It’s All in Your Head: Thinking Your Way to Happiness by Stephen M. Pollan and Mark Levine.
Like most people I’ve been searching for happiness through work, relationship, money, educations and so on. Only if we’ve a better job, only if we’ve better educations, only if everything is perfect, only if we’ve lost weight….you name it, we would be happy. We make plans and spend most of the time dreaming of the future, but forget to live in the present moment. If we’ve achieved success, it’s still not enough. We want more. This book will help you find your own happiness no matter where you’re at in your life.
Chapter 1: It’s all in your head.
The secret to happiness is in your head. It’s how you think, act and feel about yourself and life in general. No one or nothing can make you happy in long term. It’s up to you if you want to be happy now. You think you would be happy if you’ve the best shoes, own the coolest car or if your kids enrolled in the best school etc. These things bring short term pleasure but don’t confuse pleasure with happiness. Some people are looking for happiness in the wrong place by jumping from job to job or even from spouse to spouse.
Chapter 2: You ’re just where you’re supposed to be.
Comparing your life to others make you only unhappy because you’re focusing only on shortcomings, like how much other people earn, who has the biggest house, who drives a better car, where do children go to school and many others things. You may be jealous of other people who have achieved success or thinking the grass in greener on the other side. You don’t realize what risks they have taken and how much they have sacrificed to be where they are now.
Chapter 3. It Gets better.
Do you wake up in the morning and feel your life isn’t going anywhere, and maybe you start feeling depressed, or feeling beaten? Learn to have faith in time that things will get better. View passage of time as something positive and wonderful that heals the wounds and lessen the pain.
Chapter 4. Own your success.
Take credit for what you do and accept compliments. Don’t think and say negative things about yourself, because if you do that long enough, other will believe you too. Focus on what’s going right rather than what’s going wrong. Accept your shortcomings and failures.
Chapter 5. You don’t have to go it alone.
Ask for help and support when you need it. To ask the right way, you need to make it easier for people to help you and understand what obstacles they may face. They may have plans that day when you need help or other fears you don’t know. So don’t be afraid to ask!
Chapter 6. There’s no time like now, so take action.
Don’t wait for the best time or the right time. You cannot control time. Stop expecting perfection or be afraid to fail. Choose to live fearless. Don’t put your life on hold.
Chapter 7. Your best is enough.
You don’t need a perfect body or perfect career to be happy. Give your best, that’s enough. You can’t be best at everything. Stop thinking about all or nothing and don’t put everything else on hold. To increase happiness you need to attend to every area in your life.
Chapter 8. The past is past.
Don’t spend time re-living and regretting the past. You can’t change it. Learn to forgive those who had done you wrong. It doesn’t mean what they did was right, but you forgive them because you don’t want to hold on to the anger anymore. There’s a story about 2 Holocaust survivors Isaac and Natan. Isaac asks Natan, ”Have you forgiven the Nazis?” Natan reply, ”Yes, I have”. Then Isaac says, Well, I haven’t. I’m still consumed with hatred for them”. Natan then reply, ”In that case, they still have you locked at the camp”
Chapter 9. Tomorrow is too late.
Life is happening right now. Don’t spend too much time planning for tomorrow, waiting for the right conditions to happen and put happiness on hold. Appreciate what you have. Make a list of things you’re grateful for, people you love, the places you enjoy, the things that bring you pleasure. For example, ”I’m grateful for my friendship with X because he/she makes me laugh”.
Chapter 10. Out of your mind.
Happiness is internal and doesn’t come from getting a new car, buying a home, or getting back in college. You have the power to be happy and be responsible for your own happiness. Everything you need to be happy is in your mind.
The authors only scratch on the surface of what happiness is, but the book does a great job explaining how to change your attitudes to cultivate the happiness that is now and not put it on hold waiting until you’ve achieved certain goals/items.
I’m exploring the subject happiness, and so far most authors agree that it depends on our attitudes. We think our way to unhappiness therefore we can think our way to happiness. It’s All in Your Head: Thinking Your Way to Happiness is not a quick fix, but if you put what you’ve learned from this book into action, you’re getting closer to find inner peace and happiness. Stay tune for more reviews on happiness by other authors.