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Solving for happiness 2--Applying the Key
The only way to take control of your life, raise your standard of living and move beyond merely surviving is to create your own unique product or service that you offer to increasing numbers of people in exchange for the things of value that you desire. This simple formula applies to countries as well as people. A self-sufficient economy has its own products or services of value to export to the world. Similarly, a self-sufficient individual has something of value to exchange in the global marketplace. That thing of value is based on your natural talent, skill, or interest—in other words, your passion!
In Solving for Happiness, Part 1, it was suggested that if you are unhappy, it is because some aspect of your belief system is flawed, and that you need a new belief system—or set of thoughts—in order to remedy your unhappiness. We then developed a “proof” for happiness and arrived at three initial conclusions:
1. Happiness is caused by your thoughts.
2. Your thoughts about Your Self, Others, The World and Life's Situations must change in order for you to be happy.
3. Your happiness in relation to your self will be a function of your thoughts (i.e. your belief system) about your body, mind and soul, and about who you are, what you do, and what you have.
This led to our ultimate key for happiness that concluded that if you are unhappy, then:
"Something you believe to be true, and thus your expectation about (fill in the blank) is not in alignment with reality and/or truth. Change the belief and the expectation, and create your happiness. For Happiness is merely a thought.”
In this section, we will apply this key to a few real-life situations.
Of course, the challenges here are several. First, many of us are so immersed in our realities, truths and paradigms, that we cannot step outside of them far enough to observe them objectively and question them.
Second, even if we are able to identify a “truth” as flawed, we don’t have any other information coming from the outside with which to compare and contrast it. The process of finding new belief systems to replace the old ones is a life-long process of discovery. Yes, if it were easy, many more of us would claim to be happy.
So, what is it that is making you unhappy? When asked that question, many people might point to their relationships, weight, family situation, career, and any number of factors. Let’s take a look at a few of these. For each one, I’m going to suggest a few new belief systems that might help.
“I can’t find the right relationship!”
This is perhaps one of the most common areas of unhappiness.
Most of us want to connect with others for companionship, love, romance, and sex. However, it is our beliefs that are keeping us from attracting the people with whom we’d like to connect, or who would make the best connection.
Applying the key: Something you believe to be true, and thus your expectations about [RELATIONSHIPS, MEN, WOMEN, LOVE, YOURSELF, etc.] is not in alignment with reality and truth.
What might those flawed beliefs be?
Perhaps you believe relationships deprive you of freedom. Perhaps you believe love is about control and ownership or dependency. Maybe you are suspicious about men/women. Maybe your feelings about yourself are such that others sense the neediness and are turned off. Maybe you’re simply looking in the wrong places and for the wrong things in choosing your partners. Any number of these beliefs and expectations could sabotage your search for true love.
For many years, I used to go to nightclubs to meet women, and for many years I never did. In all the years my friends and I club-hopped—where the majority of patrons smoke and drink—I never, ever, ever met and dated anyone. (Did I mention “never?”) It turns out that all the women I’ve dated, I met in health-food stores, business seminars, or through friends. I simply had to understand myself more (see Part I), and change my expectations about the club scene in order to remedy my unhappiness.
“I do all the right things, but I still get sick!”
Perhaps your unhappiness has a physiological cause or is centered around your thoughts about your body. Maybe you think you’re too fat, to slim, or maybe you want to feel healthier. Maybe there is even a chemical imbalance that is cause your depression. Applying the key: Something you believe to be true, and thus your expectations about [YOUR BODY, YOUR HEALTH, SICKNESS, CURE] are not in alignment with reality and truth. What might those flawed, out-of-alignment, untrue beliefs be?
Well, you might believe, for instance, that your body was designed to digest and thrive on canned, processed, pesticide-sprayed, nutritionally devoid, preservative-laden, heat-pasteurized, artificially-flavored, FDC-colored, irradiated food, or that your body is not affected by cigarette smoke, car exhaust, industrial fumes, or air conditioning, or that your skin is not affected by the chemicals in your soap, carcinogens in your shampoo, dyes in your make-up, formaldehyde in plastics, etc. I suggest to you that this belief is not in alignment with reality and truth. As a result, your body is aging prematurely, not functioning optimally, and/or you can’t get it to do the things you’d like it to.
REMEDY: You would be surprised how much lighter and more alive, and by extension, how much happier you might feel after a week-long juice or water fast in which you purge your body of all the toxins that have accumulated over the years; or how a detoxifying sauna regimen and avoidance of chemical soaps and lotions on your skin might actually ease your feelings of unhappiness; or, how simply eating more raw, fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods naturally boosts your energy, trims the fat and purges your system. In other words, all the “right” things you are doing are not really right at all.
“Why do people do the things they do?”
Applying the key: Something you believe to be true, and thus your expectations about [OTHER PEOPLE, STRANGERS, NEIGHBORS, FAMILY, FRIENDS, CO-WORKERS] is not in alignment with reality and truth. You believe, for instance, that people should act a certain way, and when they don't it makes you unhappy. Perhaps you believe that people feel the same obligation you do to others. Perhaps you believe people are motivated by the same things you are, and thus should share the same set of behaviors.
Solution: Change your beliefs about people, and you will be happy. You have no control over what people will think, say or do. The only thing you can control is how you respond to the things people think, say or do. Walt’s Law of Obligation says: “There ain’t none!” In other words, despite what you may believe, people (that includes, friends, lovers, spouses, children, family and strangers) are NOT obligated to do anything simply because you expect them to.
We could go on and on. The bottom line is this: anywhere there is unhappiness, there is an unmet expectation that can be modified that puts you in alignment with truth and reality, and thus happiness.
Several years ago I, too, found myself very unhappy, and decided to do something about it. With mathematical specificity, I modified each variable in the equation of my happiness. I knew what I didn't like, and made a decision and took actions to change my reality to fit my personal definition of happiness. According to that definition:
• Working a nine-to-five job robbed me of my freedom, and made me unhappy, so I quit and started my own business. (what I do)
• Intrusions on my time and having to be someplace was making me feel trapped and unhappy, so I structured a business that doesn't require my presence. (mind)
• Cold weather makes me unhappy. So, I moved to the tropics. (body)
• The impersonal nature and hostility of big cities makes me unhappy, so I moved to a small island. (people)
• Eating meat and processed food was making me unhealthy and unhappy, so I became a vegan. (body)
• Not knowing why I was here was making me unhappy, so I found my purpose and feel more at peace. (soul)
• The belief system in which I was raised wasn't working for me, so I sought out and created a belief system that was in alignment with my intuitive perceptions, and which worked to explain things that were previously inexplicable. (who I am)
So, little by little, piece by piece, I created a life that, for the most part, makes me happy. Of course, there's always more on my list (I'm still working on that harem!), but my current state of happiness is worlds apart from where it was a few years ago.
Quote of the Day:
“You cannot be happy in a world you don’t understand.”
The goal, therefore, is to find or create a belief system that explains who you are, defines the world and your role in it, helps you to understand the other beings who share the world with you, and that accurately identifies the causes and predicts the effects of your and other people’s actions.
My belief is that if you can find such a belief system, then yes, happiness is possible. However, the quest requires certain adjustments in thinking, a certain amount of discipline and a certain amount of courage to break free from existing comfort zones to find that place where happiness awaits.
[Note: Want more? Read the book Living True To Your Self]
Extra-Credit Exercise: Solving for YOU
Why am I unhappy? (Make a list)
Apply the key and fill in the BLANK (“Something I believe to be true about…”)
What do I want? (i.e. what is the replacement reality that I desire in this category?)
What are my beliefs (my “shoulds” and musts) about (BLANK) that might be limiting me?
What would need to change about my existing beliefs in order for my replacement reality to manifest?
What small (or radical) steps can I take, starting today, to move me away from the limiting beliefs and towards the new?
Note: Fans and followers of the books, Chicken Feathers and Garlic Skin: Diary of a Chinese Garment Factory Girl on Saipan (saipanfactorygirl.com) or Jamaican on Saipan (jamaicanonsaipan.com), or Doing Business on Saipan (saipanliving.com) may place orders on those sites, or…..yes, AMAZON.COM!
Note: Ever wanted to direct your friends and family to a set of websites that revealed the best things about Saipan? Do what I do: send them to www.bestofsaipan.com!
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WHERE IS SAIPAN?
Located in the western pacific, a short flight from Guam and 3 hours from Japan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) is a popular tourist destination rich in history, culture and natural resources. Saipan, just 5 miles wide by 12 miles long, is the largest and most populated of the 14 islands making up an archipelago that stretches 400 miles (north to south) along the edge of the Marianas Trench.
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