Cowgirl Communications
by Katie Dressler
Chief Officer of Member Engagement

I recently watched one of the most inspirational and literally eye-opening videos by Matthew McConaughey called “This is Why You’re Not Happy”. In this video, McConaughey talks about the difference between happiness and joy. In his nine-minute video he states: “Happiness deserves a certain outcome, but joy does not. Joy is not a response to some result, but a constant.”

We often say “just be happy!” or use the phrase “this makes me happy,” but does it also fill you with joy? In his video, Matthew dives into the bad habits we have that are preventing us from happiness and Mr. McConaughey couldn’t be more spot on. Let me elaborate.

Fear and Worry. Fear and worry often go hand in hand. When I worry about what others think about me, I prevent myself from enjoying my glory moments. Truth be told, worrying is something we all do at some point or another. We all are going to fail, have bad days, but instead of worrying all the time, we can learn from our bad days, and use that to motivate ourselves to have good days. Don’t worry about how a project at your office might fail or how much work you just have to get done. When you spend your hours at work or at home focused on enjoying the time with those around you, and working hard to accomplish the task at hand, then the rest of life will fall into place, including your happiness. Better yet, rather than pretending your fears aren’t there, we should admit they exist and cross them anyways. Take that courageous stop to overcome them. Climb that mountain and I promise, joy will ensue.

“Unbelievable” Should Not Exist in Your Vocabulary. Think of how often we use the word “unbelievable”. I know I do. There’s no doubt people probably used the word “unbelievable” to explain electricity, internet, airplanes and more. As hard as it to believe some things, we need to give more credit, where credit is due, and start believing more in our talents and abilities. If you like being creative, be creative! If you like crunching numbers, and you got an offer for your dream accounting job, then do that! Nothing should ever be too amazing, that we fail to give credit where credit is due. Don’t ignore your own power and don’t forget to remember your self-worth.

A Roof is a Man Made Thing. Make’s sense, right? Someone had to build that roof over our heads of our house or office building. But unfortunately, we create invisible ceilings ourselves that limit our expectations. I catch myself saying “It’s too good to be true.” But why? We often put limitations on our abilities, our self-belief, on what we deserve. When something beyond those limits happens to us, when we are called to interview for an influential position, or when we get an opportunity of a lifetime, we freeze inside and can’t control the situation. If we instead focus on the experience that lies ahead, the memories that we’ve made or could potentially make, then we can enJOY life so much more.

Stop with the Excuses. No one likes to hear excuses, yet we all are good at making them some days. Excuses are merely a way for you to feel better and a justification for you not doing the things you need or want to get done. Excuses allow us to keep being stubborn, making the same faults and mistakes, instead of learning to stop making them. Owning up to your mistakes at work or in the arena, are two ways that can help lead to happiness. You might be thinking, how is that possible? Relieving yourself of the grief from your mistake, can help you move forward. Also, it can help prevent you from doing it again. If mistakes are what is making you unhappy, don’t make an excuse for it. Own your problem and work hard to fix it.

Turn “Can” into “Want.” We’ve all been there – when we’ve been asked to be on committees, boards, lead projects, and more. The list can go on and on. Did you say yes to these things because you wanted to or because you can? We all know people who will never leave jobs they dislike just because they can get promoted, even though they don’t want to do the work. They’d rather keep doing soulless work for money, than fulfil their passion of starting a fitness company or teaching guitar lessons. The point is, don’t do things just because you can. Say yes to what you want, before it’s too late.

Find Your Identity. How do you do that you may wonder? The process of elimination is actually the first step to finding your identity and discovering who we are. You do this, by discovering what you are not, and what you don’t want to be. Sometimes it’s only by heading into the wrong direction and hitting a wall, people realize that they have to change their ways. For example, perhaps you’ve been around friends or colleagues who gossip a lot, or complain, or maybe you’ve been in a relationship where the person only takes and does not give. You realize these people and these things make you feel upset and steal your joy. By realizing this, you also should realize the importance of weeding these things out of your life, so you don’t become them, and because you are “not them.”

At the end of the day, I hope you create a life that feels good on the inside, not that just looks good on the outside. As Matthew McConaughey says, “follow your bliss.” Find what you enjoy in life and do more of it. When you can enjoy your craft, you’ll naturally work harder, and the results will be great naturally.

Joy is the feeling we have from doing what we are fashioned to do, no matter the outcome. Find those people in your life who are going to help you smile even more, and make your life a little bit better. Better yet, be that person to someone in your life, your office or even for a member at your credit union. Most importantly, don’t try to sabotage your own joy. Being happy doesn’t mean everything’s perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections and enjoy life. After all, life only comes around once, so do what fills you with joy!

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