Why this blog?

Because HAPPINESS is misused. My theory is that Happiness is NOT the POINT of Life; rather, it is a POINTER IN LIFE. And when it comes to making changes, that's what I specialise in at abetterlife-uk.com and http://hertscollegeofhypnosisandnlp.co.uk

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Friday, May 31, 2013

How motivation is linked to happiness and loving your life

Success depends on large helpings of motivation, doesn’t it? Motivation is the inner drive to get on and do something. But do you find that your motivation rises and falls? There are the obvious reasons why this might be expected, like being tired, or bored, or having to do tasks that you don’t particularly like. But motivation can even vary on the average, over time. Is there more to it than meets the eye? Well, quite probably.
The most powerful motivation comes about when we set our sights on rewards that are truly meaningful to us; in other words, our hearts are also set on the outcome. Consider a very topical goal that many of us might say “yes” to, such as becoming significantly fitter and healthier. But what proportion of us will find ourselves out jogging, cycling, or down the gym? Or changing our eating patterns? Very few people ever find the inner motivation consistently to do what it takes to exercise regularly or change their eating habits. Even though we might really “want” the goal.

Several studies have demonstrated that motivation is very tough to create “on demand” – meaning that if a task is not tied to a strong inner personal desire, it will be difficult to continue working toward that task for very long. Going back to our previous example of healthy eating, there are cases where people have struggled for a long time to lead a healthy lifestyle, and are then struck with a serious health problem – such as a heart attack, or cancer. Often they suddenly find that they are able to quit smoking, change their exercise habits, and lose weight. Did motivation suddenly get created? In fact no, it did not. They simply now saw their lifestyle habits as tied to something different that was already important to them – survival!
Motivation comes from two places: (a) fear of loss or avoiding life-harming threats, which can be expressed as “away from” motivation, or (b) or desire for gain or life-enhancement, which can be expressed as “towards” motivation. In other words, like whipping a horse into action with a stick versus tempting it forward with a carrot. Both work in certain circumstances, as long as they are deeply meaningful (ask the horse.)  But more importantly, sticks get you moving, and carrots keep you moving. Sir Ken Robinson, who I introduced you too in an earlier article, talks of being in your “element”, to engage your heart. Setting a goal with only your “head” will not be so effective.

There is another major contributor to motivation problems. Imagine yourself being chased by a bully as a kid (a “stick” motivator); once you got away, did you keep running? No, at least not anything like as fast. There’s the core limitation to stick motivators; they collapse at some point. They may repeat, causing motivation cycles of boom and bust, or feast followed by famine. Stick motivators are very common. They may be set consciously, but very often they hide in the depths of the mind, out of awareness. They might take the form of the dread of financial insecurity, or the need to prove oneself, or the push for recognition. In relationships they might be the fear of being alone, or the need to be loved or appreciated. Same problem – boom and bust cycles. What can you do about them? Well, you can begin by asking yourself, honestly, “why do I do what I do? And, why is it important to me?” in connection with any goal you seek. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

"Give people back to themselves" - Sir Ken Robinson

I’ll come straight to the point today – I want to introduce Sir Ken Robinson to you. He’s a scouser who “done good.” Funny, articulate and clever. But mainstream (note the knighthood which he got for his kind of work) – which is what some of us prefer. Not everyone can take the American stuff straight on the chin.

Ken bangs on about how our upbringing – and education in particular – can do the opposite of what it intended, and stunt our development by putting a straight-jacket around us. He bangs on about how if we “turn this the other way … you release resources and give people back to themselves.” It’s about being “in your element.” This is not New Age waffle. He sees this is as the core of discovering how to create a life that you love ALL of. Enjoy his short talks at the links below; there’s a very good chance they will get you thinking (in a good way). And do consider buying his books if you like his stuff.ON-LINE Videos:

Friday, May 17, 2013

Too busy to be happy? I’ll be happy when ….

I have written before about that research supports the idea that some people are just naturally happier than others (Diener et al., 1999). It is also found that happier people tend to react more positively to life’s ups and downs. But even more significant, that the more sanguine, sceptical rational types amongst us would do well to take note of, is that happier people tend to act in ways that increase their chances of achieving even more rewarding outcomes. 
In other words, happy people make successful lives, and not the other way around. That means, if your general philosophy on life is that you set about achieving things, because that is more important than happiness, then your approach is flawed. Because happy people make more success.
By the same token, if your general “plan” follows the logic of “I’ll be happy when I have achieved [
some goal or objective]” then your plan is flawed. On balance, achievements don’t produce happiness  - rather, happiness produces success.  Happy people make happy lives. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Personal happiness?

In my first article, I talked about “kinds” of happiness, or happiness for some reason – good or bad, and even being happy for no reason.  Whatever your views on this, there is certainly more to it than meets the eye. Let’s talk about good or bad reasons for happiness for a moment. What does it mean, “good” or “bad”? According to whom? According to what? Well, it might seem natural to suggest that the individual is the relevant “judge”, do you think?  That raises questions however… I mean, for example, if the neighbours are happy blasting out their music, or some kids have great fun driving their off-road motorbikes all over the common and churning it up, what then? 
Should we take account of others? Some might say that we should. In which case, let’s take another, more tricky, example; what if a certain entrepreneur successfully created the largest book-selling business in the country, and it made him very happy. Rightfully so? What if, in so doing, his business put thousands of small booksellers out of business, making them very unhappy? Whose happiness counts more? Does it matter then?
Perhaps some of you might look to the larger scale, and explore whether someone’s source of happiness contributed to the UK economy, or service to the public. That’s an interesting idea isn’t it - the idea that happiness may be involved in the good of society? Could we extend that to the whole country, or Europe, or the whole planet?