“The Only thing standing between oneself and happiness is oneself. Live Happily, Ever After… Now!

9 Simple Steps to Create the Life YOU Want! is a guide for readers who want to push themselves towards a happier life and may not realize that to get what they want it may be simpler than you think. Discussing the barriers in one’s mind, understanding why we are the way we are, and more, Live Happily, Ever After… Now! is a helpful and thoughtful read that shouldn’t be missed by those looking for a life renovation.”- The Midwest Book Review “I have been reading books about the Law of Attraction, getting what you really want out of life, and living a successful life for many years. In the process of reading all of these various books, I have found some real gems. Live Happily, Ever After…NOW! is one of those gems. It takes all of the steps that you find in other books and puts them into a little simpler terms, easier to comprehend steps, that turn on a light bulb in your head.”- Books4moms blog “I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Live Happily ever After…Now! and the no-nonsense, non-preachy approach Drake chose to use. Did the book change me? Time will be the judge of that, but I am armed with the proper tools to achieve my goal. Live Happily Ever After…Now! is an excellent resource to help anyone achieve a happier life.”Jennifer Rundpinne’s blog “This isn't a rah-rah type of book, filled with platitudes that always fall a little short. This is a book written by a man who knows what he's talking about. Whether you employ these 9 steps completely or a little at a time, you'll notice a difference in your attitude and how other people interact with you.”- Marta’s Meanderings blog

Live Happily, Ever After… NOW!
9 Simple Steps to create the life YOU want!

By Terry M. Drake, LSW, NBCCH

Lake House Publishing Wellsboro, Pa

Live Happily, Ever After… Now!
Terry M. Drake, LSW, NBCCH

Published by: Lake House Publishing Wellsboro, Pa 16901, USA info@lakehousepublishingonline.com http://lakehousepublishingonline.com

Live Happily, Ever After… Now! © 2010 Terry M. Drake All rights reserved. Printed in the United States. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means whatsoever without the express written permission from the author. For information, address Lake House Publishing, 6 Helvetia St., Wellsboro, Pa 16901. First Edition This book may be purchased for educational, business or sales promotional use. For information please write: Special Markets Department, Lake House Publishing, 6 Helvetia St., Wellsboro, Pa 16901. Library of Congress Control Number: 2010904237 ISBN: 978-0-615-36086-7

Editor, JCP Bowen Cover design and Illustrations by Autumn Rumsey

Contents
About the Author Acknowledgments Disclaimer Introduction Pre-step Stretch: A few things you need to understand The Formula for Happiness Useful vs. Un-useful Habits Your Belief System Making sense of the formula Summary Step One Don’t think of purple elephants! I get what I want! How does it work? Thinking about what you want Implementing it into my thinking Helpful hints Summary Step Two Drop the Conspiracy Theories! What is a Conspiracy Theory? Drop your conspiracy theories! You are in control How do I change it? Summary Step Three If IT Works, Then Use IT! If what works? ix x xi 13

21 23 26 29 36

39 43 46 47 48 52

55 60 62 66 73

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Please yourself! No more! The affirmation Summary Step Four Have YOU Been Paying Attention? Why pay attention? Learn from me! No failure only feedback Helpful hints Summary Step Five Curiosity Killed the Cat! Did curiosity kill the cat? What is childlike curiosity? The idiom: Curiosity Killed the Cat Curiosity Explored Explore and Live! Summary Step Six Perfection is a MYTH! What is perfection? Perfectionist quiz The Perfectionist How do I change? Einstein a failure? Summary Step Seven If You Don’t, Then Who Will? You must take action! Who’s in control of you? Change yourself! Dare to be happy?

82 83 87 89

93 96 98 102 104

109 112 114 116 120 124

127 129 131 135 138 139

143 146 149 151

Decide and take action! Summary Step Eight Just Do It! The Nike Principle The Big Three Reversing the process Overcoming obstacles Summary Step Nine Fake it Till YOU Make It! Fake what? Do you want proof? Practice makes perfect! How to practice Summary Now What? Final note How to use this book My journey Wrap up Bibliography Index

152 155

159 160 163 166 168

171 172 173 175 181 185 186 187 189 199 203

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About the Author
Terry M. Drake is a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Certified Trainer of Ericksonian Hypnosis and NLP. He has spent the last 10 years learning about himself and others, through his academic studies resulting in his MSW and his professional studies, as a family therapist, clinical supervisor and vast training and research into hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming, the law of attraction and positive psychology. Terry is now ready to put these skills to use as an author, speaker, consultant and coach. Terry lives in Wellsboro, Pa with his wife and children.

Terry M. Drake, LSW, NBCCH Wellsboro, Pa 16901 Email: tdrake@livehappilyeverafter-now.com Phone: 800-429-3488

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Acknowledgments
I want to thank everyone who had a part in the completion of this project, whether they knew they did or not. To begin with I want to thank my wife, Lisa, and our children, Kaitlyn, Emileigh, Desiray and Preston, because they allow me the freedom and flexibility to spend the time it takes to accomplish my goals. I want to thank my parents, step-parents and in-laws; Sandy and Ray Osgood, Larry and Jackie Drake and Don and Linda West, for being supportive, encouraging and being available to help out a busy family, with busy schedules. I want to thank Ron Klien, my mentor and trainer, for opening a door in my life that has led me in directions I had only dreamt of. I want to thank CONCERN, the agency I work for, as well as Paul Rieger, my direct supervisor for giving me the freedom to grow as a supervisor and allowing me the opportunity to develop a new set of skills and confidence. One of the most important aspects to the completion of this project was the guidance and direction I received from my editor, Jen Bowen, thanks Jen. I want to thank Judy Pearson and Jill Cody, who provided me with extremely valuable feedback, which helped me to reevaluate my writing style. I want to thank John Higham, for our occasional breaks from the day-to-day, as well as his support and encouragement. I want to thank Autumn Rumsey, for her hard work on the cover design and illustrations, as well as being very easy to work with. I want to thank Dan Poynter for laying the foundation in Writing Nonfiction and for having a website full of valuable resources. Lastly, I want to thank all my co-workers, other family members and friends, thanks for being a part of my journey.

I sincerely thank all of these fine people, and I know they are proud of their contributions to the book.

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Disclaimer
This book is designed to provide information about the subject matter covered. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher and authors are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If legal or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. It is not the purpose of this manual to take the place of any medical or mental health treatment, rather to provide the reader with insights into the workings of the mind and the habitual development of un-useful habits, as well as ways to change this within. This book is not meant to replace any necessary treatment you may require to achieve a balanced and healthy life. So, if you have serious mental health or medical issues, it is recommended that you seek and receive appropriate treatment from a qualified physician or treatment provider. However, an individual, who is currently receiving appropriate treatment for their condition or diagnosis and is following through with recommendations, may find benefit from the information contained within this book. The purpose of this book is to educate, inspire and entertain. The author shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this book. If you do not wish to be bound by the above, you may return this book to the publisher for a full refund.

Introduction
“The North is to South what the clock is to time There’s east and there’s west and there’s everywhere life I know I was born and I know that I’ll die The in between is mine I am mine.” - lyrics to I Am Mine - Pearl Jam Riot Act Album, November 2002 Who is Terry Drake? Who am I? This is an interesting and important question, since it relates to how I got where I am and if I know what I’m talking about. First, I want you to know that my journey wasn’t always an easy one. I, like several of you, have struggled with my self-worth, with expressing myself, with my personal relationships, with understanding what I wanted, and how to change these things. I was able to change and began creating the life I wanted. By reading this book you will understand how I was able to do this, but most importantly you will learn how you too can change your life. I am going to teach you step-by-step how to become happier and more successful, however, before we begin your journey I want to share some background on who I am. To begin with, my name is Terry Michael Drake, born January 12, 1975. I was born in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. I grew up in Tioga and Potter County, PA. For those of you not familiar with these 2 counties, they are very rural and beautiful areas. However, being raised in a rural area, and the fact that the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s were transition periods in our society, I got to experience a different

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set of rules for how a child like me was handled growing up. This transition period was about how children were treated and raised by their families and communities. Things like positive reinforcement weren’t common knowledge and the predominant belief was that negative reinforcement and fear were the best ways to raise and educate children. Good discipline was considered an “ass beating” or spanking, depending on your family and children were regularly paddled for negative school behaviors. We can joke about this transition and comedians often do, because over the years we have evolved to be who we are and several still question if children should receive corporal punishment, but all agree that positive reinforcement and understanding strengths, as well as using these strengths to help teach children, are extremely important in shaping a child’s behaviors and teaching them about life. I am not here to talk about corporal punishment. However, I can attest to how constant negative reinforcement, the use of fear and “ass beatings”/spankings aren’t effective for hyperactive, sensitive children, who apparently aren’t learning anything from these methods of discipline. As a child I was easily bored and distracted. I chose to make some interesting choices to entertain myself both at home and school. These choices got me in regular trouble and I developed an oppositional attitude, regularly seeking negative attention from others. A famous and true story in our family circle is about the time my brother and I decided to throw a dozen eggs at the fireplace in our living room. I don’t really remember much of the details; we were quite young, 5 to 7 maybe. I do know that the living room

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was long and the fireplace was at one end, so I believe we were pitching at it. Trust me; my parents were not amused by what we did. In today’s world, I would have been labeled ADHD or Aspergers, possibly being prescribed a stimulant medication like Ritalin or Adderral and an antidepressant. These probably would have helped. I can tell you that none of the consequences deterred my behaviors and resulted in my oppositional defiance towards authority, which didn’t help. My combination of sensitivity, impulsivity, constant negative reinforcement, and oppositional behaviors, resulted in a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows during my adolescence. I was very angry during my adolescence and I didn’t understand it. I turned this anger inwards, resulting in bouts of depression and mood swings. I had poor self-esteem. I discovered drugs and alcohol, which helped me cope with social situations. In late adolescence, between the ages of 17 and 18, I would attempt suicide 3 times. They were attempts that were really cries for help; two times overdosing on pills, one of which resulted in a trip to the emergency room, and once purposefully wrecking my car. I was lucky to make it out alive and to have made it out without any serious legal troubles. After high school I took a year off before I started taking classes at a local community college. That fall, 1994, I found out I was going to be a father. This was a life changing event and resulted in my growing up and maturing. Even though I became a father and changed, I still struggled with anger and depression. My struggle resulted in continued difficulties with my relationships and I always wanted something

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better. I didn’t know what this something better was; I knew I didn’t have it, but I wanted it. During the next 5 years my battle would continue. I married my daughter’s mother and we separated a year after. I went on to graduate with my Bachelor in Social Work degree, start another relationship, move away for a year, then move back and begin graduate school. I had always known that I wanted to help other people, so I entered grad school and decided to be a family therapist. I wanted to help break the cycle of violence, anger, and depression within the family system. During this time I was feeling better about myself. However, I did continue to struggle with depression and needed medication to deal with mood swings and anxiety. I did much better during this 4 year period, but still wasn’t “happy” and did not always make the best choices. In the spring of 2003 I got a DUI and my life took a downward spiral into abuse of painkillers and cocaine for the next 2 years. During that period another relationship ended, my career nearly deteriorated, my role as a positive father figure declined, and I am lucky to have made it through alive. The relationship that ended was an unhealthy one, as I wasn’t happy with myself and made poor choices, which affected this area as well. My employment suffered, because I frequently cancelled appointments, called in sick, and was in a bad place. As a father, I became a horrible role model. I was disinterested in the outside world; my life revolved around drugs and regrets from my past. This one time my daughter was in a cheerleading program called mini-poms, which was for elementary aged girls and the girls were

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performing their routines during one of the varsity boys home basketball games. I attended, but was so paranoid from cocaine and needing to do more of it that I left early and didn’t return. My mom and stepdad were there too, yet I was so uncomfortable that I didn’t stay for the whole game and missed the halftime show. Now, I did see some of her routine and genuinely felt bad about my behavior, but guess what? I just did more drugs and wallowed in my selfpity. I had experimented with painkillers and other drugs, but during this period it became a real problem for me and nearly killed me a few times. I remember on more than one occasion, after taking a cocktail of painkillers and whatever else I could get my hands on, having to force myself to throw up and knowing if I didn’t I would die. Even after throwing up I wondered if I was going to wake up the next day. I hated my life. I tormented myself and didn’t care. I didn’t think about or try suicide during this period of my life, although I remember not wanting to be alive. I would begin again, in the spring of 2005. I had already started taking trainings in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP) and I began developing my new attitude and belief systems. Before this rebuilding stage, I was still depressed and angry, as I blamed others for my issues. I was like so many of you who struggle: making poor choices, coping with challenging or difficult experiences and refusing to get past them, constantly striving for unrealistic expectations, and looking for self-worth from others. I would begin my current relationship and employment, both of which have assisted me in my growth and development. My wife is very supportive and my current employment has given me the

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opportunity to develop my leadership skills and to grow as a professional. I was able to make leaps and bounds in my personal and professional lives as I re-evaluated my self, learning from my past and seeking feedback for a better present and future. I am currently pleased with my present situation and am happy. I have a plan to accomplish even more with my life, however am patiently headed in that direction, enjoying everything along the way. As a professional I am a Licensed Social Worker, National Board Certified Hypnotherapist, and Certified Trainer of NLP and Ericksonian Hypnotherapy. I am the Director of Community Based Services for a non-profit social service agency, which provides a variety of behavioral and mental health services to children and families. I am also developing a private practice, consulting, and speaking/training business. Personally, I am happily married with a threeyear-old daughter, a fourteen–year-old daughter, fifteen-year-old step-daughter, and thirteen-year-old step-son. I am very happy with my life and where I am headed. Now, I still have my ups and downs, but I have learned how to handle things that come my way and make the best of them. I learn from everything and have a healthy outlook on life. I have used the principles outlined in this book and continue to use them. It’s pretty easy for me now. However, I still have to remind myself of the steps from time to time and catch myself. In my quest for helping others reach their true potential, I decided to offer my formula for happiness and the steps I used to change my life. It follows in this book.

Introduction
How did I change?

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I spent time and money learning to discover the simple steps that I have outlined in this book for you. This is okay. My plan was to learn and use my knowledge to help others. I have developed my new beliefs and positive attitude based on trainings and studies in NLP, Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, and various other concepts like the Law of Attraction, The Sedona Method, and others that came my way through my research. One of the more significant experiences that I had was a few years back when I went through the Quit for Good™ program to quit smoking. This program was taught to me and provided to me by Ron Klien, my mentor and trainer in NLP and Ericksonian Hypnosis. I was very successful and I have not had a cigarette since then. However, most importantly, I feel that this was the catalyst helping me become a doer. Shortly after my experience with Ron, I began my private practice and started developing the new found confidence and attitude towards life that I now enjoy. For you, I have taken what I consider the most important aspects of my growth and broken them down into 9 easy steps. I have done this so you too can benefit from my experiences, research, and the lessons that I have learned. Now, you too can live and enjoy the life you want. Enjoy and best wishes. Terry M. Drake, LSW, NBCCH

Pre-step Stretch: A few things you need to understand
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” - Charles R. Swindoll b. 1934 The formula for Happiness What is the formula for happiness? As if there is a secret formula, which you could mix up a batch of in the lab. Well, actually it isn’t even that complicated. You don’t need the lab, you don’t need to mix any solutions, and that wouldn’t result in real happiness. As funny as this notion seems, our society has jumped on board with this idea. You are told a medication will help with all your problems. You are bombarded with advertisements about how much better life

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would be with a cold beer or how you will be happy once you buy that new car. I can confidently tell you that without a change in your beliefs you will not find true happiness. Medications, relaxing moments, alcohol, and material things can help you enjoy your life, but alone they will never bring you true happiness. Permanent success and happiness will only come from within and only by making changes to the way you think about yourself and others.

Now, there is a simple formula for happiness and the best part about it is that it is already within you. Not only is it within you, it is under your control. It is also much easier than you think to lead a happy and successful lifestyle. Most of you don’t realize or fully understand this and that is okay. The most interesting fact is that you already use the

Pre-step Stretch
formula, you just don’t understand it yet and that results in your continued unhappiness. Beliefs (Perception + Feedback+ Choice) = Happiness Attitude

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That is the formula for happiness. When it equals unhappiness it is due to a negative attitude. A negative attitude impacts your perception, then your feedback reinforces your perception and the choices you make. The results; a continued cycle and you don’t understand it. When you have a negative attitude it is impossible to enjoy anything or to be truly successful. Several people believe that simply changing your attitude will result in your desired change. However, it is slightly more complicated than that. The reason most people fail when they just change their attitude is due to a lack of understanding and the various factors that affect your attitude. These concepts and more are explained throughout this book. This book will help you understand everything you need to change your beliefs, attitude, and perception. This book will also help you understand and accept feedback so you can make healthy choices. Useful vs. Un-useful Habits Everyone wants to be happy and successful! Those of you who struggle with this have most likely made several attempts to change your attitude and outlook on life. However, you continue to struggle. The reason for this is the fact that your mind easily slips back into the attitude and feelings associated

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with your unhappiness. It will until you train it otherwise. Your mind can only be consciously aware of 47 things at any one time so it develops “habits” which your unconscious mind uses to help you function efficiently and effectively. These habits are both useful and un-useful. An example of a useful habit is when you approach a door, look at the handle and know how to open it. You don’t have to consciously think out the steps to open the door, because your mind has developed useful habits for recognizing and understanding this process. These habits, both useful and un-useful, are in the form of internal representations, based on images, thoughts and feelings. This whole process frees up your conscious awareness, so you can pay attention to other things. Un-useful habits happen the same way. However, the results are undesirable. Un-useful habits are most prevalent in people who have addictions or struggle in certain areas of their lives. Take smokers, they have an internal process that results in the need to light up a cigarette, and if they resist, the result is an internal battle that increases their tension and stress. This process is the same for how your attitudes and beliefs, which guide your behaviors and actions, are so quickly acted on. Useful and un-useful beliefs operate automatically, creating continued unhappiness. “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character for it becomes your destiny.” - Author unknown

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This means that when you are faced with your day-to-day activities and situations, you will automatically be in either a good mood with a positive attitude or a bad mood with a negative attitude. Then, as you encounter people and situations, you will automatically respond based on your habitual way of thinking and behaving. Not fully understanding the process of automatic, habitual thinking, results in unhappiness and mood swings that you feel you have no control over. Your habits in thinking have a life’s worth of experience, which have confirmed that they are the correct way to think and feel about yourself and those around you. Regardless of how good or bad your childhood experiences were, you grew up with both useful and un-useful thinking habits. These habits result in your continued struggles. As you grew, your views about yourself and others were continually reinforced and became beliefs. Your beliefs are very strong and you use your past and present experiences to confirm them. If you believe that you aren’t good enough, then this message is constant in your mind and will be true throughout your life experiences. You will hold yourself back, set yourself up for failure and view feedback in a manner that reinforces your belief. Even when you find success, you will wonder what is going to happen to ruin the moment or how long before your luck runs out.

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“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” - Marcus Aurelius 121-180 Your Belief System The most interesting fact about your belief systems are that they developed during your childhood. Before you even entered adolescence and adulthood, your fears, concerns, and thoughts about yourself and others were already formed. You developed these by your interactions with the adults and peers who were involved in your life. An example of how an un-useful belief is formed is as follows: A three-year-old child wants attention from his father, so the child jumps on his father’s lap and interrupts him. The father’s response is, “Hey, what are you doing?” followed by “Not now I am busy. Go bother your mom!” The child of three then internalizes this experience and tells himself that

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he is not good enough for dad. Then between the ages of 3 and 6 this message is reinforced by the father and other adults. The message then becomes, I am not good enough and should keep quiet. The boy begins to believe this and live as if it were true, maybe forever, or until he learns differently. This, most likely, wasn’t the message that the father wanted to pass onto his son. However, you must remember it was a young child who was processing the information. The messages you received throughout childhood affected who you are today. These messages were interpreted by you to mean something and that meaning was solely based on the self, because early in life it was all about you; how you felt about a message, then how it related to you, and finally how you fit into the world because of the message. Whether the message had a positive intention or was an act by an unhealthy adult taking advantage of a child, the child’s perception was internalized, processed, and the message shaped how the child thought about himself and others. “Life is a train of moods like a string of beads; and as you pass through them they prove to be many colored lenses, which paint the world their own hue, and each shows you only what lies in its own focus.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson 1803-1882 A child doesn’t understand the concepts that adults do, so he believes that, If dad won’t play with me, then he doesn’t like me. Remember, this is three-yearold logic. Once a child develops a message about his experience and encounters additional events that he believes reinforce it, then it becomes a belief. Over time the memory of the experiences are lost, although, the attitude and perception developed based on this belief result in the feeling that you have no choice in

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the matter; it just is. Having negative beliefs result in your continued unhappiness and inability to change. Once you have your beliefs, they will shape the choices you make and the chances you take. These beliefs become quick messages that automatically play in your mind when you think about making changes or trying new things. When the messages are unuseful they result in your being unsuccessful and unhappy. You already live by the formula for unhappiness; it is based on your experiences and is tainted by your un-useful attitudes and beliefs. Little Emileigh, my three-year-old daughter, is able to verbalize her perception of the messages she gets from others. She also acts pretty quickly on them, too. If you think it’s hard to change your beliefs, imagine trying to change a stubborn three-year-olds belief and the resulting tantrum that may happen. My wife and I feel fortunate that she does verbalize her perception, because it gives us an opportunity to clarify our intentions. Here is an example: Emi is refusing to sit in her car seat while we are driving down the highway. Finally, in a stern voice I say, “Emileigh, you need to sit in your seat. Right now!” She gets in her seat. However, she begins to cry and says to her mom, “Daddy said, Emileigh sit in you seat. Daddy hurt my feelings and he thinks I am bad!” It breaks my heart to hear these things, although it gives me a chance to clarify. “Emileigh, Daddy is upset with you. He loves you and wants you to be safe in the car.”

Pre-step Stretch
Making sense of the formula “It is never too late to have a happy childhood.” - Tom Robbins b. 1936

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To fully understand the formula for happiness, you need to understand all the factors involved in the equation. When you don’t understand the concepts presented in this book it will make your attempts at living a happy and successful life difficult if not impossible. Once you understand the concepts, then you will be ready to take control over your life and learn from the lessons in this book. Belief is a state in which you firmly think and feel something to be true. Your beliefs can be thought of as building blocks for your conscious thoughts and actions. Most interesting is that your beliefs are generally formed early in your life. Your beliefs are not necessarily factual or could even be proven to be true. Since this is the case, they don’t always make sense. You hold your beliefs closely to who you are and how you think about the world. Unless you closely examine your beliefs, even though they don’t always make sense, you will just accept them as true. It is not until your beliefs create significant problems for you that you even pay attention to them. You don’t even realize you have certain beliefs. However, they greatly influence your life and everything you do, as they are the most important aspect of who you are, this is because they shape your life, your choices, and your attitudes. The reason is simple: because you think they are true you act as such. If you have un-useful, negative beliefs about yourself and others, it will result in a negative attitude, affecting your thoughts and actions. This occurs instantly, which is why you

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aren’t fully aware that it happens. From time to time it slips out in statements you make, such as “I could never do that”; “I’m just not smart enough”; “If it weren’t for bad luck then I’d have no luck at all,” as well as other un-useful messages about who you are and your abilities. Your attitudes are judgments and they go hand and hand with your emotions. Your attitudes are emotional responses expressing your degree of preference. When you have negative beliefs about yourself and others, then your emotional response is going to be predominately negative. You will have a negative attitude, which will affect your thought process, your actions, and your outlook on life. Your attitude affects your perception, feedback, and choices. Your attitude also drives your behaviors and feelings. In order to feel and act happy, then you need a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude makes for a longer and happier life. It also allows you to be more flexible and open to possibilities. “Your attitude toward life determines life’s attitude towards you.” - John N. Mitchell 1913-1988 Your perception is your awareness and understanding of your world. It is a result of the compilation of your past experiences, your beliefs, and your interpretation of what you perceived. Your perception is so strong that you don’t understand how much control you have over it, like your attitude, it is believed to just be what it is. Your perception is based on how you experience the world, which is through your 5 senses.

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What you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel is how you perceive and make sense of your world. Predominately, you use your sense of sight, smell, and feeling the most. Any one of your 5 senses can trigger certain memories or emotions. You have heard stories or have your own of how certain things can trigger a memory, like the smell of baking and the association one makes to their grandmother, who loved to bake. How you perceive and understand the world: - What you see - What you hear - What you feel - What you smell - What you taste Imagine walking down a city street past a bakery. As you pass the bakery’s open door, the smell of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies floats through the air and you stop to breathe it in. Suddenly, you are transported back to your grandmother’s kitchen, where, as a young child, you often eagerly waited for your grandmother’s fresh baked treats. You then reflect back to what a wonderful woman your grandmother was and a smile appears on your face. “Perception is strong and sight weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” - Anonymous Well, just as the 5 senses can trigger happy memories, they can trigger unhappy ones. When you have negative beliefs and attitudes towards life, your memories are tainted and a happy memory like the one described could just as easily be dramatic and

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upsetting. If you have a negative attitude towards yourself and others, then your past, present, and future experiences will be affected by this and result in unhappy experiences. Human beings are part of a constant feedback loop, which you use to navigate through life. Whenever you do something, such as interact with another person, after you complete an action, what takes place next is your feedback. How a person responds to you and your actions will then determine your next actions. This feedback loop occurs all the time, whether you are working on a project alone or with others, feedback must occur. Feedback is affected by your attitude and perceptions, which in turn affects the choices you have or believe you have. Those who are unhappy or unsuccessful do not understand the feedback process and instead use it to reinforce their pre-established misconceptions about themselves and others. If you think, nobody likes me and I’m stupid, then your actions will reflect this. This creates the feedback loop you live your life by and since you don’t understand it, it serves to reinforce your negative beliefs. “I discovered I always have choices and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude.” - Anonymous Choice is the presence of options and choosing your mental process as you judge your options and then decide your actions. This action can be thinking and or it can be behaviors, usually a combination of both. Having choices is generally a good thing. However, when you don’t understand that you have choices, then you have limited your options.

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You may truly think there is nothing you can do about it. Even when you believe that you can do something, you don’t fully understand the concepts discussed in this book, so you end up with several “hit and miss” attempts at happiness. This results in more frustration and confusion, as some of you give up or fail to learn from your “hits.” When your results are inconsistent it is due to a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding is related to what was or needs to be done to consistently accomplish your desired results. In order for you to consistently get the results you want, then you need to understand how you get them. This book will help you understand the formula for success and happiness as it translates into everything you do. Then you will know how to consistently get the results you want. You now understand what beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, feedback, and choices are. They are your judgments and mental thought processes, which create your understanding about yourself and the world you live in. They are based on and influenced by your 5 senses, past experiences and beliefs you developed along the way. They are closely related and one will affect the others, as well as affect the end results. However, your beliefs are the most important aspect of the equation and the process. Healthy and positive beliefs plugged into any scenario will result in different results. Beliefs will affect your thinking, attitude, and actions determining how feedback is perceived. Most importantly is the simple fact that you have control over all of these aspects, especially your beliefs, once you understand them.

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You can choose to think positively and be open to your experiences. When you choose to do this, then you perceive things differently and enjoy them or at least deal with them productively. You learn from your feedback and modify accordingly so that you get your desired results. You are also able to recognize the choices you have available to you and choose those which will best help you get the results you want. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” - Sir Winston Churchill 1874-1965 On the bottom of this page and the next page are some scenarios, about how attitude affects others. Which one are you? And which one do you want to be?

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Summary

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Since you now have a basic understanding of how your beliefs, attitudes, perceptions, and feedback are under your control and that you have a choice in the matter, then this book will help you understand how to live happily. You will better understand how your beliefs are shaped, how they continue to be reinforced, and how outside influences contribute to your issues. You will learn the various traps that one can fall into, as well as solutions to avoid these to develop consistent, healthy, and positive beliefs. Once this is established you can then learn that feedback is everywhere, how you can learn from it, and how you use it to your advantage. The feedback you receive from your interactions with others and yourself is very important. It will help you achieve success and keep you moving in the right direction. It will also allow you to be happy with your efforts, regardless of the initial results. You have heard that the choice is yours and that it is up to you. Well it is! However, if you don’t fully understand this, then how can you benefit from it? You can’t. This book will help you understand the control that you have and open your mind to the choices you have. This book will help you change your life, but it is not meant to take the place of other help you might need. It can be a stand alone method for changing your life or it may need to be used as an adjunct to other methods. Some people need the help of counselors or life coaches to reach their true potential. Some need medications to stabilize a chemical imbalance in their brain, which, if unaddressed, may prevent happiness. Make sure you take care of what you need to and enjoy your life to the fullest.

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Finally, this book will encourage and motivate you to take action. To create the happiness and success you desire you are going to have to take action, you will understand how to do this and how to develop the skills necessary for consistent success. By the final chapters you will understand all that you need to, to create the life you want and the final step will require you to take action and create it. You made the choice to be happy and successful, which resulted in the action it took to buy this book. Now, your next action is to read the book and finally implement the strategies in the book to create the success you desire. “This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when your spirit sags, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.” - Author unknown

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The Chihuahua and the Leopard

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A lady takes her pet Chihuahua with her on a safari holiday. Wandering too far one day the Chihuahua gets lost in the bush, and soon encounters a very hungry looking leopard. The Chihuahua realizes he's in trouble, but, noticing some fresh bones on the ground, he settles down to chew on them, with his back to the big cat. As the leopard is about to leap, the Chihuahua smacks his lips and exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more around here." The leopard stops mid-stride, and slinks away into the trees. "Phew," says the leopard, "that was close - that evil little dog nearly had me." A monkey nearby sees everything and thinks he'll win a favor by putting the stupid leopard straight. The Chihuahua sees the monkey go after the leopard, and guesses he might be up to no good. When the leopard hears the monkey's story he feels angry at being made a fool, and offers the monkey a ride back to see him exact his revenge. The little dog sees them approaching and fears the worse. Thinking quickly, the little dog turns his back, pretends not to notice them, and when the pair is within earshot says aloud, "Now where's that monkey got to? I sent him ages ago to bring me another leopard..." - Author unknown

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