I Am Happiest When [No.34]

Posted by Jill Chivers in Happy

Two kinds of unhappy

I’ve discovered two kinds of unhappiness.   And it’s an important difference, a substantial difference.

The first kind of unhappy is the kind that immobilises you, that knocks you down so you’re not sure you can ever get up, or that there’s really any point to getting up.  This kind of unhappy flattens you.

Then there’s the second kind of unhappy that acts like sand to the oyster, that irritates and frustrates, that grinds away at you.  This kind of unhappy kicks you into action, it mobilises you.

These two kinds of unhappy are as different as night is to day.

One knocks you out, and one lights you up.  In both cases, you’re unhappy, yes.

But there’s a key ingredient that determines which unhappy you’re experiencing.


Hope is the difference between the unhappiness that mobilises you, and the unhappiness that immobilises you.

Hope is the difference between unhappiness that paralyses you, and unhappiness that prepares you.  Hope is the difference between unhappiness that cripples you, and unhappiness that catalyses you.

I’ve lived through moments where there was precious little hope, and I felt there was little point in continuing on.  During these dark days, all I could do was hang on until I could feel a glimmer of hope, of possibility, of promise return.

And I’ve experienced those moments where I felt a sense of agitation, of discomposure, of unrest, of wanting things to change… and of movement when I turned that inner agitation into action.

I am happiest when (#34)

I’m listening. I’m a great listener, if I do say so myself.  I know it’s not polite to say you’re great at stuff like listening, and the truth is I’m terrible at many things.  But I’m good at listening, actually I think I’m better than good.  I love to listen to others, I find them fascinating.  I am a natural facilitator in many ways, because I have a tendency to want to hear what others have to say before I share my own viewpoint.  As a professional facilitator, one of the things I loved to do was to debrief exercises and learning activities – to hear how people experienced the activity, what they learned (or re-learned), what was surprising to them, what they liked and didn’t like, and what they were going to do (what actions they were going to take) as a result of the experience they’d just had.  It never ceased to fascinate me, what people would share.

Listening during a corporate workshop debrief session

Listening during a corporate workshop debrief session



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