Thursday, September 19, 2013

Happy 30-somethings: Resiliency, happy surroundings, and the heralded mix tape.

I came across two very interesting articles this week that discussed the topic of happiness.  Reading them together helped highlight some of the key factors to happiness, particularly for my Gen Y age group, and some of the skills that I learned in some unlikely places to ensure my happiness at this stage in my life.  Here are the articles, in case you would like to partake in reading:

Why Generation Y Yuppies Are Unhappy - Huffington Post

The Habits of Supremely Happy People - Huffington Post
The first article does an exceptional job explaining how Gen Y-ers are wildly ambitious, have high expectations, and think that they are unique among others their age.  The high expectations mixed with a dose of reality ends in feeling let down and unfulfilled.  Facebook and other social media don't help, as we watch everyone else live what appears to be a "better" life, which is really just digitally enhanced and never really better.
Fast forward to the happy people habits.  While the first article gives only three basic pieces of advice for the unhappy Gen Y-ers, the second article provides habits that can help our wallowing generation.  Here are a few of my favorites, mostly that pertain as actionable items to the unhappy Gen Y problem.
  • Surrounding yourself with happy people: This is critical to keep up momentum, and perhaps surrounding yourself with quality people will reduce the instances of Facebook-enhancing your life.  I don't even like to read or hear from unhappy people, so I do not surround myself with them, and that includes social media.
  • Cultivating resilience: I truly believe this is a critical missing ingredient from our kids, and even Millenials' lives.  We have lost this in the world of teams without tryouts and cuts, baseball games with no outs, and the continued promise to our kids that they are great at everything.  I learned this skill twice over before I left the house for college.  It's called Racine public schools.  I know an incredible number of successful people who graduated with me and learned realism and resiliency in just the right dose to be awesome adults and parents.
  • Appreciating simple pleasures: Finding meaning and joy in the small details in life.  Some of my favorites? Getting a cheeseburger that looks just like picture, and nearly anything with polka dots.
  • Valuing a good mix tape: Music reduces anxiety, which is a great reason to "soundtrack your life."  The young folks of the world may know this as a "playlist," but the careful craft is still the same.  Except for when I had to stop, start, and rewind cassette tapes, that was the best worst thing ever.
These are small things, that add up to a big change in expectations and happiness.  If you are looking for some inspiration try just one happy habit, and really stick to it.  See if it works.  You can even borrow my cassette deck if you need to.

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