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, October 4, 2013

How do you achieve happiness and fulfilment?

This is the third article in my mini-series that you receive when you subscribe my "physics of happiness" list; see the right hand side of my blog at "Get My Newsletters". In the first article, I take a thought-provoking look at the nature of problems.   In this article I will invite you to look again at what’s really ‘out there’ – or not, as the case may be. We will take a look at the very construction the world as we believe it to be, and the framework for maintaining happiness and moving towards your ambitions.

Getting going and keeping going

Have you ever really wanted something - but not achieved it? What happened? In many cases, real progress dwindled because we ignored, or overlooked the fact that significant change is needed along with it. After all, if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. What sort of change would we need if we want to achieve a really significant goal? A big change? Yes, and furthermore, that change is required within us. Of course, you could just blame bad luck, or a bad economy, or people not getting you message. In which case, don’t waste your time setting a goal. It will never happen. Like so many New Year resolutions.
So how do we get out of this cycle? What will really motivate us to see things through? First of all, you must ensure that you are clear on the perceived ‘payoff’, which has to set to be far greater than the discomfort or stress we may experience along the way. Even when we do get this part right, we are still prone to make excuses. In my experience, fundamentally there are only three issues that can affect your motivation:
  1. you really do feel you know what you want, but self-doubt holds you back from fully committing to it;
  2. you are not doing what you really enjoy, but your head tells you that ‘it’s the right thing to do’;
  3. you have never considered following what you feel passionate about. (Some of us even cut off from our feelings.)
Consider this: if you make all your important decisions with your 'head' - ie based on 'logic', then the best you will get is a life which is 'satisfying' - or 'not bad'. On the other hand, if you make important decisions based on how you feel, then you will create a life that 'feels good' – even along the way towards your goals! Now that's just logic.

Beware of reasons, explanations and excuses. These act as "alibis" which hold us back psychologically. Even if there are good reasons, try and think of them simply as a kind of "feedback" on what you tried so far that didn’t work. So try a different approach. All successful people will tell you that they got it right by making lots of mistakes. Be prepared to make and accept mistakes, and to adjust.

About the ‘Real World’
I have heard it many times before, “Yeah, I‘ve heard this idealistic sort of motivational stuff before, but things aren’t like that in the real world.” Now, it seems to me that we all have our own idea of what this real world is like. How it works, what's possible and what's not, and what people are like etc. But it differs enormously from one person to the next, doesn’t it? In very significant ways. So this begs the question, where is this 'real world'? Who sees it? Here’s a simple illustration of the phenomenon, which works for many people. Read through these three statements:

Did you notice the mistake in each statement (answer below)? No? Well, here’s another for you to try your hand at.  Now seeing is believing isn’t it? So try really hard this time. Read through the following statement and then count how many letter ‘f’s does it contain? The letter ‘f’ – how many?

 How many did you count? Check with someone else (answer below). So what happened to the missing ‘f’s and ‘the’s?
 Want one last go? Here’s another famous example that’s done the rounds: 
What did you make of it? Well, that’s interesting, because it was a jumble of largely meaningless groups of letters and words! So here’s the thing: (i) even if something is there, but you believe it is not, you will not be aware of it and, (ii) if something is not there, but you believe in its existence, it will appear to be so. So now what of the real world? To all intents and purposes, we cannot see beyond our perceptions, or 'beliefs'. It is a well-known fundamental feature of our perception; it is often quoted that we are ‘bombarded’ with 2 million bits per second of information, of which we can only pay attention to 134! That means we continually discard 1,999,864 bits of information every second. How could you expect to ever ‘perceive’ the real world? Control freaks out there take note.
 You can only ‘observe’ or experience what you have already learned to recognise or pay attention to. Turned the other way around, it’s as if each of us ‘projects’ our perception of the world all around us. The world as you experience it, is in your head.

What’s possible for you - beliefs
 So what do you believe is possible and not possible for you? Given this, my idea for creating happiness is based on feelings, motivation and personal beliefs – perceptions of what’s possible and what it’s like ‘out there’. Change perceptions and your whole world changes with them. They set your limits. An old saying says, “So a man thinketh, so he is.” Your good feelings tell you what feels good for you. Trust them; they will naturally motivate you.
 So how do you discover your ‘limiting’ beliefs? It’s easier than you might think. One way is to right down a truly desired, big goal, or desired outcome, in some aspect of your life. If you have never done this, take the time to do it now. Many ailments are underpinned by a problem of ‘no compelling future’. Write down ten bullet points describing your ideal life – something for you. Revise it each day for seven days. It will change. Note how you feel – it must feel good. If it doesn’t feel good, then it won’t happen. No compelling future means you are not fulfilling your purpose. Your unconscious mind will know.
 By the way, it’s advisable to set goals in all areas of your life – career, family, health and fitness, relationships, personal growth etc. Now, consider the phrase “ I haven’t achieved this because………” and fill in your reasons or excuses. These reason or excuses will contain your limiting beliefs.  Another way is to note down you attitudes and beliefs around the following: time, money, success, failure, power/empowerment, your goals.
But why bother? Seriously..
 I have been asked many times when working with clients, “Why bother with goals? I don’t want to be one of those goals-driven people.”  Well, in  way you are right, because goals are not the answer; but they are milestones along the journey. No milestones, no progress. The thing is, everything has a purpose,  doesn’t it? A glass, a jacket, a car – and you too! What happens if you use something for what it was not designed for? Right! - it doesn't work so well! Same applies to you; I mean, you'll get by - even very well maybe - but you won't achieve lasting happiness or fulfillment. So, you need to know your 'purpose.’
 How? Again, it’s easier than you think, but you may have trained yourself out of noticing what feels good. Because that’s the answer; notice what feels good, and that you are inclined to move towards. Unfortunately western style schooling has taught us to pay attention to other things – to ‘thinking’ rather than ‘feeling’, to things we ‘ought’ to do, ‘rationally’. But happy, successful people don’t do that; not when making critical decisions about which way to go. Even the original business guru, the late Sir John Harvey Jones, was fond of saying, ‘there are two essential ingredients for success, one is to believe in yourself and the other is to make sure you enjoy what you are doing!’

Pay attention to your feelings. Imagine yourself actually in the scenario you are painting for yourself in your future; how does it feel? Compare it with a situation where you where enjoying yourself. If different, don’t do it, or it won’t feel good when you get there! Identify any self –doubts; they are ‘beliefs’ to be challenged. And finally, you activity should have a purpose, above and beyond the goals.
These three things: purpose, feelings and perceptions (beliefs) are the keys to happiness, well-being and fulfillment. And the good news is, we have the tools and techniques to operate these keys and open the door for you.

In my third article, we’ll talk about ‘bad feelings’ which get in the way of doing what it takes to achieve our goals. What if you discovered your bad feelings are you friends?

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