Category Archives: Creating Joy

Feeling Happy

Created March 19, 2021

The Pursuit of Happiness. It’s one of our inalienable rights.

But do we exercise it enough?

What percent of our thoughts does happiness get?

Before Covid, probably our own happiness did not get much of our attention at all on the average day.

Since Covid, I hear from my friends that the constant video calls are keeping them busier than ever, and I’m certainly experiencing that myself. That might mean that we are giving even less thought to happiness, our own and that of others.

Those of us on the front lines, still moving around outside the home, may have even less time to self-contemplate. Although there are times in everyone’s day that can be stolen moments, when the priorities are remembered.

The trick is not just to remember to think creatively about how to make oneself and others happy. It’s also, even more importantly, to simply remember to be happy.

Not that we all can turn that off and on like a switch. Most of us have little talent for switching over to being happy. But with practice, like with everything, it actually is something that all of us can learn to do.

The way it works with me is:

  1. First, I create a minute or two of alone space. No one can interrupt or distract me. That may require slipping away and locking oneself in a bathroom.
  2. Long slow breaths help establish a certain calmness.
  3. I’m prepared to take notes with pad and pen in pocket. Just in case I get a flow of inspiration.
  4. Am I happy? If not, why not, what activity can I undertake when I rejoin the world that I’d rather be doing, and can I put off what else I’ve been doing, and if so, to when? I’ve written here before about the importance of working on what you feel like working on at the moment – it’s conducive to Flow state, on top of making yourself happy.
  5. I put on a smile to help others and leave my hideout.

You might find other ways to switch yourself to the happy channel. If there are seriously painful things going on, that’s a whole different situation. Still requiring creativity, alone space to focus. The only constructive question is always What can I do about it? You can’t control the outcome of certain painful situations but you can identify where you can exert creative effort to make a positive difference. Sometimes the only thing you can control is the impression you make on others, showing how a mensch can stand up to anything, supporting others, still able to have an apropos type of smile on your face, calm and working toward the good every moment.

All of us can be refreshed and reinvigorated by a daily dose of a few minutes’ contemplation on our happiness. Or the whole day, it’s the one thing worth double-tasking. While you go about your day, remember that you are responsible to yourself to enjoy every moment of the gift of life.

Bring able to keep that criterion within every moment is one of the most important priorities of life.

It might seem selfish but on a practical basis it is not. Your being happy will actually make people around you happier than they would be if you are unhappy instead.

All my best,

Bill

Improving Personal Timing Is the Lowest Hanging Fruit

Created February 11, 2021

Sometime between 600 BC and 400 BC, Lao Tzu advised “In action, watch the timing”.

Sometime between age 4 and age 6, a showbiz celebrity advised me after seeing my act “Timing is everything”. During my teen years operating the spotlight for shows at Hotel Brickman I carefully observed how the greatest acts used timing. It was almost imperceptible. Later I read that science refers to micromomentary gestures as part of how we subliminally communicate with each other. Those little gestures are all wrapped up in timing too.

Jack Carter hit the mic twice with his ring before each punchline. Except when he went into Flow (he called it “being on”) which was most of the time he was on stage. I asked about the ring thing and he said it used to be his way of managing his timing and now it was just an old friend.

As a society, the left and right political classification scheme reflects different attitudes toward how quickly to move from good things we have already created, into new things that impassion their creators and could be even better things than the ones we have now. That is a timing issue.

Most of us wish the vaccines could move faster to our arms. Another kind of timing issue.

I’m actually referring to each of us as individuals and the way we use timing in our lives. Sometimes we move too fast – and then make mistakes and everything we were trying to speed up just got slowed down. Sometimes we move too slowly – such as after recognizing our own mistake – but every moment is different and there are only a small set of minimalist rules to help you regulate the speed you are attempting to go at, at the moment. These clues comprise Chapter 8 of MIND MAGIC – free during the pandemic.

The chapter starts with an exercise the reader performs in the moment while interacting with that page. The exercise brings on a different state of consciousness which most readers who write say they find intriguing and different from their normal introspective experiences.

“Act only when you decide

That the loss in value associated with delay

Is probably greater

Than the gain in value associated with thinking further

About the motives, possible consequences,

And alternatives to such action.

 

Start now.

Do not move any part of your body

From the position it is now in.

Regard any such movement

As an action to be evaluated prior to action.”

 

The chapter spends some time diagnosing why you may be rushing. Fear is usually involved but one is not conscious of the fear, but rather projects it as righteous duty and keeping agreements and not letting down the team or the CEO.

In all cases it pays to stop the clock and block out all distractions and focus on the stuff that’s got to get done, what the real priorities are, and reschedule a lot of it, then focus on the one lowest hanging most pressing fruit that will do the most good at the moment.

The chapter suggests that the voices and feelings which take us over and get us to rush out of subliminal fear, are actually AI remnants of the conditioning we received as we were growing up. “AI” is a metaphor of course, we are natural creatures, not artificial in that sense. But the robotical part of the mind which I associate with Ego as defined by Freud acts just like all those “helpful” popup suggestions on our screens and keeps us out of the Flow state.

You will only get into the Flow state if you can immerse yourself in one task at a time and do it for the enjoyment of doing it well. If you don’t get into the Flow state the work you will be giving your client or employer will not be at the genius level. Why do it then?

The same with what you give your loved ones and friends and people you meet. If you are going to be driven like a stampeding animal by remnant feelings and voices in your head, without becoming self-aware and the master of your self, the potential joy you could bring to those people will be sharply reduced.

If you happen to be in government, please stay there, we need you! Of all people you should know how to help yourself get into the zone.

I’m saying it’s possible for each of us to be geniuses. Artists. Philosophers, Renaissance People. We each have that potential within us and it isn’t miles away. It starts with a few simple rules and then you start to get your own inspirations.

It’s not only possible, it’s necessary. The human race is being severely challenged. It’s a special time. We must rise to the occasion, like WWII but more so. Back then you had to have a liberty garden and do the right thing to pitch in and win the war. Now you have to train yourself to be able to give your best 24/7.

Take the course. It’s free during the pandemic. If you don’t like it, you wasted 5 minutes. But I suspect you’ll spend more time with it and thank me.

We all need this. Let’s do it.

Best to all,

Bill

How Can We Hold the Feeling of Unity?

Created February 1st, 2021

I had cautioned that habits are going to be hard to break when I began to write about all of us getting a fresh start. We’ve all now seen a lot of backsliding to the partisan bickering here at home, and one evidently cannot lay aside cold war feelings overnight in making a new beginning with other nations we’ve chastised in the past.

We really do need the luxury of rethinking everything from a clean sheet of paper. Band-aids on the past ways of doing things are not going to save the human race from itself. Far better ways have always been available and the nature of them is no secret needing extensive research. “Live and Let Live” covers a lot of it.

My friend who is slightly to right of center and who sees me fairly accurately as slightly left of center, and I, quickly resolved our political differences by recognizing the validity of both viewpoints and helping each other to gather facts and create hypotheses about what might be tested going forward. But then after our shared optimism about unity after the Inauguration, the articles I find interesting now because of glimmers of promising new ideas, I hesitate to send to him because they often contain jabs at the past or even present actions of Republicans.

Sure, it’s easy to see why after four years of sucking it up, Democrats might naturally feel the need to vent now that they can. But it can undo all the good that was done by the noble unity intention set down by President Biden at the outset. We have to give unity a chance, which means laying off pot-shots. That goes both ways. Reopen our minds to kindness and respect. It’s possible we all have a lot of good to bring to the new unity party – meaning all of us. Let’s think of it as a meta-party. The United States of America.

George Washington was right to warn us not to allow political parties but they are part of us now and let’s simply try to improve the way we use them rather than try to disband them. We don’t have a lot of time to go off on long term high risk windmill tilting right now. Mutations in Covid could make our war against Covid a longer term affair than any of us are prepared to even think about right now. That plus the environment, international tensions, thermonuclear biological chemical and psychological warfare weapons “improvements”, racism and other ancient vendettas, world debt, robotics replacing jobs, are a nitroglycerine puzzle that needs kid gloves rather than mailed fists.

Our objective as human beings has to be to twist that Rubic’s Cube so that all those threat vectors fade away and what is left is an equilibrium in which everyone is having a good time, and feels okay about the rest of the people in the world. Where we can all be world travelers and bring out our own individuality via positive creative outlets that delight others as well as ourself.

The only radical thing we need right now is love thy neighbor and the Golden Rule. Otherwise, small dial setting changes would be far less risky than wild card moves from far left or far right fields.

One of the first things we need to establish is that Democrats do not want any more socialism than the way the government has been taking care of non-rich people during the economic contraction, except that job can be done better so all who need, receive, without making non-needy people into needy ones. Nobody really wants true communism any more, not even the communists. They have adopted capitalism bigtime and although we have not “converted them” to what we call “democracy” we have converted them to our real way of life which is capitalism. Now that they rival us in capitalist skills we’re not so sure we’re happy to have converted them. Be careful of what you wish for.

We do have the best democracy the world has ever seen. It’s got some loopholes that can be exploited by people who fundamentally misunderstand what democracy means, and we shall be making laws that close those and other loopholes in our Noble Experiment, the one nation whose very meaning is to risk everything to prove that utopia is achievable by human beings on Earth. That’s us. Naturally a nation that is an experiment, is a nation of change agents, and therefore is going to serve up some individuals who are lunatic fringe. We have to do a better job of helping those folks back on the path sooner in their divergence from reality.

Changing hats now to my persona as a marketing consultant. What would I advise the Republican party now if I ran its advertising agency? December Gallup data show 25% Republican, 31% Democrat, 44% Independent is the way Americans think of themselves lately – but the Republicans have been concerned about being the minority party for some time now. They calculate a bad future for the party unless they stand behind Trump no matter what – because of those 70 million voters who voted for him in November.

But that would be a defensive strategy. Defensive strategies have rarely worked in advertising. The Republican party stands to gain – and to give – the most by harking back to the achievements and ideals of past Republican presidents, and to uplift its party back to that level. To do its job to conserve the valid improvements of the past, to minimize waste, to minimize risk, to do the things a conservative party is expected to do – its objective function.

The Republican party should speak to its devoted followers of Trump and clarify for them what happened. The man made some good moves and some bad ones. “We Republicans all liked him because he seemed like an average Joe like us, not boring like so many other choices, and with balls to stand up for us. But he lied to us. He equated Democrats with Communists – an awful lie that infected millions of us and has nearly wrecked our country. He did not really stand up for us, he just made a convincing act of it. He incited us to dividing and thus weakening the nation and leaving ourselves prey to cyberspying and psychological warfare in the social media, which he himself got so caught up in he was an unintended puppet of other nations. This has to be taken as an important lesson not to get carried away like a cult into loyalty to one person, what we need is loyalty to the whole country, and to consider the rest of the world to be vital partners in conquering Covid and the rest of the problems we’ve created for ourselves by this incessant aggression toward one another.” Or words to that effect.

We’ve fallen into the trap of threatening the stick all the time with very little show of the carrot, in our dealings internally and internationally. We tell other nations what we want them to stop doing. It would be more likely to succeed if we painted attractive pictures of what we DO want them to do – which is to succeed like us, and play nice like we used to and must go back to immediately, or none of this will work. Then we can go back to traveling to see the world and be in it and enjoy the growing we experience by inputs from people very different from ourselves but on the inside identical.

This tilt toward rage was fanned by the partisan news channels and by Trump and his devoted followers. And it found fertile ground in an American minority happy to go brawling into the streets causing harm to others and undermining America at its roots and around the world. The Republican party should most definitely address this part of its base, explaining that such behavior will no longer be tolerated, there will be new laws continuing to allow free speech, but with swift justice against threatening or hurting other people or property based on ideologies fundamentally at conflict with America’s ideals for itself. New ethics laws that apply also to civil servants at all levels which prohibit seditious and/or hate speech. And which regulate social media such that free speech which is oriented to hate is removed as quickly as possible.

If there are some who would rather leave the country than stay in the USA when these laws are instituted, that is their right. The majority will determine where the lines are drawn to preserve free speech but end bullying, intimidation, and domestic terrorism. Most Americans wish to not have to live in fear. For a small minority who embrace fear and get off on it, if they choose to leave, most Americans will not mind them being further away.

The Republican party in the last Century and a half has never had to resort to such demeaning ways to gather its members as we saw in the past four years. It has always had its share of geniuses and visionaries able to see and embrace better ways for the future. That is what it should focus on. Making the country better and stronger, making life here safer and more pleasant than ever before.

That’s what we should all focus on, almost half of us are not even in a party. Let’s dial down the importance of which party we are in and dial up the importance of making all of our working and non-working lives more like a party.

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum

Bring gloom down to the minimum

Have faith or pandemonium

Liable to walk upon the scene

—Johnny Mercer,

Accentuate the Positive

 

We can do it.

One takeaway for recommended explicit action/non-action based on MIND MAGIC:

Don’t speak unnecessary negative thoughts. “Don’t Bring Them Down”.

Best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

The Quest for Peak Experiences

Created December 4th, 2020

Abraham Maslow described peak experiences as “sudden feelings of intense happiness and well-being, with an awareness of ultimate truth and the unity of all things.”

Have you had such experiences? Even if it doesn’t exactly fit Maslow’s definition, can you select one experience that might have been the best moment of your life so far? If you can, relive it now as best you can. It might help to close your eyes and take your time to let the memory fully form.

One of the reasons why Maslow thought so much about “self-actualization” as he called it, is because of the link he intuited between being a self-actualized person, and having larger numbers of peak experiences.

It wasn’t just his intuition, he himself was aware of how over the course of his life he graduated from being driven by the things that drive the mass of humanity – such as insecurity, the need to belong, money, lack of self-esteem, the desire to be held in high esteem by others – to a state in which those things were no longer important (because he had them all), and he was doing the work he loved and adding to the science of psychology each day. He had become self-actualized – understanding his own individuality and his gifts, and was expressing them every day, having the time of his life, replete with frequent peak experiences. His work in those years was an effortless mission to share these things with other people, so that they too could experience what he was experiencing, but in each case centered around the individual’s own personal potentials.

Owing to my parents having me perform on stage starting when I was four, I had peak experiences very early in life, and they caused me to become fascinated with my own consciousness and its various states. This became the through-line of my life. I wanted to learn how to bring these peak experiences about, and once I found some ways that worked, I kept a “scientific” journal of the methods that worked. Later I would write MIND MAGIC to share some of these methods life had taught me, quite a few of which I had identified before I was twelve, although my understanding of them continued to grow day by day. (The book is free during the pandemic at the preceding link.)

I thought of those peak experiences rather differently than Maslow. To me, what was remarkable about the experiences was not that feeling of well-being and unity, but the fact that my stage performances were doing themselves at a level of expertise which I had never experienced before. Later, studying both philosophy and psychology at the college where Abe had been head of the psychology department (Brooklyn College), although loving Maslow’s work, the connection between his and my models of experience did not strike me. By contrast, many years later, when I discovered the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, head of the psychology department at Chicago University, and his term “Flow state”, I had a peak experience and a thrill of recognition that my lifelong project wasn’t something that only happened to me.

Recently, a social science colleague of mine, Judy Langer, invited me to give a Zoom class on Maslow at The Center for Learning & Living in Manhattan. It gave me an opportunity to ruminate for the class on how my own self-taught methods and ideas related to both Abe’s and Mihaly’s work (I never had the privilege of meeting Abe, but did have that honor in Mihaly’s case, and he agreed to be an advisor to my nonprofit The Human Effectiveness Institute).

Here is the slide that I used:

This slide tells you how I view the work of Maslow, Mihaly and myself, and how we are all describing the same things, but organizing our data differently.

In my way of looking at things, introspection with concentration – you can also call it meditation – is what gets us into the Observer state and then into the Flow state. I believe Maslow grouped the Observer and Flow state experiences into what he called peak experiences.

To all three of us, normal waking consciousness is a state in which our behavior and our sense of experience is highly dominated by outside forces, we are trying to fit in, be accepted, get along, move up, and do not feel disposed to much self-examination. When we do notice our inner experience it is largely one of anxiety to one degree or another, unable to break away from what negative events could befall us.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs postulated that we would be obsessed by a given need until it was satisfied, at which point we became obsessed with a slightly “higher” need. We move up from being dominated by insecurity to being driven by a need to feel that we belong, and once having achieved that, it was self-esteem and the esteem of others that caused our behavior and our experience of life.

This series of posts will continue and the aim ultimately is to provide a condensed set of recommendations aimed at freeing you, the reader, from the conditioned motivators in your subconscious, so that you can enjoy more peak experiences, become self-actualized (if you are not already), and then self-transcendent, in a steady state of Flow and peak experience where what happens to everyone around you is more motivating than what happens to you, because you are already complete and feeling the unity.

I think of this series of posts which start here as “On the Road to Flow”. In the next post I will unpack the slide above.

My best to all,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

 

Seeing the Miracles in Life

Updated November 25, 2020

Be grateful for all the miracles in your life.

Isn’t it wonderful that we set aside a national holiday just for giving thanks?

And we have SO much to be thankful for. The Center Held. America came to its senses. The election is finally over. Half of us are unhappy with its outcome, but we are on the road to recovery now on every front and we shall overcome. It’s a Miracle! The miracle we call “the American system”, once again showing that it is forever working, we just had to give it time.

Prayer works.

Interparty and sub-party differences will go on probably forever but not with the same degree of lethality.  As we cooperate together more and more now, those old habits of respect and civility will return, like getting back on a bicycle after all those years. Aisles will be crossed. The good deeds of rivals will be graciously acknowledged with gallant chivalry as the standards were set by the inspired Founders and by the wise Abe Lincoln.

Sometimes the miracles in our lives are more obvious than at other times. While the world is always miraculous, sometimes we see the miracle and sometimes we don’t.

Babies, kittens, flowers, stars, the moon, the ocean, mountains, trees, falling in love together, family, friendships — these are among the more obvious miracles.

We’re often unaware of the improbability of certain events that occur in our lives. Not being statisticians, we don’t realize how long the odds are of these events happening and we just go along, taking it all for granted, feeling that if it is happening it can’t be miraculous, it must all be mundane.

By tuning out our appreciation for experiencing all that is life, we may be radiating very little gratitude for all of the miracles in our lives. The Universe may respond by turning the dial on the lesson machine so that it bumps us a bit more roughly to get our attention, since we seem to be missing the polite subtle hints.

How can we feel gratitude at times that are trying us to the breaking point? By comparing the situation to one even worse. What if we had never existed at all? The Universe has created us, we are alive — is this not justification for gratitude?

All mystery schools and religions teach acquiescence, trust and gratitude as three sides to the same coin — the acceptance of what is. In Islam, it is called the Will of Allah. In Taoism it is called getting into the rhythm of the Tao, linking into the underlying force of the universe. The word religion itself comes from the Latin religare, meaning to link up. The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit, meaning to yoke up, like yoking an ox to a cart.

Let’s all practice replacing negative emotion with positive emotion — which means remembering what we have to be grateful for and what we have to look forward to and be excited about. There may be challenging (even heartbreaking) trials ahead but we need to welcome them as opportunities to show what we’re really made of and how we can rise to the challenges individually and together.

If you don’t already do this every day, take some time to count your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you much personal experiencing of the miracle you
are 
in, and much personal experiencing of the miracle you are.


Grateful written by John Bucchino, performed
by Ann Hampton Callaway and John Bucchino.


Gratefully,

Bill

Follow my regular media blog, In Terms of ROI at Media Village. Here is the link to my latest post.

Originally posted 2015-11-24 12:16:52. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

To the People of the World

Created November 13, 2020

I am an American. I also consider myself a citizen of Earth, and a member of the Human Race club.

From my point of view, we have been spending too much time competing for political power to get done any of the immense things that we HAVE TO get done.

And then when somebody wins power, the other major party blocks getting anything done.

And the voters then seem to forget who actually tried to get something done, and who spent all their time blocking it.

This might not be worth discussing if everything was going to take care of itself because we are already in utopia.

However, there are not one but six tidal wave problems coming at us from all directions which all of us have to solve together, one way or another, with or without cooperating with each other, or we won’t be around anymore. They are also getting worse the longer we fool around. And we make each one of them worse by refusing to cooperate with each other.

  1. Pandemic
  2. American Schism
  3. World Debt
  4. Environment (and future pandemics if deforestation continues)
  5. International Envy
  6. Half of us might not find work (robotics)

We’ve seen from the pandemic that it doesn’t work as well when each State comes up with its own way of doing things. The bigger the problem, the more important wide scale cooperation is.

I recommend that the next time you read about any politician making a statement about anything other than one of these six problems, you ignore it, and let them know where you want them to refocus their attention.

Please let me know if my list is too short.

For manageability I grouped related challenges together, for example racial/ethnic/gender/all-inclusive equality is really at the core of problem #2.

“International Envy” groups together the threats from other nations, terrorist organizations, and all of the vendettas lingering from the distant and/or recent past.

It is easy to predict that we will be more efficient and faster about turning the tide on these threats the more we can work together.

I recommend the next time you read about any politician making a negative statement about anybody, you ignore it, and let them know where you want them to put their energies instead of this endless backbiting.

I recommend that you stop sending and mentioning in social media or in any venue “the backbiting channel” which has become the top-rated audience draw of all time. The computers will notice that and stop depending on it for the maximum audience draw that it has recently become.

I predict you will also, then, sleep better.

There are ways we can use our wonderful media to share constructive innovative ideas with one another. What we really need is for officials to start to practice the modes of creativity and to use each other’s ideas without caring about who gets the credit so much. I depict such media being used in a crisis similar to ours in a science fiction novel PANDEMONIUM: Live To All Devices (hope you will read the free sample available through the link).

Some time ago, two U.S. presidents and two dozen other well-known top US officials responded supportively to my idea that INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION can channel people into the specializations that perfectly match their inner purpose and skills, with corporations and work study programs meshing with the process from the earliest grades. Recently a friend in Germany told me that those ideas had taken hold over there.

Adults also need individualized education now if they are out of regular school but also out of regular work – or want to be in a different field.

We seem to have a ready workforce of life coaches who could be organized to help those out of school for whom life is not working out as joyfully as it could be if they were doing work that they loved. They would then be more likely to get into Flow state, where they could make more money, but even without the money would at least be doing what they were born to be good at.

Once totally successful, welfare and other transfer payments would dwindle to virtually nothingness. Individualized Education is the kind of work we ought to be doing in the 21st Century.

That’s only one innovative approach worth exploring and work on from both sides of the aisle together. There will be a panoply of exciting new ideas unleashed from the combination of crowdsourcing and a nonpartisan lens.

Let’s make political parties invisible for a while, can we?

When Japan was in the process of taking over China, with one city falling after the next, even more than US aid the ability of the Chinese Civil War combatants to temporarily unite was what pushed Japan off the mainland.

Can you imagine what will happen if we don’t stop it now and return to the normal we were used to for 200 years? We could be fighting WWIII in the streets and on the hills of America, first with each other, and then when other countries come over to help one side, it will be like the early days of America when Brits, French, Germans, and others were here fighting, except it’s more likely to be other superpowers and rogue nations. That’s the current direction we are pushing ourselves in by dividing the house so that it cannot stand.

Proof or not, the unbelievable intensity and extremity of it makes it hard to believe that a lot of it is not being caused by foreign powers.

Each of us can’t expect other people to take this advice while each of us keep dishing the dirt. We have to change ourselves first. Friends will read our silences or hear our remarks and understand that we have dropped out of the cycle of hate. The more of us do that, the more of them will do it, until there is no more them.

There never was a Them, it’s always been just US.

May The Center Hold,

God Bless America and each of you,

Bill

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