“Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness.” Bertrand Russell
This article provides some of my thoughts and reflections on Russell’s quote and offers you tips to use in your own life. The theme of this article is about enhancing happiness through using your skills and talents.
What you are good at
This quote is quite self-explanatory. Quite simply, all those things you do well in will increase your happiness. It’s not hard to see why. We all feel happiest when we are doing the things we love. It’s not just about your practical skills and abilities. It is about your personality also. You may be a good listener, logical thinker, calm under pressure, honest…the list goes on. All these make up the things you are good at.
Using your talents
I’m sure you are familiar with the feeling of doing a job that does not allow you to use your talents. You feel frustrated and bored. You may become resentful of your boss and are unhappy at home as you feel you are wasting your day and even worse, your life. Do not take ‘talents’ to mean a special gift that is available to the chosen few. We all have talents. You may have a talent for speaking on the phone, yet you’re stuck filing all day. Or you may have a talent for filing, yet are stuck on the phone all day.
By the way, you do not have to be good at everything. It’s great to learn and develop new skills, yet sometimes it’s nice to accept a particular part of who you are and feel at ease with that.
Another thing we are all good at is being ourselves. After all, how can we fail at that? Where we do struggle is when we try to be someone that just isn’t the genuine us, since we believe that is how we should be. An introvert will be unhappy going to parties night after night, but do it as they feel they will be seen as unfriendly. Whereas an extravert may struggle spending evenings alone reading a book, but feel they should enjoy this as they believe they should enjoy their own company.
The happiness of others
As well as our own happiness, I would say that what we are good at also contributes to the happiness of others – people we know and the world at large. People love to share the things they enjoy doing and the internet has made this even easier. Also, by doing the things we are good at and feeling good about ourselves we will not be stressed and unhappy. As such we will be a pleasure to be around.
Have a look at the following tips to help increase happiness:
- Take the time to list all those things you are good at. Think about your hobbies, your work, your relationships as well as your personality. All the good things that make up you are your talents. Try to use them everyday. If you keep a journal you could also reflect on how these talents contribute to the happiness of yourself and other people.
- You could go one step further and think about how you could share your talents and knowledge with other people. Write a book, create a website, carry out volunteer work, display your work at a craft fair, talk to people.
- Stop struggling to try and be someone that you are not.
- Enjoy the here and now. Forget what you are striving at for a while and relish what you have. For example, you may be learning to play the guitar and know what your goals are. This is great. However, remember to enjoy yourself along the way and appreciate the moment.
- See this as an excuse to keep learning new things, as you may find a talent you know nothing about. There’s so much out there to try. It also means you will be learning from others – people who will have shared the things they are good at to increase your happiness.