Freud: Happy? "No, just less miserable."
For a long time now, particularly ever since I discovered the phenomenon of mindset immunity, I've been very interested in human happiness. Or should I say lac of it. (See I suspect that there might be a happiness deficit in the world today.) I had a hunch that there might be tons of people just like myself who are interested in happiness and how to make it stick around longer.
As I researched the topic of happiness I, naturally, ran into many references to the field of psychology. One in particular was Sigmund Freud. He was known widely as the founder of psychoanalytic school of psychiatry, a branch of medicine where it's practitioners try to make their patients better through analyzing things like dreams but Freud, as it turns out, was quite a pronounced pessimist and I'm guessing not that very happy a guy himself.
Flooded with clients who had lost their joy of life I think in time he must have caught what ever unhappiness bug it was that they had. Whatever the case it must have resulted in a man who eventually concluded that happiness and hope might be close in the dictionary listings but that's about as close as they got. Check out what he had to say about happiness:
- "It's a doomed craft. It's propelled by infantile aspects of the individual that can never be met in reality."
- "One feels inclined to say that the intention that man should be happy is not included in the plan of creation."
Whoa! And he was a doctor!
I think that old Sig should have forgotten his head and had is gut examined instead. If he had perhaps he'd now be listed among today's innovative researchers like Dr. Michael Gershon. Dr. Gershon you see is a professor as well as chairman of the Anatomy and Cell Biology department at Columbia University Hospital in New York City. He's the guy who noticed that the human gut contains large amounts of feel-good chemistry and brain cells exactly like the one's found in the head.
Not only that though. According to Dr. Gershon the millions of neurons in the gut qualifies them to be recognized as a brain all by themselves. He even wrote a book on it called "The Second Brain" in which he describes in detail the disorders and the mysteries of what he calls the enteric nervous system.
The moment back in 1996 when I first heard about his discovery made that a red-letter day for me. I was looking for something concrete to put into context the incredible results I was seeing with attendees at my seminars who had just used my H.E.R.O. search tool. They all reported a strong feeling of happiness and solidness eminating from an area just below the rib cage. Thanks to Dr. Gershon I now I know how to frame an explaination for it. One that I will be using extensively in my soon-to-be-released DVD entitled "Immune To Failure".
I happen to believe that happiness is a part of our birthright. After all don't we normally all start out that way? Only taking on sadness and despair usually much later in life? Now, when I talk about happiness I'm not talking about the showy over-the-top jovial Santa-type happy but a steady ability to weather the storms that existence sometimes throws at us. Happiness has to be authentic. The smile on a used car salesman's face is for example quite different than that which comes to us from a new mom who sees her baby for the first time.
No contest right?
Here's an interesting video on happiness from a TED seminar by the famed luminary of positive psychology Mihaly Czikszentmihaly.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXIeFJCqsPs[/youtube]
One day I was wondering about how happiness was being prioritized by business people on the web. I wondered how it effected their mindset so I wanted to ask a multiple-choice question.
I'm a member of the popular Warrior Forum so I posted a new thread and asked. Here's the results I got after the thread had been going for just under 200 days: The title of the thread was " Which of these is your top priority?" In this poll I asked people to weigh in on a short list of things:
My number one priority in life would be: (Please choose one)
1) More happiness
2) More time
3) More money
4) Other (please note a short description)
Results are In!
Here are the details for the poll as to the end of February 2010: a total of 196 days. Total views: 1,822 Total Responded: 123 Here's the choices they made:
More Happiness: 58
More Time ——- 9
More Money —- 21
Other ————- 20
Not clearly selected: 14
It was obvious early on that happiness was going to trump all other choices. Interestingly, those who choose "More money" felt that they had to explain themselves even if in a very brief sort of apologetic way.
Those who chose happiness more often than not just made the one brief statement: "I choose happiness". No apologetic reason ever seemed to be needed although some did make statements concerning the state of the world.
Seems the exercise did reveal quite a bit about the state of some people's mindset wouldn't you agree?