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

Control What You Can; Release The Rest

Rules for Living Series

Rules123It was interesting to see how much my client seemed to relish her self-diagnosed “issue” when she smilingly told me, “I’m a bit of a control freak. I just want things my way.  Mostly because I know how they should be.”

So, I asked that tough question, “How is that working out for you?”

The smile turned to tears as she told me how much pushback she was getting from people.  “They just don’t know better,” she assured me, letting me know that she just needed some better ways of getting people to follow her lead (ummm, demands).

My client was making a common mistake.  One that leads to misery — on her part and the part of others around her.  She was trying to control things she could not.  AND she was failing to control things she could.

The desire to control comes from fear.  We fear things won’t go well, won’t work out.  So, we innocently try to control things… the wrong things.

There are only a few things we can control. But when we switch from trying to control the things we cannot to the things we can, life opens up! Controlling what we can, it turns out, is enough.

In this week’s Thriveology Podcast, I cover another Rule for Living:  Control the Things You Can, and Release the Rest.  Listen 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

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

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

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

Accept the Past and Revise the Future

Rules for Living Series

Rules for Living:  Accept the past and revise the future

Time is an interesting thing, isn’t it?  How often do we keep reliving the past, and imagining the future?  Unfortunately, when we are caught in the past and the future, the present suffers.

As I have watched myself and others, I have noticed the tendency we have in trying to change what has happened.  We try to find some way to re-do what has already been done.  We want to find a revisable past.

And simultaneously, we don’t do what we can to revise and re-envision the future.  If only we could swap those two approaches!

What if we accept the past and revised the future, versus trying to revise the past and giving up on the future?

As we continue our series on the Rules for Living, this week, we look at how to accept the past and look toward the best possible future.

Listen below

RULES OF LIVING SERIES
#1 Let Fear Point, Not Direct
#2 Be Present In The  Present

Let Fear Point, Not Direct

Rules of Living Series

What Are The Rules For Living?Whenever I am playing a game, I like to know the rules… what I can do and can’t do; what I can get away with, and what will get me into trouble.

I have the same feeling about life.  The “rules” are principles or strategies to use when things are tough.  They give me a decision tree, to guide my choices.

The rules keep me moving forward, toward what I want.  They also keep me honest and living within my virtues.

I’ve gathered those rules together and want to share them with you.  I hope you find them helpful, even if you edit or alter them to fit for you.

This week is Rule #1:  Let Fear Point, Not Direct

I have discovered that fear is a powerful force for people.  It might protect us, sometimes.  But it can also hold us hostage from our dreams and aspirations.

It gets in our way for one simple reason:  we use fear to direct our lives.  Fear is better used to point the way… to show us what’s important.

Let me explain further in my podcast this week, rule #1 of my Rules for Living series.

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

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