I went to TEDxGrandviewAve on Saturday. The theme, Dare To Create, resonates with me, of course. I loved hearing how people create from different backgrounds and disciplines; a computer programer is just as creative as an artist, just in a different way. Most of all, I loved hearing Britt Reints of In Pursuit of Happiness speak. When I purchased the tickets, I did so simply because of her promo view. She told a story about a dog her family had when she was a kid. This dog figured out that if he ran through the electric fence, it would only hurt for a bit, and then he would be free. Um, doesn’t that make everyone go, “Yes, I want to run free and happy, to0”?
Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with Britt briefly at Propelle and Creative Mornings sessions. I have to say, I think she’s just about the coolest person ever. Someone offering to sit down and chat about writing because of something you said a month before? Yeah, pretty badass (and more importantly) generous. I’m crossing the line of “I feel like I know you personally because I’ve heard you speak and read your blog and your tweets and know about your life but really we’re barely acquaintances,” so on to my point.
Britt’s talk was about creating an owner’s manual for yourself and guiding yourself to happiness through learning to trust yourself. A big part of that trust is first to stop shoulding on yourself. Ask yourself why you should do something and don’t do it if it’s not something that you want to do. Listen to what you need. And do the things that make you happy to do them. I did it and it helped.
On Friday, I was weeding and clearing flower beds, absolutely hating it because I should be doing it. I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t question it either, I just did it because it needed to be done. On Sunday, I said, “Okay, but why should I do it?”
It’s the responsible thing to do. I want the yard to look nice. I want the neighbors to think I’m contributing to the beauty of the neighborhood (joke’s on them, I have not inherited my mother’s green thumb or enthusiasm for gardening).
It would make me happy to accomplish this task because it will make other people happy, too.
When I stopped to think why I was doing it, I was a lot more happy to do it. Mowing grass still sucks, sure, but it feels good to have done it.
Just that shift in my attitude made it more pleasant and I was happier to mow the grass.
Similarly, I had lunch with an old co-worker the other day and as I was lamenting how I wasn’t where I thought I should be in life, he took his chop stick wrapper and hit me with it every time I said should. You don’t realize it until someone smacks you each time you say it how much you say it!
I encourage everyone to check out the TEDx talks when they’re posted online and definitely spend time getting to know Britt and In Pursuit of Happiness. Now who’s ready to stop with the shoulds?