I have immersed myself in so much learning the last four years. While most of it is noise, regardless of the lesson at hand, it resulted in a lot of self reflection. I’d take the lesson, examine it, see if it fit into my values or plugged a hole, and move on to the next. After hundreds of these types of exercises, I think having a fulfilling and happy life boil down to basically three basic lessons.
1) Thoughts become things.
If you are unhappy, you have two options:
A) Change your perspective
B) Change your circumstances
…that. is. it.
It doesn’t sound complicated, but there are obviously many nuances to these.
Let’s start with Thoughts Become Things. It really is as basic as it sounds: what you think about will become reality. Here are the nuances. Your conscious and subconscious are not always on the same page. Think of your conscious as the driver of an automobile. Think of your subconscious as the navigation system. You may think you (your conscious) is in control, but if your navigation system tells you to go left, you go left. If it tells you to go right, you go right. You may disagree and go your own way from time to time, but more likely than not, you’ll follow your navigation system.
What we think programs our navigation system. It hears the main words. So if when you talk to yourself (and we all do) and say “I don’t like the way I look” your subconscious hears “I .. like the way I look.” Instead we need to say to ourselves “I want to look fit and healthy.” Instead of dwelling on something you hate, state what you want. Instead of “I hate my job,” state “My dream job is just around the corner.”
Your brain is your most powerful organ. What your brain can envision, will drive you to reach that goal. Give it the food it needs to drive you towards your goals. Picture where you want to be, not where don’t want to be. This can be done in many ways. I am a fan of the Vision Board. You look and reflect on pictures of things you want, or where you want to be. This starts to set this desire in your subconscious. You have to know where you want to go. Not where you’ve been (or are), or what you don’t like. That type of shit gives you no navigation points for the future.
If you want a place where your family can be happy, think about that. It may not come in the way you expect, but focus on the end goal, not the steps or the process. That will come on its own.
Change your Perspective – If you aren’t happy with a situation, one option is changing the way your mind views it. Mine away the good parts, and find happiness in what you can while discarding the crappy part. I’ve read books on monks imprisoned in Chinese camps who found peace and happiness there, despite the awful situation. You can throw in the towel and give up, or you can acknowledge the obstacles, say “this is somewhat overwhelming, but I’m going to stay positive and keep moving in the right direction.”
Let me illustrate how perspective can change things by hypothetical dudes Jim and John. They both work the same job but Jim hates it and John loves it. John is thankful to have a job in this economy. He knows it isn’t his long-term ideal, but he looks at the positive. He’s got an income, which is good. He has insurance. He has work flexibility. Life is good. Jim, on the other hand, looks at what he doesn’t have. He wants to make more money, since his wife nags him about why he needs to ask for a raise. He is looking at MegaFirmX down the street and they get better bennies, so feels slighted. And let’s bring in married life for a minute. Jim has sex with his wife once a week, same as John. Jim HATES that, since he’d rather be doing it 4x per week, and resents that fact. John however, thinks once a week is great. Sure, more would be even better, but he’s improved his and his wife’s sex life from once a month, so to him, he’s practically swimming in it and his marriage is way better. Perspective. You can work to change it too.
Change Your Circumstances – if you are more Jim than John, then stop living in the same situation and start doing something to change it. You are in debt and people are hounding you, yet you’re still buying new cars and going on vacations. Get your shit under control. Get a temporary extra job.
You hate your job, and want to pursue your life’s calling. Start getting the training or education you need, one day at a time, and one day, you could be doing it. Circumstances are not static, and if you aren’t happy, move – do anything, or life and happiness are likely to pass you by. Or at least stop bitching about it, the rest of us don’t want to hear about how your circumstances suck and is causing you grief.
Thoughts Become Things. Change Your Perspective. Change Your Circumstances. some brief thoughts on finding a way to get what you want, and to be more happy.