Day 2: Perform A SWOT Analysis

If you haven’t checked out Day 1 yet, read that and do the exercises before moving onto this.

Today, we are going to borrow a concept from management theory called SWOT analysis.

This is an amazingly powerful technique, and your results will be a reference for the rest of the month.

The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This can be applied to any and all areas of your life, and for now we will apply it to your happiness.

The idea here is that strengths and weaknesses reflect internal variables, while opportunities and threats are external variables. So, for our purposes, a strength is a characteristic about you or your life that helps make you happy, while an opportunity is something outside of your current life situation that can increase your happiness.

For example, a strength might be your wealth, whereas an opportunity would be your potential to find a better paying job.

The purpose of this analysis is to give yourself an accurate accounting for where you stand in your life with regards to your happiness.

Most people don’t put any thought into their happiness, which to me seems ridiculous. Some would argue with me on this point, but I believe that we should all seek to maximize our own happiness in any way we can so long as we don’t infringe on other peoples’ rights in the process.

But I digress.

 

Before We Begin

Anyways, be honest with yourself while doing this assessment.

It’s for you, not for anyone else, and it will only be useful to you if done properly. So don’t cheat yourself. Take as much time as you need for this exercise, since it will be used as a reference for the next several weeks.

Be specific with any points you make under any of the categories. Anything you write down should be clear and definable, otherwise it’s difficult to work with.

 

Strengths

The key with strengths is to figure out how you can leverage them to your advantage.

We will go into more about that tomorrow.

For now, here are some questions you should ask yourself in order to get at what your strengths with regards to happiness are:

  • What are my assets? Do I own anything that brings me happiness? Do I have any unique assets?
  • What are some of the things about me that differentiate me from other people in a positive way?
  • In what positive ways would my friends describe me? In what positive ways would someone I just met describe me?

 

Weaknesses

The point of listing out your weaknesses is to find out if there is a way to reduce or eliminate them.

It is much easier to do this once you’ve come up with an accurate list for yourself, because you can then think strategically about them from a more detached viewpoint.

  • Do I have any debts?
  • What are areas of my life that can be improved?
  • In what negative ways would a friend or someone I just met describe me?
  •  Am I lacking anything specific?
  • When I am jealous of someone, what types of things do I tend to get jealous over?

Opportunities

After coming up with our list of opportunities, the most important thing to do with them is to figure out if there are ways you can capitalize on them while simultaneously removing some of your weaknesses or threats.

  • What external changes in my life might present new opportunities?
  • What organizations am I involved with?
  • How would I describe the current state of my relationship or single life?
  • What sort of positive effects have my friends or family had on me in the past? How might they be able to benefit me in the future?

Threats

When we have completed our SWOT analysis, we will look for ways to neutralize the threats by taking advantage of opportunities, or through some other means.

  • What external changes in my life might result in a decrease in happiness?
  • Do I have serious obligations that might get in the way of my pursuit of happiness?
  • How would I describe the current state of my relationship or single life?
  • Am I associating with any people who I particularly dislike, who ask a lot of me, or who tend to make me feel worse?

 

Conclusion

The questions above are only guidelines to help get you started in this process.

Do not censor yourself while you perform your SWOT analysis. Write down as many things as you can think of, even if you aren’t sure whether it applies or not.

When you have done this, you will have a tool that will allow you to create a road map for improving your own happiness!

Continue on to Day 3: Create a Plan.

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