The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, June 14, 2010

Trouble in Happy-Land: The Problem With Self-Help Books

1) We don't find happiness by doing external things. We find happiness and love within ourselves, and learn to express it in our actions and life.

2) Once we've made connection with our hearts, we need goals that express our values and beliefs. The reward for pursuing them is the person we become along the way.

3) The best self-improvement book I've ever read is "Think And Grow Rich." The point is to have well defined goals expressed in continuous action. The "do-ing" of our lives is the external action. The human "be-ing" of our lives is to root ourselves in love and grace.

4) Once we are rooted and directed, we can spend our lives in the flow of action, engaging totally with the moment.

5) Goals should be balanced between career/educational, family, spiritual/meditative, health/fitness. Design them with the fewest moving pieces (I like career, family, and fitness, with spiritual at the "center of the triangle) and take action toward them every day.

6) Take time for stillness every day. Dwell in the center of the cyclone. In the midst of the storm, find shelter in the depths of your heart.

7) Laugh often. We're really pretty silly!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Dan Moran said...

I'm unclear sometimes whether the text you're posting along with these Huffpost articles comes from the article or from you, but assuming it's you, I disagree with the first statement. I do find happiness by doing external things -- after many months of sub-par basketball performance, I had a great game yesterday morning -- scored 8 of our 11 points and we won 11-4, and I was the oldest guy on the court by at least 15 years. (Admittedly, the previous two games before the youngsters wore out a bit were not stellar, but I'm grading on a curve here.)

I'm still happy today over yesterday's game ....

Steven Barnes said...

I see what you are saying, Dan, and agree. I was referring to people who are unhappy, and chase after externals trying to make themselves happy, and failing. But there is no question that many great memories relate to accomplishment.

Dan Moran said...

Cool. Thanks for the clarification.

And today I'm happy about the Lakers. :-)