As the New Year is upon us, many of us reflect upon our lives, our successes, our satisfaction, where we have been and likely where we are going. If life is filled with enormous levels of satisfaction and happiness, then perhaps this article does not apply. However, for most of us, we have barely scratched the surface of what is possible in the world of joyfulness, gratitude, success, and fulfillment. And often this is the case despite genuine, consistent efforts to discover that better quality of life.
Where Do We Stand at the End of 2023?
Let’s review a few basics. There is no other country in the world more desirable than the US. We have more resources, better highways, great schools, safe communities, and tremendous healthcare compared to most nations. And yet, we see considerable unhappiness and misery.
As a society, we attempt to hide our anxieties and fears through medications, alcohol, and THC use. Alcohol use is common in 70% of the adult population, THC use is rising and likely now over 20% regular consumption, and medications for depression and anxiety are taken by 20% or more, depending upon the statistics you read.
None of this is particularly new information. I simply use this to illustrate that many of us do not have a fulfilled, happy, and utterly satisfying inner experience of life. Because if we did, we simply would not need these substances to alter our inner world.
And these statistics do not touch the world of our children and adolescents, where consumption of all types of substances and medications are at an all-time high.
Perhaps We Have Been Given the Wrong Formula?
What’s the formula I refer to? It’s DO MORE, then you get to HAVE MORE, and ultimately, at some point, you get to then BE MORE.
And by BE MORE, I mean BE happier, fulfilled, relaxed and content with life, for starters.
This formula is implicit in every aspect of our lives, and we propagate to our children.
- Work hard, so you get good grades, get into a good school, and get a respectable job.
- Then, get promoted, so you can have more money, get a bigger home and nicer car.
- Then, attract the right partner along the way, so you can have kids, and get them on the path.
- Save money, work even harder, get the kids into an even better school and then…
- Retire, so you can relax and enjoy life?
Does this really work that well? Do we have to put forth effort to get better grades, better jobs, better accommodations so we can gather more accomplishments, additional possessions, and extra pointers to success BEFORE we can be joyful, relaxed and satisfied with our lives?
In this model, we are constantly trying to control the variables of life to create some results or outcomes, to move further along the path so that one day, we can stop, relax, and enjoy it all. There is a reason we call this, ‘the rat race.’ Right?
I would like to suggest that there might be another way.
The Satisfaction Formula: The Be, Then Do and Ultimately Have Whatever You Want.
Let’s imagine a unique way of approaching life in 2024. And I invite you to consider this option, regardless of where you find yourself. Thus, whether your history is one of ease or trauma, health or disease, abundance or lack, high energy, or fatigue, any of the other infinite conditions of life.
When we are in a state of desiring something to change, or just wanting it badly to BE happy, our inner life is now dictated by that ‘thing’ we want. My capacity to be joyful is limited by my persistent focus on a change in circumstances. In some way, I am pushing against my current life situation, doing, and doing more to try to get what I want. Usually, I am also complaining and resisting the situation that I dislike or want to change. This is misery.
The Satisfaction Formula insists that we abandon our interest in changing circumstances before changing our inner state. In other words, we refuse to allow conditions to dictate our happiness, and instead we prioritize our inner state management as job ONE. We do not place conditions upon finding happiness in this moment. We do not expect others to change to be happy now. We do not even expect our bodies to change to be joyful now. We don’t expect our children to behave better before we find satisfaction today.
Notice, when we do this, we now reclaim our power. We cannot blame history, parents, employers, spouses, physical conditions, bills, or even a ‘psychological’ disorder for this moments’ misery, if I am living it.
When we focus on being happy first, and then allow our doing of daily actions to flow from our joyful inner states, we find actions more satisfying and inspiring. We seem to meet the right people, have better interactions, and get better results. It becomes natural to adopt a philosophy that I simply ‘do my best.’ And then the results flow from that. Mostly satisfactory results, but not always. But that does not affect my state of mind when approaching life this way.
The really cool part that follows is that the having of ‘stuff’ is the natural consequence of my consistent DOING of inspired and satisfying actions. With my focus on my inner state, and feeling good regardless, I can and do accumulate possessions, but they do not become my source of self-esteem or egoic pride.
But How Do I Learn too Just Be Happy First?
This is the big question, and there are exciting game-changing options. So, over the weeks ahead, I will be offering the best answers I can from the literature, from my training and from my experiences. Also, look for articles and videos posted at CapitalDistrictNeurofeedback.com under the heading ‘The Satisfaction Formula.’ Have a wonderful and joyful New Years!