Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Relentless Pursuit of Happiness

"I keep remembering one of my Guru's teachings about happiness. She says that people universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will eat away your innate contentment. It's easy enough to pray when you're in distress but continuing to pray even when your crisis has passed is like a sealing process, helping your soul hold tight to its good attainments."
So, lately, I have had what some people think of as a "stroke of luck." Here is what happened to me last week from an outside perspective: I interviewed for two positions with two local and wonderful companies in St. Joe on Monday morning. On Tuesday morning I received a call from Company A offering me a wonderful job...saying that the two men I interviewed with were very impressed. Later that same morning, Company B told me to expect a call from HR later that day with an offer, and do NOT accept another position until I gave them a fighting chance. By Wednesday morning, less than 48 hours after my interviews, I had two amazing job offers. I accepted my new position that day.
Don't roll your eyes at me yet or decide you hate me because I am "just one of the lucky people who has everything handed to her" because, my closest friends and family members can vouch for me on this one, this is all a consequence of personal effort.  I fought for this, strived for this, and insisted upon making this happen. I do understand that some people work hard and things still don't happen for them for one reason or another...however, this was a result of relentless pursuit on my part.
Last April (six months ago) I started pursuing both of these companies. Six months ago, I started reading and researching, praying, and thinking. I decided that I was going to work in St Joe, spend more time with my family and friends, support my wonderful fiancé by being there, and get involved in the community that I loved. I prayed that I would find a career that would challenge me, that I would work hard for, and that I would be successful with. So then, I made sure I had an active role in making this happen. I spent the weekend before my interviews reading the latest news about each company. I read the newspaper, memorized the companies' websites, and read about the competitors each company faced. I went for long runs and practiced my interview questions so that I knew my answers were prepared and honest. I visualized myself walking into these companies in a calm way. I didn't just walk into these interviews and hope that good things happened for me or to me. I worked hard to insist that good things would happen.
I could go on. All of this was tough. It was hard for me to tell my current manager that I was leaving the company that I have grown so attached to over this past year. It was hard for me to decide which company was the right one and turn down the other. It was hard for me to tell my teammates that I was leaving. All of this was hard and was not fun. I can't stand disappointing people and I made myself sick. None of this was easy and none of it merely happened to me.
I love the part in the excerpt above from Eat, Pray, Love that says "you have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings." Relentlessly. Participate relentlessly. This is how I have felt these last six months. I had to relentlessly pursue through the struggles so that I could be happy. Now, as I enjoy the benefits of all of my hard work, I just pray that I don't become lax in maintaining this excitement. The next four months are going to be crazy. I will start my new career and prepare for my wedding and marriage. I know that some days will be tough and I know that some days will be wonderful. I just know that it's up to me to decide my feelings about each day. And it's up to me to insist that I am happy and to relentlessly pursue this happiness every single day.
My sister Abby reminded me of a quote from The Holiday that she is using lately. "You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life!" Unless you are the kind of person that good things just happen to day after day (in which case I roll my eyes at you, am way jealous, and hate you a little), you are going to have to work hard for your happiness. You are going to have to wake up each morning and decide that yes, it's going to be tough, and yes, it might be a bad day, but yes, you are going to be the leading lady today and you are going to do whatever you need to do to be happy.

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