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The Real Differences Between Short-Term Verses Long-Term Happiness

The Real Differences Between Short-Term Verses Long-Term Happiness

I was in a department store the other day when I saw a young mother trying to placate a crying two year old. Every parent has been there. She was able to appease the child with a bit of candy. Again, every parent has been there.

I could only think of how long this would last after the piece of candy was gone. Would the child’s outlook improve for the better? Or was this going to be a long ride home for that mother? The brief reprieve may be only short lived.

As adults we are faced with the same balance of what brings long term and short term happiness. We can sometimes get lost in the benefits of long term contentment. It helps us to grow and develop and appreciate what we have. Here are seven ways to recognize the benefits of each.

1. How You Look vs Who You Are

There is an old saying that clothes make the man. This makes a great advertising slogan, but it is only true on the surface. A nice suit is great at making a good first impression. Long lasting relations are dependent on you.

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Developing your character in the way you act and interact has much more meaning. You are able to influence people around you and leave a lasting impression that a flashy car or nice clothes cannot.

2. Relationships Based On A Checklist

Some people seek to make friends or develop relationships based on a checklist. They think the best qualities are like making a grocery list. Good looks? Check! Sense of humor? Check! No job? Nope sorry!

Maybe there is safety in developing a list like this for looking for the perfect partner. The problem is there may not be a perfect one. Finding relationships that complement you and make you happy is what is important.

3. The Cool Crowd Or Your Caring Posse?

Someone once told me that an acquaintance will buy you drinks at a bar. But a real friend will drive you home when you cannot. There are people with a natural charisma who draw people to them. They can show you a good time or be the life of the party.

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Can you rely on people like this when the chips are down? It’s great to have friends that want to have a good time but the ones that bring long term joy are those who have your back.

4. How Does Money Make You Happy?

Entrepreneurism has become prevalent in today’s business world. It is now easy to start a business with the Internet and technology. There are two different reasons why people pursue starting a business: to make money or fulfill a passion.

Making money is a necessity, but it is something that is used for basic needs. For more lasting joy, doing something you like needs to be considered. It is the fuel that drives you during stressful periods.

5. You Are What You Eat

Certain behaviors can trigger what we eat. The break up with a significant other can mean bringing out ice cream. A desire to lose weight promotes dieting for long term health. Various aspects of our lives can affect our food regimen.

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Food may be something that comes to mind when discussing short term verses long term happiness, but it is such an important part of our lives and well being. It is the focal point of social engagements. It is a cornerstone of our health. Think about the food you eat and see if your eating habits satisfy immediate needs or are part of something important.

6. Spending Your Time Wisely Or Foolishly

Which of these describes you: sitting on the couch flipping through 200 channels claiming there is nothing on? Or making a family night out of watching a movie with members of your household? How you spend your time can make a big difference between short-term verses long-term happiness.

Time is a precious commodity. You can always make money but you cannot make time. Consider if you are using your time wisely or just going through the motions of life. Looking back, you may regret not taking advantage of it.

7. Taking Care Of Your Health Or Putting It Off

I, like many, do not see going to the doctor as a favorite activity. There are things you would rather be doing than sitting in a waiting room all morning, not to mention the lecture of not eating or exercising properly.

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The fact is a few hours of what feels like an inconvenience is necessary. Your health is so important and keeping up on maintaining it means avoiding or minimizing serious health problems. It may feel okay to cancel appointments when you do not feel like going, but it could have ramifications if you blow it off long term.

Life is full of simple pleasures that bring happiness. Immediate gratification is common because it is simple and easy. But remember the bigger picture too as you consider the differences between short-term verses long term happiness in your life.

Featured photo credit: @Doug88888 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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