Tag Archives: happiness

How To Stand Out At Kirtan

I went along to my local Kirtan the other night. Just in case you don't know what Kirtan is, it's kind of like an uber-relaxed Hindu version of church: Everyone sits around on the floor while a guy with a guitar leads us in a series of chants sung in a call-and-response style. I've been to a couple of different Kirtans before, associated with the various different cults I've been involved in; but this was my first time at this particular group.

Kirtan is a lot more fun than this.

Kirtan is a lot more fun than this.

Now before my family read this and conclude that I'm going to hell for becoming a Hindu, I should point out that the reason I go to Kirtan is because chanting in a group makes me feel good. That's pretty much the idea behind the whole thing.

Most of the chants are sung in Sanskrit, which means I have … Continue reading…

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How To Be Unhappy

There are a lot of happy people in the world today. Sure, we all have difficulties now and then, but for the most part we live at a time when we have more opportunity, greater personal safety and a longer life expectancy than any time in history. So many of us have the potential to be quite happy.


Learn To Turn This...

This is a big problem for advertisers and companies marketing products at us that we don't really need. Most advertising targets areas of dissatisfaction in our lives, suggesting that we fill the void or distract ourselves from our pain by purchasing products of little intrinsic value. The happier we are, the harder advertisers have to work to convince us that we need that new car, can of cola, or aftershave in order to attract the people we want into our lives. And major pharmaceutical manufacturers would go out … Continue reading…

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The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

A great deal of our unhappiness is caused by us wallowing in regret about the past, or worrying about the future. Many of us spend relatively little time actually being connected to the present moment, which is ironic because the present moment is the only one we have available to us. The past has already happened and cannot be changed, and the future hasn't happened yet; we have relatively little real control over it either. So all we really have to work with is the present moment.

This book gives the clearest description I've come across of why it's important to remain connected to the present moment. It's particularly important when it comes to relationships with other people, since we're difficult to connect with when our minds are somewhere else.

There are many things that can cause us to lose this connection. Over-analysing puts us “in our heads” where we … Continue reading…

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Into The Wild

Spoiler Warning: This review gives away the ending. If you don't want to know what happens, stop reading now!

Listen to Eddie Vedder's cover of Hard Sun written by Gordon Peterson from the Into The Wild Soundtrack as you read along:

I was profoundly moved by this film telling the true story of Christopher McCandless's journey of self-discovery into the Alaskan wilderness. Directed by Sean Penn and starring Emile Hirsch as Christopher McCandless, this film hit me hard and I found it hugely cathartic. Despite a packed cinema, it was as though there was just me and this film connected to each other; I cried almost the whole way through.

Part of the reason I connected with it so strongly was that I first saw it while on a journey into the wild of my own: a solo 2,500km motorcycle road-trip of self-discovery from my home town of Sydney to … Continue reading…

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Happiness by Matthieu Ricard

A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill

I was put onto the audio edition of this book by a colleague from my Toastmasters club during a conversation about what makes us happy. The book is a fusion of eastern Buddhist philosophy and western scientific thinking on what it means to adopt happiness as a lasting state of mind. A key point reiterated here which I hear a lot these days is that true happiness is an internal state; it is not dependent on external factors. If we are relying on other people or external circumstances for our happiness, then we are always at the whims and mercies of things that are beyond our control. When we are at peace with who we are inside, our happiness can be based on internal factors over which we have much greater control.

I can relate to a lot of what the author … Continue reading…

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What You Can Change and What You Can’t by Martin E.P. Seligman

Learning to accept who you are. The Complete Guide to Successful Self-Improvement

Martin Seligman is one of my favourite personal development authors. Not only are his books easy to read, but as the founder of the Positive Psychology movement he's got the academic credentials and professional experience to know what the research says, and what he's talking about.

I was drawn to this book while contemplating the question: “Just how much can a person change?”. I was particularly interested in whether it's possible to make major changes in how we relate to other people, and whether introversion vs extroversion is changable. I've done the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator a couple of times, and I've never really been certain whether I'm a shy extrovert, or a lonely introvert. I love hanging around people; but it doesn't always go as well as I'd like. It turns out that this book doesn't … Continue reading…

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The Happiness Trap by Dr Russ Harris

My Life Coach recommended I read this book recently, at a time when I was struggling with some unpleasant feelings which seemed to be getting in the way of me achieving consistent lasting happiness. The book is practical guide to ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) with a subtitle that rang a chord with me: Stop struggling, start living.

The basic premise of The Happiness Trap is summed up when Dr Harris writes: "The more we try to avoid the basic reality that all human life involves pain, the more we are likely to struggle with that pain when it arises, thereby creating even more suffering." We spend a great deal of our lives seeking pleasant feelings and avoiding unpleasant ones, because we think that this is what will make us happy. But herein lies the trap: the techniques we use to avoid unpleasant feelings actually tend to reinforce them, … Continue reading…

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What is a Life Coach?

The goal of a life coach is to help you to have a great life. This involves a sense of meaning, purpose and fulfilment, along with liberal doses of happiness and the ability to deal powerfully with things when they go wrong. As humans we get bored if we feel like we're not moving forward, but the big question often is which direction to move in. To establish this we need to understand our core values, and set a continual stream of achievable goals based on those values. Setting goals gives us something to focus our efforts on, and achieving goals builds our sense of life satisfaction and self-esteem, and inspires us and the people around us on to further goals. It's important that the goals we set are achievable, consistent with our values, and allow us to use and develop our personal strengths.

The coaches I know … Continue reading…

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