disposition requires that we live in such a way that there is no need to carry regret into the next minute, let alone the next year. Why do people choose to live with regret? A better question is, why do people act or speak in such a way that requires them to experience the constant negative pull of regret in their life? My friends, if I had an answer to that one, I wouldn't be sitting at my computer slaving over each word, I would be cruising the Caribbean on my 60ft yacht.

I, too, have known the sting of regrets. I can only tell you that living with them will not let happiness into your life. They will be like a long shadow darkening the way ahead, as well as the path behind you. Their stretch is well into the future, and they cloud your past with pain, anger, resentment, grief, blame or fear.

Actions or words, or the lack of them is not the real culprit here. We will all make mistakes in life that can be interpreted by us as worthy of feeling regretful. It is what we do about these issues once we become aware that we have taken the action, or said the words. We don't have the luxury of taking back what we have said or done in the past, but we can forgive ourselves or others. What regrets are you living with today that need your forgiveness?


Live in the present

Life is lived in the present, one moment at a time, not, in the past or future. Our futures and memories are created in all of our NOW moments. Living in the present means staying focused on what is happening now, not what happened yesterday, or may happen tomorrow.

People who focus on past: mistakes, errors in judgment, words that were said with innocence, omissions, and disappointment tend to bring a great deal of negative energy into the present.

People who focus on the future: expectations, desires, hopes and "some day dreams" tend to miss the value, joy and wonder of their present moments.

Everyone has stuff, you, nor anyone else will ever rid of it all. The key is to understand that you can't fix what happened yesterday, and you can't fix anything tomorrow. You fix everything NOW.

Your soul wants for you what is your ultimate highest good. Your ego wants to look good, control, and protect itself. The ego tends not to like vulnerability and/or realness. This sets you up for hurt, pain, and rejection.

Learn to stay focused in the now. What you can do now. What you can say now. How you are feeling now. What you believe now. What you want to happen now.


Everything in life is a teacher

Before this day ends, I guarantee life will give you the opportunity to learn something about yourself. Life is an interesting and fascinating series of events, processes, and growth opportunities. It is what happens to us as we plan the outcomes of our life existence. Life is truly a classroom. In a sense, class begins the day we are born, and ends the day we pass from this world to the next. There are no vacations, recesses, and you never graduate.

There is no final exam and there is no pass or fail. You can, however, repeat a grade again and again, until you learn the necessary skills or attitudes that the teachers in this class are trying to help you learn. Each of us is traveling through our very unique lives toward a variety of circumstances, events, people, and outcomes. We are bringing these outcomes and people into our lives both unconsciously and consciously.

Some people are good students, and learn the necessary lessons the first time they appear, while others are stuck in the same old patterns, life dramas, and situations, because they fail to bring the learning back to themselves. You can't quit school, and you must complete each assignment before you get to move on to the next one. Some people refuse to see the learning as theirs.

The opportunity for learning, can be found from each of lifeís experiences or teachers. The key to happiness is to learn to bring all of the learning back to yourself, and not to point your finger at others. We don't get to choose the curriculum in our lives, or the lives of others.


No one has faults

Is there something that a friend, child or spouse does that drives you nuts? Welcome to the club. What are faults? Who has them and what can we do about them? How do happy people deal with them?

Faults are what other people do, think, feel, or believe, differently, than we think they should. Faults from the other personís perspective are not faults, but just who they are. The assumption we make when someone has a fault is that our way of feeling, acting or believing is better than theirs, or even right. Isn't that a kicker? No one has faults. They just have a different perspective on some aspect of life than we do.

So given this definition, and you don't have to accept it, everyone has faults, and no one has faults. Paradox? Yes. Everyone does what they do, thinks what they think, and feels what they feel because it is right for them. This doesn't mean that their life couldn't be better, if they didn't have these faults. Read this again. Aren't we making an assumption that their life could be better? According to what standard? You guessed it, ours. But, ours may or may not even be right, or in our own best interests, let alone theirs. Do we have the right, obligation or need to ìfixî other people. As long as you try, you will live with a great deal of frustration, anxiety, and disappointment.

What can we do. Learn to accept others as being on their own path to becoming, learning what they need to learn, when they need to learn it according to life’s overall plan, and not our plan. So, who do you know that has some faults they need to get rid of?


Tim Connor, CSP
Speaker and Author
Connor Resource Group
Box 397
Davidson, NC 28036 USA

From The Road to Happiness is Full of Potholes, by Tim Connor. Copyright © 1997 by Tim Connor. Excerpted by arrangement with Tim Connor. $11.95. Available in local bookstores, or call 800-222-9070, or click here.