It is said that King Solomon of ancient Israel had 700 wives and 300 concubines. In other words, he probably had a lot of in-law problems, to be sure. But, he also must have learned quite a bit about love and romance, as evidenced by the beautiful book of poetry he wrote, Song of Songs. You can apply some of his messages of love wisdom to improve your own love life and have a deeper, more satisfying relationship.
Here are 4 Love Secrets from King Solomon:
1. Let Love Sleep: In our fast-food society, people want to fall in love, or at least, in lust, quickly. As soon as they meet an attractive stranger, many singles are already thinking: "Is he or she the one?" Many times singles get their hopes up, only to be crushed later when they discover that the sexy stranger was not compatible with them, at all. Solomon says: "Don't arouse or awaken love until it so desires." In other words, love must be cultivated like a flower, watered, and taken care of, and given enough time to bloom. Don't be in a hurry to turn that acquaintance into a soul mate. Take the time to nurture a friendship that will, in time, turn into a lasting love and beautiful relationship that will stand the test of time. Remember: Love cannot be forced or pressured; it must develop at its own pace.
2. Eat From Your Own Garden: Many people are tempted to stray in relationships. Whether it's a random thought of flirtation ("what would it be like with that person?") or an actual sexual affair, many people are not completely satisfied in their relationships. "The grass is greener over the next hill" is a phrase that summarizes the wandering eye of many people in the love game. But, Solomon says it best when he talks about devoted love with one person: "I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit; I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." When you think of a well-taken care of garden, you can imagine there being many delicious fruits; a variety of tasty delights. In the same way, your lover can be a constant feast for you if you invest your time, energy, and spirit into cultivating one special relationship. In this relationship, you can feed each other mentally and physically, providing a variety of attitudes and styles to keep the love interesting: sometimes shy, other times aggressive; sometimes comforting and security-giving, but also wild and unpredictable on other occasions. If you take the time to plant your emotional seeds and water your garden (with time, energy, and affection), you will receive all of the love and happiness you desire.
3 Sing Praises to Your Beloved: Love poetry is a lost art among couples. There is nothing sexier--it's an ideal aphrodisiac, to be sure--than to recite (and listen) to love poetry. Here's your homework love assignment for the week with your mate: For the next seven days, spend 10-15 minutes each day reciting love poetry to each other. You can find poems on the Internet or come up with your own. The key is to make sure that the poem resonates with you; the words should speak to the way you feel about your partner. Also, when reciting the poetry to each other, make sure you look directly into each other's eyes. Who wouldn't melt with words like these from King Solomon? "Your lips drip sweetness; your name is like perfume poured out--you have stolen my heart with one glance." Take the time this week to say love poems to your beloved, and notice the increase in your loving and romantic feelings toward each other.
4. Respect the Power of Love: Many people forget how powerful a force love truly is. Love cannot be contained, controlled, or played with. It also cannot be bought; it must be freely given and freely received. Solomon proclaimed: "Love is a blazing fire that can not be quenched; rivers can not sweep it away." Some people treat love as a game; seeing how many men and women they can bed or get to fall in love with them. This may give them a temporary ego boost, but will end up costing them in the long run in emotional turmoil and may even result in physical violence from spurned lovers. At the same time, some people try to buy the love of others with material goods or the promise of security. Again, this is a fool's vain hope. Love is a force of nature that must be respected, nurtured, and treasured. When you are swept away by this beautiful unstoppable force, you can only do one thing: Succumb to its ecstatic power and bathe in its miraculous delights.
Now, by following these four love secrets from the wise King Solomon, you can improve your love life and achieve the greatest feeling of all: to be completely and unequivocally relinquished in love for your one and only soul mate. Enjoy the Love: the sweetest song of all.
Would you like to be a "genius" in your love life and personal relationships? Being an "emotional genius" means that you are highly skilled at managing your own moods and maintaining satisfying personal and love relationships.
All of us have a certain kind of intelligence or genius that is partly inherited and partly learned. Some people are "book smart"--they're good in academic subjects, memorizing concepts, and taking tests. Others are "street smart"-- they're skilled at surviving and thriving in the real world of competition and conflict. More recently, we have learned about emotional intelligence--how to be "people smart"--excelling in mastering our own emotions and relating to people in a healthy and rewarding way.
The good news is that you can learn to be an emotional genius by daily practice. Here are four simple tools to help you get started:
1. MANAGE YOUR MOOD: All of us go through mood changes: sometimes we're excited, other times we're sad or depressed. We can get angry, fearful, and anxious, or feel overjoyed, loving, and happy. Depression--profound sadness-- is the common cold of psychology; more people get it than any other psychological disorder. Depression is also one of the biggest causes of relationship conflict and breakup because people who are depressed have less energy, love, and good feelings to give to each other. In the old school thinking, it was believed that women get depressed twice as much as men. New research, however, shows that men and women are equal in their rates of depression; the only difference is that men express depression differently. Instead of crying, sleeping too much, and expressing sadness verbally, many depressed men tend to get aggressive, numb themselves with sex and alcohol, and work too much. Regardless of gender, it's important that you be aware of your emotional temperature--how you're feeling on a daily basis--and take steps to elevate your mood. Find what works best for you to help you feel happier: exercise, meditation, prayer, yoga, writing, communing in nature, and of course, therapy and counseling can be a great boost. New research shows that you can control and manage your emotions; all it takes is a little effort and discipline. Remember, the happier and calmer you are as individual, the happier and calmer your relationship will be.
2. THINK SMART: Many of us are not aware of how powerfully our thoughts can affect our feelings and behavior in relationships. For example, if you're in a relationship, you may have the common thought: "He (or she) doesn't love me anymore." While this thought may have some basis in reality, many times it is exaggerated. A healthier approach is to reality test your thoughts and see if they are true or not. It could be that your partner still loves you, but some of their behavior may be coming from their feelings of sadness and frustration about their own life. You need to analyze your thoughts, communicate honestly with your partner, and see if there is any truth to your cynical and negative thoughts about the relationship. If you find that you're not thinking logically about your mate, you can reboot your thinking and see your relationship in a more positive light.
3. DEVELOP EMPATHY: The cure to many relationships woes is the simple word, "empathy"-- walking in the shoes of your mate, thinking as they think, feeling as they feel. Imagine what it feels like to be your partner. For example, let's say that when your partner comes home, you sense they are very tired, grumpy, and exhausted. You can say: "Honey, you seem tired and a little exhausted; I'm going to make a nice hot tub for you so you can relax." By showing empathy in this way, you will help your partner feel better immediately, and they will likely give you positive energy in return.
4. PUT AWAY THE EMOTIONAL TIME BOMB: All of us have hot buttons in relationships--things our partner can say to make us feel instantly mad or sad. Some people, for example, are sensitive about their weight ("you're getting too fat") or extended family ("you only support your family, not ours"), or lack of career success ("you're not making it like you promised"). Any comments like these that touch on vulnerable emotional areas are likely to cause pain in your mate, and will make them react against you. Knowing your partner's weak points, and deciding not to use them (even when you're angry) is a sign of emotional and relationship strength. Remember this: When you explode an emotional bomb (a hurtful and attacking comment) against your partner, they are likely to feel resentful and will probably retaliate against you; thus putting your relationship into a downward spiral of hurt feelings, fights, and eventual breakup. Put away your emotional weapons, and focus instead of maintaining healthy communication, giving your partner positive feedback, and adding a good dose of respect and commonsense.
Yes, it's true: You can be an emotional genius in your personal relationships--someone who is intelligent and highly skilled at mastering your own thoughts and feelings, and in building positive relationships. It's time now to get straight A's in your love life; you deserve it.
Have you ever wondered why some people get all the luck? A few lucky people seem to always excel in their careers, relationships, finances, and personal health and happiness, while the rest of humanity struggle along--having good days and bad days, feeling up, then going back down. Is there a way to overcome your daily obstacles and be happy and successful in life on a consistently high level?
Yes, there is, if you apply the principles of the new science of personal power and psychological invincibility called Power Psychology.
Power Psychology is an integration of Eastern mind-body disciplines with modern positive psychology. The premise of Power Psychology is that it's not enough simply to cure our anxieties and depressions to get to a "normal" state. The goal of human life is to tap into our hidden, extraordinary talents, or DONs (universe-given abilities) and develop a force field of love, compassion, and power. This emotional and psychological force field makes us immune from the ups and downs of life, and gives us a state of personal invincibility--a winning mentality that propels us toward lasting success and joy.
Here are the 3 Pillars of Invincibility. Apply them to your life on a daily basis, and your relationships, finances, health, and personal happiness will be at their highest level of consistent excellence.
PILLAR ONE: TRANSFORM PAIN INTO POWER AND FAILURE INTO FIRE: Here is a very simple secret for ultimate success in life: Instead of suffering from your pain, use your pain to end your suffering. In other words, think of an emotional pain--from a rejection or so-called failure--as a form of antibody, or vaccine, that you can inject yourself with to make yourself stronger and immune from that same type of pain in the future. Each time you suffer from an emotional wound (for example you partner left you), focus on being consciously aware of that pain. See it as a color, a weight, a form, that you are converting into raw energy for your own strength and power. When you do this, the pain now takes on a positive value as a sense of meaning or learning that you can use to skyrocket your personal effectiveness from this day onward.
PILLAR TWO: DEVELOP THE LUCKY WAY: ATTRACT WEALTH, LOVE, AND SUCCESS INTO YOUR LIFE: Luck is not something you're born with. It is something you can make or create. Studies with lucky people (in love, finances, personal health and happiness) have found that they possess similar characteristics, as compared with unlucky people. One common trait is that lucky people are always looking for new opportunities to connect and learn. For example, they may start conversations with strangers at a movie line. Who knows? thinks the lucky person. That stranger could one day become a friend, associate, business partner, or even a life partner. The new acquaintance may offer the lucky person invaluable advice, wisdom, resources, and connections. Unlucky people, on the other hand, often say to themselves "I don't want to get involved; I don't have time." They're afraid of rejection, boredom, or wasting their time. As a result, they miss out on many great opportunities to learn, connect, and grow, and above all, to "get lucky."
PILLAR THREE: EXTEND LOVING ENERGY WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS: Love is considered the greatest power of all, yet, many people misuse this power. They try to acquire it, hoard it, and control it, and then feel lonely and rejected when they don't feel they have enough love. The secret of love power is simple: the more you give away, without expectations, the more you receive in return. Smile at the waiter, help a little old lady cross the street; give a sandwich to a homeless person. Give valuable advice or help to a loved one, friend, or stranger. Visualize yourself breathing out loving energy to people all around you. As you circulate your positive loving energy, you will begin to build your own emotional resources; you will grow your compassion, kindness, goodwill, and patience. You will also increase your intellectual resources: creativity, analytical thinking, and good decision-making. In time, you will construct a powerful force field of loving energy that attracts all the love you need in your personal relationships, and fills you with a marvelous sense of joy and peace.
Yes, it is possible to become emotionally invincible--to be immune from the attacks of life and the negativity of your own thoughts. Apply the 3 Pillars of Invincibility in your daily life, and you will achieve your wildest dreams. If you happen to be in the LA area on June 9th, you can come to my free talk on this very topic: Unlimited Personal Power: How to Be Invincible and Achieve Your Wildest Dreams: http://www.meetup.com/UNLIMITED-PERSONAL-POWER-ACHIEVE-YOUR-WILDEST-DREAMS/
As Valentine's Day approaches, many people's thoughts turn to love and romance. Some people look forward to Valentine's Day because they can celebrate the love they share with their special soul mate. Others hate Valentine's Day because they still haven't found their soul mate, despite all of their efforts. Regardless of whether you love or hate Valentine's (or feel something in between), there are 3 secrets you should know for having a great Valentine's Day, especially if you're single.
1. BE YOUR OWN SOUL MATE: This rule is simple: To have a great soul mate, you must first be a great soul mate--to yourself. You need to love and appreciate your unique romantic personality style--which I call your LoveType. We are all born with certain gifts or talents, also known as Dons. Your Don is your natural universe-given ability to help yourself and humanity. Part of our Don is our unique personality. The problem is that many of us don't fully embrace and respect our unique natures--we internally criticize ourselves for not being like other people. Some of us are more emotional, others are more logical. Some of us are more quiet or Introverted; others are more outgoing/Extraverted. Neither personality style is better or worse than the other. They are simply different and hold their unique advantages. The secret to our happiness and ability to love is to fully embrace our unique personality nature or style--to love ourselves as we are. Once we love ourselves as we truly are, then, and only then, can we love another.
2. FIND PEOPLE WHO NATURALLY RESONATE WITH YOUR STYLE: Another mistake that love seekers make is that they choose partners who don't match their own unique romantic style or LoveType. They choose lovers who seem superficially appealing and attractive, but who are not compatible with their innermost values, preferences and missions. We need to look behind the pleasant masks that people wear and discover their true personalities--whether they are truly compatible with us. Most research shows that people who are similar in their core values and beliefs have happier long-term relationships. You don't have to be exactly like your mate, but it's important that you share important traits. One key is to determine which of the four LoveTemperament Groups you and a prospective partner fall into. Ideally, you want to be in the same category as your partner because it makes life so much easier.
Here are the Four LoveTemperament Groups:
NF--Intuitive Feelers: Meaning Seekers: You have a desire for finding the meaning in life; you have a strong interest in psychology, spirituality, science, the arts, and creating possibilities.
NT--Intuitive Thinkers: Knowledge Seekers: You value logic, stimulating debate, intelligence, competence, and continual growth in your relationships.
SP--Sensing Perceivers: Excitement Seekers: You value fun, excitement, adventure, and spontaneity in every aspect of your life, especially in your relationships.
SJ--Sensing Judgers: Security Seeker: You value tradition, loyalty, security, and structure in your relationships. You like enjoying the concrete pleasures of life, while also planning for the future.
HOT TIP: Determine which category you fall into, and then start joining groups and making friends with like-minded people. One of those new friends may just become your soul mate.
3. EXTEND LOVING ENERGY WITHOUT EXPECTATIONS: Once you love who you are and know the type of person who is most compatible with you, your last step is to meet that special individual. The key to this last secret is to break the ice and meet new people with positive (loving) energy--without expecting anything in return. Smile at the waiter, say hello to a stranger or remote acquaintance, pay someone a compliment. You don't do it to impress, win favor, or get a date, but simply to extend your positive love energy--to express your uniqueness as a human being. This secret is especially helpful for those who are shy (fear being rejected) or Introverted (have limited social energy) because it takes away the burden of having to make a good first impression. All you have to do is spread a positive loving energy to the world, and eventually that energy will be returned back to you by someone who is truly your perfect match--your one and only soul mate.
Happy Valentine's to you. I would like to offer you a special Free gift--loving energy--to help you find your soul mate. Be my guest at my upcoming Los Angeles talk/mixer on 2/17/13 at 6:00PM. You will have a chance to meet great people and possibly find your soul mate. You can sign up FREE at Find your Soul Mate at The Dating Masquerade: http://www.meetup.com/Find-Your-Soul-Mate-At-the-Dating-Masquerade/
As the year ends, it's time for New Year's Resolutions. One of the primary ones for many people is to have a great relationship: either to find a soul mate or to be closer to the one you have. Unfortunately, relationships can be difficult, and finding the right person can sometimes seem like an impossible dream. But, there is a solution to your love resolutions, especially if you're single: It's called the Four Magic Questions.
Over the last 20 years, I've perfected a system of love compatibility that can help you find your soul mate in four easy steps. I call it The Four Magic Questions. Based on the theory behind the most popular personality test in the world--The Myers Briggs Type Indicator--The Four Magic Questions approach teaches you how to recognize a potential soul mate by asking four simple compatibility questions.
What do you do for fun in your spare time? INTROVERT OR EXTRAVERT: Introverts like to stay home and do low-key activities like reading, thinking, watching videos, listening to music, and relaxing, while Extraverts like to go out and socialize and talk to a lot of people. HOT TIP: Research shows that Extravert women have the most problems with Introvert men in the areas of chores, finances, communication, social life, and sex.
What's your favorite movie and why do you like it? THINKER OR FEELER: Feelers love the way the movie made them feel; Thinkers enjoy the way it made them think. Thinkers and Feelers come from different planets, and have different communication styles. It's important to speak in your partner's language. The Feeler says: "Why do you have to be so critical?" The Thinker says: "Why do you have to take everything so personally?"
What would you do with $10 million? IMAGINATIVE OR PRACTICAL: Imaginative people would use the money to innovate, create, or make a difference in the world in a unique way (go to the Himalayas and meditate, write the Great American Novel, invent a nuclear powered space bicycle). Practical people would save, invest, and enjoy the sensory pleasures of life: fine dining, traveling, and exotic adventures. HOT TIP: Research shows that 70% of happily married couples are the same on this dimension (either both Imaginative or both Practical types).
If a friend invited you to Vegas, the next day (a work day) would you go? SPONTANEOUS OR STRUCTURED: The spontaneous person would say "Let's go," while the structured person would have to plan it out because of previous commitments. Structured and Spontaneous people can get along, but often have to work out a lot of issues regarding time (structured people are always on time; spontaneous people are often late), schedules, commitment, money, activities, neatness and organization, and so on.
Once you know the answers to the four magic questions, you can determine which of the 16 LoveTypes your prospective date falls under, and whether he or she is compatible with you. Here are the 16 LoveTypes, or unique romantic styles:
INFP: Idealistic Philosopher: "Love is the perfect place: quiet, peaceful and kind."
INFJ: Mystic Writer: "Love is in my mind, heart, and soul."
ENFP: Social Philosopher:
"Love is mysterious, inspiring, and fun."
ENFJ: Growth Teacher: "Love is being consumed by my loved one."
INTP: Scholar: "Love is just another idea."
INTJ: Expert: "Love can be analyzed and perfected."."
ENTP: Innovator: "I invent love in my mind first."
"Love is enhanced by power, influence, and achievement."
ISFJ: Caretaker: "Love is a goal worth sacrificing for."
ISTJ: Administrator: "Love is based on duty and responsibility."
ESFJ: Dutiful Host:
"Love is based on serving others."
ESTJ: Traditionalist: "Love is grounded on the rock-solid values of family, tradition, and loyalty."
ISFP: Gentle Artist: "Love is gentleness, nature, and devotion."
ISTP: Craftsperson: "Love is action."
"Love is savoring and reveling in the passions of now."
ESTP: Wheeler-Dealer: "Love should always be exciting and stimulating."
For more information, you can go to my web site: www.lovetype.com. LoveTypes, the international bestseller, is also available on Amazon, and can give you a step-by-step plan of how to meet your ideal soul mate/LoveType.
You can have a lot of fun asking the four magic questions and meeting new people. Who knows? You just may meet the love of your life.
Life is difficult. People let us down, circumstances go against us, even our own minds attack us with doubts, self-criticism, and worries. But, what if we could transform our pain into power, and become psychologically invincible? What if we could live with the fullest excellence--the most ecstatic joy, riches, love, and creativity--we could ever imagine?
Now, you can live to your fullest potential by developing The Invincible Mind: a mind that is fearless, brilliant, compassionate, peaceful, and loving. For over 20 years I have integrated Eastern mind/body wisdom with modern Positive Psychology to create a new science of ecstatic living--The Invincible Mind. This new approach to human mind and spirit is the middle path that integrates both our positive and negative natures and activates our hidden powers so we can achieve unsurpassed excellence in our relationships, finances, health, and personal happiness.
To master The Invincible Mind you need to learn three laws, or immutable principles. The first one is known as Emotional Transmutation: Turning pain into power.
All of us suffer from emotional pain from time to time. It is inevitable that we will sometimes feel sadness, disappointment, worry, and regretfulness, as well as other hurtful emotions. The key is what we do with that pain.
Normally, there are two common ways that people deal with their emotional pain.
One, we suffer from it. We have a relationship break up, for example, and we mope around the house and withdraw from our friends. It hurts, and we just feel down.
Two, we try to distract ourselves from the pain. We eat some chocolate chip ice cream, watch television, have a drink. Unfortunately, this momentary respite doesn't last very long, and we're soon back to our sadness.
The third way to deal with pain--a much less common, but infinitely more effective approach--is to transmute, or change, the pain into something more beneficial, meaningful, and life-affirming. Instead of labeling the sensation as "pain," we call it something else: an energy, force, or power that we can use for our own good, growth, and talent. Used rightly, pain can be a "genius," because it helps us break old unworkable patterns, develop our creativity, and become truly authentic and powerful human beings.
Say, for instance, that your lover has left you. At that very moment, you can decide to fully and consciously experience the sensation (without the pain label). You can describe what it looks and feels like: dark, heavy, sharp and so forth. But, most importantly, you see it as a power you can use for your own benefit and growth: To turn you into a more caring person, to help you better identify a compatible mate, to give you skills for overcoming adversity. With this new mindset, the pain--which may have been at a 95 intensity level (out of 100)--has now come down a notch, maybe to 75 or 80. The more you do this, the more the pain will diminish, and the more you will be able to transform the previously feared pain sensations into your own personal power.
Here's a pain change technique that can work wonders: Fast-Forward Time Travel.
It works like this: Let's say you just had a fight with your boss--you can't stand this overbearing tyrant, and you really dislike the job you're doing. You're feeling angry, disappointed, and defeated.
Now, visualize the way you will be in five years--with a new job you love and surrounded by people you respect and admire. From this future perspective, come back and look at yourself the way you are now. You realize that you may be suffering now, but you will soon change your situation: you will develop skills, resources, and allies that will move you toward your ideal, happy work destination. Suddenly, the pain you are feeling in the present will start to diminish, and you will feel lighter, freer, and more hopeful. You have seen the future, and the future is now.
Remember, this is just a small taste of The Invincible Mindset, and all of the great things you can accomplish when you harness the power of "pain" into a immensely strong emotional workhorse that will take you anywhere you want to go.
PS: If you're in the LA area on Sunday December 2nd, we would love to have you come to our workshop and demonstration (3-6pm): The Invincible You: Live With Passion, Purpose, and Power at Westfield Mall, Century City, Microsoft Store. Check it out at: http://invincibleyou-es2.eventbrite.com
PPS: You can also join our Free Meetup group for more updates, events, and activities: http://www.meetup.com/The-Invincible-You-Live-With-Passion-Purpose-and-Power/
I often hear these words when the topic of self-change and self-improvement come up among my clients and students:
"It's too late for me. I've made too many mistakes in life. I can't change my circumstances."
Or, I hear something like:
"I'm not ready for change yet. This is the way I am. Maybe when I get older, I'll do something different to get happy."
Well, I have some good news for you: It's never too late, and it's never too early.
"It's never too late" means it doesn't matter how old you are--you can have a happy and successful life, regardless of how many disappointments and frustrations you have experienced. New research in brain plasticity shows us that you can emotionally rewire your brain at any age; you can actually change your brain by adding more positive thoughts and emotions into your life on a daily basis.
Smile, pay a stranger a compliment, help an elderly person with their groceries, count your blessings, meditate while imagining that you are spreading loving kindness to your community--these are all research-proven methods to improve your level of positive emotions, which in turn will improve your brain circuitry, and bring you more creativity, energy, resilience, longevity, and well-being (happiness).
What do I call this superior state of happiness and excellence that we all strive for? I call it Invincibility2 or Invincibility Squared. Invincibility2 is a psychological formula I have developed to help individuals enjoy lives of ultimate superiority in their emotions, relationships, career, finances, health, and spiritual lives.
To be invincible means to be incapable of being defeated by outside enemies or circumstances. To be Invincible2 means that you are incapable of being defeated by either external forces or by the inner workings of your mind.
Sadly, many of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to fostering and infecting our minds with negative thoughts--what I I call the "Malas" (the bad ones). These Malas are always interfering with our happiness and productivity. How often have we created those inner condemning thoughts: "I'm not.... (good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, etc....) to succeed in life. I am doomed to failure."
With the Invinciblility2 formula, you learn how to reverse those old negativities. You learn how to harness those maladaptive inner voices for your own use, for your own power. You learn how to create positive life forces, which I call the "Buenas" (the good ones).
The simple truth is that no matter how much you have suffered (or lost) in the past, you can create a mind full of Buenas--positive thought forces. You can develop Invinciblity2 right now. You can have both mental and environmental mastery, and you can live with passion, purpose, and power.
Here are some simple rules to remember as you develop Invincibility2:
1. TRANSMUTE YOUR PAIN: Recognize that everything that you have called "pain" in your past is simply an energy stimulus. By itself it is neutral--it has no power, either good or bad. This energy--maybe a heartbreak from a lost love or a missed opportunity--is merely an energy force that you can transmute, or change, to help your personal growth and advancement. You can take that energy that you used to call "pain" or "defeat," and turn it into an unstoppable force for good, growth, and healing.
2. LOOK UP AT THE STARS: No matter how low you have sunk in life (in your finances, personal habits, or self-belief), you can still harness that amazing power of focus, which the ancients call "Fudoshin" (immoveable mind) . You can still look upward to the noble examples of those special individuals who have succeeded by contributing their God-given talents to make a positive difference in the world. You can learn from the great teachers and masters of excellence by reading their books and studying their lives. By focusing on the same star they follow, you, too, will be able to reenact their excellence and contentment, while experiencing it in your own way.
3. KEEP WALKING FORWARD: When you get discouraged about "taking a step backward" into your old bad habits and self-defeating thinking, remember this: What does it matter if you take one step backward as long as you are taking two steps forward? If you overall movement is forward, you are still making progress. Many times, we are too hard on ourselves for our mistakes; we chastise ourselves about not being able to change our negative habits; about getting caught up with the same harmful people. Stop right now. Recognize that you are walking forward despite your mistakes. You are on the right path to Invincibility2.
Finally, you may ask: "when should I start to develop my personal power and emotional strength? Tomorrow, the day after, one year from now?" The answer is simple: Start Now. It is never too early to work on yourself; to start to raise your level of emotional and psychological strength. One small step in your favor, in the direction of your Invincibility2, is another step away from your past follies, regrets, and embarrassments. The more you walk, the more wonders you will see.
Yes, you are becoming a new person--an Invincible Person--every time you work on yourself by reading a self-growth book, attending a healing lecture, or listening to a transformational CD. You are also making progress whenever you observe the inner workings of your thoughts, extend your loving energy to others without expectations, and slow yourself down to develop the art of patience.
Before long, you will realize that you are winning big. How do you know when you are winning big? When you no longer think about success and happiness; when you are becoming success and happiness. It's like this: When you live in the ocean, you don't need to complain about a lack of water; you have everything you need.
Be like the person in the ocean: You are an Invincible Person who has everything you need to live with total freedom, creativity, and love. Live it.
Do you want to be lucky? Not just win the lottery lucky, but lucky in everything important to you: your relationships, career and finances, and mental and physical health. Now you can be as lucky as you want to be based on recent findings in the psychology of luck.
In his ten-year scientific study on luck, psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, examined the characteristics of exceptionally lucky and exceptionally unlucky people. In his research, Weisman found that unlucky people like Patricia, a twenty-year-old airline worker, always seem to attract accidents, bad relationships, and unfortunate circumstances. On the other hand, lucky people like Jessica, a forty-two-year-old forensic scientist, always seem to meet the right people--at chance meetings--and end up achieving their lifelong dreams, with seemingly little effort or strain.
How can you become an extraordinary lucky person? Wiseman points to four personality characteristics or habits you can develop to increase your good luck considerably:
*Create and Notice Chance Opportunities
Lucky people are always open to meeting new people and encountering new opportunities for learning and growth. For example, they are more likely to go to social events where they don't know people (even if they are the more reclusive Introvert type) because they're aware they could meet someone helpful or learn something valuable
at the next party they attend.
Wiseman did a clever study to test the Opportunities Recognition trait. He asked lucky and unlucky people to read a newspaper and tell him how many photographs were inside. On average, the people classified as unlucky in the study took two minutes to count the photographs, while those rated as high in luck took just a few seconds. Why? The second page of the newspaper had the message in large bold print, "Stop counting--there are 43 photographs in the newspaper." The lucky people immediately spotted the message and stopped counting, while the unlucky people were so concerned with looking for the photographs that they missed the obvious message.
*Be Relaxed and Flexible; Use Your Intuition
Unlucky people are often more tense and anxious than lucky people. Unlucky people try to analyze everything and worry about missing something and making a mistake. Lucky people are more relaxed, confident, and listen to their intuition--their holistic sense of what is right and wrong for them. Unlucky people miss the right opportunities because they are too focused on looking for something else. An unlucky single person, for example, may go to parties obsessed with finding Mr. or Ms. Right, while the lucky person goes to make friends and have a good time. Often, the lucky person ends up meeting a soul mate--someone's daughter, mother, sister, brother, co-worker, or friend--through the new acquaintances made at the party.
*Change Things Up:/Do Things Differently
Many of us are creatures of habit. We take the same route to work every day; talk to the same people about the same things. Lucky people, on the other hand, believe that changing their daily routine--even a little bit--can help trigger positive and creative changes in other parts of their lives. In Wiseman's study, for example, one high luck person would change his route to work before he made an important decision. This small deviation got him out of his thinking rut and opened up some creative alternatives. Another lucky person wanted to change the type of people she met at social events, so she played a game with herself. She would think of a common color before he arrived at the party, and then would only talk to people who had that same color clothing: people in black, or those wearing red, for example. In this way, she opened himself up to meeting entirely different people, and she ended up meeting her current business partner.
Develop "It Could Have Been Worse" Thinking For Bad Circumstances
According to Wiseman, lucky people tend to use "counterfactual thinking" to soften the blow of bad circumstances which sometimes occur in their lives. Counterfactual thinking refers to thinking about what could have happened (for example, the worst possible outcome) instead of what actually did happen. In one interesting study, Wiseman asked lucky and unlucky people to imagine that they were in a bank when an armed robber entered and fired a shot that injured them in the arm. Weisman asked the participants if this event was lucky or unlucky. People in the study who were classified as unlucky said it was enormously unlucky that they just happened to be in the bank during the robbery. People classified as lucky viewed the situation as being far luckier: "At least I wasn't shot in the head and killed." Lucky people in the study also had a more optimistic take on the situation than unlucky people: "Maybe I can sell the story to the newspaper." Thus, the lucky people had a more positive, optimistic, and even grateful perception of what happened to them than the unlucky people who were often more negative, pessimistic, and regretful.
As you can see from the research findings, luck can be made or created. You don't have to be born lucky, or rely on some unknown force to be luckier. You can enhance your luck quotient just by making a few small changes in your everyday habits and approach to life. With greater luck, you will choose the right mate, friends, acquaintances, and business partners. You will make the right investments, and spend time on the best activities, goals, plans, and strategies for you. You will be happier, healthier, richer, and wiser if you just change a few elements of your personality. Before long you will create a closer and more intimate relationship with that charming and alluring companion who can grant the dreams of your heart: Happy-go Lucky Luck.
Did I get your attention with this title? Being happy without really trying; it sure sounds good, doesn't it? The truth is that most good things in life take effort, but there are actually at least two ways to be happy without any effort. And, there is one lasting way to be happy with some effort. Let's take a look at some the happiness possibilities:
How to Be Happy With No Effort
BE BORN HAPPY
The first way to be happy without really trying is by being born happy. Yes, there is increasing evidence that happiness--a state of well-being characterized by contentment and intense joy--is at least partly genetic. According to researchers, happy people have more activity in the left prefrontal cortex of their brain (our thinking and personality center) than less happy individuals. Moreover, depressed or sad people tend to have more activity in the right prefrontal cortex part of their brain. Researchers, therefore, estimate that up to 50% of our happiness level is based on a genetic set point--a certain predetermined level of happiness that we are born with.
This happiness set point determines how happy we will be throughout our lives, despite any momentary ups or downs in our happiness based on external circumstances like winning a prize or losing a job. Of course, since we can't pick our moms and dads (and their genetic happiness levels) we're kind of stuck with the happiness (or sadness) genes we inherited.
BE LUCKY (OR SMART) IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT
If you're not born happy, your second best bet is to get lucky (or be smart) in your life choices.
Researchers estimate that another 10% of our happiness level is based on our environment or external circumstances. Are we fortunate enough to choose the right career, make profitable investment decisions, and marry the most compatible mate? If so, chances are, our happiness will increase. However, there are limits to how much our happiness will increase based on external circumstances.
Take money for example. Many people believe that having more money makes you happier. It is true that, at the lowest economic levels, a jump in salary can cause a definite spike in happiness. However, at the higher income levels, further increases in income don't significantly increase a person's happiness. For example, those who make $10 million or more annually are not that much happier than their office employees who make far less.
Marriage is another factor this is often correlated with higher rates of happiness. While it is true that a happy marriage can increase your personal happiness, there are other factors to consider: For example, how happy where you before you got married? Typically, happy single people become happy married people. Also, most of us are usually happy in the beginning of the relationship--the honeymoon stage--when all of those pleasure-inducing chemicals are released in our brains to make us feel good. Unfortunately, the chemicals wear off eventually, and then we have to evaluate the relationship as it is.
Finally, in a marriage happiness study conducted in 16 countries, it was found that married people only had a 4% happiness advantage over single people in the "very happy" category: 25% of married people were "very happy," while 21% of single people were "very happy."
MAKE YOURSELF HAPPY
Now, we come to the final happiness solution: Make yourself happy. Happiness researchers estimate that up to 40% of your happiness is determined by intentional activity--things you can do to create happiness (or misery) in your life. For example, several interesting studies have indicated that practicing loving kindness meditation (LKM) on a daily basis can significantly increase our happiness levels. Loving Kindness Meditation involves directing positive and loving energy toward real or imagined people in a meditative setting.
LKM has been found to significantly increase the level of positive emotions--love and compassion--that we feel toward ourselves and others. Moreover, the consistent practice of LKM has also been shown to improve relationships, increase life satisfaction and environmental mastery, while reducing the risk of illness and depression.
START YOUR LKM PROGRAM TODAY
To raise your overall happiness level, begin to practice LKM meditation as follows: Every morning (or evening) sit in a quiet place, close your eyes, and imagine that two people (or animals) you care about are sitting next to you. Also, imagine that you are sending positive emotional energy to your loved ones through a beam of light. Imagine a color for the light, perhaps blue, green, or yellow. Imagine that you are sending the loving light to them, and they are sending the loving energy right back to you.
After, a few minutes, redirect your light energy of love and compassion outward to people you know casually, perhaps your dentist or doctor, your neighbor down the block, or the person who serves you sandwiches at the local deli.
Finally, imagine that you are spreading your loving energy light out to your entire city, bathing everyone in it: men, women, and children; young and old; people from all races, ethnicities, and religions. Feel the joy and contentment, serenity and peace, that come from spreading your loving energy out to all of the living creatures in your environment.
This exercise has been proven to be remarkably effective for enhancing our emotional state of mind.
Researchers have found that LKM increases at least seven positive emotions ranging from awe to gratitude. Moreover, even brief LKM sessions can significantly improve your psychological and physical health over a long period of time.
Earlier, I mentioned that we seem to have a genetically determined happiness set point--a preset range of happiness. The good news is that meditation has actually been shown to increase our happiness set point: overall, we become happier people throughout our day, regardless of the circustances. Brain scans, for example, show that regular meditation results in greater activity in the happiness areas of our brain--the left prefrontal cortex. This means that if we meditate regularly we can actually change our brain and make ourselves happier!
Before long, LMK will become a natural action for you. You won't even think much about it; you will just do it because it makes you feel good and helps improve your life. Give LKM a try, and let me know how you do with it. Also, make sure that you send me a little bit of that loving energy over here, and I'll send some back right at you.
Everyone wants to be happy, or so they say. The problem is that "happiness" is so elusive that many of us have a hard time defining it for ourselves. To some, happiness is characterized by peak moments of joy--those little flashes of happiness spread throughout a day. To others, happiness symbolizes a long-term sense of peace and contentment. And, then there are those individuals who believe that happiness is expressing and receiving love and meaning in life.
I personally define happiness as "an exalted state of mind that is contented, joyous, and peaceful, despite the circumstances." In this definition happiness has a resilience element: No matter how bad things get in our lives--even when we have money, love, health, or relationship problems--we can still maintain a steady state of goodwill, pleasure, contentment, and joy.
Yet, no matter how we define "happiness," we know that being happy brings many added benefits. Research shows that people who are consistently happy are physically and mentally healthier, live longer, make more money, do better in their careers, have more satisfying relationships and marriages, and contribute more to society than either unhappy or moderately happy people.
Now, new psychological research sheds light on exactly what happiness is and how to make sure we have enough of this delicious state of mind and body.
In Part One of this blog, we will examine what happiness is, or more specifically, three routes toward that exalted state we call happiness.
The three routes are:
1. Pleasure or "Hedonic" Happiness
Hedonic happiness is based on the pursuit of pleasure, ranging from appetite fulfillment (food, sex, money, substance use) to sensual pleasure (massages, hugs, lovemaking with a loved partner) to aesthetic pleasure (watching sunsets, playing in nature with children or animals, appreciating art or music). Although Hedonic Happiness can offer us a strong sense of enjoyment and pleasure, it also has a significant limitation: The Hedonic Treadmill Effect.
The Hedonic Treadmill Effect tells us that there is a bounce-back limit to Hedonic or pleasure-based happiness; in other words, after a while we come down from the high pleasurable level to our previous feeling state. Let's say, for example, that we win $1 million in the lottery, and we go out and spend a bunch of money on our favorite goodies and fun experiences: cars, houses, clothes, gadgets, traveling, shopping, and high living.
We feel great for a while, but then the pleasure wears off. After a certain period of time, our happiness level will usually go back to what it was before the wonderful event (lottery win) that gave us so much initial pleasure. Therefore, we have a certain "happiness set point"-- a genetically determined level of happiness that we will more or less go back to after experiencing a positive or pleasurable event.
It's like being on a treadmill; we keep running but we don't make any significant progress or change. Thus, no matter how much pleasure we have or can get, we always revert back to our initial happiness level after the pleasure wears off (the party ends, the lovemaking stops, the money is spent).
2. Be the Best You Can Be or Eudaimonic Happiess. Aristotle's concept of Eudaimonia is "doing and living well." It is commonly interpreted as being the best you can be in your inner self--identifying and cultivating your virtues--and then sharing them with others to attain a higher sense of meaning.
When we develop what is greatest within ourselves--in Latin culture we call that our Don, or God-given talent--and use it in the service of others, we experience a tremendous sense of fulfillment, joy, meaning, and ultimately, happiness.
The great thing about Eudaimonic Happiness is that it doesn't suffer from the Hedonic Treadmill effect; there is no "letdown" or "hangover" after experiencing this type of happiness. It is a pure form of happiness that can build upon itself. The more you develop your talent or "Don," and use it to help others and achieve higher purposes, the more content, satisfied, and happier you will feel.
3. Flow (or experiencing joy from a treasured activity) is a happiness route that combines elements of Hedonia and Eudaimonia. Flow, as articulated by psychological pioneer Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, is a state of committed engagement in some activity that results in a heightened sense of joy and bliss.
During this flow or "natural high" you lose yourself in an activity--time, place, and person no longer seem relevant; it's like an out-of-body experience. Those joggers who experience the "runner's high" know this feeling where they lose track of time and even their bodies, as they seem to float with a sense of joy and freedom.
Similarly, those who listen to, or compose, music, explore nature, or engage in a pure act of creativity, love, and expression are likely to experience this peak state of "flow."
Athletes call it "being in the zone," when everything they do on the athletic field seems to work perfectly. Everything goes in; all the plays are made with very little effort.
Flow boils down to a supreme natural feeling--a sense of freedom, joy, relaxation, playfulness, and creativity that far surpasses the mundane moments of everyday living.
All three of these states we just discussed are legitimate routes to what we call happiness--that consistent state of joy, serenity, peace, love, passion, and freedom we all desire. In the next blog, we will learn how to attain and maintain this desired state--HAPPINESS--for the rest of our lives. Till then, be happy because happiness is contagious and attracts more of itself: Be happy now, and you will be even happier later.