20 Aug Helping Yourself Helps Others
Whether you are from the low, middle or upper class, North Americans enjoy a more abundant lifestyle than most nations of the world.
That being said, are we completely happy with our lives?
According to the World Happiness Report, Norway, Denmark and Iceland are the happiest countries in 2017. Canada ranked 7th and the United States 14th.
The World Happiness Report was founded in support of a UN High Level Meeting on happiness and well-being, ranking over 150 countries using thousands of surveys based on each country’s overall level of freedom, generosity, health, social support, income and trustworthy governance.
Understanding the World Happiness Report
According to the 2016 Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica was named the happiest country in the world, followed by Mexico and Columbia based on each country’s overall life expectancy, well-being, inequality of outcomes and ecological footprint. Canada ranked 85th and the United States 108th.
Understanding the Happy Planet Index
Make sure to take a critical look at these reports and ask ourselves:
- Are the reports relevant to our beliefs about happiness?
- Are the reports totally unbiased?
- Which report do you agree with more and why?
How do happiness reports relate to our main topic of helping ourselves and helping others?
A powerful way to find happiness is by helping or improving ourselves through self-mastery.
What is self-mastery you ask?
Collins defines self-mastery as,
“The ability to take control of one’s life without being blown off course by feelings, urges, circumstances etc. Self-mastery is that condition whereby your body is your servant and not your master.”
We could even break it down for the linguists out there.
A “master” is someone that has reached the highest level of achievement possible in a specific skill.
In some disciplines like Chinese kung fu, there may be a grand master who ranks even higher than the master.
Therefore, self-mastery is defined as reaching the highest level of achievement in improving ourselves, whether it be losing 50 pounds, joining a folk band or taking someone on that special trip overseas.
Many coaches will tell you that self-mastery can be gained by various means, such as writing in a journal, positive reinforcement, visualization or goal setting.
It’s all possible and within your grasp.
One of best things you can do in life is invest your time into self-mastery.
If you are not mastering yourself, you are not changing anything and chances are that you will not remain happy for long.
Find out what you need, what you want, what you love and go for it. Never look back. Period.
SELF-MASTERY IN PRACTICE
If you have read the first portion of this article, then you have some idea about the value of self-mastery.
Let me give you a personal perspective based on my last 10 years of self-mastery.
First off, it all starts with you.
This means you will need to put yourself first in all things to ensure your tank is full.
Your tank represents “you” whether it be body, mind or soul.
Everyone is unique so requires different types and quantities of fuel to keep us going.
Your fuel represents the foods, exercises, ideas, support, beliefs, etc. that you use to fill up your tank.
One way to fill up your tank every day is by making a plan customized to your needs and no one else.
Get out a pen and paper then write down the top ten things you love.
This exercise is best done intuitively with little to no thought, by writing the first things that come to mind.
A few examples of things that you love may include, conversation, playing sports, meditation, cooking, yoga, working out, watching TV, going to a movie, etc.
Now arrange your list from the most important to least important.
Take one or two of the items you wrote and make a plan to do them each week, with an exact time and date.
Make a checklist in your schedule to complete the tasks and check it off once completed.
Be accountable to yourself.
This is an easy way to improve and empower ourselves immediately.
HELPING OTHERS HELPS OURSELVES
With the promise of self-mastery in sight, we are geared to help others.
Most of us enjoy helping our loved ones, friends, colleagues, clients, etc. but are often too busy, tired or overwhelmed with our lives.
What if we could change ourselves so we could help others whenever we wanted?
Most of my life, I believed my personal affairs have had nothing do to with others and are completely distinct.
A new realization I have had is that there is also an interconnectedness between all things.
When we change ourselves, for better or for worse, we affect others, sometimes dramatically.
Our opinions, thoughts, words, movement and feelings affect others.
Understanding how we affect others is extremely important as we can then take a higher responsibility for our actions.
For the purpose of this article, let’s assume that most people’s intentions towards each other are good.
Expanding on what was discussed above, how can we affect those around us in a positive way while we are so busy, tired and sometimes overwhelmed in our lives?
Focus on self-mastery and help yourself.
Doing this is certain to give you more time, passion and ability to help others.
When your tank is overflowing, you will naturally want to connect, share and help others more than ever before.
Take my marriage for example.
My wife and I began new jobs, with a new home, living with my mother-in-law and coming from totally different backgrounds.
I was an entrepreneur running a new company, Nine By Nine Design. My wife worked a 9-5 job.
I had lived alone for 15 years. My wife lived with her family her whole life.
We had been married for just a few months and were already thinking it was a mistake.
My wife and mother-in-law were not expecting to live with a strong independent male and I was not expecting to be challenged by my mother-in-law as the man of the house, especially seeing as my wife and I were paying for the living expenses.
My wife and I were at our wits end and were one second away from getting a divorce.
Fortunately, my life coach was assisting me develop my self-mastery skills.
I created a plan to improve myself and follow through no matter what happened.
I threw myself into my work, which I love. I went biking, hiking, dining out, watched movies and most importantly, wrote in my journal profusely all the things I needed to tell my wife.
This process of self-mastery helped me fill up my tank.
After respectfully discussing my concerns on a few occasions, my wife and I began attending coaching sessions that she arranged, where we opened up to each other more than I ever experienced before.
These experiences affected my wife positively, thus she began using self-mastery principles in her life.
My process of self-mastery brought a massive breakthrough in finding more courage, honesty and joy than I ever experienced in any relationship in my life.
My self-improvement and my wife’s ability to change saved our marriage.
Master yourself and you will master your ability to help others.
- 2017 World Happiness Report (Mar 24 2017) YouTube [Online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se2gfFKp1Iw#action=share [Accessed August 20 2017]
- World Happiness Report [Online] Available: http://worldhappiness.report/ [Accessed August 20 2017]
- What’s the Happiest Country? (Dec 24 2014) YouTube [Online] Available: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9IeDEEsvQw [Accessed August 20 2017]
- Happy Planet Index [Online] Available: http://happyplanetindex.org/ [Accessed August 20 2017]
- Collins English Dictionary. Copyright © HarperCollins Publishers [Online] Available: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/self-mastery [Accessed August 20 2017]