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Want To Be Happy, Dammit?

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As we all know, the truest life theories are the ones which can withstand
the test of time. And so I wanted to re-explore "happiness tips" from
famous, cool, dead people...to see if their theories are indeed timeless
...beginning with the very interesting Ayn Rand.

First of all, you pronounce her name "Ayn" so it rhymes with "mine"
- which is apropos, because Ayn's famed life philosophy of OBJECTIVISM
is all about going for the "mine, mine, mine" - living your
individualistic destiny to its fullest potential.

"I swear, by my life and my love of it," said Ayn, "I will never live
for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. "

Ayn described this philosophy of hers as "rational individualism." And
in her famous novels THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED, Ayn dramatized
this "rational individualist" -- this "ideal man" - this
"heroic being" -- as someone who lived by his own effort - never
giving away or receiving anything undeserved -- who honored
self-achievement -- and rejected envy of others.

As a self-help author I've read many modern day research studies which
support this Ayn Happiness Philosophy as a timeless one. Consistently
studies show how the happiest people are those who tap into their
"signature strengths" daily (as seen in Tom Rath's Gallup studies). Plus
the happiest people also are the ones who don't step foot onto what
psychologists call the "hedonic treadmill" -enviously wanting more,
because their neighbors have more.

Ayn went on to promote how this "rational individualist" could never
expect to achieve their dream goals by mere wish or whim -- but only by a
feisty one-pointedness.

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop
me," said Ayn.

This particular one-pointedness theory is timelessly proven - especially
in today's competitive marketplace - where it's survival of the most
passionately determined. Hence why there are a slew of best selling books
about focusing on your signature strengths - and warning not to raise
your kids with lazy entitlement issues.

Indeed, I am always coaching clients that "The purpose of your life is to
find and do the purpose of your life." And if you want to find and do
your purpose, then you must make it a fiery "must" -- not merely a
lukewarm "should."

Ayn described the timeless power of making your purpose a "must"
everlastingly well when she said: "Every man builds his world in his own
image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of
choice."

Another of Any's famed theories asserts how the individual should NEVER
feel guilty about having it all -- if the individual can snag it all - an
eternal truth for sure!

Unfortunately, far too many people also timelessly self-sabotage -
cursing themselves with a tendency to feel guilty if they start to amass
too much success and joy - creating negative monetary beliefs which then
create negative monetary habits which then create negative monetary results
(aka: as described further by Suze Orman and all those various experts
in The Secret).

Indeed, a timeless message for all monetary self-sabotagers: If you want to
make gobs of cash, you must first get in harmony with making gobs of cash.
Once you're in harmony with wealth, you will see money opportunities
everywhere you look. In time even the word "harmony" might start to
appear to you as if it's spelled "harmoney"! Although I jest, the
timeless truth within still twinkles rightly and brightly.

Ayn offers many timeless thoughts on this subject of breaking free from the
shackles of limited thinking about wealth. "Run for your life from any
man who tells you that money is evil," said Ayn. "That sentence is the
leper's bell of an approaching looter. "

With all this said, I do find that although Ayn is a great encourager of
folks going for the big cash prizes, sometimes she takes her espousing of
materialism a bit too far.

For example..."If any civilization is to survive," said Ayn, "it is
the morality of altruism that men have to reject. "

Ayn writes a lot about the negatives of altruism versus the benefits of
materialism in her famed book of essays "The Virtues Of Selfishness" --
a book I found both fascinating and downright offensive. Personally, I am a
big supporter in taking time to give back to our world through charity and
service. And infinite research studies prove the benefits of doing
altruistic acts -- not only for the world at large -- but for the
altruistic individual's personal happiness.

According to Martin Seligman, the famed positive psychology author and
professor at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most effective
techniques for creating personal happiness is to lead "a meaningful
life"--use your personal strengths to serve some larger altruistic end.

In an experiment called "Philanthropy versus Fun," Seligman divided his
psychology students so some engaged in pleasurable activities (going to the
movies, eating yummy ice cream) and the others did philanthropic activities
(volunteering at a soup kitchen, reading to the blind).

Guess what?

The happiness afterglow of the fun was nada compared to the lasting
happiness of doing altruistic acts.

Meaning?

Doing good for others will also make you feel good--and, according to
Seligman, your highest level of feel-good.

My guess: Altruism raises your mood because it raises your self-esteem -
and high self esteem is a big booster of happiness. Plus giving to others
gets you outside yourself and thereby distracts you from your problems. In
other words, a good timeless happiness tip to ask yourself: "What loving
deed can I do? How can I help those in greater need?" Then go out there
and follow through with these acts of altruism and service.

With all this said, I'm betting that even if Ayn and I started off a
conversation disagreeing on this topic of altruism, Ayn would nonetheless
be open to hearing about these modern day research studies and theories.

To quote Ayn: "When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our
final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of
us will win, but both will profit. "

And it is for this particular version of the word "profit" - as in to profit in one's spirit and mind from hearing new, exciting ideas - which
Ayn consistently promotes - and which I will timelessly appreciate Ayn
for!

Want more of Salmansohn's tips and theories on happiness? Read THE BOUNCE
BACK BOOK: HOW TO THRIVE IN THE FACE OF ADVERSITY, SETBACKS, AND LOSSES
. Or sign up for the free
Be Happy Dammit newsletter at www.notsalmon.com.

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