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8/10: Engaging book on happiness but a bit long winded!
on 2 July 2017
This book explores happiness, joy and the meaning of life with useful examples and lots of research. The process where people are totally and happily consumed by life is called flow.
This book took a long time to read and is quite long winded but the author writes well and I found the content engaging and I stopped reading often to contemplate the meaning of certain passages.
The author could have improved the book by making the content more succinct and summarising the key points more clearly.
Here are some of the ideas that I took away from the book:
• Happiness is a choice
• Our ability to be happy depends on how we interpret events. i.e. control over our consciousness
• A person that has control of their consciousness can focus for as long as necessary to achieve their goals and not be distracted by what the world throws at them in terms of thoughts and other distractions
• The pursuit of material goals does not enhance our ability to control consciousness.
• We should therefore spend more time learning to control consciousness than pursuit of material goals
• The key to flow is growth of the self through a sense of discovery and redefined consciousness
• It’s not what we do that makes us happy, it’s how we do it
• Focus on activities that can create flow
• If you can train your mind well enough then it can entertain you in any moment
• Flow can be diminished if choice is removed and people feel a necessity to complete a certain activity rather than using it as a hobby
• Simply investing psychic energy in an otherwise meaningless task can make it meaningful
• If you lack the ability to control your consciousness then try changing your activity to make it more like a game with inherent rewards
• Hobbies that are most conducive to flow should include skill, goal setting and require discipline
• Invest your time in real challenges rather than watch other people on TV
• Passive entertainment is a waste of time
• Quality of life depends on our work and our relationships
• Flow in relationships can be maintained by constantly finding new challenges
• The value of education is equipping students with the ability to understand and produce flow throughout their lives
• When in a stressful situation do not focus attention on your self but try to focus attention on others and the wider world
• Transform stressful activities into flow activities by setting goals, immersing yourself in the activity and focusing
• The meaning of life is to have a meaning, whatever it is
• Ideally your life’s meaning should transcend the changing conditions of life so that when events unfold you are able to adapt.
• In all aspects of your life choose a goal and go for it.