How to be happy Print E-mail
News - Final Word
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 06:55
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“What is the thing which above all others you would like to know? If you could ask the Sphinx one question, and only one, what would the question be?”

It is said that a friend asked this to English poet and essayist Frederick William Henry Myers, who lived in the 1800’s. After a moment’s silence Myers replied: “I think it would be this: Is the universe friendly?”

This answer was written down in 1912 by author, Emil Carl Wilm, and apparently it is the origin of the quote attributed to Albert Einstein: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

Marci Shimoff says that if you believe you live in a benevolent universe, then you’ll operate from the basis that everything is happening for you and not to you. This won’t be the case if you believe that you live in a malevolent universe.

She says that this distinction has the biggest influence on your happiness quotient. And Marci should know, because she wasn’t born happy. Even at the pinnacle of her career she was deeply unhappy.

Marci’s books have sold more than 16 million copies worldwide in 33 languages, have topped all of the major bestseller lists, and have been on the ‘New York Times’ bestseller list for 121 weeks, making Marci one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time.

She was “living the dream” and had all the success she ever wanted, but felt completely empty. On a mission to discover what it takes to find happiness, Marci found that changing a few simple habits will also change your happiness set point.

So, what on earth is a happiness set point? Marci uses a model of a house to help people judge their happiness in seven different aspects, called happiness quotients. The first aspect is the house’s foundation. This is about taking responsibility, about not being in victim mode, which is a mindset that can never make you happy.

The next four aspects Marci calls your house’s four corner pillars: Mind – where you look at your thoughts. Body – where you look at your biochemistry. Heart – where you look at how open you are to feelings of gratitude and kindness. Soul – how connected you feel to something bigger than yourself.

Then your house has a roof, which stands for your purpose, for living an inspired life. Lastly, your house has a garden – here you ask yourself who the people are that you surround yourself with.

You start your work in the aspect where you experience most problems. Say your problem is with heart as one of the house’s corner pillars. The heart aspect has to do with gratitude, but if you find it mind-numbingly boring to make a daily list of things you feel thankful for, you can try Marci’s happiness awards instead.

For example, as you look at flowers, notice the one that could get the ‘Most unusual colour’ award or select one that’s had the hardest struggle to survive and give it the ‘Best blossom of the day’ award.

In the same way you can look for efficient service or extraordinary smiles. There’s no limit to the number of awards you can give in a day and it will help you to focus on what-is-right instead of what-is-wrong.

In the same way, Marci has exercises for the other six aspects of your house so that you can look for the lesson and the gift in everything, good or bad, that happens to you. She says that you should always ask, “How is this for my highest good?”

Now this might be a very difficult question to answer when dealing with loss, experiences we regret and those that simply don’t make any sense. Actually they are just as responsible for the good things in our lives as the experiences we do understand or label as ‘good’.

All the situations in our lives work together to teach us exactly what we need to be learning at any given time. But, girlfriend, you can only see this if you believe that you live in a friendly universe.

It’s sort of like John Milton said: “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of Hell, a hell of Heaven.”

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