Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category
In my last few posts on human needs, we talked about how people have needs for certainty, variety, significance, love & connection and growth. The last need left for us to discuss is contribution. If we think of our needs in pairs, growth and contribution go together. These two needs usually appear last, after we have found ways of attaining the other four needs.
Unlike some of the other needs, growth and contribution are not in conflict with each other. They do not need to be in balance. Rather, the more we have of one, the more we have of the other one.
In the last chapter, I gave some examples to increase personal growth. In this chapter, I will cover examples to improve contribution.
Contribution is any act or intention to act that improves the position of others. It can be a physical improvement or even an emotional improvement. If the interaction has made the other person feel better, even in a small way, you have contributed to someone else’s life.
Our brains are full of neurons – synaptic connections that link our life experiences to our emotions. Think of them as wires. Some are conscious and some are subconscious. The Be Happy in LIFE program takes people though the process of noticing their wires, evaluating them, choosing good wires and changing wires on the way to happiness.
Every client who takes a journey with us reaches their happiness goal. We bring the knowledge and all it takes is a bit of courage. I will share the knowledge with you here and all you need to do is gather some courage to make lasting changes.
So, how do we change our wires?
The key is to choose what you want to think.
The first 4 needs we discussed (variety and certainty, significance and love and connection) may interfere with each other and are in constant strive for balance. The last two needs that people have are the need for growth and for contribution. Unlike the first 4 needs, these needs help and support each other in order to achieve a higher level of fulfillment.
It is estimated that we need to have our first four needs met before we are able to grow and contribute. For example, it is very hard for people to give when they do not have certainty. Think about it. How easy is it for someone to give their time when they are working 14 hours each day to provide for their family? How easy is it for you to invest in growing, learning, developing, when you are busy trying to fit in with others who think learning and developing are not socially favorable? Not very easy, right?
Love and connection are needs that we all have from the day we are born, right up until the day we die. Here are some examples of gaining/expressing/feeling love and connecting with others. Please remember that what is seen as a positive way of achieving love and connection for one, may be considered negative by another. For growth to happen, we each have to go through this process on our own.
Being in a loving relationship
Research on relationships, health, wealth and wellbeing proves that those who live for a long time and are happy together are those who stay in their relationship for many years. It can be relationship with another person or with a whole community. Every time we connect with someone else and the communication or connection is positive, we fill up our love tank.
Last time we talked about the snake brain. Even though our brain has 3 parts, each with different functions, the primitive snake brain is far superior when we are stressed. It has two main functions: (1) food (yummy, yummy!) and (2) protecting us from danger with a fight or flight response. Meanwhile, the puppy brain stores information as emotions and uses them to navigate us. For example, on a conscious level, we would label all kinds of anger with the same five letters: a.n.g.e.r. The puppy brain is able to distinguish between “I was slightly angry”, “I was angry”, “I was very angry” and “I was soooooooo angry”. In the brain, the feeling is stored along with its intensity.
Whenever something happens to us, the puppy brain searches our emotion bank for similar feelings we experienced in the past. This helps it decide how to translate the new information.
Even though our company slogan is that happiness is a choice, a lot of people tell me they have things in their lives that make them unhappy and they did not choose them. This is true! I have things like that too. While we might not always be able to choose to have things that make us happy, we all have the choice to decide what to do with the things we have.
I think the question of choice is very sensitive. Mainly because lots of our thoughts, feelings and beliefs are formed in the subconscious mind, the part of the brain that is hidden from us and seems like a complete mystery. Our minds are like an iceberg. The conscious mind is just the tiny tip sticking out of the water, while the subconscious is the massive body underneath that is in charge of 90% of our actions. How can we choose to control something we have no access to?
All we need to do is change our perception of our subconscious. It is actually within our control to change. We have a lot of access to our brains. In fact, we access our subconscious every second but we do it so fast and naturally that we do not even notice. Slowing down and noticing what is happening to us, can help greatly make good and happy choices.
A heap of songs and endless movies discuss love in all its forms. Some say that it is one of the most important feelings and that it rules the world. Others consider it the only feeling that exists, while all other feelings are simply the lack of it.
Our need to be loved and to be connected to the world around us starts even before birth. It starts during the 9 months of relationship we have with our mother, wrapped up inside of her and waiting for our first meeting with the world on our birth day. It continues on until the end of our lives. Everyone wants to love, everyone wants to be loved, everyone wants to feel connected and belong. It could be an instinct that we used throughout evolution in order to survive, or maybe it is a social need. For whatever reason, our well-being depends highly on others from the second we are born.
While most people think that love is an emotional need, research done on the connection to parents and caring for babies thinks otherwise. It was discovered that children who grew up in orphanages, who were only fed and cleaned, and who did not receive love and affection showed severe developmental and cognitive delays and even permanent damage to the brain. So, love in not only needed for our well-being but has a huge impact on our abilities to think, connect, maintain our health, succeed and live long.
My mission today is to convince you, my readers, that even though we dedicate most of our energy to changing the circumstances of our lives, we would better off using most of it to change the beliefs that are causing them.
Every thought in our minds is either weak or strong, healthy or unhealthy for us. It is amazing how much energy we dedicate to strengthening each of our beliefs, whether they are healthy for us or not. This is done at a completely subconscious level. Whatever we think is an interpretation of the things around us, which we distort and delete to support our beliefs. If we think we are awesome and wonderful, we will interpret, delete and distort what is happening to us to strengthen this belief. Next time, our belief that we are awesome and wonderful will be even more solid. It is unfortunate that in the same way, if we think we are worthless and helpless, we will interpret, delete and distort what is happening to us to strengthen this belief. The thought that we are helpless and worthless gets more and more solid.
As you can see from my example, strengthening our beliefs works to our advantage only if we have healthy beliefs. It causes us discomfort and pain if we hold unhealthy ones.
Significance is the quality of being worthy and special. Everyone is different so everyone wants to feel special in some way. Significance is not a desire but a need that people cannot live without. We all have this need to feel unique and different.
If you have ever watched parents or siblings when a baby has just come home from the hospital, you can see that the baby gets lots of attention. It can be asleep in a crib, opening its eyes, or doing nothing all and everyone is still fascinated. To all mothers and fathers, their baby is the most beautiful thing in the world. Why? Because their baby is special to them.
The desire to be special starts at birth and is essential to physical and emotional development in babies. This was investigated in a study conducted on babies in an orphanage. It was found that those who were given care but not attention did not developed physically and emotionally due to lack of touch and attention. Babies who had a replacement mother figure, (regardless of gender) who gave them attention developed properly.
Variety is a sense of change, interest and adventure that we all need in order to feel alive.
Have you ever been in a job or relationship where you have been totally certain that you could do it forever? And then suddenly you got bored? Did you ‘play’ with it to make it more fun? Lots of people do!
Doing the same things over and over again can be boring and people are willing to do a lot to feel lively. Sometimes they will even do things that are harmful for them.
Variety and certainty are very much connected to each other. They sit on either side of a scale that needs to be in constant balance. When we have too much certainty we reach a level where we are running on automatic. We look for a change to break up the monotony and bring some interest.