For people who have been through severe trauma or challenges in life it is very difficult to see the good. They have already tasted the “bitter pill”. They know what it’s like when it’s hard in life. Certainly, such people will also find it difficult to be in pursuit or daily search for the good. It’s not easy to look for happiness, and I can definitely say that again. It’s not easy getting up every morning and saying to yourself, “I want to seek happiness in my life!” In this article, I will present some personal examples of how I seek happiness in my life. Happily, it’s a never-ending process…
I’m a very task-oriented person. When I have a task, I’m constantly looking to move toward the goal I have set for myself. Since my son Noam was born, my wife and I have created several personal lists. For example, “Noam’s nicknames” – Google Keep list where we list all of Noam’s nicknames, which we have given him since he was born. My wife suggested thisidea, since nicknames are something that is very hard to remember in the long run. Another example – the list of “dates of Noam’s first time” – where we mention each time the date and time when Noam did something for the first time in his life. Another example – photo albums. I have always been arranging photos in albums. Since Noam was born, I’m over-arranging Noam’s photos in albums. The more the merrier.
These examples seem very simple, but together they create small tasks I’m stiving to achieve. In my course (see the link in the banner) I have devoted an entire chapter to talking about the role of the RAS. A very important cognitive mechanism that works on the “What You Focus on Expands” principle. As I choose to focus on a particular aspect of reality, the place of the same thing I choose to focus on in my life, expanded.
In practice, I choose to focus on tasks that make me feel good, and the result is that the same feeling expands. I mean, I do focus on tasks, but at the end of the day what expands is the good feeling that those tasks fill me with.
Before Noam was born, I told myself that I wanted to study professional photography and for that purpose, I bought a professional camera with a professional lens (on the health benefits of hobbies). Every time I thought about it, I was very excited about being able to take photos of my unborn son who hadn’t even emerged into the world air back then. I imagined myself taking photos of him in a variety of scenarios – walking for the first time, eating for the first time, swimming for the first time. I was excited by the thought of something that had not yet happened, and I was even excited bythe photography experience even before I purchased the camera. It brought a lot of light and joy into my life, just from the thought of a good thing to come.
And I wonder now, as I type these lines, how many of us have “sinned” so many times in the opposite act. We are usually afraid of something that has not happened, and may never happen. I understand that I did the exact opposite – got excited and prepare for something good that I hoped would happen.
I’ve already written here, in my blog post about overthinking, how studies show where our thoughts wander in the context of tenses – past, present, and future:
In tend to think about…
- Past – 12% of the time
- Present – 28% of the time
- Future – 48% of the time
- Past + Present = 40%
- Future > Past & Present
“Our mind wanders to think about the future more than the past and the present combined. Whenever our mind is wondering we think about the future 48% of the time” (Chris Bailey, Ted Talk).
Of course, that led me to purchase a camera and a professional lens, watch dozens of tutorial videos on how to use the camera, and end up spending a lot of waking hours thinking positively. You see, spending so much time thinking about the future will result in that prism growing bigger and bigger.
The amazing hypnotherapist Jose Silva demonstrated this in front of a live audience. He would hypnotize a participant from the audience and make him come up front, and hold up his hand, he would then take a marker and convince that person in his mind that this was a red-hot poker. He would put that on his hand, remove it and a burn bubble would fall. Jose Silva would then tell this person in a hypnotic state that he could heal the burn bubble with his hand. He would place his hand over the burn bubble and it would disappear. Instant change in that person’s skin on command. Think about how powerful our thoughts and our perception of reality on healing our body. Changing my thought pattern, and focusing of good things to come, helped me a lot shifting bad thoughts to good ones.