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

How To Build Your Self-Esteem

HowToBuildSelfEsteemSchools have based their teaching model on it.  Little league sports have revamped their approach on it.  Parenting has changed to help it.

What is IT?

Self-esteem.

Which is a great concept, at least in the way Nathanial Branden first proposed it.  Not so much in the way we have come to see it as “feeling good about yourself.”  Yep, Branden did want people to feel good about themselves, but not as the end point.  It was part of something bigger.

And when we use the current popular definition, research shows that self-esteem matters little in success, health, wealth, or happiness.

Does that mean we should give up on self-esteem?

Nope.

We just need to return to the original idea.  There is plenty we can do (and need to do) to build self-esteem — in a way that matters for happiness, meaning, purpose… and yes, success.

Learn how to build your self-esteem, in a way that matters, in this week’s podcast episode.

RELATED RESOURCE:
Finding Self-Confidence
Happiness Isn’t the Goal
What’s Your Purpose?
Make An Impact
New Book:  The Immutable Laws of Living

How To Find Your Confidence

HowToBuildSelfConfidenceWe all want confidence — SELF-confidence.  We want to be confident before we act.  In other words, I want to feel confident of myself before I move toward something.

Or maybe that’s just me!  🙂

But I think that comes at it from the wrong direction.  FEAR seems to be between us and action.  Mostly because of the order we have for action:

Confidence ==> Action ==> Success.

But instead, we have:

FEAR ==> Wait for Confidence ==> Keep Waiting

If you understandt the real flow, then you can step aside and let fear pass you by, letting you take action AND gain confidence.

Listen to this episode of the Thriveology Podcast to learn more.

RELATED RESOURCES:
Getting Un-Stuck
Fear Is A Given
New Book:  Immutable Laws Of Living

Find Freedom From Forgiving

Rules For Living Series

The Rules of Living Series:  Forgive to Move Forward.Have you ever noticed how many times, we get dragged into the past and the pain, even when those hurtful times are over?  Those remnants of the events can keep us stuck, frozen in the hurt and pain.

Unless we forgive.

That’s a big word, I know.  One that is packed with meaning… and not always helpful meanings.

In another podcast, I highlight my process for actually forgiving.  It is important enough that I have a book coming out on the Forgive Process (actually, the name of the book) in October.

In this episode, we discuss why it is so hard to forgive, why you should do it anyway, and why this is so important as a rule for living.  If you struggle with forgiving, please take a listen.  It might just change your mind!

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

The MPI Triad

"Make It Matter"

The MPI Triad -- Meaning, Purpose, Impact.I admit it. Her words have stuck with me for decades now. She told me, “Don’t waste it.” She meant that I shouldn’t waste my time… my life. Just before she died, she told me, “Make it matter.” She wanted to make sure I knew not to waste the precious time I had, and to make my life matter.

Her dying words to a young chaplain.

And those words have lived within me in the 3 decades since.

They still shape my work and my philosophy.

I discussed not wasting life in a prior podcast episode.

But what does it mean to Make It Matter? How do we make sure our lives matter, not for our own self, but for the world? How do we leave this place better for our being here?
The MPI Triad helps to clarify. That triad holds Meaning, Purpose, and Impact. How we make sense of what happens, how we move into the world, and what difference it makes.

Let me tell you a bit more in this week’s podcast episode.

RELATED RESOURCES
Meaning & Purpose
Impact
Thrive Principles

Building Your Resilience Muscle

Building your resilience muscle.You’ve got this muscle in you that you might not know about it.  Maybe it is strong, just naturally.  Or maybe you have built it on purpose.  Or maybe it needs a little strengthening.

The muscle?

Your “resilience muscle.”  It helps power you through tough times, so you can bounce back from the struggles.

Here’s the problem:  many people don’t know you can build it.  Many people do their best to avoid tough times and struggles.  And many refuse to let that struggle build the muscle.

One problem:  the struggles are unavoidable.  But if you let that Resilience Muscle atrophy, those struggles are just tougher.  If you strengthen the muscle, future struggles are not so insurmountable.

Let’s get fit and build that Resilience Muscle!

RELATED RESOURCES
Damaged, Resilient, or Thriving?
Thrive Principles Book
What Thriving People Know About Tough Times

The Appreciation Approach

Tools to Thrive Series

The Appreciation ApproachYour brain is really only capable of being in one of two modes:  fear/threat or love/appreciation. Unfortunately, the fear/threat mode is pretty much the default and automatic.

Fortunately, changing to manual and shifting to love/appreciation is not complicated.

More than that, there is plenty of research to point to the specific benefits of that shift:

  • Better emotional health,
  • Higher pain tolerance,
  • Higher sociability,
  • Greater life satisfaction,
  • More sleep,
  • More exercise,
  • etc., etc., etc.

There really isn’t much of a downside to gratitude and appreciation.  It just requires a shift in habits to get there.

Got 10 minutes or so per day, just for the next month?  YOU can build your appreciation/gratitude  toolkit and add it to your Thriving Toolbox.

Tools of Thriving Series
Introduction
Thought Awareness
Only Control What You Can

The Responsibility Formula
The Perspective Shift
Your Built-In Importance Indicator
The Importance Matrix

Fear or Love; Your Choice!

Immutable Laws of Living Series

You can live in fear and threat or love and appreciation.  Your choice.Have you ever wondered whether your brain controlled your mind or your mind controlled your brain?  Here is the answer:

YES.

Your brain certainly affects your thinking. But your thinking affects your brain. . . and you can CHOOSE where your thoughts dwell.

Brain chemistry is much more complicated.  And we know very little about how that chemistry works, anyway.

What we DO know about the brain is there are three layers.  The most primitive and deepest part of your brain scans the environment for threats — locking you into a fight/flight mode when it is activated.  The next layer is all about emotions.  And the top layer is about thoughts and reason.  We like that part.  But we often forget about the other layers.  Those other layers can keep us stuck, though.

Let’s talk about your brain and your mind.  Let’s discuss how to shift to Love/Appreciation — or you default to Fear/Threat.

Where do you want to spend your time?

(If you missed the earlier parts of the Immutable Laws Of Living Series, the links are below.)
Immutable Laws Of Living Series:
Life Isn’t Fair
Life Has Challenges
Life Isn’t About Happiness
A Thought Is A Thought
Every Perspective Is Limited
Change Is Inevitable
People Do The Best They Can
We ALL Have Fears
Life is YOUR Responsibility
“What Is” IS What Is
Control What You Can (Release The Rest)
Forgive To Live
Life Is The NOW
How Do You Spend Your Time?

Change Is Inevitable

Immutable Laws of Living Series

Change is inevitable:  Immutable Law of LivingThere is one constant in life:  Change.  It doesn’t matter if you hate change (most people) or love change (a few people — but usually, only when the change is going their way!).  The change happens.

Watch the seasons of the year go by.  Summer just blew through.  Fall is, inescapably (at least north of the equator) coming in.  Watch your kids.  Like it or not, they keep right on marching toward adulthood.  And (painfully, I might add), watch as your body continues to age — no matter what you do to stop it.  It just keeps on coming.

Change.

It is inevitable.

So, do we ignore it?  Do we hate it?  Or do we accept it and learn to grow with it?

Listen below for my (thriving) opinion.

Immutable Laws Of Living Series:
Life Isn’t Fair
Life Has Challenges
Life Isn’t About Happiness
A Thought Is A Thought
Every Perspective Is Limited