Books about mindfulness
I have been reading a lot of books about mindfulness. The ones I remember are “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “The here and now”, “The Tibetan book of living and dying”, “The road less travelled”, “The Celestine Prophecy”, “The Tao of Physics” and “Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East”.
Lessons fade away
They all had profound effects. However, the teachings all faded as ordinary life took over. I am in the fortunate positions that I read for a living. That exposes me to a lot of books, and particularly in the last year, there have been some cracking books on being mindful.
Mindfulness as a full business trend
There is no question about it, mindfulness is a business trend. I suspect that as a response to the fast-changing world, people are looking for a different way of making sense of what is going on. Slowing down in order to go faster.
“The code of the extraordinary mind.”
My favourite book is “The code of the extraordinary mind”. It has changed my life and should be read by everyone. Once you have read that one, you should immediately pick up “Solve for happy” by Mo Gadwat to get some reinforcement.
How to engineer your path to joy. If you want the business argument. Being happy will make you 12% more productive and get you more likely up the career ladder. It reads like “The buddha brain” and has touches of “The future of the mind”. This book brings it down to some very simple basics.
You are what you think
For example; Your brain can only hold one thought at the time. You are what you eat, and you are what you think. So why would those thought not be happy ones? Develop an arsenal of happy thoughts to counteract your brain. Your brain is designed to keep you alive and still thinks we are living with dinosaurs and sabre tooth tigers. Everything is danger.
The brain is an amazing machine. If you count each neuron as a small computer, your brain would have thirty times more neurons than the number of computers and devices that make up the entire Internet.
Your brain is only interested in survival
That brain is talking to you, trying to keep you safe. Making constant fight-flight decisions. Plotting the next potential danger. Real or imaginary. You need to train your brain that things are not as bad as it thinks it is. Teaching it six grand illusions and make it aware of seven blindspots. That will help you (not your brain) five ultimate truths. You are not your body. You are not your brain. You need to take back control. You are the boss. You get to choose.
In short, it is about brain management. Observing your internal dialogue is a start. Anything negative needs to be examined and can be replaced with something positive. Store happy pictures on your phone and use them. The longer you keep your brain in the positive zone, the more difficult it will become for it to shift into negativity and the more that pre-historic part of your brain will diminish.
It is about self-knowledge, delayering the egos, funding your true self, loving who you are, living in the moment (=now), ignoring what might happen, and releasing control. What will be, will be.
Switch off the brain
Switch off your brain. Stopping assumptions, predictions, memories, labels, emotions, and exaggeration messing up the now. It is amazing. Surveys show that 60-70% of our thoughts are negative. That adds up to 35,000 negative thoughts per day. 62% of all emotional words in the English dictionary are negative. Our brain, genuinely thinking it is helping you to stay alive, is like a Velcro for negative experiences but Teflon for positive ones. Remembering happy events, offer no survival benefit in the view of your brain. Life, however, is almost entirely made of positives. Most of the constant stream of thoughts in your head are not true.
Happiness is internal
What they have found through research, is that it is not necessarily the reality that shapes us but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. If you know everything about your external world, you can only predict 10 percent of your long-term happiness. Ninety percent of your long-term happiness is predicted not by the external world but by the way your brain processes.
Teach your brain
Most of the time the only thing wrong with our lives is the way we think about them. When you see the world for what it really is, you solve the Happiness Equation correctly. The truth—always—is just a single dot on a long line of infinite possibilities, of which every other point is an illusion. All of life is here and now. Teach your brain to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Debugging your brain’s code. That is “Mindstore“.
Being fully aware of the present moment considerably increases your chances of being happy. The second you open your eyes with the intention of being aware, you are aware. To reach it you need to stop doing! By removing the clutter, we become present, pay attention, and start to receive
- Start a “positive events journal.”
- Notice when you are not aware.
- Get rid of the distractions to free up the space you need to be fully present.
- Focus your attention on the process of doing, not the end results.
- Do only one thing at a time.
- Seek the path of least resistance.
- Travel as the wind takes you.
- Gratitude is a sure path to happiness.
- “No expectation” never turns into a missed expectation.
- The true joy of true love is in giving it.
- The more love you give, the more you get back.
- Force yourself to write at least one thing a day that you are proud of.
- Write down every compliment you receive: what it was, who said it, and what prompted
- Be kind.
- Treat everyone as you would like to be treated.
In there it is not dissimilar to Andro O’Donovan’s “Motivate yourself.”
The magic is in the last two chapters
If you are into quantum physics, observers paradox, Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, Einstein’s theory of relativity, gaming, near death experiences and intelligent design, you will like the last two chapters:
The observer paradox
Unless the laws of physics as we know them did not apply from the point of the Big Bang until life appeared in its physical form, then life existed before the physical world did
Life as a video game
How different is your life on this earth from a video game? If your physical form—the avatar you use to navigate the physical world—is not the real you, then what difference does it make if you face a few challenges on the way? If the world deprives you every now and then, what impact does that have on the real you, the you on the sofa holding the controller? Regardless of how immersed, we get in the game of life, we get through it. We live through ups and downs, some gifts and some losses, but none of it matters because when we focus on the gameplay every experience feels new, and it’s all fun. Now that is a true gamer’s point of view
Be a serious gamer
Serious gamers, you should note, always set the difficulty level of their games to high. When Ali played alone, he used to set Halo to “legendary,” the most difficult setting possible. He would turn it down to “hard” only when he played with me. When games are too easy, there’s no challenge.
The designer does not run the show; the equations he designed to do. Focus on your Happiness Equation. It is the only one you can fully control. When you compare the events of your life to the expectations you set, please remember that what happens is what’s supposed to happen. Instead of dreading the event, perhaps you should start by doubting the expectations you set because, harsh as that is sometimes: Life always meets realistic expectations. Accept the design.
A credible book
I can see lots of eyes up to heaven. All I can tell you that most of the lessons of all the books I have mentioned in this blog come back as wise lessons in “Solve for happy”. What makes this book credible is the life story of the author. He lost his son under tragic circumstances. He applies his own rules. He is happy.