Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Choosing Happiness Made Easy.. Really?

From Bears (Barry Neil Kaufman/Option Institute Co-Founder)-- For many people, happiness is a fleeting experience, seemingly out of our control. Suppose that simply not so? Suppose we can create happiness as a full time experience...no kidding!. It's all about our beliefs and the manner in which we frame our experiences.

In my book, Happiness Is A Choice, there is a line that says: "The happy person gets what they want or wants what they get." What does that mean exactly? Many of us want different life experiences for ourselves: a great love relationship, a healthy/fit body, financial abundance, good friends, a fascinating career, time to travel -- and the list goes on. And why do we want all this in our lives? Because we believe when we get them (the great love relationship, a healthy/fit body, etc.), then we'll be finally happy. However, that's not exactly what many of us report. Often, we have some situation we want, but it didn't fit our expectations. Or, we got the finances, for example, but we don't like the job. So where is the disconnect? It's not a disconnect as much as a framing of life that doesn't deliver and will never deliver. People, situations, relationships don't make us happy or unhappy -- we do that for ourselves.
Could you imagine working at a job that's not your first, second, even fifth choice, but still be able to choose happiness? Could you consider having a medical problem, even some physical pain, and still be able to choose happiness?
Initially, such ideas seem "pie-in-the-sky," silly fantasies. But actually, for decades we taught people how to accomplish this -- happiness based on clear choice verses viewing and experiencing it as if it's a hit-or-miss experience based on circumstances. That's why people often use expressions like: "he makes me happy" or "she gets me so upset" or "they're so frustrating." Our vocabulary expresses our beliefs -- it's as if others and situations are in charge of our emotions, not us. We even reverse the construct: "Sorry, I didn't mean to upset you" or "did I scare you?" or "I really made her happy." Here again, the responsibility for happiness/unhappiness is not in our hands (or theirs) but we're all emotion victims of the words and actions of others. What about if you believed that's the way it works, then that becomes you life experience? However, if you decide your happiness/unhappiness is in your hands -- then, wow, that becomes your life experience. Ah, but do you believe it could be in your hands?
Here's where that little ditty from my book comes in: "The happy person gets what they want or wants what they get." Imagine, you exercise and lose 5 pounds when your aim was the loose 20 pounds. So, you didn't get what you want...now you have the opportunity to want what you get and be happy with the 5 pounds. Another week or month, you can work at shedding the other 15 pounds. Imagine now, you didn't loose a single pound. "No a single pound" you protest, after all that work! Ah, but if you applied that frame of reference (you're always getting what you want or choosing to want what you get), you could want the cardio enhancement you did get or the meditative time you spent on an elliptical machine. It's a simple flip. I can get what I want (sometimes) or I can want what I get (always). If we do that, happiness is then our companion.
Choosing happiness is actually not hard...what's hard is living unhappily. What would happen if you really decided, right now, that nothing was more important than learning how to be masterful in choosing happiness verse being masterful at choosing unhappiness? You see -- first we need to establish what we want clearly -- yes, we can want great relationships and financial abundance (what a sweetness to have them) but if we understand we want them because we believe those situations will bring happiness (which they don't -- if we experience happiness, we did that, not the circumstance). So, if we do it, sensational because then we don't have to wait and we can skip over all the struggle and just aim for the bulls-eye. Happiness.Let's make happiness (and, thus, love) our target. That will not only change our lives and the lives of those we love -- it changes the world. No kidding! One person being happier (thus, more capable of feeling and expressing love) will embrace the world and those around them with acceptance and caring and kindness. One person at a time. One situation at a time. These small steps are actually giant steps. Again, situation as a time. Once you do it, then practice doing it again and again and again.
You'll be creating new neural pathways and each time you choose in this direction, you will train those neurons to become more efficient and faster in processing so that the choice to be happy and the experience of happiness will become easier to choose, more commonplace and doable. I'm with you. I am rooting for you. Our programs are actually training programs to understand how the process works and how to master you ability to choose the experiences you want. But you don't have to wait...you can start right now by applying the guidance above. And wow, you're off and running.
With love, excitement and gratitude, Bears (Co-Founder/Option Process/Option Institute)

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