The day is set. September 30, 2019 will be the day my first book Happiness In Okinawa Is… is published. I choose that date because it was on the same day in 2018 that I kicked off this project. I think it would be a great date to celebrate the full-circle moment.
Happiness In Okinawa Is… is a self-published book. I choose to self-publish because it is the quickest way to get my book to people who need it. Self-publishing, as opposed to traditional publishing, is the hard way. I have learned so many valuable lessons during the progress. I want to document these lessons for future reference. I also choose to be open about the entire process for those who are interested to know how the book is put together.
Why A Book About Happiness?
Why create a book about happiness in Okinawa? I created this book to pull myself out of unhappiness. In summer 2018, with the birth of my first child, I felt a tremendous amount of pressure suddenly. At that time, the two companies I was running were both in trouble. With work and family both required my full attention, I felt burned out. For the entire summer, I spent most of the time in my studio, working between my son’s naps. Months gone by and I felt I have only been picking up the balls I failed to juggle.
I was aware of the heavy toll I will pay if I don’t make changes immediately. Having read many books on self-help and productivity, I quickly establish an Action Plan to Happiness. I will have another blog post to explain the action plan, but it primarily involves creating a todo list and prioritization. During that process, one task stood out to me – publish a book before I turn 40 years old. It is one of the biggest and the most procrastinated task on my agenda. My businesses also need a book to move to the next level.
Meanwhile, an illustration I did called “Happiness is opening a can of Orion beer” was doing very well at a sale. Fans show up to buy it, and they keep telling me they to draw more happy moments like that, because it makes them happy too.
I was surprised how well received the illustration was. Unlike any of my design in the past, this one is very simple and no color other than black and white. I have always enjoyed meeting fans, talking to them, and listening to their feedback. Later they told me the reason they liked that particular drawing was preciously its simplicity. I published a few more illustrations about small things that make me happy in Okinawa, and it exploded. I received a flood of comments and requests for more. I also noticed that every time I came across an idea for the next happiness moment, I felt happier myself too. In the beginning, I was creating one illustration a day. My daily life became brighter. By constantly condition myself to forcing what makes me happy, I became less hung up on the negatives. Later I was drawing 3,5, even 10 happy moments every day. Some times I drew until 2:00 am and woke up 7:00 am to continue. Eight months later, I had drawn 365 happy moments in Okinawa, a goal I set for myself. Now I showing these illustrations to others to help them become happier too.
A book with the entire collection of Happiness In Okinawa Is… comes next naturally. Publishing a book has been on my list. Plus, what a great way to commemorate the journey of self-discovery! Most importantly, I hope this book can help spread the message I come to realize during the creation of this book.
Happiness has never gone away. We are just too busy (or distracted ) to look. A happy life is not the destination. A happy life follows those who regularly condition him/herself to celebrate moments of even the smallest victory and embrace the lessons failure brings.
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