Where Do You Hide Your Happiness?

hide-behind-handsAs my 1 Sentence Journal fills up I’m beginning to see my happiness patterns. For example when I start writing early in the day I can get my thoughts on this track that allows me to write in large quantities. I plant the seed early and I can’t let go. I almost always end up surprising myself with my productivity levels.

I never would have discovered this if I hadn’t taken the time to contemplate my workday. You don’t need to meditate in the typical sense to enjoy the benefits of contemplation. The idea is to find a way to relax your thoughts and be in the now, so you can improve just a little bit each day.


A big portion of my happiness felt anchored to how much I could write/create, especially on the weekends when I needed to get a bulk of my writing accomplished. Understanding my process allowed me to bring clarity to what made me happy.

Adding the one sentence journal helped me expose some hidden happiness that I hadn’t expected.

The older I get and the closer to death I get less likely I am to fool myself into sticking with the same old patterns. My fear just doesn’t have a strangle hold on my emotions like they used to. I’m much more willing to expose the lies that I hold on to, so I can make positive changes.

Excerpts from my one sentence journal:

3-20-10 – I had trouble staying focused, still need to work on relaxing with my work.

4-12-10 – My mind was scattered trying to focus my energy on how to reach my right people. I was grumpy and frustrated. My mind was focused on my mistakes instead of the possibilities that I could create.

5-25-10 – Planning my day each morning is very important. Helps me stay focused.

6-15-10 – Called out sick because I had Saturday hours, got some good work done. Nice to have the house to myself so I could stay focused.

10-19-10 – Got some little stuff done. Need to stay focused on big picture.

12-11-10 – I was a little disappointed in myself this Saturday. I need to get my work done so I can hang out with the family on Sunday. I putzed around and when I did work I wasn’t very focused. I don’t think the two beers and green helped very much.

This is only a small portion of my 1 Sentence Journal. There were many patterns that I found and improved. To help me keep my focus I’ve implemented the technique I talked about, Doing the Important Stuff Early.

I also implemented two other techniques:

  • Review big picture each week and each month. This helps me get my focus back on track. I use my 1 Sentence Journal to do this as well. (Macro)
  • When doing singular tasks I use an egg timer to stay on task. As long as my egg timer is counting down I refuse to check out my Twitter account or my email. (Micro)

I know myself. When I’m productive I’m happy. I love knocking out an ebook, e-course or interviewing someone. It makes me proud. That’s time well spent.


You probably hold back from happiness to placate others or because of your fear. It’s natural. I still do it. The thing is – what are you doing to expose these lies you are telling yourself?

If you love getting your creative work done early why are you putting it off until the afternoon? If you hate doing to Sunday Brunch with the Stewarts and their annoying kid then why do you do it? If you hate cold calling why do you do it?

We know what we need to do to be happy, but for some reason we don’t do it until we see the patterns for ourselves and feel enough pain to take action.

You have to find a way to stimulate yourself to ask yourself these tough questions. It’s the only way you will expose your willingness to accept the unhappiness. No one likes to ask and answer these tough questions. I understand that, but what is the alternative? You can’t go on living in unhappiness.

I couldn’t do it any longer. I had to expose the lies I was telling myself so I could open myself to changing my bad habits.

What things do you do now that makes you happy? (i.g. Eat fried food during lunch or cold calling customers.)

What changes have you made to improve your happiness? (i.g. You go to the gym during lunch or you only make warm calls to people who already know you.)

* Need a boost to your work happiness? Then check out the Happy at Work Project and start one yourself.

* I’m co-hosting the Book Yourself Solid Twitter Party this Thursday with Michael Port. Come check it out and win some cool prizes. Did I mention it’s free.

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Image courtesy of Policardo


  1. Hi Karl,

    Great post and great ideas. I’ve just started reading Dan Ariely’s book “Predictably Irrational”, and he has an entire chapter on procrastination and why we can’t make ourselves do what we want to do. I plan on applying what I learn to my own procrastination around my writing projects. My energy gets frittered away struggling between what I want to write about and what I think I “should” write about. Once I get going with writing about something that inspires or interests me I’m fine. The other thing I need to do is get back into my timed writing practice–10 minutes a day–as soon as I wake up. (Yes, before I even get out bed and have my tea.)

    Have a great day.

    • Hi Sue, I totally agree with Dan. The thing is we can always find ways to do work that might not necessarily light our world on fire. I’m not a big fan of posting my article to my blog. In reality it’s tedious. It’s a part of blogging that I have to put up with. The whole time I’m copying and pasting in the article and making sure all the little stuff is done I’m thinking about the people that I want to help with this piece. This little trick helps me stay motivated and stop resisting what I know needs to get done.

  2. Joe Wilner says:

    A one sentence jounal seems like a great idea. Whatever helps to find clarity is crucial. I try and meditate consistently though find general contemplation a great way to find more focus. Great post!


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