Hi, I’m Paul Krismer your happiness expert.
Really really you want to be happy. You want to want it really badly. Then it’s really hard to be happy. The more we want something, the more we want to be happy, this craving comes up inside me… I feel it so badly, I want to be happy! I want to be happy! All I can be aware of is my lack of happiness. It’s terrible, in the pursuit of happiness I become unhappy. In this current societal focus on positive feelings, that can be a really bad thing. This whole issue of what we want most, we feel least is something called the backwards law. In this post I’m not only gonna explain this important deep eastern philosophy, I’m gonna tell you how you get out of it a little bit too, so stay tuned.
As a coach public speaker and best-selling author, I teach topics just like this one all around the world. So stay tuned and I’ll give you practical tools that you can use to make both yourself and those around you both happier and more successful. So what exactly is this backwards law? The philosopher Alan Watts amongst others talks at length about this idea. In a nutshell it’s this idea that the more attachment I have to something, the more I want some particular accomplishment or acquisition, the more that thing feels difficult to have.
If I gave a metaphor it’s like swimming in a current. The water’s coming at me and I really want to get over there. Here the water is coming up, swimming is so hard with the currents rushing against me. I can’t get to where I want to go! So I just work harder and I swim. I’m putting all my power to it, I’m getting exhausted and I’m still not getting to where I want to go. We have to find somehow to work with the current. Or maybe it’s a simple in this case of turning around and letting the current take you to shore and then walk up to the edge to where you want to go. There’s another way to get there and a lot of what we want in life is exactly like that. We push against the current and it’s the fact that our wanting exists that creates the current. So when we’re wanting happiness we want, we want and we want. We become more and more aware of how we don’t have until the more I focus on becoming happy the more it is I’m aware of the lack of happiness. Sadness is just the same.
The more is I’m hating sadness: “I really can’t stand this, I’m feeling so awful. I don’t like it, I don’t like it.” The more I’m aware of how bad I feel, I’m the hating that’s in me and the lack of acquisition of “not sad” that I’m feeling. I become sadder and sadder and sadder. The same with loneliness. “Oh gosh I’m feeling so lonely, I’m all by myself.” I’m even more aware of how lonely I am. Then I say “Well I must not be a very good person because nobody’s hanging out with me, so now I’m even more lonely and desperate and unhappy.”
That’s the backwards law. The things that you want get more difficult to acquire. I don’t want sadness and so you get more sadness. I do want happiness and the lack of happiness seems more and more apparent. That’s the backwards law. The science is really good people, who invest in their personal happiness in fact become happier, and in this post I’m not suggesting that that’s not true. The science is solid it’s just that I’m really focused and concentrated and gripping on that outcome.
Then I actually delay the arrival of that greater happiness. Does that make sense? So we need to just ease up a little and go with the current. Be smart, work your process but don’t necessarily grip on to the outcome before you’ve actually achieved it. Because that overly tight grip makes the thing that you want less able to come into your hands. If you were a hockey player and can’t score any goals; people talk about that. “He’s gripping the stick too tightly.” It’s just no allowing for the flow to happen. It’s this I’m over consciously concentrating on what it is I want and not just letting things come to me. That as I give in a little, go with the current, I can have more what I want. So that doesn’t mean stop wanting, it just means be smart about your wanting. Yes of course I want to be happy and there’s good happiness techniques that you can learn in these videos that I produce or lots of other places and great books including mine back there. But it’s the accepting what is right now— maybe I’m not so happy or maybe I’m only medium happy and that’s what it is right now.
I have goals and techniques and a definitive plan that I can work towards to get happier and still and remain grounded in the reality of now. Now the situation is whatever it is. I’m so so happy or I’m sad or I’m pretty darn happy, but that reality of now and the focus of the process that occurs in the now the pursuit of my goals, that happens in the in the now. Those are the things that make it manageable to work towards what we want and not to focus on the outcome.
Because as soon as I focus on: “Look I really want to be happy.” Then I can’t be happy in this moment. Whereas if I say I really want to work this process then I’ll find myself working the process and if the process has got a good plan— its definitive and it’s based on good science, then you will simply without much hesitation and without much doubt be able to move towards a happier and happier state in your life. That’s by not gripping the outcome but instead gripping the process.