the pursuit of happiness requires action!

pursuit requires action.jpg

In order to pursue happiness we need to act - we need to take intentional and consistent actions that bring the sources of happiness into our lives. Doing healthy activities. Learning, teaching, mentoring ... connecting with others, prayer, contemplation, meditation, serving others ... these are all actions that induce happiness ...


courage is needed

to take decisive action

when others will not


The Pursuit of Happiness requires Action!

Hello -- Marc with the Gunnar Project.  I want to talk to you a little bit about action -- as we encourage people to pursue happiness every day, this pursuit doesn’t happen without any action, and I want to just get you thinking about action just a little bit and share with you some of the ideas that I’ve come across as I’ve looked at this whole concept of happiness.  

Some of the things that really inhibit action or create non-action -- one of these is a concept that I thought about for many years, but back in the ancient days of Japan, there were Samurai -- you guys have probably heard of Samurai -- and the really cool thing that I always admired about Samurai was the fact that the whole idea for the Samurai, his whole job, was to protect his leader and they woke up in the morning and said, “The most glorious way that I could die today would be to jump in front of an arrow and take an arrow in the heart for my leader and die protecting my leader.”  That was the most most glorious way that a Samurai could die.  Because of that, because that’s the way that they thought about their life, they made sure every single morning that they had their life in order -- they told the people who they loved that they loved them, if they had an argument with their buddy the day before, they made sure that they would rectify that argument and say “Dude, I apologize, I was out of hand here… are we okay -- I want to make sure that our friendship is intact.”  They would get all of their affairs in order, because they full well thought that they might die in defense of their leader.  

We, today, don’t think that -- right? -- I didn’t wake up this morning thinking, “You know what?  I might not live today, therefore I need to go out, I need to seize every opportunity and I need to make sure that my loved ones know that I love them, and I need to really button down all these hatches…”  I don’t think I’m gonna die today and so there’s sort of part of me in the back of my head that says, “well… I can put that off ‘til tomorrow…”   That creates non-action!

Another thing that creates non-action is this whole idea that this action that I’m going to take, and we’ve talked about this a little bit before, but the action that I’m going to take is just a big jump. It’s something that is going to be very large for me to encounter and so I need to sort of rally the forces around this a little bit -- I need to wait until next week, or I need to wait until next month and make sure that I’m fully ready because this thing that I’m going to do -- this next thing that I’m going to go out and accomplish is a pretty big thing.  Almost by definition, you know that that is probably the wrong way to look at that, right?  If you are going to accomplish this big thing, it’s probably a series of little things that’s going to take you to be able to get there, and I really need to be concerned with this first little thing -- and this first little thing should be something that’s really easy for me to do.  That is going to encourage me to go do it!  And then I’m going to go do the next little thing, and the next little thing, and because I’m going to do this whole series of these little things, I might not be able to get this all done by Friday… it might take me another month to be able to get this done, but I’m on a road to get it done, and because I’m thinking about this the correct way, this is actually creating action -- and all these that I’m working on are things that are going to be do-able because they’re broken down into these actionable pieces.  

The other interesting thing is sort of the way that our brains work, and again, I’ll use a diet as a sort of an example here, but, let’s say that I’m a little bit overweight.  I know that I need to lose weight and I’m finally to the point where I just have to do something.  I really feel in my heart of hearts that I’ve got to do something about losing weight.  So I get in my car, and I drive to the bookstore, and I look through all the books at the bookstore and I find a diet and here’s something that I think I could do.  I really resonate with this diet, and I read through the book a little bit while I’m sitting there, and me doing that allows for brain chemicals to sort of release in my mind because I’m sitting here thinking about “Wow, this is going to be great -- I’m going to exercise like this, and I’m going to eat like this, and I’m going to lose this weight and I’m going to look good, and I’m going to be able to fit into my jeans…” and the process of me going through that gives me the dopamine and serotonin trigger in my mind, so that it actually takes the pain away enough so that I don’t actually act.  And it’s important to understand sort of how that whole concept works -- I think you can see what I mean:  I visualize myself doing this to the point of where it sort of takes the pain away from not doing it, and that in turn, creates non-action.  So it’s sort of a vicious cycle that puts you into this state of non-action.

Again, figuring out as you go to pursue happiness and you go to start accomplishing some of these things that you know are going to bring happiness into your life -- breaking these up into small doable pieces that are going to encourage action instead of encouraging non-action is a very important component to all of this.  If you don’t act, none of this is going to happen of it’s own accord.

Marc with the Gunnar Project, thanks for listening -- and I look forward to talking to you again.  Bye.