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What it will take to make you happy?

Thursday 13 January 2011

When compared to the rest of Europe and America, Spain operates to its own timetable. Most in the Christian world exchange gifts on Christmas Day. Then, on the following day, they get down to business - shopping in the annual sales. Spain, however, delays things a little. Perhaps it's just that everyone here has a more laid-back approach to life. Perhaps it indeed has its roots in the country's Catholicism. Either way, the average Spaniard has to wait until the 6th of January (Epiphany) to open his presents. Only then can the sales get under way. And boy oh boy have the masses now hit the malls.

The other day I found myself in a shopping centre outside Oviedo. In the car park, I thought I would have to resort to dowsing to find a space. Once I did mange to find what I think was quite possibly the last space, I had to wade through the torrents of shoppers intent on getting a bargain on that item that would no doubt make their lives complete. It made me stop and think...

To be sure, we live in a very materialistic society. It's increasingly hard to resist the clever marketing strategists who dangle shiny baubles before our wide eyes with the offer of making us feel happy and complete. I confess that even though I consciously fight it, I too find this programming (read indoctrination) sometimes too powerful to dodge. When I do succumb, I have to say that all too often the shine of that new purchase wears off quite quickly.

It seems to me that too much of the time when we shop we are looking for an energetic hit of sorts. It's rather analogous to the rush that many of us feel after eating a chocolate bar. We feel great in that second. But afterwards, when the sugar rush wanes, we find ourselves asking whether that's all there is.

One thing that I do when I'm shopping is that I insist that I make it a two-trip process. On my first trip, I see the item and am no doubt wowed by the marketing. I'm hooked and decide that I have to have it, whatever it is. But then, I make myself leave the shop and go home. I sleep on it. The next morning, with fresh eyes, I then ask myself whether I really need it or whether I couldn't just be searching for a chocolate bar-like energy rush. Nine times out of ten, if not more, I realise that I didn't want, much less need, it.

We're living in tough economic times. All of us are working harder for our money than ever before. And as such, I encourage you to ask yourself whether your next purchase really will make you happy. But don't stop there. Dig deep and consider what it will take to make you happy in life (assuming that you're not already enjoying a life complete with warm fuzzies).

Happiness means different things to different people. What makes one person happy won't do anything for the next person. It's an individual thing - and that's a good thing.

Even if you're not out there in the sales shopping til you drop, I still encourage you to take a few moments out of your daily hustle and bustle to consider your happiness and whether your life and the choices you're making in it are consistent with your views of happiness. I don't care how well you think you know yourself such an exercise will open your eyes.

For some of you, you'll know exactly what to do with your discoveries. Others may need a gentle nudge to get started or a steer on where to go. Maybe I can help with one of my readings. If you think that a relationship would make you happier, then my Relationship Reading might be what you need. Others might be looking to their 9-to-5 for fulfillment. For them, I propose my Career Reading. But for the majority of those who feel that something is lacking in their lives, it's my Life Reading that could be just the ticket.

But please remember that no matter where you are in your journey in life or what you're doing, happiness is always an option open to you!

I always welcome your thoughts and feedback, so let me hear from you by clicking here.

Until next time,

Kindest regards,


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Alan Bridges

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