Successful people realize that success does not bring happiness. Happiness is the next journey for most successful people. Early on, most top performers equate that success will fill the void within them and show the world that they are valuable. Sorry to say, it doesn’t happen. Happiness takes a different set of skills, disciplines, systems and procedures.
Here are the first three steps to getting on the path of true happiness:
Step One: You must see the mind, which I call The Drunk Monkey, for what it really is. The Drunk Monkey, all that talking in your head, is just biology. It’s energy moving through fields of neurons in your brain. It’s job is the same as all the other cells in your body… Keep you alive longer!
Here’s the big problem; you are not in a dangerous situation. If you are reading this article, you are seeking happiness. People seeking happiness are not trying to survive. Yet, I would be willing to bet, you feel emotions like frustration, anger, doubt and fear pretty frequently. Those emotions are chemicals used by the brain to move you away from danger. Hello! Your life is not dangerous and yet, you let The Drunk Monkey trick you into thinking that it is. Awareness is a skill that must be developed if happiness is your goal.
Step Two: With awareness comes flexibility. Being flexible means you start to use some discernment. You no longer take The Drunk Monkey’s statements about reality as truth. You start to see that the talking in your head is just one particular point of view. As soon as you see that the thoughts in your head are not “the truth,” you become more flexible. When you are more flexible, you are less reactive. To be less reactive gives you more choices. More choices represent more power over the situation. In other words, awareness makes you flexible, which makes new options available and those options give you power. Empowerment is one of the ten forms of happiness.
Step Three: Practice accepting things as they are. This is a discipline. It’s the exact opposite of your normal mental functioning. When you pay attention to The Drunk Monkey, you see that it has an opinion on everything; including things it knows nothing about. The Drunk Monkey says, “He shouldn’t be that way!” or “This is not right!” To create true happiness, you must recognize that these are just opinions. Even more important, is to realize that opinions are the source of your suffering. Life is just “life-ing” along and your opinion about it won’t change it. To accept the situation as it is, gives you the emotional well being you need to focus on what really matters to you. To allow The Drunk Monkey to ramble endlessly about how things should be different, is a waste of time and energy. Ultimately it degrades your experience of life.
There are ten forms of happiness and each will lead you to a life of ridiculous bliss. Start practicing the three steps today and you will notice an immediate difference.
When your body is functioning well, you are naturally more happy.
I have been working on looking at the outcomes of anything are perfect
While I agree with some points, I can’t entirely agree upon everything laid out in this article. When you refer to the Drunk Monkey you probably mean on our subconscious voices, our ego that talks without an off-switch. While this can certainly be very bad (in most of the cases it is) because our subconscious is programmed with negative beliefs and with the things, situations and events that happen all around us (which are very often negative), we can overcome this by imprinting positive beliefs and attitude that will work in our favor.
This means, our Drunk Monkey can indeed work for us and contribute to our happiness. It’s hard to be mindful all the time and to achieve what Buddha did, we live in a hectic world full with stress, let’s face it…
But by changing our paradigm, we can indeed contribute to our happiness in a great way! I also can’t agree with the last point about “accepting things as they are”… Why? Because things can be bad and we have the power to change them. In no way we should accept them and live with that! What we should do instead is “observe” them, and respond appropriately to each life’s situation.
Anyway, there are good tips contained in this article, especially the part for bringing the awareness to the readers about their Drunk Monkey – which each and everyone of us has.
Best comment I’ve received in a long time! Thank you for taking the time to really think it through and comment. Here is my response to your thoughtful comment.
Regarding subconscious programming. I’ve worked with thousands of people to and have had limited success with programming people’s subconscious minds. I’ve employed a wide variety of tactics from self hypnosis, affirmation, meditation, sleep programming, Neuro-Linguistic Programming and more. I’ve found that the most empowering and transformational way to silence the mind is through Recontextualization. It begins by recognizing The Drunk Monkey’s motives for thinking; which is a form of actively observing your mind. Then learning to question the validity of it’s perspective. And finally learning how to speak about the world in a way that is empowering and creates the results you want. It takes practice and over time your mind, The Drunk Monkey will become helpful (just as you have suggested) and then it will go completely silent. Which is what The Buddha wanted for us all.
Regarding your rejecting the idea of accepting things as they are and instead using observation and responding appropriately: I think we are actually saying the same thing. When you say, “observe” things I suspect you mean to do so dispassionately; without attachment. When I say “Accept things as they are” I’m using that to describe the action of observing, not making it wrong, not reacting to it in any way, letting the situation or person or what ever just be exactly what it is; without adding any meaning or judgement to it… thus accepting it exactly as it is. From that neutral place, one has tremendous freedom and creativity. From that free and creative place you are able to respond appropriately to life’s situations and be effective.
I hope you will comment more.
What a beautiful, relevant and insightful posting….and subsequent dialogue! The exposition on the fruits of awareness & flexibility is an especially concise nugget!
Someone said, a long time ago, “Don’t Believe Everything You Think.” Even centuries before that the Dhammapada asserted “…The consequences of a purified mind will follow you like your own shadow. No one can do more for you than your own purified mind –no parent, no relative, no friend, no one. A well-disciplined mind brings happiness.” Then…comes the daily practice of applying purification processes and discipline to the mind. The realization begins to come that “happiness” is a state of mind and being.
Keep up the awesomeness….