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Happiness

Happiness & Routine

What is happiness to you?  In today’s fast pace world, most people run on autopilot and don’t take time to sit down and think about it.   And that is when the family of four takes over.  I don’t remember anyone telling me that we are biologically wired for negativity, that we are programmed to have the negative take over our minds.  I believe becoming aware of this is step number 1 to improve your happiness.  

In the amazing book, “Start Here”, Langshur and Klemp state that “research shows that, in the absence of sustained conscious effort, you will almost always return to the default location of your happiness set point.”   It’s been studied that people who win the lottery, after the excitement has worn off, are no happier than people with a debilitating disease.  We’ve all experienced our level of happiness changing moment to moment, but our set point is the level of happiness we come back to after the high or lows wear.   (This also applies to weight, but that’s for another article!)

I experienced both the high, low, and a change in set point over the past three years,  which is why I know that it can change!  In 2014, my family and I moved from Minnesota to Northern California.   This was a high in my life.   The high lasted longer than most ☺, but then came crashing down into one of the lowest points 11 months, 3 weeks and 3 days later.  (YES I REMEMBER THIS EXACTLY!)  That was when the company let me go!  Coincidentally (BULLSHIT ☺, no such thing as coincidence), it was 4 days from receiving my first equity share in the company!  

This low lasted about 2 weeks and that’s when a series of actions started to take place that turned out to be one of the most impactful times in my life!    

  1. I created a grateful log and began writing each day.  
  2. Started working with a Life / Business Coach
  3. Started meditating every morning! Had a 110 days streak….Love me some HEADSPACE!
  4. Began drinking “Modified” Bulletproof coffee each morning.   (Coffee and Brain Octane only)
  5. Began doing cardiovascular exercise!  (Yes, slow runs are beneficial)
  6. Minimum 30 minutes of Personal Development – Stumbled upon a KQED infomercial with Deepak Chopra.  I signed up, bought and read two of his books. Then completed his online course within the next month!
  7. I drove to Los Angeles to attend a conference and saw Bo Eason.  One of, if not the best speakers in the world.  I then spent $2k, which I didn’t have and signed up for his live 2 day “Personal Story Power” event!
  8. Checked off a bucket list of driving up the California Coast from LA to the Bay Area.  (Nothing better than the Big Sur Highway views!)

After I stuck with this routine for roughly 45 days and made the trip to LA, things started to occur differently to me.  I realized my happiness set point began to change for the better.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  I was standing next to a friend, LaShaun Dale, after Bo Eason just finished speaking.  She introduced me to Bo’s wife and she asked me, “What’s your story”?  Not catching on to the entire meaning of the question, I blanked.  LaShaun said, he’s about “EXCELLENCE” and cannot deal with anyone that’s not striving for it!”.  I felt a happiness at that moment that pierced through my body.  At that moment, I realized that I lacked self-love.  I had been so hard on myself my entire life, constantly beating myself up for the mistakes (Jamie Judgement) I made.  

Driving up the coast I kept thinking about two things.  Excellence and Potential!  These were themes that kept popping up in my life.  

Excellence – The quality of being outstanding or extremely good.  An outstanding feature or quality

Potential – Latent qualities or abilities that MAY BE developed and lead to future success!

It was after the drive up the coast when I realized that my happiness set point improved.  It was after one of the lowest times in my life, which helped spark the events that led me to wear I am today!  Happier and more grateful than ever!

People believe that the happiness set point is determined primarily by heredity and personality traits developed early in life then remain constant throughout it, but new research states that everyone can indeed reset their set point.  

Resetting your happiness set point is where your path to personal excellence begins.  You must become aware of how your mind is currently wired!   The thoughts running both consciously and unconsciously are dictating your current level of happiness and becoming aware of these thoughts is the vital behavior to improving it.   

As I discussed in the blog Understanding & Overcoming the Negativity Bias  the best way to start is to take on some form of mindfulness practice.  It took me 30 years to finally commit to this and once I stuck with it for roughly 20 days straight, I started to see and feel a huge difference.   To take your happiness set point to the next level, add in a morning routine.  This should take 45 to 60 minutes a day.  

Here is what I recommend:

  1. Wake up and take a cold shower, or if you have the resources, I prefer a 10 to 15 second cold water immersion (Water at 57 degrees).  I know this sounds awful and “Ralph Resistance” will be screaming loud nasty things in your head to keep you from participating, but know that there are numerous health benefits (I will detail in another blog) along with coming out feeling awake, alive and ready for your day.   
  2. Modified Bulletproof Coffee – Make two cups of your favorite, organic coffee and add 1 scoop of collagen protein and Brain Octane .  This takes most people’s attention and focus to a level they never felt!
  3. Mindfulness practice – I prefer using headspace, but how ever you want to practice is fine, just try spend at least 10 minutes (preferably 20) on this.
  4. Movement/Exercise – Start with 20 to 30 minutes of movement that increases your heart rate above 70% of your heart rate max.  Activities like Running, Hiking, Cycling are great ways to start and require minimal to no equipment to do.  As this begins to become a regular part of the routine, you should consider changing intensities and adding in some strength training.  
  5. Personal Development – If you can, adding in 15 to 20 minutes reading or taking an online course that interests you will keep you moving forward.  
  6. Go over your schedule and prioritize your day.

I know this may seem like a lot, but don’t let Ralph Resistance take over you mind.  Start small, by doing the first 4 steps for at least 30 days and incorporate the others as you begin to form the habits.   Remember, go easy on yourself if you miss a day, its not the end of the world and your not a failure if you do.  No one is perfect, just learn from it and make sure it doesn’t snowball into several days.  

I would love to join you in your journey, so post your experiences on our Facebook page, or send me a personal message.

Be your best and go easy on yourself!

Jason

 

 

Negativity Bias

Understanding & Overcoming the Negativity Bias

All of us have multiple personalities.  They are the thoughts in our heads sometimes conscious, sometimes unconscious that continually remind you of the negative experiences and keep us from doing the things that will have the best impact on our lives.  There are four personalities that typically dominate.  The “Mama” is called Negative Nancy, she is the all-powerful negativity bias that was a life saver back in the prehistoric age, but now wreaks havoc on most of us.   Negative Nancy powers the thoughts “I’m a failure” or “I can’t do it” and fuels anxiety and self-inflicted suffering.   Langshur and Kemp in their amazing book “Start Here” put it best “We are running modern software on prehistoric hardware.”

All these thoughts are nothing more than the The Characters of the Mind trying to keep us safe and alive.   Nancy works alongside “Papa” Ralph Resistance.  He is the king of “Self- Sabotage” and keeping us from reaching our potential.   Resistance will tell you anything to keep you from doing the work needed to achieve your goals, especially if that work involves consistent daily actions.

“Papa” Ralph dominates our minds whenever we think about engaging in behaviors that are directed to achieving a higher purpose and/or requires delayed gratification.  Learning the skills of any sport, a musical instrument, entrepreneurial venture or calling to write; Basically, anything worth striving for requires identifying and overcoming resistance.  He has no strength of his own.  It mostly comes from within our minds, when we’re asked to do something outside of our comfort zone.

The biggest difference between those that achieve their potential and those that don’t lie in their relationship these characters.   Nancy Negativity and Ralph Resistance draw their power from their kids Jamie Judgement & Andy Attachment.  For example, Jamie Judgements driving force is Failure.  Once you have experienced it, you label yourself as such.  Then, it gets locked into your mind and Nancy and Ralph use it against you to keep you from attempting it again.

Those that achieve excellence have a different relationship with failure. To most it’s “Judging” a given performance.  Those that live a life of happiness and achieve their potential know they will not be perfect and do not judge themselves.   They expect to fail and see the event as a learning experience that propels them forward.

If this sounds like something you struggle with, I suggest the following.

  1. Accept that everyone has a Negativity Bias!
  2. Accept that training the mind is a skill that can be learned.
  3. Commit to spending 5-10 minutes each day meditating. This will bring awareness to your conscious and unconscious thoughts.
    1. If you never meditated, or have a hard time with it, I highly recommend using the Headspace App. (The first 10 days are free)
  4. This practice will help you identify and label the thoughts as you become aware of them.
  5. I suggest working to label the family of four as they come into your mind
    1. “Mama Nancy Negativity”
    2. “Papa Ralph Resistance”
    3. “Jamie Judgement”
    4. “Andy Attachment”

Once you start this process, be easy on yourself.  It will seem like nothing is happening at first, but have faith.  This practice has been effectively used for hundreds of years.  One thing that I have found great success with is using these four labels, I hope you do to!

Be easy on yourself and begin your Path to Personal Excellence today!

Jason