You’ve heard the concept before that happiness is simply a choice, so why is it so hard to just ‘choose’ happy! If it really was that simple, we would all be bouncing about like happy bunnies!
However, if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that life is full of contradictions and polarities and here’s a good one for you with regards to happiness – happiness is your default state AND your brain is wired to be negative! Not very helpful is it?! We all have what Mo Gawdat calls in his book ‘Solve for Happy’, a ‘grumpy brain’.
The happiness equation in his book is really simple, yet really hard (there’s those contradictions again!)……..
Happiness => Expectations
In other words, if your expectations are met or exceeded, you are happy. So, does that mean you just need to lower your expectations? Well yes and no (there it is again!!) If you lower your expectations too low, you are doing yourself and the world a disservice. So here’s how to solve your own happiness equation!
As with all equations, bad input = bad output and the book ‘Solve for Happy’ tries to sort out that bad input by giving you the 6 grand illusions, 7 blind spots and 5 ultimate truth to ponder, which will change your perception of life, so that your expectations are realistic rather than low.
The 6 Grand Illusions
The 6 illusions that can screw up your happiness equation are:-
- Believing that you are your thoughts. You are not your thoughts and the old saying of ‘I think therefore I am’ should be changed to ‘I am therefore my BRAIN thinks’.
- Your sense of self coming from something external like your body, your job, your children, etc. Your true self is something beyond these things.
- Believing that you or anybody else (especially Google or Wikipedia!) has all the answers. No knowledge is complete so question everything.
- Being overly obsessed with time. Time is all relative anyway and really the only time that exists is now.
- Believing that you are in control. Most things are out with your control and even when you try to control them, life has a way of letting you know that, actually you really aren’t! That’s when the suffering starts. It’s best to practice ‘committed acceptance’ to what is beyond your control.
- Letting fear dictate your life. Most fear is just simply not real.
The 7 Blind spots
The 7 blind spots can be errors in thinking which are part of our ‘original’ design, i.e. from our cave man days. They are filtering, assuming, predicting the future, memories, labelling (judging), emotions and exaggerating.
The bottom line here is, don’t believe every thought that comes into your head. Get into the habit of being aware of the language you are using and start asking yourself ‘is this really true’ and I’m talking, would it stand up in a court of law true!
As a Life Coach, I listen out for these blind spots, as they give good insights into your belief system and the stories you are telling yourself.
The 5 Ultimate Truths
Finally, are the 5 ultimate truths and these are truths according to the author Mo Gawdat anyway! He does state this and suggests as per the illusion of knowledge, that he doesn’t know it all and to take what resonates with you and leave the rest. Ultimately, you come up with your own truths.
The 5 truths are that would be beneficial for us all to accept are:-
- Life is now. Happiness and life can be found in the present moment.
- Change is inevitable. We fight it, try to stop and control it but it will happen regardless!
- Death is perhaps THE only certainty in life. We avoid talking about it, deny it and are surprised when it happens. It’s perhaps the most important reason to be happy and make the most of now because tomorrow is not guaranteed. You are alive and that should be celebrated!
- In the end, love is all that matters. Money and stuff are not what is truly important in life.
- You are part of something greater and there is an ultimate design and designer. This of course, can’t be proved conclusively either way, but if you have 2 thoughts that could equally be true, which one feels better? Choose that one!
I really enjoyed the book and found his story very moving. He turned a tragic and heartbreaking situation (the death of his 21 year old son from a botched operation), into something positive and one that will help to serve others. The fact that he overcame that to find happiness again makes it very power.
So what do you think of these concepts? Have you read the book or are you going to? Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!