Maybe before we can answer that question we might need to look at what this ‘happiness’ thing is first.
By Carl Massy: I suggest that happiness is quite unique for all of us. For some it is more about a sense of peace, for others it is joy, for others it is about connection, or doing something that has true and deeper meaning for yourself. I the went on to say for most of us, it is probably a combination of all of these things, in our own little unique cocktail blend.
So for me, being a strategist, I then like to ask, “Is there a way to cut out the middle person?” so I can just start feeling the good stuff right now. So on paper, and in theory, that is exactly what is possible. I can just practice generating the feeling, because my incredible mind and body can replicate the images, thoughts and chemical cocktail that makes the feeling appear real. In fact the brain does not know the difference between something that is real or something vividly imagined.
If only it were that easy…
Now this is a bigger topic and story than what I can cover for you now, but I will be sharing the basics. YES we can generate the feelings of happiness from nothing. I have done it lots of times before with clients (and myself each morning as I do my morning daily reboot). I have helped numerous clients to get into a state of happiness while they sit or stand in front of me, and they feel WONDERFUL!! So this is something we can all definitely, consciously do. The challenge is researchers suggest we are only working on conscious programming about 5% of the time. The rest of the time we are working off old SUBCONSCIOUS software (either genetic stuff or more likely learned thoughts, feelings and behaviours). And so this is where the challenge starts.
So what is a guy or gal to do?
There are three ways to tackle this challenge:
1. We increase the 5% of conscious awareness (thus lowering the 95%)
2. We review and revise the software that is driving the 95%
3. We do both
I am all for option 3. Doing both. Increasing my conscious awareness of what I am doing (still a work in progress for me and I think I am just about to graduate from the apprentice school) and at the same time, looking subjectively at the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are just below the awareness of my consciousness, but can be unearthed with a bit of digging around and asking the right questions. If it works for me, I am sure it will work for you too.
So my suggestion for your journey to increased happiness is to consider doing some, or all, of the following:
1. Decide on Happiness
Make a decision that you will work on your happiness this week, month, year. You do not have to get there straight away, but decide it is important for you to step up a level or two.
This will raise your awareness right from the start.
2. Slow Down
Pay more attention to what you are doing, so you can make better decisions. For me better decisions lead to better results. However there is a caveat and it follows next.
3. Gain Knowledge
One of my favorite saying is ‘we only know what we know’. There is a also a great equation that goes like this: knowledge + experience = wisdom. For me, wisdom leads to better choices, but first we need to have the right knowledge. I have read 100’s of books and listened to 1000’s of hours of material on personal growth, psychology, peak performance and mindfulness. I suggest you read or listen to a personal development book or audio program each month (I was going the mention The Guidebook to Happiness but that would be blatant self promotion which I was once told was unbecoming of an army officer).
This could also take the form of getting some training, coaching, assistance from someone who is studying or practicing this stuff. Or you could gain knowledge from someone around you who appears to have a greater level of peace / joy / connection / calm / clarity / etc. than you.
4. Do the internal work on the 95%
This is the biggest challenge and therefore the one that may require some external support, guidance, instruction or assistance. We can do this ourselves but requires that we ask the right questions. If we ask the ‘wrong’ questions we will obviously get a different answer to the one that is most useful for us. We also need to understand that our minds (according to neuroscientists) are malleable. So we are not fixed to be or feel a particular way. This is why I like to use the word SOFTWARE. Just like in a computer, if I am running a 1998 version of software, it may work alright, but it might be time to upgrade it to a 2012 version.
Again, I don’t have the room or time to go into depth, but a really good place to start is to work on our BELIEFS. A topic that I have written an eBook on (check out here) or click on the link below to see a video that I have posted on YouTube. It is a good introduction to working on our software (Beliefs) to make sure your 95% is full of the good stuff. Watch below:
Because I know the value of this work; it is something I have been working on for a number of years now and is a big part of all of the Coaching work I do and a major activity we do in the Happiness Class. What I have definitely found over the years is if there is an area of your life where you experience PAIN or discomfort, there is definitely a ‘limiting belief’ caught up in the middle of it. Remove or change the belief and the pain and discomfort subside. This is working with the 95% and acknowledging that life pulls and pushes us in different directions, so our ability to remain super conscious in every moment is just not going to happen, so making sure the subconscious part of our brains is working with current and empowering software.
So there you go!
In summary yes we can replicate that FEELING of happiness, but because we are mostly working on subconscious programming (so our brain is more efficient and consumes less energy) we have to do some internal and external work to take us to that place more often. I believe the more aligned our conscious and subconscious mind is, the greater harmony we have in our lives. So here’s to more harmony in your and my life as we add a little bit more happiness into our days and lives.