A quick review of this excellent book – The Secrets of Being Happy.
This book isn’t ONLY about being happy. It’s about being happy, and maintaining that state, getting over bad stuff and being resilient when you need to.
It starts out by telling you something you may already know. To be happy, you need to strike the right balance in your life. Which means putting many tother things in order.
This isn’t a new message. What is different about this book is that it doesn’t only tell you that you should get your life in balance, it also tells you exactly how to do it.
The approach Bandler and Thomson do this by showing us the behaviours and attitudes of people who are “naturally” happy.
The foundations on which to build being happy are as follows:
3 Sensory Acuity
Yet this book follows a holistic track, offering the reader a process that will guide them towards being happy. Done properly, the book may take weeks, maybe months to read. On the way it also causes you to ask the really important questions, such as:
What are the things that are important in my life?
What are the things that will make me happy?
How do I get more of those good things?
Once it has got you asking these questions, the book then guides you through the entire context in which you live, asking you to work out what your values are, what the things are that really give you satisfaction, and showing you direct methods for furthering your own life and getting more of the good things.
Happiness, too, the authors tell us, is really a verb.
You have to do it, not go and buy it from a pharmacy, or hunt for it in the woods.
This message is more profound than it seems. If you think there is an endpoint on the road, in a town called Happiness, you’re mistaken. Happiness is the direction you’re heading in, in which you find new and wonderful things to do everyday – things that give you the emotional lift and excitement you are seeking from life.
Thus the authors say of the couple who are no longer happy because they spend too much time trying to make a mythical happy home, rather than finding a way to be happy together: “Many amazing relationships get lost because couples focus on building the life they want, rather than valuing and enjoying the life they have together.
The authors do advocate aiming for things that will make them happy. Yet at the same time, they are much more subtle than simply advising you to set goals – as if they are the be all and end all of being happy.
The book is a subtle balance between offering advice and setting that advice into the wider context of a life. Throughout, it grows clearer and clearer that being happy, like being healthy, is an ongoing, dynamic and interactive process.
This balancing act means that there are plenty more aspects of your life to review as you head in the direction of being happy. For example, maintaining a sense of interest in the world, finding out new things from many different fields of knowledge, maintaining a sense of curiosity, being optimistic and resilient to criticism – even eating healthily and doing regular exercise are all looked at in turn.
In total, The Secrets of Being Happy is a powerful book.