Reading Length: 10 minutes
This book is a guide to becoming happier and successful by focusing on the mental, emotional and physical aspects of your life. The key message is that our life can be altered based on the beliefs, identities, values and decisions we hold.
1. Alter your interpretation of pain and pleasure.
We have different interpretations of pain and pleasure. All of our actions are linked to the purpose of either gaining pleasure or eliminating pain. In order to be successful, we must know how to use pain and pleasure rather than allowing it to control us. We should link pain to a behavior we want to stop. And we should link pleasure to a behavior we desire.
Make Some Changes:
- Write down 4 things that you’ve been putting off.
- Under each thing, write down “Why haven’t I taken action on this? In the past, what pain have I linked to taking action on this?”
- Write down all the pleasure you’ve experienced in the past by indulging in this negative pattern. Why does it feel good to put these things off? What short term pleasures are motivating you to ignore the long term pains?
- What will it cost you if you don’t change now? What will it cost over the next month, year, decade if you don’t change this pattern?
- Write down all the pleasure you’ll receive by taking action on these right now.
2. Overcome self-limiting beliefs.
We forget to question our beliefs even when they are only our own personal interpretations. The problem is that most of us don’t consciously decide what to believe in and that our beliefs tend to be generalizations about the past. But beliefs are what influence your actions. So you need to change your beliefs if you want to change your life. The first step to changing our beliefs is to stop blaming others and acknowledge that we are responsible for our own change. We need to believe that something must be changed, that we must change it and that we can change it.
3 types of beliefs:
- Opinion (temporary and easily swayed).
- Beliefs (certainty about something due to the past).
- Conviction (obsession and feelings of anger if questioned).
How to Change a Belief
- 1) Get your brain to associate massive pain with the belief.
- 2) Create doubt. Just like your old beliefs, you can push out the self limiting beliefs by doubting them.
Break down existing disempowering beliefs by asking yourself:
- How is this belief ridiculous or absurd?
- Was the person I learned this belief from worth modeling in this area?
- What will it ultimately cost me emotionally if I don’t let go of this belief?
- What will it ultimately cost me in my relationships if I don’t let go of this belief?
- What will it ultimately cost me physically if I don’t let go of this belief?
- What will it ultimately cost me financially if I don’t let go of this belief?
- What will it cost my family/ loved ones if I don’t let go of this belief?
For the longest time, I was painfully shy to the point I struggled to converse with others so I often distanced myself at home. I was often described as quiet and practically invisible to everyone. Even though it bothered me, I kept telling myself that I was just a fixed introvert and that I couldn’t change. One day, I realized I had enough of this so I tried visualizing myself as the complete opposite image of who I thought I was without any self judgment. Before I knew it, I slowly began to model after my visualizations by taking the initiative to talk to my classmates first, accepting hang out invites, and scheduling phone calls with professionals. Truthfully, I’m still in the process of stepping out of my comfort zone but I’m glad that I made great progress compared to who I believed I was a few years ago.
3. Recognize the power of your decisions.
The decisions we make can get us where we want to be in life. Everything that happened in our life began from a decision. If we look back at our life, we can reflect whether or not we believe we made the right decision or not.
The three decisions that control your destiny are:
- 1) Your decisions about what to focus on.
- 2) Your decisions about what things meant to you.
- 3) Your decisions about what to do to create the results you desire.
Harness the Power of Decisions:
- Remember the true power of making decisions.
- Realize that the hardest step in achieving anything is making a true commitment, a true decision.
- Make decisions often.
- Learn from your decisions.
- Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.
- Enjoy making decisions.
4. Change your physiology.
Our behavior is influenced by the current state we are in. We can change our physiology which includes our posture, breathing, facial expressions and so on. For example, try clapping your hands explosively and smiling widely. Try even laughing more. See how you feel afterwards. Stagnation usually comes from lack of movement.
Therefore, try writing down the emotions you feel in a week. Consider promoting more feelings of enthusiasm, fascination, desire, gratitude, curiosity, confidence, consideration, gentleness and kindness.
- 1) Write down all the emotions that you experience in an average week.
- 2) List the events that triggers it.
- 3) Come up with an antidote with each negative emotions (words? beliefs? new questions? solutions?).
After journaling about my emotional state everyday, I noticed a pattern whenever I read back to it every month. I realized whenever I hardly moved around in the day and ate foods high in sugar, I felt in a lower mood. So I came up with solutions by adding in some exercise routines and purposefully stocking my fridge with healthy foods that gave me energy. I instantly felt more lifted, energized, and content.
5. You can choose to be happy.
Establish the habit of planting seeds of warmth and love. Don’t expect something to happen in order for you to feel good. Choose to be happy now at this very moment. Take out the weeds that represents negative emotions. Be mindful of your vocabulary.
10 positive feelings to promote:
- Appreciation and gratitude
- Curiosity as a child
- Excitement and passion
- Physical Vitality
Try a 10 day mental challenge which involves not remaining in the same mental pattern for 10 consecutive days. Journal on your progress. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do I need to do right now to improve my state?
- What did I learn from this?
- 1) Visualize a treasured memory.
- 2) Combine activity with something important (ex: news while exercising).
- 3) Write down the most important things on your to-do list.
6. Live by your highest values.
Even America has its own values which are: freedom, liberty, individualism, equality and etc…So we need our own individual values to live by. Values give us a direction in life. This means knowing what we want, what to do and what we believe in. Happiness is living by our values. Unfortunately, most people who don’t know their values get lost so they turn to other distractions such as drinking and smoking.
Make a list of your 10 highest values and rank them by importance. Think of what emotional states you value the most and what feelings you wish to have consistently. Some value examples are: comfort, love, health, security, control, passion, freedom, power, intimacy, adventure, and contribution. However, be careful of values contradicting one another such as success and fear of rejection. This is contradicting since you need to face rejection at times to achieve success.
- Step 1: Gain awareness of your current values. What are the emotional states you want and avoid?
- Step 2: Make a conscious decision about the values to live by.
Realigning Your Rules
- What does it take for you to feel successful?
- What does it take for you to feel loved— by your kids, by your spouse, by your parents, and by whoever else is important to you?
- What does it take for you to feel confident?
- What does it take for you to feel you are excellent in any area of your life?
- Look at the rules and ask yourself if they’re appropriate, do they make it easy to feel bad or good?
- If necessary, change your rules so that it’s easy to feel good and hard to feel bad.
7. Change your identity to change your behavior.
Consider the story behind the “Pygamaleon Effect.” Teachers treated their students as though they were gifted and the students really did become top students. We tend to describe ourselves by our emotions, titles, professions, incomes, behaviors, possessions, metaphors, spiritual beliefs, accomplishments, and past. But we act based on the identity we assume. Adopt a new identity in order to change your behavior. The sentence, “I’m just this way” is what kills dreams and discourages change.
Reflect on the following questions:
- Who are you?
- Did you consciously choose your identity or was it based on someone else?
- What consistent behaviors have you adopted?
- Do you look to your past, present or future with your identity?
- 1) If you were to look in the dictionary under your name, what would it say?
- 2) If you have an ID card on you. Would it have a picture, vital stats, accomplishments, beliefs, affiliations, mottos, abilities, etc…?
- 3) What would be the story of your life?
8. Value and prioritize your relationships.
Success is worthless if we don’t have someone to share it with. Every upset you ever had with a human being was due to a rules upset. We tend to get upset with someone when we don’t properly communicate our own personal rules and expectations.
6 Fundamentals of a Successful Relationship:
- 1) If you don’t know the values or rules of those in your life, there will be upsets and stress.
- 2) Challenges come from people looking to get something in a relationship. Have a giver mindset, not taker.
- 3) Certain things to look out for:
- Stage 1: Resistance (lack of communication)
- Stage 2: Resentment (separation and emotional barrier)
- Stage 3: Rejection (attacking the partner)
- Stage 4: Repression (numbness and no excitement)
- 4) Make it a priority. Never ever threaten the relationship itself or else it becomes a possibility.
- 5) Make it better.
- 6) Reinforce your feelings. Remind yourself why you’re so lucky to be with your partner.
- 1. Alter your interpretation of pain and pleasure. Link pain to a behavior we want to stop and pleasure to a behavior we desire.
- 2. Overcome self-limiting beliefs. We need to question our beliefs more because it influences our actions. Change your self limiting beliefs in order to change your life.
- 3. Recognize the power of your decisions. We need to be aware of what to focus on, what things mean to us and what to do in order to create the result we desire.
- 4. Change your physiology. We can change our physiology in order to influence the current state we are in. This includes our posture, breathing, facial expression etc…
- 5. You can choose to be happy. Make the habit of promoting positive feelings now. Try a 10 day mental challenge and journal on your progress.
- 6. Live by your highest values. Values can give us directions in life. Happiness is living by our values. Make a list of your 10 highest values and rank them by importance.
- 7. Change your identity to change your behavior. We act based on the identity that we assume. Adopt a new identity to change your behavior.
- 8. Value and prioritize your relationships. Try to properly communicate your personal rules and expectations with everyone in your life.
- Please refer back to find exercises and reflection questions for each section.