Pay attention to advice experts and you’ll see books, articles, even movies on the subject of happiness and the power of positive thinking. The Secret (2006) was a massive hit for the Law of Attraction as both a book and film, espousing the notion that the greatest power in the universe is a (positive) feeling–a feeling harnessed by the greatest thinkers, discoverers, inventors, and saviors of the world. Based on that doctrine, the guy in this imaphotog picture (left) may have mastered the meaning of life in his own not-so-subtle ways.
Of course Law of Attraction principles, the concept of “like attracting like” whether for positive or negative outcomes, have been around far longer than 2006 and The Secret. I first read the old classic, Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, during college and committed to memory the great line, “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” Go back much, much further and while this could be a stretch–I also believe a famous quote attributed to Christ is along the same philosophy; To the one who has, even more will be given while to the one who has not, even more will be taken away. Mark 4:25 (my own personal translation). Doesn’t this great life riddle also sound like a Law of Attraction principle?
Why am I bringing this up on a blog dedicated to Indie authors and e-publishing in general? Because the life of an Indie author (perhaps any author) makes it easy to get caught up in mental traps of negative thinking–like we aren’t landing publishers or we aren’t selling as many books as Indie legend, Amanda Hocking, or maybe we’re just wasting our time behind a computer screen. Writing books can take years and not always feel like a happy profession. It can be immensely time consuming, painfully lonely and require financial investment; all are factors which can weigh heavily against a positive mental outlook.
Recently a friend shared the video below as a reminder. (Pretty sure she shared it with a lot more than just me but who knows.) It’s a great piece on the power of positive thinking by Shawn Anchor produced by the wise folk at Ted.com. If you have 12 minutes, watch it as Shawn is super witty/humorous as he shares this lesson. The general (flawed) public concept it addresses is the belief that the external world is what influences our level of happiness. If we work harder, success will come–then when we have lots of money, friends, opportunities and work success–then we will be happy. This is a common assumption of what brings happiness, but is it correct? Isn’t it just as likely that if we simply are happy for no particular reason, then these other measures of success may come into our realities? I believe it’s a matter of perspective and one that seemed to work for Forrest Gump.
As an Indie author who goes through times when all doesn’t feel rosey, I often need to remind myself of this concept because being a writer, especially a self-published author, is a challenging profession. Even after publishing and selling 5 titles, it’s easy to think or say things like, “I’ll be happy when my book is a best-seller,” or “I’ll be happy when I sell a million ebooks,” or “I’ll be happy when people recognize me as a great author.” Don’t you see that “I’ll be happy when” creates conditions for happiness, conditions which possibly could be pushing those results further away?
Law of Attraction principles remind us that’s not the best way to get from where we believe we are to where we dream of being. Instead, here’s a better way; focus on all the present things that have to do with your writing and make you happy. This is a small list to get you going:
- I’m happy now because I wrote a fantastic book, which is a huge accomplishment in itself
- I’m happy now because I’ve made great strides to accomplish my goal of being a successful author
- I’m happy now because my book enables my words and concepts to be enjoyed by others
- I’m happy now because my ideas are being read by people near and far
- I’m happy now because people are benefiting from my books
- I’m happy now because I am an Indie author, helping revolutionize the publishing industry
Wow, just writing those sentences makes me feel better by reminding me that they’re all true and they’re all really happening. I am happy now because… may be the most powerful statement an Indie author can make to enable the Law of Attraction for even more success. Think of these mantras and your own whenever a pick-me-up is in order.
Ever notice how much fun Brazilians have playing soccer? It seems more of a party for them compared to how most of the world approaches sport, like preparing for battle. Brazilian spectators dance and drum Samba rhythms, even the players seem infected by the vibes surrounding the game as they are known for their creativity, flare and fun. Is it just a coincidence that Brazil seems to have the most fun and also has dominated the game by winning the most World Cups (5)?
Ever heard the term Million Dollar Smile? Maybe there’s far more to it than just the color and symmetry of the teeth, lips and eyes. Smart business people know a smile goes a long way whether it’s given in person, over the phone or even felt in text and letters. Writers, we are people people–we usually need to network and build relationships with readers, agents, publishers, producers, etc. Being happy in our dealings with others is obvious, but maybe it’s just as wise to be happy behind the scenes during the moments of creation. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, how is my mood as I’m writing or preparing to write? Could I be in a better mood? Even if your genre is horror, maybe it will help dramatically to be happy about it as you write.
Research suggests happy people live longer due to lower stress and lower blood pressure, which promote good heart health. Of interest, a recent study of 230 deceased baseball players who had big smiles on their player cards lived over 10% longer than those players with no smiles on their cards – http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/booster_shots/2010/03/longevity-smile-research-wellbeing.html.
One book that influenced me was Way of The Peaceful Warrior. In it, the wise Socrates tells his student (Dan), “…this is the final test I will ever give you, and it goes on forever. Act happy, be happy without a reason in the world. Then you can love and do what you will.” Sounds hokey, some might say. Maybe, but it sure beats going through life acting like a Schleprock. Happiness and smiles have a profound effect on others, even on artwork like this big yellow water tower (right).
Here’s a tip for staying in good spirits throughout the day; smile frequently. You may even find it difficult at first. Try it right now and see if smiling feels like a challenge, like a forced act while posing for a photographer. If it does, then keep working at it. Set a little alarm hourly to remind you to smile. Laugh if it helps–think of your favorite comedies. Even say the words out loud, “smile happy,” because the mouth will naturally smile when saying “happy” just as it does when saying “cheese.”
Perhaps this is why many of us love dogs. It doesn’t take much to make most dogs happy. What if we could get the same level of satisfaction from a simple walk, a car ride, a hug from a loved one, a knock on our door, or even a bowl of the same food that we eat every single day? That’s literally all my dog, Shep, ever needed to stay happy, and he was a true master of the art. Was Shep a great success? Absolutely yes, people loved Shep everywhere he went probably because he was so happy and for no particular reason, and as a result he made others feel better. People simply wanted to hang out with my dog, and if he had written a book… I’m sure it would have been a best-seller.
To your happiness and success as writers.
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