TOPIC: Too many false promises, too people thinking happiness can be pulled out of a hat? That is my opinion. Life is a struggle, finding happiness or contentment, which I think is more realistic, takes effort, work, and luck.
Here’s the article that prompted this post. Actually it isn’t an article, but a link to a book for sale. So don’t click on it or do if you want to buy the book.
Confession, I am the promoter of the One Minute Meditation. I refer to it as the OMM in some of my E-books. But you don’t need to buy anything from me to get it. Just go to the Wikihow I started: How to meditate in one minute.
To defend the OMM and the 8 Minute Meditation, neither of us promise you will learn these tools without devoting much time and effort. When I ran workshops, I could get a whole roomful of people feeling more relaxed in about fifteen minutes. (That is about the shortest amount of time it takes to do the first teaching of the OMM.) Then I would do my spiel about practicing.
Here it is: “The researchers say that to become an expert at any skill, requires relentless practice. In assessing professional violinists, one study found the stars reported 10,000 hours of practice over the course of their lives; while the future music teachers just over 4,000 hours.
Moreover, the research, shows skills are not learned unless carefully and repeatedly practiced. The current buzz words in the Leadership field call this Deliberate Practice.
Deliberate Practice involves the following steps:
Setting a regular time for practicing.
Breaking the skill down to the smallest step possible. Learning a musical skill that would mean learn one phrase or group of notes.
Mastering the smallest step before moving on to the next.
I devised the OMM because I wanted a small step that would help people learn to meditate and be able to stay calm when negative emotions visited. The fact is, however, the small step had to be repeated and repeated often to work.
Sometimes I would run into a work shop attendee later only to be told, the OMM didn’t work. If I asked about practice efforts it, was obvious to me and sometimes to the other person why the OMM failed.
There is no magic. There are miracles, fantastic breaks, gifts or luck visited upon some of us. Generally, these are but hard work paying off combined with a bit of luck.
Mostly life is a daily grind no matter how much others hold out a magic wand promising us happiness or self fulfillment, freedom from disease or long lives. Sigh.
STAYING STRONG TIPS
So what is a person to do?
One of the quotes that carried me through the pain of realizing as I moved into adulthood and began to know life was no easy ride, was this one:
“Blessed are they who expect nothing for they shall not be disappointed.”
I read it in Paul De Kruif’s book The Microbe Hunters. Apparently, it is also found somewhere in Anne of Green Gables, but I never read that one. Anne disputes it saying it would be worse to have no expectations. True and as always balance matters.
The first tip, do a reality check when your hopes are soaring:
Think you might be the next winner of American Idol. Think again if most people frown when you try to sing outside of the shower.
Madly in love after two dates. Think lust is probably operating and give that love the test of time.
Think we are guaranteed happiness? Think again.
The second tip: Practice gratitude. You may think you are among the 98% of the down trodden. Think again. You are reading this on a computer. Maybe on a borrowed one, maybe on an old one, still that puts you with the 1%. So be grateful. It could get worse and might well. Minimally, you will age and as Mae West said, “Aging ain’t for sissies.” Be grateful for all you are and have now, doing so improves the moment and strengthens you for less happier moments.
The third tip: Remember what matters. It isn’t true that the person with the most toys wins. The advertisers want you to believe that. But us WOOs–Wise Old Ones, know that is just a come on, another false promise.
What matters are caring relationships with the people in our lives AND trying to widen the circles of care throughout the world. That is how I pursue contentment. Talk about unrealistic expectations and magical thinking–hoping my efforts might change the world seems to be one. However, as Margaret Mead noted, the efforts of a few can work wonders.
Minimally, I seem to succeed in bring genuine smiles to some faces and there are people who appreciate my sharing. Expecting more is natural, but being content with what I have blesses me.
AS ALWAYS PRACTICE KINDNESS
Be kind to me, like this post or share it. You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well. You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises. Click here for my free E-book: The 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training.
A FINAL WORD
The 12 Daily Exercises are for everyone, but if you are seeing a therapist share them. If regular practice of the 12 Daily does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed. That is the time to think about therapy.