Episode 001. Full transcription - Sensibly Happy Podcast

Hello everybody! Welcome to my Podcast about Happiness; about practical aspects: what can we do in our life, with our reality to be happier.

A little bit of my biography

But first of all, I would like to tell you about my story, how I came to the idea of this podcast. Actually, I don’t think that my story is different from most of your stories. I grew up as this normal kid with two parents, working hard to make for a living, and I had a normal kindergarten and normal school in our district.

Start schooling

Of course, the first steps of exploring my life were through my parents. I heard from them what they expect from me to do and what not to do, and I’ve tried to do this. Otherwise, of course, I was punished. Then in school or in the kindergarten, I received more ideas what should I do or what are limitations for me. Yeah, you know, it is like ‘you should sit quietly, you should listen to what they say to you and then repeat all those different things’. Of course, I didn’t like that too much, but anyway I was obliged to do this. And you understand me I think.
Those were different things, like: ‘you should eat everything and only then you can go play’ or ‘you should finish your homework a then – something’. And of course the first years of my schooling there wasn’t a question: ‘why should I do this?’. Because my parents told me – and that’s it.
Then I started receiving information that I should study well to have a proper University and a future and after that to have a proper job. And of course during that studying I received questions like: ‘What do you like the most? What discipline do you like?’, ‘Oh, yeah! He’s good in Maths!” or ‘He’s behaving like an artist, he doesn’t like to sit all the time with his homework’ – and similar characteristic. So, those were, actually, messages which helped me to build my ego and understand who I am, what should I do and where should I go in future. And it was clear enough for me because my friends and my schoolmates – they have the same approach, which was applied to them. So, everything looks the same and everything looks normal, it was normal for me.
Of course, the first steps of exploring my life were through my parents. I heard from them what they expect from me to do and what not to do, and I’ve tried to do this. Otherwise, of course, I was punished. Then in school or in the kindergarten, I received more ideas what should I do or what are limitations for me. Yeah, you know, it is like ‘you should sit quietly, you should listen to what they say to you and then repeat all those different things’. Of course, I didn’t like that too much, but anyway I was obliged to do this. And you understand me I think.
Those were different things, like: ‘you should eat everything and only then you can go play’ or ‘you should finish your homework a then – something’. And of course the first years of my schooling there wasn’t a question: ‘why should I do this?’. Because my parents told me – and that’s it.
Then I started receiving information that I should study well to have a proper University and a future and after that to have a proper job. And of course during that studying I received questions like: ‘What do you like the most? What discipline do you like?’, ‘Oh, yeah! He’s good in Maths!” or ‘He’s behaving like an artist, he doesn’t like to sit all the time with his homework’ – and similar characteristic. So, those were, actually, messages which helped me to build my ego and understand who I am, what should I do and where should I go in future. And it was clear enough for me because my friends and my schoolmates – they have the same approach, which was applied to them. So, everything looks the same and everything looks normal, it was normal for me.

University

After finishing my school, during the last years of my schooling I started thinking: what should I do in the future, where should I go, to which university? And for that moment I knew already that I want to work with computers. It wasn’t a tough decision for me because I really was obsessed with it, or, at least, how I thought about that.

I spent a lot of time reading different books about IT, I tried to find the ways to interact with the computer because we didn’t have such. So, if some of my friends had a computer I was doing everything to have a chance to work on that computer, to play on it, to try different other things. Yeah, it was really interesting for me.

So, when the question came up – where should I go, to which university, – it was clear to me: I should choose the best university in my area that teaches computers. And of course I’ve made a decision and I became a student in one of our universities.
Everything was fine except the one thing – maths in my faculty was much more than programming itself. It was really strange for me because my decision was to work with computers, not with maths. Some disciplines were more or less ok but other – I didn’t realize why should we study those. Moreover, some of our teachers didn’t explain to us what do we need it for. Then I started to ask my classmates, and my question was like that: ‘why do you think we should study this thing? Because, to be honest, I don’t understand that’. And in most of the cases, their answer was like that: ‘You know what, we study those because our teachers know better than we what we should know, because our University is well known in the world, so everyone who receives our diploma should cover different areas of knowledge’.
Doesn’t it sound strange to you? We should study those things not because we will use them in the future, but because University cares about its reputation. Like, the person who graduated from this university is highly educated. Of course, we cannot say that our teachers were thinking the same way, but at least students didn’t realize at the moment why should we study those things. And it was really strange for me – how such amount of people around me don’t have a proper reason why should they spend their time on different disciplines. And it was actually one of my first big discoveries – that people often spend their time, their efforts on things without understanding the reason.

Algorithms to interact with others

There were also other new things I didn’t expect to face but I remember another important thing for me from the university is that I realized that I don’t know the proper algorithms how to interact with others. I started notifying that other people knew some algorithms, behavioral patterns how to interact with others, how to react to other people and so on. And at that moment I realize that I didn’t have that proper basement.
When I started asking my friends about that, it looked that they didn’t realize as well that they had that patterns, they just used them. So that means that they received those patterns from their childhood or another period of their lives without realizing that. So it was the normal situation for me when I was starting speaking with some new person and reacting on the worth of that person in the way that made them feel awkward. And of course, after that, I blamed myself of being so stupid. And I had that issue through the years, so, I accepted that as a part of my personality, as my characteristic. I knew about myself I’m not the best person to speak with about different personal issues, about troubles or pleasant moments. So, I knew my good sides and this was one of my bad things.
The only trouble with that was that I really wanted to get acquainted with girls and it didn’t work well for me. So, I decided then that I will find the only one girl and will stay with her to the end of my life without trying different options, without meeting new girls. But it didn’t out well so I fell in love with one beautiful girl and started dealing with her relationships and then I understood that we actually didn’t feet each other. At least at that moment, I thought so. Then I decided to break up with her and to, be honest, that was some kind of the end of my imagined world. Because my vision of life didn’t work for me and here’s the strange thing – I’ve already had twenty-something years, I’ve spent part of my life interacting with other people, talking with adults but it didn’t have a proper vision of life which helped me to make those decisions, to build more practical vision.
Of course, I didn’t blame my parents. They were taught, I believe, in a similar way. I also don’t blame my teachers because their main goal was to give us knowledge about their disciplines. And here is the main problem: what should average kid or teenager do to grow quickly and properly and have a better understanding of life?

Working experience

After finishing University I started working on different jobs. Some of my bosses were pragmatic, money-oriented business people; other bosses were artists, ready to speak about different philosophical topics. So, after university this was the next level of my, let’s say, Life Education where, again, I understood that I didn’t have a proper understanding of life.
How should I sell myself, how should I negotiate with my bosses or with other people about the things which I care about? And again, when I asked those questions, my coworkers, my friends, I didn’t have structured answers on that. So, actually, answers were kind of guesses: ‘You know what, you should probably do like this or like that’ or ‘I did like that and it works for me well’.

Something needs to be changed

That was the moment when I understood – I should change something in my life, I should get somewhere information about how can I change myself to get some tools which will help me in my life.

At the same time, I understood that school, university, my parents gave me some understanding of the perspective of my life, but they didn’t give me proper tools and proper understanding of life. And I was upset because of lots of questions and no answers on those.

And what was more important that I didn’t understand what should I do in my life, what was my purpose of life, and I had no tools how to find out who I am and what should I do in my life.

So I started collecting different books. I started reading, searching for a different idea, started speaking with different people about the things I read in books. And here’s an interesting thing: most of the people didn’t know about that information. I was so glad that they found some sources of information.

First of all, I started reading business books because, of course, I was aimed to have more money. I read book after book, of different authors. And I was so thankful for them that they created such great books! Then, after next book I read, I started to realize that most of those books gave some great ideas, but also gave questionable ideas, so those were not like bibles, but actually, like thoughts and experience of the person and some conclusions.
At that moment I understood that some information would be useful for me and the other information I should just take into consideration but not use it as an axiom.
To be honest, it was some kind of relief for me because I realized that no one has a clear picture of life and at the same time I can create my own picture with different parts of other sources. After that, I started criticizing different books not to prove that author is wrong, but to get every single idea in the book and to decide does it have enough evidence that I should treat it as a right idea or, let’s say a proven idea.

Building theories

And while doing this I started to create my own systems. Of course, at that moment they were not systems, but at least they were different pieces merged together into some kind of theory. Through the years my working experience, I’ve collected different concepts which helped me in my life, in my career. I was more confident in some interviews and was able to sell myself. I was more confident to speak with new people and get what they want and I also decided that it’s not a good idea to speak with other people from perspective or theories, that much better idea is to try to understand them, to empathize. It’s much better to understand the other person, what emotions that person has right now and what it tries to bring to you and what reaction the person awaits from you – it’s much more important than having different theories and categorize persons according to those theories.
Probably two years ago I realized one interesting thing: we have internet right now, we have access to any sort of information about different scientific research, we have different motivators. But it looked for me that it doesn’t help a lot. Why I’m saying that? Because I believe that we have two main categories. One category is a scientific thing. Those are different researches, which covered into books. And when you read this book – you will read 30-50 pages and still will not find a proper answer to your questions. Like: ‘How should I deal in this situation with another person?’. The other category motivators, on Facebook, let’s say. For instance, some sort of ‘don’t worry’. Imagine the situation: you have some exam today and you know that a teacher is a tough person and someone comes to you and says ‘don’t worry’. Does it help a lot? Oh yeah, and there is another idea: ‘Don’t care what other people think about you or about the things that you are doing’. How can you imagine that situation that we were taught from the very young age that we should care what other people think about us so you can not just switch that function off and ‘now I don’t care!’. That doesn’t work like that.
This is why I think that those motivators are useless. Of course, they are saying right things but they don’t help us a lot because you cannot apply those things to real life. You can collect thousands of those things share them, like them, repin them and so on. But it doesn’t help you in reality. The only thing which says about you, that you care about those things. But no more than that.
Recall how often do you find some good ideas what can be changed in your life and you read those a lot. Like, ‘20 steps to have a more healthy body’ or ‘how to have more friends’ and so on. But now be honest with yourself, have you changed something in your life thanks to those ideas? Probably not.
Of course, we should spend a lot of time to think about that, to implement that into real life and only after that we will get results but the thing is that I still don’t believe that those things will help. Why? Because in most of the cases there are no clear steps how to implement that. So this is the main problem of those tips and tricks or motivators.
Around 2 years ago one of my very good friends has inspired me to write the book and I set myself the goal to write the book in five years. My plan was like that: the first two or three years collect different ideas which should go into that book and after I would have 50 or something different ideas I will create a logical structure with some of those ideas, and all other ideas which will be left I will just throw them away, or at least they will not become part of my book.
So that was my initial plan and I started to collect those ideas. Starting from that moment I spend much more time to speak with different people, to feel what they feel, what they want from their life, what they care of and how do we deal with daily troubles. Actually, speaking with my coworkers was some kind of inspirational thing for me as well. Why? Because one of the questions I give to other people is ‘Do you feel you’ve found your purpose in life?’ Yeah, of course, that’s the philosophical question and no one can say 100-percent that ‘yeah this is what I want to do for the rest of my life’. This for sure. But at least we can say: ‘I’m on the way of exploring myself and during the last year I found in myself this or that’.
Here is an important relation. When you know who you are, and what should you do, then you know the way be happier and what to spend time for.
But the thing is that most of the people don’t look at their life like that. And it’s funny because when you ask people – ‘do you think that happiness in life is brought by money?’ – most of the people would say ‘Of course not, this is about us having good friends, about traveling to different countries, about to know something new, having different hobbies and so on’. And you ask those people, or most of the people: ‘During the day during the week how much time you spend with your friends, or traveling, or having hobbies?’ and the answer would be that most of the time is spent on a job to make money. I don’t blame people because of that. Actually, I’m behaving right now in the same way. But I realized that this is not what makes us happy. Money gives us a bigger chance to be happy but not the happiness itself.

Idea with podcast

Several months ago I decided to spend my time more effectively, so when I’m driving to the office I started listening podcasts. After the one month of listening podcasts, I had a mind-shift. I realized that the book is not the main source of information anymore. There are still a lot of people who love books, but books are not the main source of information anymore. And this is how I became to the idea of creating this podcast. I’m still thinking of the book but it’s not the main priority right now.
I’ve already collected a lot of different good useful ideas, at least, from my perspective. And I share it with you and my podcast. You probably noticed that while sharing my biography with you I didn’t speak about happiness too much.
Because this journey of discovery brings true joy to me. I’m happy to explore new regularities and to share it with others. And I believe that pragmatic conclusions I’ve made through the years will help you to enjoy the life as well.
So here’s the thing: happiness is an abstract and pragmatic thing at the same time. We can treat it as a religion or different spiritual things, or this is something which can be given to one, and forbidden for another. But I believe that happiness can be reached also with pragmatic approaches. That’s why I have several goals in my podcast.
The first goal is to share with you the experience of mine or my friends and share with you different conclusions from that. Second thing is to let you have an alternative perspective on the routine and not only routine things,- how you can treat money habits and other things. And also I would do my really best to give you some simple and working steps how to improve things.
To spoil a little bit of my podcast of next several episodes, I will try to focus on your current state, where are you right now, do you feel happiness, what can be done in general to make things better. So those several will be about awareness.

The first topic of the podcast

This is the first topic, what is happiness itself, what is happiness for you. Take your time to think about a little bit. Do you feel happy these days? No, really, do you feel happy? How often do you feel happy and what makes you happy? Those could be material things or abstract things like music, interacting with other people, doing something that you really like.

Global happiness

For me, happiness divides into two different things. The first thing is a global one – this is to feel harmony with the universe, to feel that you’re in the right place and doing the right things. I’m not there yet. I have a good job, I feel financially comfortable, I have great coworkers and managers, but I don’t feel that I’m doing things that I should do in my life. Yeah, of course, I do my job properly spending my time and energy on that, I know what should I do and how should I do that. But, you know what, it feels like when you’re excited about something when you’re excited all the time, almost obsessed with something. At that moment you don’t need any kind of motivation to do those things. You can do it day-by-day and enjoy the process. But when you do things for money, yeah, you can enjoy some of those tasks in your job, you can enjoy interacting with other people, you can enjoy reaching some goals by making something new, but sometimes you need the motivation to move forward. If somebody would ask you, would you be ready to work 2 or 3 months without money and then continue earning money, most likely you would reject that idea. But at the same time having a job which really brings you happiness, you could work 3, 6 months or even more without money. Actually, because you passionate about it because you feel that you are the person, who can bring it to life.

Daily happiness

The second thing which I treat as the happiness for myself is to enjoy your life on a daily basis, to have small pleasant pieces during the day. That could be a special angle of sunbeams, that could be a song on the radio which I like or my kids smiling and playing, and of course small victories at home or at a workplace.
Here’s the question for each of you: can you notify happy moments in your life? Actually, do you notify those? So, let’s say, you know that you are happy or you enjoy different moments during the day. Let’s say, you enjoying tasty food and of course, you eat at least 3 times a day. So that means, that you can have small pieces of happiness at least three times a day. Do you feel that? I’m confident – not. Why is it so? Because while you are eating, you think about a lot of different things. Yeah, this is how our brain works.
But do you realize that you just wasting your resources when you have the moment in your life which you can enjoy, but while focusing on other things you just wasting your chance to be happy.

Examples of notifying being well

When I was at school, sometimes I went ill and stayed at home. A TV was forbidden for me, so I had plenty of time to read different books and to think. And one interesting idea came to my mind once. Do I know how it had felt when you are not sick? I mean, when you sick you feel a body or a headache, you feel some troubles with your throat so you realize the current situation and current stage of your body but do you realize the moment when is nothing wrong with your body? So, I set myself an interesting goal – to catch the moment when I feel ok and try to understand how does it feel. It was a tough call for me, but in a week or something, I would like it to remind myself about that goal so I spend some time to think about how do I feel. It was only a tiny moment in my life when I enjoying being ok.
After I shared the idea of my podcast with my daughter she told me an interesting story. Actually, she showed me a glass transparent can which looked like a piggy bank with some slot on the top. But inside of that can there were paper flowers of different shapes and colors.
Her story was that she got an idea to track those moments when she feels happy and it’s interesting because I didn’t discuss with her those ideas before. So, what she did? Every time when she felt happy – she drew a new flower and put it into that piggy bank. I would share the photo of that can in show notes for this episode in my blog. And it’s interesting to say that she collected around 30 different flowers and then stopped doing that because it was hard for her to draw new flowers. And the most interesting part of that story is that I came to the same idea of collecting happiness moments but in a different form.
I will tell you one more story about notifying good things but not bad things. Recently I heard about an interesting school where they have alternative approaches. This one was really interesting for me because I got some details about what they do. So let’s say pupils have a class of writing and they should write the same symbol two or three lines. So why their approach is interesting? Because they mark only positive symbols, those which were most close to ideal ones, not focusing on bad ones and pupils having that pattern, having a clear understanding that they can write those beautiful symbols – they have more motivation to duplicate those. What is the purpose of sharing with you those stories?

The task for the next week

Here’s the task for you for the next week.
You should start notifying moments when you can feel happy. So, the first part of it is to spend 5-10 minutes just to remind yourself what are things in life that makes you happy. The second step would be to imagine those things in the future. Let’s say you like playing with your dog. Imagine the next situation when you’re walking with your dog and start playing with him and imagine the moment when you start playing, you just stopped for a second and realize – here is that happy moment.
Try to imagine two or three different situations and imagine the trigger which should stop you and make you realize that this is the moment of happiness. And the third step of the task for the next week would be to actually catch those happy moments. So this task is about making you more aware of the opportunities which are in your life which brings you happiness.
But I want to ask you for one favor – collect those moments and save them somehow in written form or by voice. When you do this you can share it with others. And why do we need this? Because while sharing your experience with others, you can inspire them. Rethink this: you have a happy moment, you enjoying this, you storing this and sharing this with others. And by these, you can inspire other people.
And of course, you have a question where can you share it. You can share it with SensiblyHappy community because here you find people, who are also interested in the same topic as you are. You can share it on Facebook on SensiblyHappy page, finding the post about the first episode and put it into comments. Or you can go to our page sensiblyhappy.com, find there ‘Episode 1’ and write comments there. I would really appreciate it and if you don’t mind I would share some of those in the next episode.
Ok, we are close to the end. We will discover a lot of different interesting topics in the next episodes. I’m really glad you found the time to listen to this episode. And that makes me feel that I’m doing something useful for others. If you feel that this podcast would be useful for your friends or for your relatives, please, share with them this podcast. You can do this by sharing Facebook page SensiblyHappy or by sharing our blog sensiblyhappy.com.
And of course, if you have some ideas or questions you can write them down on the facebook page and sensiblyhappy.com contact form, or write me directly to maksym@sensiblyhonappy.com.

I wish you a greI wish you a great weekend, I wish you a lot of situation when you can feel happy. Take care of yourself and stay tuned.at weekend, I wish you a lot of situation when you can feel happy. Take care of yourself and stay tuned.

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