The Happiness Trap

TheHappinessTrapHave you noticed how many books there are in the bookstore on how to be happy?

Which raises the question on why, in a recent poll, only 1/3rd of Americans claimed to be happy.

We have fallen into the “happiness trap,” chasing after happiness as if that is the goal of life.

It isn’t.

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing lots of interviews in lots of places about my new book, The Immutable Laws of Living.  In just about every interview, they ask me about the Immutable Law, “It isn’t about happiness.”  Some have even asked how that can be so, since the forefathers of the United States noted the right of “pursuit of happiness.”

First, their concept of happiness was far deeper than our current definition of a feeling of elation — usually about something that “happens.”  But second, pursuit is different than having.

When we chase happiness, it stays just out of reach.  Keeping us trapped in the chase… trying to find the next thing that will finally do it… only to find that it fails, too.

What’s the answer?

Listen to this episode to find the way out of the trap.

RELATED RESOURCES:
It’s Not About Happiness
Chasing Happiness Chases It Away
“I’m Just Not Happy”
Dealing With Down Days
The Immutable Laws of Living

Surviving To Thriving

FromSurvivingToThrivingWe always start at survival.  You have to survive to do anything else.  Surviving is based in dealing with scarcity and threats.

Sometimes, people get stuck in survival mode… whether it is necessary or not.  For most people, survival mode is less a necessity and more a habit.

Then, we live.  Living is about finding comfort.  People to support you, work to do, things to enjoy.  And for many people, this is the stage that feels like success.  The paycheck and opportunity gives enough comfort to enjoy life.

So, many people get stuck in the live mode.

But then, there is the opportunity to thrive.

Survive >>>> Live >>>>> Thrive

What makes the shift?  Realizing that the living isn’t enough.  There is something more.  Something deeper and more satisfying.  It’s about finding your purpose, finding your deeper meaning, making an impact in the world.

It requires taking on the challenges, looking for the opportunities… growing and stretching.

While surviving is about scarcity, living is about comfort, thriving is about abundance.  It isn’t a change in what is around you, as much as a shift in perspective.

Listen to this week’s episode to learn more about making the shifts.

RELATED RESOURCES
Meaning and Purpose
Making An Impact
Building A Thriving Life

Listen To Your Higher Self

Rules For Living Series

Rules for Living:  Listen to your Higher Self

Have you ever had that moment when you were doing something or saying something, and there was that other voice in your head… the one questioning why?  Maybe you already knew you were acting in a way you would not want to, or perhaps you were saying something you knew would be hurtful.  But you found yourself doing or saying it anyway….

Your Higher Self was talking.  Were you listening?

In this episode of the Thriveology Podcast, we talk about listening to that Higher Self.  It is far more resilient and wise than that other voice, the Ego, that gets our ear (and our actions) lots of times.

But when we make a shift… to that Higher Self… our lives make a shift, too.  We make better choices, treat others better (along with ourselves), and work from a place of courage.

This week’s Rule?  Listen to your Higher Self.  Listen to this episode for more.

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present
#3 Accept the Past and Revise the Future

Grieve Losses and Celebrate Gains

Rules for Living Series

The Rules of Living by Lee Baucom

Losses are painful.  No way around it.  They are also normal. Or to say it differently, loss is a normal part of life.  Not an anomalie.  Part of being alive.

And loss leads to grief.  That is our natural reaction to any loss.  Big grief or small grief — that is simply how we process a loss, so that we can re-weave life and continue.

Sometimes, we get caught up in the “unfairness” of a loss, and we get stuck in the grief. In the process, we lose out on life.  We fail to celebrate the gains that also are a part of life.

Think of these three stages throughout your life.  We have a certain orientation to life — we understand what life is about… until something changes — a loss or a gain.  And then, we experience disorientation.  The process of grieving and celebrating brings us to a new orientation — a re-orientation.  Not the same as before.  But not necessarily worse than before.  Just different than before.

So, rule #4 is to grieve your losses and celebrate your gains.  Listen for details below.

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present
#3 Accept the Past and Revise the Future

MORE Lessons Learned As A Chaplain

MoreLessonsLearnedChaplainLast week, I shared some lessons I learned while I was a hospital chaplain at the beginning of my career.

In this episode of the podcast, I share another six. That makes a total of ten lessons. But they only scratch the surface.  My hope is to share some of the bigger lessons that emerged during that time.

Few people spend the kind of time a chaplain gets to spend with people on the edges of life.  Medical staff don’t have the time to spend, as much as they would like to.  Most others are only in those settings in the days of a crisis.

My evening hours gave me time with patients, after the doctors and families had gone home, while the nurses were giving medical care.  I had the chance to sit with people, while they sat with the big questions of life.  I didn’t always have the answers (often didn’t), but I had the time to walk with them as they explored their journeys.

Walking with them taught me the lessons I share today.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Lessons Learned, Part 1
Meaning & Purpose
Impact
Make It Count

Thrive Principles
Immutable Laws

Lessons Learned As A Chaplain

LessonsLearnedChaplainIt was in the early days of my Master’s degree and my clinical training.  I spent a summer working as a chaplain intern.  Then I joined the staff of the hospital as one of the chaplains. I had the evening shift.

Chaplains have a unique position in hospitals.  There to guide the tough times, celebrate the good times, and share in the spiritual journey.  And while I was there as a staff member, every day was a learning experience for me.

In fact, I still look back at many critical moments in my learning about life, about caring for people, and the human struggle — and many happened during just the few years I served as a chaplain.

I thought I might reflect a bit with you about the lessons I learned in my years as a hospital chaplain, just to see if they offer anything for you and your journey.

Listen below for part 1 of 2.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Meaning in Life
Purpose and Impact
Thrive Principles
Immutable Laws of Living

That Balance Between Certainty and Variety

FindBalanceCertaintyVarietyWe need balance.  Tony Robbins notes that we have several human drives.

The first two are where we need balance:  certainty and variety.  We need to be able to count on things in life — that’s certainty.  But we also need new experiences and a change of pace — that’s variety.

Too much of one makes most of us crave the other… until we get too much of that.

Balance.

That doesn’t mean that we find the space equidistant between certainty and variety, but that we have BOTH as parts of our lives.

How is YOUR balance?

I know I am out of balance when I get exhausted by too much busyness and unpredictability (too much variety, too little certainty) or when I am bored and energy-less (too much certainty, too little variety).

In this week’s podcast, I discuss how to find the balance and why it is so important.  It is also a great lead-in to this week’s Save The Marriage Podcast, where I discuss how this can cause problems in relationships.  But it applies to everyone, single or in a relationship.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Learning and Life
Be an Experiment
Show Up
Beating Stress

2 Targets To Thrive

Two targets for thriving in good and bad times.“But where do I start?”, he asked. I was at a conference talking about thriving. I’d spent a good amount of time discussing some principles of thriving. But I could tell it was a bit overwhelming to my new friend.

He challenged me, “You said I could thrive, no matter what life is throwing my way. So, where do I start if things are going well, and where do I start when things are not going so well?”

I thought for a brief moment and said, “Either way, you aim at two targets. They both apply, whether things are going well or not so well. When you are at the top of your game or at the bottom, these two targets remain.”

“It can’t be that easy,” he replied.

“Easy? I never mentioned ‘easy.’ I just said that there are two targets, no matter where you are,” I offered.

“OK,” he responded, “I’m all ears. What are the two targets?”

Gratitude and Growth.

Those are the two targets. Targets… you aim at them. You may not always hit them. But you aim at them.

When things are good, it is easier to remember to practice gratitude — and yet, we often forget to do it. When things are tough, there are still things for which to be grateful. But it can be a challenge.

When times are tough, growth is often the outcome. But it isn’t always fun to find the lessons. And when things are good, we think we have it down — no need to learn. And yet, there are plenty of things to learn at the top. And at that bottom. And in between.

In this episode of the podcast, I discuss these two targets. And how to hit them.

RELATED RESOURCES
Gratitude
Lessons To Learn
Thoughts
Thrive Principles

Merry Stress-ness

and Happy Holi-daze!

Merry Stress-ness and Happy Holi-daze! Dealing with holiday stress this Christmas season.And just like that, the Holiday season is upon us! All the hustle and bustle. All the events. All the demands… in the midst of a time that you want to be enjoyable, meaningful, and manageable!

Why the stress?

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I discuss the causes of holiday stress. But more importantly, I cover the ways to cope with holiday stress.

Don’t let stress rob you of the deeper meanings and connections of this holiday season.

Thankful & Grateful

Using Gratitude to Thrive

Be thankful. Be grateful. Shift mindsets and thrive. 4 ways to focus on gratitude.In the United States, we turn our minds this week to being thankful. . . right before we turn our minds to sales, merchandise, consumption. . . and all the things we don’t have.

It always strikes me as ironic that on Thursday, we are likely going to share the things for which we are grateful, then on Friday, we will knock each other down for the next “have to have.”

Perhaps that is a metaphor of our daily life.  We know we should be thankful.  We know we should be grateful.  And we think we would be. . . if only x,y, and z were true.  If only we had the right job, person, money, or toys in our lives.  And in that instant, we are pulled back into a scarcity mindset.

A thankful mindset shifts us to gratitude for what we DO have, takes us away from a focus on what we DON’T have, and helps us shift away from the scarcity threat.

Let’s be honest:  if you are able to read this post, you are among a fortunate group of people with resources.  But this isn’t really about comparing ourselves to those with less (or more) as much as being grateful for whatever we DO have.

In this week’s podcast, I discuss the power of thankfulness, and give you 4 ways to practice gratitude in your life.  Try it out to see if it helps you to shift mindsets and thrive.

OTHER RESOURCES:
Being Thankful
Showing Gratitude
Thrive Principles