The Practical Guide to Happiness Margaret Curley Sanborn
Is true happiness having all the money in the world to spend on anything you want? Is true happiness being thin, having people tell you how great you look or even wanting for nothing? Is true happiness something everyone is entitled to but really never attains because we have no idea what it really is or means? Money is great to have, good health to me more important, contentment utmost but what is your definition of being happy and what is your perspective on the world that give you rise to help achieve your own happiness? The Practical Guide to Happiness is quite unique in its messages to readers. Each chapter showcases two specific people, how they handle a situation, react and the author’s analysis. Most people have what you might call preset core beliefs that impact their happiness, how they look at specific situations and their judgments. Ego plays a definite role. There are 11 core beliefs the author elaborates on within the first part of this book by explaining the belief, how it might impact your thinking and then relating it to a real life situation. The first referred to as illusion on: If I were Wealthy, I would be Happy! Debunking this illusion she states: It’s easy to be Happy When Life Goes Your Way. But, what happens when you are dissatisfied with you life, you want to achieve more and the things that others have like new cars, huge mansions and other material things do not come your way. Read the story about the two women who bought a new red car and find out what happens when one starts out thinking her new red hybrid Toyota is the greatest car and then listening to her friend Melissa has her happiness deflated. Then read what happens when the second woman experiences Melissa and see how she handles the situation. Which would you be mostly to be like? Answer this question at the end: Do you need more to be happy? You decide after reading their stories. Next, If I were Thinner, or fit. I would be happy. Jim and Tony want the same job of course these are two different interviews, same company but handled in two different ways. Both men are overweight and both have been affected by the heat and have arrived at their destination needing to refresh themselves. One handles the situation quite poorly the other with finesse. You decide after hearing their stories which man would get the job and why. There are so many interesting stories and thoughts to be discussed within this book. Next, If I Had a better Job I Would Be Happy followed by something many of us have either heard or said numerous times: If I were better looking I would be happy. The author on pages 49-50 defines what most people feel denotes beautiful, what someone should look like and many definitions of what our culture feels is a perfect person. Read Tamara and Trina’s stories. What would you do if you nose were too big for your face? What would happen if that did not make a difference when dating but your pear shape did?
Reading the many stories you will hear the voices of two young men diagnosed with Type I Diabetes and learn how they handle the illness. One refuses to understand what needs to be done and the other is blessed to have a doctor with the illness who understands his struggles guiding him to make the right choices and decisions. Next we meet Rita and Donna and find out what their feelings are about romance, happiness and divorce. Illusion 7 focuses on whether having an additional child would make you happy and then illusion 8 If I Could Retire I would be Happy. Now, this I can attest to after listening to so many retired people claim that life began the day they stopped working. Read Mike’s story and then read Ben’s both age 70 and both married for a long time. Learning about their lives, their wife’s illness and financial strains you understand the difficulties both men faced. Deciding to take on another job at their age, after the death of their wife was difficult. Working at the museum was something Ben loved doing. But, wanting to be rehired for his same job not possible. Ben did not want to stay home doing nothing so he accepts a job that most would not. Taking the job in ticket sales, the eventually to museum guide was really amazing since no one ever got the position without a master’s degree. Ben just appreciated life. While Mike was bitter and angry Ben chose to let go of his bitterness and anger and channel his energies in a positive direction.
The main premise is to teach readers how to Think Again before determining how to handle a situation and its outcome. Reading this book will teach readings how to deal with many real life situations, how to avoid the pitfalls of being unhappy and understanding different ways to handle stress, pressure, fear, anxiety and sadness.
Chapter 11 focuses on the many different definitions of being or feeling happy as well as how and why we sometimes let our Ego our core take over. There are two types of happiness: Ego-based happiness is fleeting like the excitement you get when you get a new car, coat or expensive ring. It just last for the moment or as the author states: that little ball of happiness and is attached to nothing. “Feeling happy is good whether is comes from our Ego or our core. They are two different types of happiness. Answer this simple question: Consider the happiness you most typically feel. Think about where it comes from: possessions or circumstances of life! Transient or fleeting or is it” a constant beat of positive energy that fuels your thoughts and feelings as you travel this world.” Chapter 12 is short and focuses on abuse. Chapter 13: Your Perspective on the World and People Gives Rise to Your Thinking. Read the three reactions to someone stomping on your foot. Which would relate to you? In summary in this chapter the author discusses how angry thoughts do not produce happiness. Fearful thoughts do not produce happiness either nor do jealous thoughts or critical ones. Examples of each are included and real life situations that are used as illustrations really help the reader understand each emotion, each outburst and how to handle them. Let’s not forget guilty or victim thoughts. The final section or chapter sums it all up: Thinking Positively Has Side Effects other than Happiness. Part one states that positive thinking keeps you open to all the possibilities and thinking. Read the two stories about Lila and Natalie to explain this thinking and what exactly is a positive mindset. The author relates and intertwines the story about Ben and Mike and reminds us of the most important: Think Again on page 156 and you need to find out how that pertains to you by reading it yourself.
Are you ready to be HAPPIER? Here are some outstanding suggestions that you can read about, learn to implement and follow through on:
Don’t live in the past, Don’t live in the future: LIVE NOW! Very Important: Identify Your Negative Thinking Read Bob’s Negative Matrix to understand how to deal with negativity and make it positive.
Think Again on pages 170-171 ties in many of the short stories and explains what that means in relation to some of the situations that people need to rethink before acting upon. There are many common reasons why people are unhappy: money, job, romance, relationships and children. How we deal with each one can be better explained as you read Bob’s Matrix and Chapter 15. The most helpful information is on page 188: Think Again Steps to Apply to your Negative Thinking. I can tell you that these are quite helpful. Finally, develop and use reminders, explained on pages 188-190. The rest I think you need to read for yourself and you will not be disappointed. When you wake up with a negative thought: THINK AGAIN. But, reading this book and sharing it with others is not something you have to think again about: Just do it.
The stories are real and the information is invaluable and I can definitely tell you that the Practical Guide To Happiness is one book that will bring more than just a smile to your face after reading it. Valuable information, creatively presented and definitely one of the best self-help books that I have reviewed in a long time. Whether you are struggling with your weight, your physical appearance, your job, money, wealth or retirement this book will help you overcome your difficulties if you just read it and of course THINK AGAIN!
Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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