Creating Authentic Happiness

The Author

E. Alana James

E. Alana James

Dr E Alana James is reinventing herself again! Coming full circle to the first love of her life - art - and bringing back to her images all the lessons of her life as author, researcher, academic and wife. Concerned mostly with the idea of images as vehicles for expression of the truth of our inner and outer life experience.

I met a friend of mine while we were walking our dogs this morning, and my interaction with him reminds me of the importance of “setting my head space” or “the power of my mind creates my reality”. There are a couple of tasks in my life which I find less than innately invigorating. One of them is grading doctoral and masters level papers, and today the other is writing Chapter 5 of my new book.

I don’t know why the book is less interesting to me than the business work, as both will be strategic parts of the same future I am building, but the facts are the facts: I have put off writing this chapter for two weeks I have to get over that.

So right now I sit in my office, and I appreciate how it is a creative space — rather than think “oh I have to dig out the parts to that chapter, where did I put them?” Okay that’s a good starting place — I’m sitting in a comfortable chair in my office that is set up to be a creative space. I have a creative task in front of me and I’m going to enjoy figuring out new ways to talk about action researchers working with other people. This task draws on mine it comes strengths: creativity, curiosity, love of learning, wisdom, and leadership. I found those key strengths by taking an assessment by Martin Seligman at his site on authentic happiness ( If you’re interested in finding out your own key traits then take the brief strengths test which is listed under questionnaires. I have to confess that I didn’t think much of the tests during the time I was taking it. But proof over a period of time has shown me that the key traits that rose to the top are in fact the ones that might give me satisfaction and happiness at a deep level.

So I start my work on the book feeling satisfied that I got a new blog posting done, I helped a friend direct his attention towards what was going on in his mind rather than what was going on in his less than ideal daily reality, and most important I have set my own head space towards the five characteristics I need to keep in mind for my personal happiness: creativity, curiosity, love of learning, wisdom, and leadership. At the end of today I will add an addendum to this post before I actually put it up on the site — to check in with myself and you and tell you how it went.

……………………………………………….. Later that same day…………………………..

 It is now 7:30pm and I have successfully drafted most of chapter 5. I can’t say today was envigorating, but neither was I bored or unhappy at any part of it. To keep my focus on this work in a positive vein I printed the 5 most important characteristics to my happiness out in a 72 point font on an orange background so they would stand out on my desk and remind me of the characteristics of this work that I like best.

I helped the work flow more easily by dictating into my webcam using Dragon Naturally Speaking software and when my head got fuzzy I helped the fuzz go away using Brain Sync Brainwave Therapy recordings for focus and creativity.

A good attitude and great tools and I completed my goal of a hard day’s work with very satisfactory results.  Did I create authentic happiness? Well if not happiness I made it to the deep satisfaction level – and on a task I was avoiding for weeks that makes me…. pretty happy!