5 “Prescriptions” For Happiness

        No matter how much you have, you could always use more. Even the happiest person could want even more. This week I will cover some phenomenal research (scientific) on happiness. There are over 800 books on “Happiness” out there, very few (a handful) are actually research and science based information. As such so many happiness cookbooks are of the “Grandma always said” or simply the opinion of one person having “found” it after suffering. I’d like to thank Karl for sharing this with me so I can share it with you. 
1) Change What you DO Not What you have:  Forget “I’ll be happier when I get ____” (raise, new car, new position, etc.). Also change “HOW” you do things (vary them). Example: Volunteer, Big Brother/Sister2) Pursue intrinsic goals for self-concordant reasons: Goals that mean something to you and that resonate with your values and who you are. Goals are VERY important. They are a way to travel to the future we want! Pursue goals out of interest, not pressure. Expressing your identity, not your guilt.
3) Strive to be your Authentic/Unguarded self in social settings: Those whose social self is closest to their “true” self live the happiest. Have the courage to be yourself and see the magic as others reflect authenticity.

4) Balance your time across the day: Don’t do too much of only one thing, mix it up.

5) Manage your life so that you feel autonomous, competent and connected:
Humans have 3 basic psychological needs:
A) Autonomous:  Doing what you choose.
Fortune Cookie: “Do not depend on others to make you happy, you can do it yourself.”
B) Competence: Whatever you do, do it well.
Fortune Cookie: “To guarantee success, act as if it were impossible to fail.” 
C) Relatedness: Connect with others.
Fortune Cookie: “Your friends and family are the key to your happiness.”

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The “Happiness Trap”

I have re-purposed and added from the brilliant book, “Rascal: Making A Difference Becoming an Original Character” by Chris Brady. Many people mistakenly believe that life is about an individual’s happiness.

 


The biggest trap is believing that happiness can be obtained by direct pursuit. The route most people take to pursue happiness is the seeking of pleasure.  We somehow think that by gaining enough pleasure we will be happy. But the pursuit of pleasure is a con job. It ends in an endless spiral of the pursuit of MORE. This is because pleasure in and by itself is not fulfilling (it should be an earned reward). As each thrill is experienced, we automatically seek and desire a bigger thrill, a higher high. We become desensitized to the pleasure and seek/want stronger stimulation next time.

With the above critical fundamental in mind, it is easy to understand our modern epidemic of addictions to EVERYTHING. It seems there are addictions to anything and everything these days, from the traditional alcohol, drugs, gambling and promiscuity to the more subtle but as destructive addictions to TV, media, shopping, coffee, social media, sloth, etc. At the root of everything is the same empty pursuit of pleasure and more pleasure (for it’s numbing qualities).


The other side is just empty. Many chase peace and tranquility in the hopes happiness will be found there. Alas this chase is just as empty! Why? In the land of peace and tranquility lies the disease of boredom. Idleness begets shallowness robbing us of confidence, courage, contribution and direction. A well earned vacation is a good thing however.
Happiness is always and only the byproduct of right and purposeful living in accordance with values that serve others and make a difference.

The previous information married with my new compensated community business building has helped me greatly focus my life in the pursuit of servant leadership to change others’ lives via life coaching. The side benefit has been a remarkable decrease in pleasure seeking behavior for its own sake. I highly recommend it. Drop me a line or email if you want to chat!

What will you pursue instead of pleasure? Is it big enough and impacts many, otherwise it won’t sustain.

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Social Media = Relationships “Light”

In this day and age most people can’t go 2 hours without the smartphone or any of the forms of social media (I won’t mention their names as their lawyer budget beats mine!) as their electronic soother!

I thought for my piece this week I would look at some of the challenges of communications that we are experiencing society today.

Let’s look at the book of faces for a moment. What is it?

When’s last time your car broke down the side of the road and you were able to connect with somebody on the book of faces to help you? Not often right?

This is not to say that social media doesn’t have any uses especially for those geographically separated by great distances.

However in my humble opinion these tools are used as a tool to manage risk of exposure to relationships. We control how much of a person we connect with and when. These have very little to do with the real face-to-face interaction of a traditional functional relationship.

We are becoming a society of people who don’t know how to relate to each other with problems spanning all life areas. We are seeing an unwillingness (and worse) an inability of young folks to have full relationships that include the inconveniences of being present.

We live in a time when social media has given us promise of being more and more connected with everyone. What I’ve noticed is more people that are more lonely and isolated. people who are so “busy” doing very little of true importance in their life. A life of significance is a life where we push ourselves and do what’s important and often it’s not at the end of an electronic tether. I met someone last week who had closed his book of faces for a week and he mentioned how liberated and free and productive he was. Over the last 2 months i have been involved in a business requiring face to face and phone meetings, the quality and experiences have been incredible.

So how to do we be constructive about this ?

Limit your time using the social media. You control the time when you want to interact with it and HOW. Turn off the aspects of it that send you emails every time somebody makes a comment. many these conversations are really self focused, selfish, trivial and all about glorifying a life that often is less than average.

A life of significance requires real presence and humanity.

I dare you to take a 1 week hiatus from social media, who knows you may never come back! See you in the flesh!

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What You Should Always Take

I came across this section in my upcoming book, “Live It!” (avail. Oct.). The original title of the book was “Take It!” and this section aimed to clarify what we should take (what is ours not others’). Enjoy!

WHAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TAKE

1. All opportunities put in front of you that resonate with you (connect to your soul and heart) You always learn more from the opportunities you take (even and especially if you fail, remember, we learn more from failure) than by not taking a chance.  By not trying you miss all the learning that occurs when taking chances.  Fortune favors the courageous and brave.  Not making a choice IS A CHOICE, a choice devoid of any courage or learning.  NOT making a choice is always the worst option as others then make their own choices, benefitting themselves.  If you don’t make a choice you lose the insight and self-actualizing benefits of trusting yourself.  Taking charge and making choices leads to feeling in charge of your life.

2. Life as a great game of exploration and adventure!  Doesn’t that sound like a great way to see it, instead of a great series of problems, hurdles and disappointments?

3. You always need to get clear on WHAT you want and WHY you want it Once you know what you want, life becomes so much simpler as you can choose powerfully and quickly and not look back with guilt.  This is your #1 quest in life, “What do I want (for myself) and why?” Once this is clear, a multitude of “difficult” or even seemingly “impossible” situations can be dealt with from a place of empowerment and certainty. That’s an amazing way to live!

4. The present moment as a gift.  Another name for a Christmas or birthday present is “gift”.  That is what the present moment is; a once in a lifetime gift never to be experienced again.  All of our power of decision and choice must necessarily occur in the present moment (since we can’t time travel yet).

The word decision is derived from Latin and means, “To cut off all other options.Much of your daily practice should center around being present to all the beauty of nature and the wonderful people around you.  Get out of your head and into your heart!  Any time we worry or are apprehensive (Fear), we are DEFINITELY NOT PRESENT!  In the present moment is where all action can occur.  Most people spend much too little time in the present moment.  We go back to the past and feel guilt or anger, or we think of the future, which is good if we see it as positive.  Many people simply dream of a better future.  A dream without a plan and action is simply a fantasy.

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I Lost My Way!

It happens when you least expect it, you’re bumping along chasing all your dreams and the other people that you can co-collaborate with. Then WHAM! A couple of people around you “over-react” to something you said or did or were being. Now it’s one thing when one person mentions something, but when 2 do, then you need to listen, and good.
Those of you who are close to the hurricane that I call “Frank’s life” it’s probably easy to see, I’m running around with so many dream projects and get so excited about the future I believe I am creating that I forgot some people around me, most notably my business partner, PW and my good friend AS. Thank you guys for calling me on my #$%#^! I mean that.

My whole intent is to help as many people as I can with my work, as an author, coach, teacher, speaker and game show host. How ironic I hurt people closest to me. The large projects I have undertaken are all individually quite huge, multiply them by a number north of 10 and you can see some problems.

I realized today that there are 20 days of summer (plus a good September) left and that I barely did anything but work. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely proud to have finished my book “Cobra in the Closet” last week. I’m very proud of the game we co-created, “Masks-Off”, the fact I started 3 new books, completed another, am currently creating a “Breakthrough in a Box’ concept and recording the Cobra audio book and working on the movie script +++.

No, I was saddened by the fact I lost the wonderful balance that allowed me to be creative enough to create those projects. When it’s not fun anymore (and used to be!) you need to re-prioritize. I’m committing now to slowing down and focusing on quality (thanks AS) not volume and speed which dilutes quality. I also commit to enjoying riding my motorcycle a lot more and visit friends. I also commit to go into social situations not to see “how powerful my mind power is”, but to help people and make them see their greatness. That’s an intention more in line with my Most Brilliant Self (MBS).
One of the great exercises that turned me around from anger was to create a “list of positive aspects” of the person I was angry at.

Example: “This person is a brilliant organizer, extremely devoted family person, always works hard on our projects, always is self-directed, etc.”  Within minutes my vibration (aka. MOOD) improved dramatically! Try it yourself next time you are in a resourceful state around someone.

Where do YOU need to re-prioritize and rebalance? Will you or will you do it? Or wait until you cause some pain and people push you away and you feel so lonely? Don’t do that, it’s not fun!

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My Father Was Never Good To Me

Question: My father was never really good to me, I was born the second child, I’m a woman, my father loved his firstborn, my sister but wanted a boy. I came along. Then finally his third child was a boy. He never abused me but never treated me well either compared to my older sister or younger brother. He lives far away overseas with my mom. I have guilt in that I want to “be a good daughter” and I know it hurts my mom that I don’t speak to him. Complicating things is my daughter who my dad loves. In terms of integrity I don’t want to play games and pretend I want to connect with my dad, any advice coach?                HB

Frank’s Answer:
As with all family issues this is complicated! The middle child complex is a well known one where the middle child feels left out or unimportant between the first child (everyone loves the first child) and the baby (babies yes!). Let me give it a crack. What I’m hearing is a conflict in important values that you have, both are very important and this is when it is challenging as you want to honor both but feel you can’t.

The first value you are trying to honor is “integrity” and/or fairness. By having little to no decent relationship with your dad, your fairness value and intuition tell you that you don’t owe him anything due to his weak efforts to be a great dad to you and clear preference for your two other siblings. You also want to be in integrity with a “rule” that you created a long time ago called “I must be a good daughter”. I assume this means having a normal relationship with dad.

The second value you are trying to honor is “family/connection”. This value tells you that you should do anything possible to maintain the family (it is also tied to the above “good daughter” rule”. There is an unmentioned but implied rule that you must stay connected no matter what (even trampling on your own needs to do it).

In terms of the Law of Attraction, you need to take care of your needs first to be able to hope to give to anyone else. You need to be “selfish” and really dig deep to see if your current attempts to be a “good daughter” trample your need to be a “happy person”. You moved overseas away from your parents, a good indication of your need for independence and freedom. It may also be an indicator that you want to move past that “old” life back home including your dad.

I believe since you are now a mother, you should do all in your power to ensure your issues with dad don’t impact your daughter’s need for her grandfather, as then you would have double guilt!

Guilt is a very low and toxic emotion, #21 on the Emotional Scale, it lingers and can cause cancer. As such, resolution is key here. You can continue with the “good daughter” shtick until it no longer feels right, which may be never. The fact is, your dad will probably never change and attempting to wish that or push him will never work. All you can do is focus on you, ask these questions.

1. Am I still a good person even if I don’t get along with dad

2. Am I willing to risk my self-confidence and self-worth by ignoring my “integrity” value?

3. How can I find a win-win scenario for myself where I honor my “mothering myself”, aka. protecting yourself from your dad’s absent or lacking love for you

4. How do I honor my daughter’s needs for her grandfather (if he shows love to her only)

5. How could I get my daughter to support me in whatever I choose.
I realize #5 can be challenging but, the best solutions come from unorthodox approaches, maybe her opinion will support you or give you new perspectives. Good luck!

 

The Cottage

Having had the pleasure of visiting my close friend Chris (thank you so much CP) up at a wonderful lakeside cottage up in Haliburton I thought I’d write my thoughts since return.

  1. I need a cottage! It reconnects me with nature and puts my crazy “do,do,do” lifestyle in perspective.
  2. My dog loves a lake to chase sticks and balls in!
  3. We don’t eat so well when there are chips, pop and beer around all the time!
  4. The stress of the big city is palpable upon arrival beginning with traffic
  5. People in the country are so laid back, it’s nice
  6. Swimming in a lake is still an amazing experience after many years absence
  7. Cool nights by a campfire rule
  8. A nice nap in a cool cottage afternoon is a blissful experience with little to do or complete
  9. Playing cards with friends connects deeply
  10. We worry much too much about things we have little to no control over
  11.  Coming back from a short 3 day vacation, it’s hard to restart the momentum we had, the mental, spiritual and physical adjustments can take a few days
  12. I’ve already made plans to go to another cottage in 2 weeks, darn, I think I have cottage fever                ********************************************************************************************************

Sailing the High Seas of Relationship Ships!

Relationships in our lives can be likened to ocean going ships!

I’d like to thank Shawn Chance for the idea! The more I explore it the more I see incredible parallels. I thought I’d share some with you.

Parallel #1:  We start off as kids with very small, unstable ships that grow stronger over our lives as we gain maturity, intelligence, and most importantly experience. We stay in our “safe” harbor (our parent’s homes and financial and emotional safety) close to home until our early twenties in most cases.

Parallel #2:  We are looking to “sail” out of the harbor out into open water to explore this huge world (life) for the experience, joy, passion and adventure of living this incredible life. We live these lives we do in these perfect bodies able to sense, see, hear, feel, taste, smell and all the other feelings.

Parallel #3:  Soon we are making sure our ship (single life) is comfortable, fast, roomy and satisfying to sail. We upgrade it (education) and wash it (cleansing our souls as humans) and put additions (experiences) on and sail out of the harbor and off on adventure.

Parallel #4:  After a while of testing and exploring our ships’ limits and meeting random ships (dating) that share some small parts of our journeys. We then yearn to have a co-captain for our ship to share in the adventure, feel safer and enjoy new activities we did before (intimate committed love).

Parallel #5:  We begin visiting other ships that are also looking to partner for a committed joint journey. When we begin boarding strange ships we see interesting new layouts (personalities) but soon settle on what ship really catches our fancy. When we visit those ships we get to see how the crew (personality) works  and how the ship is built (body), it’s strengths and weaknesses, speed and comfort. After boarding many ships, we often realize after a few visits that the type of journey we are going on is not the type we prefer and/or the ship is not seaworthy (psychological limitations and baggage).

Parallel #6:  Soon as the two crews of our respective ships become one team (committed monogamous relationship) we yearn for a larger ship to be more comfortable. We then merge our ships together and sail the high seas. Enjoying the safety, wisdom and adventure of a large ship we often yearn for a full crew (children).

In going through this lens I’ve come to a few conclusions about my relationship history. I seem to have gone for the super fast and sexy, fun ships and found they were not long term material. From the ship falling apart (depression), to the ship finding another ship it would rather sail with (couple separation/destruction), to my own ship self-destructing.

I have never in the past been really attracted to particularly sturdy ships and it has cost me in terms of not having had a relationship with a true equal. My next joint ship will be solid, solvent,  seaworthy, playful, adventurous, passionate and well organized. Or maybe not and I just love shipwrecks for the fun of it. Oh well!

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Bountiful Busybody Busy People!

If I hear one more person complain of just “how busy their life is” I’m going to lose it! A close friend this week mentioned to me how he was too busy to do anything he wanted, his life was filled with “commitments he had made for reasons other than my happiness”. He also confirmed that he was trying to meet a woman for the first time and she had the same problem!

I thank him for sharing this as it highlights an observation I’ve made in the last few months. This adds to the many times people are too busy to go out and see a movie or have a drink. Are we really busy in our lives or are we “acting busy” by scheduling ourselves to within an inch of sanity for other reasons? I think many fear too much idle time as society has pushed all to strive to be workaholics. But it’s not just work people are filling their time with. Many people are afraid of a day that they are not “needed” or “wanted” or “required as a key asset”.

If this is just a Toronto thing, then so be it. But I feel it’s bigger than that. I would love to hear back from readers whether they think it is just a Toronto or “big city” affliction or a more generalized condition.

Listen, it’s your life. If you are always “overscheduled” and feel stressed about it (this includes self-medicating with TV, shopping, alcohol or cigarettes) you should get courageous and authentic.

I challenge you to take a list of your daily activities. I would say if less than 30% of those activities give you joy or pleasure, you are at risk of “living a practice life”. Arrange your life in terms of the things that bring you joy. Do not allow the media to paint you a picture of a “cold” and “grim” (Halloween anyone) world. It’s just not true, I see smiling happy people and am one of them, so sue me! I challenge you to decrease your commitments so you have time for optional activities like an evening to vedge out, sleep, drinks and movies. Downtime IS NOT A luxury these days, don’t let your health remind you.

Passing
The gentleman I wrote about a few weeks ago passed away last Friday. I wish him well on his journey on the other side and know he got and we also all got exactly what the universe wanted us to get from this information and experience. I know I have, life is sooo precious, really. Try waking up and appreciating all you have every morning,as I have, it’s so releasing and puts us at ease!

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