E008. Full transcription - Sensibly Happy Podcast

Hello, everybody! I’m glad to welcome regular listeners as well as our new guests. And I hope this episode will bring you more of awareness of how you can increase your happiness, your daily happiness.

The first episode of my podcast slightly touched the idea that we have a lot of different opportunities to be happy, to enjoy our life, but we don’t notify those. Today we will speak more about the ways of seeing those joyful moments during your day. But before I start I want to remind you about one simple but powerful tool that you can use during listening. It’s called ‘pause’. Pause on your player. Every time when you hear a question or you feel the opportunity to analyze, you can pause this audio and think for a while. In that way, the results from the listening of the podcast will increase significantly.

What have you dreamt about?

Question for you. Have you dreamt in the past of having a new phone? Or, in general, of having a phone? Or about a car? Have you dreamt about relations with someone? How cool that would be – to touch someone and to get touches in return, to speak about personal and being understood, to live through the spectrum of bright emotions while setting up relationships. What dreams did you have? In childhood, as a teenager, and growing older and having independence from the parents. I’m sure there was a lot of different dreams. What were they about?

My dreams from the past

I can share with you some of my dreams from the past. When I was a kid, my family had a bad financial situation. And we didn’t see sweets too often. Also, according to doctors, I had a risk of diabetes and their conclusion was that I shouldn’t eat more than one candy a week. As a little boy, I wasn’t afraid of having some diseases, but I really wanted to have some sweets, which was unreal at that moment. So I was dreaming to have a lot of drawers inside of my bed with different sort of candies in each of it. And staying alone in my room I would be able to choose different types and eat those candies one by one.

Then, being a teenager and having troubles with my classmates I was dreaming to become strong and successful. And of course, my thoughts were about girls. But my attempts to make a relationship were so miserable that I didn’t have any chance.

What do I have now? What do YOU have now?

But you know what? Right now I have most of the things I dreamt about. I feel right now as a strong, self-confident and successful person. There is a huge difference between myself present, and the past. I have the ability to buy different sweets, regular ones, and unique, I have the relationships I needed, a phone with the Internet, a car, own home. I have almost everything I wanted and dreamt about.

So as you! Do you realize how many things you have already in your life? You can be allowed yourself to do different things that were forbidden or unreal in the past. Look around you! Are you driving your car, or jogging, or just sitting in a cozy home trying to find the ways to be happier?  Do you realize that you already have a lot of different things that would make you happy being ten years younger?

Do we appreciate what we have?

Do we appreciate those things? In most cases, the answer will be “no”. Because at the moment when we already have something, we are thinking about new achievements. And of course we are swallowed by daily routines, most of each are made to fight with troubles or to make for a living. Are you sure you will appreciate those new purchases or updates in your status? Or will you enjoy enough at the moment when troubles will disappear?

Think of that. You spend one, five, ten years to achieve something. Don’t you think that after obtaining that, you will start thinking about a new goal? And you will, I can assure you. You will forget about what you’ve just accomplished and you will set new goals. You can find the evidence of my words in your past. Remind yourself of those moments when you achieved something. For how long have you been feeling that euphoria before new goals and challenges came to play?

In most cases, you cannot enjoy at all. Because of your friends, family or coworkers, who will force you to set new goals, and to start thinking about those right away. I would call that phenomenon as depreciation of values.

There is one amazing french movie about a marketing world called “99 Francs”. And in the first minutes of a movie the protagonist tells how his marketer work looks like. And he says something like: “When you finally collected enough money and bought the car you dreamt of, I convert it into junk by creating an add about a new one.”

We don’t live the moment

The main reason for such our behavior or way of thinking is because most of our time we don’t live the current moment. Of course, at this moment we are at some place, doing something and at the same time, our thoughts are far away from the current situation. Because most of our activities are being performed automatically. Is it eating, reaching the office, or any other routine.

You probably know that there are three states where we can live in: past, present, and future. If you think about some events from the past – you are in the past. If you are predicting what could go wrong or how you can implement something – it is the future. And the present is when you feel the moment, realize what you are doing, what you are surrounded with, what are sounds and flavors and what are your current emotions. By not living the moment you are skipping the reality.

Here’s a good example of what I’m talking about. The example is – selfies on your vacation. This is the process when you create an alternative reality for your friends or relatives. You are choosing the best visual place, thinking about the pose and making a shot. But the thing is that at the moment you are thinking about how your friends will look at that photo and what they will see. So you are thinking about the future.

I’m not saying that selfies are bad. It could be used in a lot of different ways. But if the person instead of feeling the moment thinks about how to create photos, then all the memories of that place will be recorded on that photo. And if you ask that person what were the feelings at that moment in most cases there will be no answer or it wouldn’t be the honest answer.

When it is useful to think about the past or future?

Now let’s think a bit in what cases thinking about the past or the future is really useful.

About the past. This is always some events and emotions from them while thinking about the past you can analyze what went wrong and why you had those emotions. How you could behave differently next time. And while thinking about that you can explore and understand yourself better or make some behavioral changes for the future. But at the same time, you can be focused more on your emotions and rethink again and again about the same bad situation just realizing that you are angry or upset. And someone or even you are guilty about that. As you probably understand, this is not the best way of thinking about the past.

And what about the future? You can plan or calculate something, you can select the best strategy or tactic to reach your goal. You can also dream about something and that would be the additional motivation in reaching some goals. But what could be possible negatives about thinking of the future? The worst case if you think “I already have that experience and it never ends happily” or “I don’t like to do these things”, or “I understand that I should do it, but I don’t want to” and so on. It is really bad to focus on a problem itself. Much better is to be focused on the solution. We are not guilty of choosing that inefficient way of thinking about our past and future. We are programmed by society to do that. To be afraid of what other people think about us. To be depressed of our past failures. Because we are told that someone is looking at us every time and that our activities always have consequences. That we should care about our reputation and be as successful as someone else and act like that someone.

Make a valuable conclusion

Returning back to a topic, we know that most of our time we are thinking about something. How can we measure our brains productivity? I think that if you don’t have any valuable conclusion or a plan after you thinking, or your mood didn’t become better, calmer or more motivated or you didn’t free yourself – most likely you wasted your brains energy.

To be honest, for now, I think that I’m wasting probably 50-60% of my brain energy. But I’m on my way to be more efficient. To be happier it is very good to make a conscious decision.

Are you analyzing a past – events, emotions to make some decisions or to understand something new about yourself? Are you thinking about the future to create some plans or to dream a little bit? Or you are living here and now and realize who you are and what you are doing and feeling at the moment.

What is it - to live the moment?

Okay, so what does it mean to live the moment? I don’t have any definition for that, but I will bring you several examples from my life.

Today in the morning we with my wife were in the kitchen doing something. I was preparing breakfast and thinking about this episode, while my wife cut the orange peel to make orange zest as the ingredient for some sweets. I asked her “Do you think you can be happy at this moment? And if so, how you can explain the motives?”. And her answer was: “I’m glad that you are doing breakfast for me right now, and also I’m glad that our two-years-old boy still sleeping and we can enjoy the quiet moment, and also there is very beautiful morning sunlight outside and while I’m cutting the orange peel, I’m enjoying the process of creating ideal pieces of it.” That was her answer that contained a lot of different things. It was statical, visual and audial elements of a single moment which she enjoyed.

The second example is about breakfast itself. We’ve found the ideal formula of breakfast for ourselves and in most cases, we are using the same receipt and it’s really tasty. I’m sure you have your own picture of a tasty breakfast. So, imagine the situation. I’m doing my best to prepare the breakfast, using ideal ingredients, that I’ve bought specifically for it, serving that breakfast for me and my wife, we give ourselves a time to enjoy our meal and then I have two options. One option is to enjoy how it tastes, what is the texture and flavors, to chew every single bite and get most of it. Because everything is set. The breakfast is ideal, I have time for it, and moreover, eating slowly is healthier. Or I can switch myself to automatic mode to chew with no sense and at the same time to think about different things from the past or near future. That means that I’m wasting my efforts to make that breakfast ideal without realizing how tasty it is.

The third example is about the workout. It’s often a pain to do those exercises. Some of those are easy to do, and some of those we don’t like a lot. There are several exercises during my workout, which I don’t like and while doing other exercises I could already imagine how painful that would be. But instead, I can switch myself to ‘here-and-now’ mode. While doing any exercise I can watch myself in a mirror to see how my muscles are shrinking and to feel that I’m getting stronger at this exact moment. Then I can focus on my breath and understand how amazing my body is that is able to fulfill itself with oxygen. And also after each exercise having thirty seconds rest, I can have a real pleasure of realizing how cool it is to have that rest after a tough exercise.

And the last example is about being curious and enjoying the new things. And the best it works for children. Yesterday I was painting one of the walls in my house and I was using a ladder for that. My two-year-old son saw that red ladder and of course, he wanted to try the same as a father does. And after climbing up he was really excited and speechless. Just strange sounds from his mouth and the big eyes. I will add the photo of him excited staying on that ladder into episode show notes. You also do something new from time to time. But are you as excited as children are? Do you really live and enjoy that moment when you trying something new?

How that examples related to the topic?

How those four examples related to the idea that we don’t enjoy enough the things that we already achieved or obtained? And the relation is clear: if you’ve just achieved something or solved some problem or got something new, you have several options – the first option is to switch your focus on a new goal or a new problem and the second option is to be focused on that something that you’ve just achieved to realize that moment and feelings. And you can do it more than one time. For instance, when you have a new car for the first three days you’ll definitely enjoy that car, and after that, your mind will switch to the routines. But you can change your behavior a little bit. Every time you use the car, first of all, you can look at it and enjoy how it looks, especially after a carwash. Also, when you are starting an engine you can enjoy that miracle when electricity interacts with fuel and that makes wheels spinning. Moreover, how obedient that metallic monster is! You are pressing some buttons, spinning a steering wheel and this creature does everything you want! Isn’t it amazing to hear how amazing the engine is roaring? And you are a possessor of that power.

Explore yourself by living a moment

Living the current moment gives us a big benefit. When we feel the current moment and what makes us happy or sad – we get to know better of who we are. Because in such moments, you can realize that you can enjoy this exact situation and why it happens, because of what factors. That means that you are sensitive to such factors, and this is the part of yourself.

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