Category Archives: Creating Joy

Things We Do Automatically That Do Us No Good

Created February 4, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

We take certain things for granted because everyone else does these things, and we find ourselves just “naturally” doing them as well.

One example is hating. It has no beneficial effect on our own lives to “hate” specific things or people. If we don’t want those things or people in our lives, we can simply avoid them, not think about them, fill our lives with what we do want.

Hating doesn’t add any more efficiency or effectiveness to our own life. Like all negative emotions it has deleterious effects on our physical and mental health. It might give us bad dreams. It might be entangled with other thoughts and emotions in ways that are not obvious. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of precious mental emotional resources. It doesn’t add anything positive to our life. And yet we do it.

Habit. Conditioning. Imitative behavior. Fitting in with everyone else by doing what they all do. These are some of the reasons why it never occurs to us to think rationally about hating.

Hate comes from fear. We are afraid that this person or these people are going to do things that will harm the lives of myself and my loved ones, but we feel powerless to stop that from happening, so our robotical mind leaps to the hasty conclusion that our only recourse is to hate them. Hate therefore is an inner subconscious admission of powerlessness. It is better to retain a footing of having some actionable power that merely needs to be figured out and then carried out. Hate excuses us from thinking creatively about actions that might be taken. Even if such actions seem unlikely to make a difference, there is honor in focusing on action, there is dishonor in giving up and simply hating.

The other thing that stops us from thinking about stopping something like hating, is that we may assume that it’s impossible to stop an emotion, it just arises by itself, that we have no control over it.

That’s untrue. In the Observer state and in the Flow state, we can make decisions and keep to them. We are in a higher state of functioning when we are in in those states. They are apparently our natural states, and our crippled state in which we have no control over ourselves is not our natural state. We have wound up in this dwarfed version of ourselves by collectively drifting into a society that does not support our self-expression in our passion work, nor even enable us to discover what our passion work is. An accelerating society that cannot keep up with its own inventiveness.

It is never too late. We are in a position to lift ourselves out of substandard conditions. First of all, we all want it, that will help. However, we’re not in a state of unity, the kind of unity felt by billions of freedom-loving people during World War II. In that state of unity, and coming from the right place and from the good, we prevailed. We need that same unity today in order to set things right, to wind up even better than we ever were before, doing our favorite “work” which to us is “play”, not having strife with others, not having fear nor hate nor all of the other negative emotions which are so rampant today.

You are the only one who can find the hidden switch in yourself to decide to give up over reacting to everything and everyone, to forgive yourself and everyone and start fresh with everyone.

All the world needs now is forgiveness. We have drifted into hate by our loyalty to one group or another. Loyalty is a good thing. Too much of a good thing is where bad things come from. If we wish to express ourself by the groups we belong to, that’s good, but we should think big. Like loyalty to God. Like loyalty to the human race. Like loyalty to the United States of America.

Once we get stuck on loyalties of a more fragmented nature, the likelihood that it can cause harm to our lives begins to increase. The things that made us join one political party may have been right at the time, but things change, the people involved change, the agendas change, and inflexible loyalty under those conditions isn’t fair to ourselves, it’s not thinking rationally about what really moves us forward as an individual.

Judgment of others is not necessary. One can leave them to what they want to be. Hate is preceded by judgment. Neither one is necessary to our own evolution. They are both a waste of time.

Jesus said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”

Your mind can be cleansed by you yourself and it will perform better when released from irrelevancies and poisons.

If you find yourself unable to forgive yourself, ask yourself, have you learned the lesson from the situation about which you can’t forgive yourself? If the answer is no, you must figure out the lesson, and then forgive yourself, knowing that you can react the right way the next time such a situation arises. (Not forgiving yourself after learning what to do next time is a waste of time and evidence of neurosis.) This is rational self-management, like you would expect a manager to exercise over a business. This is where the higher states of consciousness operate.

If you can’t find it in your heart to forgive Republicans, or Democrats, you can’t apply the same procedure. You can’t guarantee that all Democrats or all Republicans have learned their lessons from whatever it is you hold against them. You need to forgive them in advance of such reformation. This is simply because you can only take responsibility for yourself, you can’t control others. Then what is the justification for forgiving them? Because judgment is not yours to pass. “Judgment is mine,” saith the Lord. Live and let live. You know how hard it is to be a human being in this world as it is now. You can help others by forgiving them. If you run up against someone who is unquestionably doing terrible things, and you feel it’s up to you to stop them, then do that, while still forgiving them and stopping hating them because those things don’t help.

“Even forgive a murderer? Even forgive a mass murderer?” Yes, why not, all you are doing is cleansing your own heart, mind, body, and soul, it will make you more effective, and forgiving does not require condoning.

Why make such a profound change in your behavior now, after all these years of life? Because the world is in terrible danger. Civilization is fraying. Species becoming extinct one after another. We need two things to change fast: Unity to work cooperatively and respectfully with one another, not wasting time with insults. Unity within our self, finding our ideal self and sticking to it to the exclusion of old habits. It’s the Supreme Test.

Who could be placing us into the situation of a Supreme Test? It could only be a Supreme Being.

Let’s rise to the occasion and take action toward unity instead of making little excuses, blaming and hating others, and dodging the work we have to do on ourselves to become the Supreme Self within us.

A Time for Love, Forgiveness, and Flow State

Created November 4, 2021

In the prior issue, taking a page from Freud’s id, ego, superego division of consciousness, but altering it to suit my own experience, I defined three places you could be at any given moment:

  1. Seated in the essence of your Self, the experiencer, enjoyer, observer, taking it all in without excessive caring, in a state of high indifference, accepting what is and gleaning whatever pleasure you could get out of it (Freud characterized the id quite differently, more like an animal)
  2. In the current normal state of win/lose consciousness, instantly judging, always comparing to the ideal state and feeling cheated (Ego)
  3. Beating yourself up for some perceived failing (Superego)

In the prior post we provided an exercise to help you discern which state you are in.

Now, to take it a step further, let us reveal that Flow state is when your Self (the #1 state described above) is in control of your entire being.

In my psychological theory, it is the proclivity to spend time in those other two states which is responsible for keeping us, as a race, out of the Flow state.

Come with me at least provisionally and see if it doesn’t help you experience Flow more frequently, including right now as you read this.

Spurn mundane consciousness, the life we have all been living, sucked into such attachment to conditioned target objectives that in today’s multi-challenged world, we are angry and disappointed nearly all the time, because it covers our fear of even more tragic losses ahead.

Choose the mind that is different, that is above the madding crowd, the perspective of a Plato or Aristotle or Buddha or Jesus The Christ.

Whether you “believe in” God or not, the thoughts and words of people like these have come down to us through the ages and continue to sparkle with eminent truth. Let’s take Jesus as their exemplar for the purpose of achieving Flow state as Jesus did.

We call ourselves a Christian country, and seeing the hand touch of Biden on Macron it feels like we are what we say. There is love and shared humanity in that touch, humility in the gesture and kindness in the response. These qualities are not exclusive to any one group of human beings, in my worldview everyone, in their Self (#1 above), reverberates with these loving, forgiving values.

United we stand, divided we fall, has never been more true than today. Forget parties, who did what to whom, let’s forgive it all at once, one big forgiving, and get on with it, working cooperatively to overcome the numerous threats to our existence which we ourselves have created by spending lifetimes in states #2 and #3.

World leaders, readers, I’m not saying to stop what you’re doing, by all means, keep up the great work, just be sure to always do it in the spirit of true love, friendship, and forgiveness, so as to evoke the Flow state in yourself and in all of us. The more of us in the Flow state, the easier it is for the rest of us to get there, because we’re all connected.

No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man

is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;

if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe

is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as

well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine

owne were; any mans death diminishes me,

because I am involved in Mankinde;

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

–John Donne

Let’s each of us make ourselves and the people around us happy by staying in loving forgiving Flow all the time. We can do it. It’s just a matter of learning attitude control.

Like in an airplane. The rudder and ailerons are the control surfaces, and we have controls in our hands and feet. Except you are the airplane, and the control surfaces are inside you, you have to learn to use them.

Nothing else, I predict, is going to get the human race out of this befouled nest of our own making. It will be an upsurge in understanding that the solution lies within each one of us, that it isn’t just talk, it’s science.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi just passed away very recently. He coined the term Flow. He proved it was real by training the University of Chicago (where he was head of the psychology department) hockey team to win by inner attitude control. He was an advisor to my nonprofit Human Effectiveness Institute, which puts out this free course in a blog.

Beware of darkness, as George Harrison wrote, don’t let the world get you down, when you sense anything making you feel bad realize that you have slipped into either state 2 or 3, and get back into 1. Don’t make it bad, as the Beatles wrote in Hey Jude. It is what it is. Labelling it bad immediately lowers your effectiveness and your energy level. Don’t label it at all, just let it go and spring back to 1. That is the only thing you ever need to remember.

Let me leave you with a song that is just right for the moment, sing along below.

 

Love to all,

Bill

Get Together

Song by The Youngbloods

Love is but a song we sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Some may come and some may go
He will surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand, listen
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

Come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now

I said come on, people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another right now
Right now
Right now

 

MAKING YOUR LIFE GREAT DESPITE NOT GETTING ALL THE BREAKS

Created July 23, 2021

Forgive me, I must admit I wasn’t thinking of you, my regular readers, when I wrote this. I was writing this to your kids, or grandkids, or more likely to young people you may know who didn’t grow up nourished by your wisdom. Please do pass this along to anyone you know whom you feel could benefit from it, people who are having a hard time. Thanks!

67.7% of people with a net worth of $30 million or more today were not born into rich families. They made it on their own.

More than ever, some people born in poverty are making it. It’s the best time to be alive if you’re an average person without all the breaks. With the internet all of knowledge is available to you.

Now that I’ve gotten your attention by talking about money, let’s be clear that it isn’t the most important goal, it’s just something you need because of the way the world is set up. California is already beginning to move by cautious partial steps toward a guaranteed minimum income for everyone. Someday that may be the way the world works. For now, money is something to take into account in your planning, but it’s not the purpose of your life.

What’s really important is finding and doing your passion work. That also happens to be the way that you will be happier, more fulfilled, and more effective at everything in life. And it may also wind up making you the most money too, although you’d be happier doing your passion work and just getting by as far as money is concerned, than if you end up doing work that is just so-so for you, while making more money, having more one-night stands (which the culture has brainwashed young people to highly value), and owning more trophy things than your crowd.

While they may all continue to go down the other path of impressing others with mundane things, you ought to take the route that will make the most of your life, and of your gifts.

If you don’t think you are gifted, you haven’t made enough of an objective study of yourself. We all have things that we do better than most people. Things that you enjoy doing and which you do well are the clues to what you are alive to do.

Once you have studied yourself enough and have a vague glimmering or a specific idea of what you want to be doing for the rest of your life, then you need to set a first firm direction in life, select the kind of organization or the specific organization you want to work for, or you want to create. You may change course later on or not, but you need a first base to run to.

You just figure out where you could show your skills to the greatest degree, and go there, humbly learn the ropes, then stay humble.

Humility is another side of nobility.

Human collective unconscious probably programs the brain to enable humans to sense noble people. Such people are respected and their opinions sought.

How can you be noble?

Just take responsibility for doing good in every moment.

Be grateful every moment for being alive.

Be kind to everyone.

That’s all it is!

To summarize, you follow your strengths, envisioning the target state, act nobly with kindness.

A few simple rules that will take you to your destination.

Best to all,

Bill

Don’t Work Against Yourself

Created July 16, 2021

The above title seems obvious. “Who would knowingly work against one’s own best interests? Masochists maybe, but no normal person.”

Unfortunately, that is not the case. Practically all of us work against ourselves on a daily basis. The reason we do it is because we don’t realize the power of our own thoughts and feelings to program our behavior in ways that can seriously limit our success.

For example, we may feel and have thoughts about being jealous of another person or persons. As the clock ticks on and we let ourselves stay in that mental/emotional state, we don’t realize the damage we are doing to our self, and so we let it go on, as if there is no cost or consequence involved in spending time that way. The more time goes on without our actively curtailing that state, the more damage it is doing.

Jealousy is defined as “The thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, concern, and envy over relative lack of possessions, status or something of great personal value, particularly in reference to a comparator, a rival, or a competitor.”

Every second we allow ourself to dwell in that state we are sending signals to ourself, not only our conscious mind but also our subconscious, not only our left and front brain but also our right brain, not only our cortex but also our limbic system and cerebellum, that we find ourselves to be inadequate (insecurity), fearful, and lesser individuals to those we envy.

Our entire being, our body as well as our mind, get the message. In ways we don’t notice, we project those signals out to the world in our posture, facial and bodily gestures, we are broadcasting our perceived inadequacy to others as well as to our own inner being. If we do this often enough it becomes a self-refueling cycle that mounts and can destroy the achievement of our highest visions for ourself.

We owe it to ourselves to have at least a vague notion of the gifts we have which should determine the kind of work we want to do in the world. And armed with this compass, vague as it may be, to not allow any vagaries of mental habits to delay or destroy our chances of reaching the actualization of those dreams.

Once we form a notion of the direction, that must be the means by which we discipline ourselves to actualize, every second of every day. To do otherwise is to potential casually throw our lives away, and any time we spend in such a mode, is sending signals to our entire being that we don’t believe in our own gifts, we’re just going through the motions but are pretty sure it’s never going to pan out. That becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and not just because we are sending giveaway “tells” of our own lack of self-belief.

Any negative thought or feeling means you are not in your clearest state. If you were in the Flow state you obviously wouldn’t be thinking at all, just acting in total internal external synchrony. If you were in the Observer state you would be able to see that your negative thoughts are the opposite of constructive and that you are wasting time, you should thank your negative feelings for causing you to detect and focus on the solution of some real world problem, and then immediately get on to analyzing and coming up with the best plan of action so that such negative feelings at some point in the future will not arise at all.

If for example jealousy is internally detected, the first question is “If I could trade lives with that person, would I?” That usually brings the jealousy into a clearer context in which you can think about what you might do differently in order to have the things the envied person has without having to become them in any way, since you are likely to like yourself better, and not want the full package of that person’s entire life, you just envy certain things they have, like more money. This turns a fruitless and self-defeating morbid period of thinking and feeling time into a constructive Observer state higher clarity use of time that leads to test actions. A far better way of running your life, more creative, not petty, which makes your mind, resolve, and self-confidence stronger, your ability to achieve stronger. It gets you what you want if you never give up. You are not using your energy against itself.

The optimal moods are gratitude and kindness. Negative moods automatically give more power to the things that hurt you. Cultivate only positive use of your time and nothing can stand in your way.

Love to all,

Bill