INTRODUCTION – to Successful Living
“A busy life is filled with tremendous emptiness.”― Debasish Mridha
“Are you happy yet? How are you doing on finding Joy?”
A friend started asking this more than ten years ago. Over the years, I began to dread talking to him because I knew he was going to ask me that awful question that I could not answer in the affirmative:
“Have you found Joy yet?”
Sometimes I was angry. I don’t have time to mess around with that; I’m too busy! Other times, I felt melancholy and sad. Then, it was like a challenge I could not rise to. Happiness? Joy? “Oh, that’s just not my personality type,” I would say. But I knew I was lying because I would think about it between his not-often calls and wonder. What is Joy? What is Happiness? Am I missing something out of life, maybe something important about which I have no clue what it is or how to find it? I thought, searched, prayed, meditated, and asked other people, all to no end.
Then, quite slowly, a change began to take place. It was barely noticeable at first, like a few rain splatters, and you look up at a once clear sky and notice some storm clouds gathering. Or… was the sky always cloudy, and now it began to clear to make room for a possible rainbow? My perspective changed as if I shifted my head about five or ten degrees. With my new field of vision, I noticed things I never saw before.
A few years later, my friend called and asked his invariable question.
“Have you found Joy yet?”
I was quiet momentarily as I mulled it over in my mind. Then, in a soft voice, I answered in the affirmative. Yet his response left me stunned, and if I told you now, why would you read any further? But I will tell you after this quick summary.
This book is about finding peace, contentment, happiness, and joy—the keys to how to live a successful life. We are talking about change. First, a change in perspective. Then, a shift in attitude and thinking. Then, finally, a change in behavior and action. Priorities, what is essential and what is not.
What are You Looking for?
What do you want most in life overall? Most people I work with would answer this question based on their circumstances. Happiness and Success are the highest on the list. Health, wealth, and security follow closely. What are ‘YOU’ looking for? I’m not here to define what it means to you. Instead, let’s work together to determine what is important to you and help determine how to get there.
This book can help you learn how to define the most achievable outcomes and quickly begin to implement an intentional step-by-step pathway to peace, contentment, and success. In one sense, this is easy. The steps involved are simple and require deliberate daily effort. On the other hand, this will be challenging for most people because it consists of changing ingrained behavior patterns. Any time we attempt to change habits, effort and daily exercise are involved, which can be challenging. But do not fear. This is entirely possible with a positive outcome for you.
What is a Successful Life?
I know many people who want to BE Successful. However, they do not see themselves as living in the success that they would like to experience. Other people see themselves as successful but are unhappy with where they are and keep seeking something more. Then, some people could care less one way or another – however, they are not reading this book, so I only address them in passing. At the end of it, very few people I have met seem particularly satisfied with where they are. Based on the number of books and articles written on depression, happiness, how to be successful, etc., there seems to be a great interest in the subject.
Successful Living is intertwined with these primary gifts: Contentment, Peace, and Perspective. How are you doing with those three critical gifts? Are you content with your employment? The people in your life? Yourself?
Someone has said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing you have always been doing and expecting different results. How do I find the seemingly elusive peace and contentment as dissatisfied or unsatisfied? In this book, I will give you the three keys to success up front and then explain in more entertaining detail afterward. Here are the 3 Keys that I have found are necessary for Successful Living:
- Admit that we do not know or understand everything and everyone (or even ourselves).
- Dedicate effort to obtaining understanding outside of our own experience.
- Intentionally practice what we learn daily.
In the following chapters, I include entertaining stories to illustrate points and explore the details and intentional work required for you to feel content and experience peace, if not happiness, in life. Some of you may recognize that I employ different sources of wisdom, including, but not limited to, the Christian Bible, 12-step programs, and many wise references. However, this is not limited to any references but instead will provide a framework of thinking and perception for you to break free and go far beyond the tiny things you read here.
The ‘Successful Life’ is a daily, even moment-by-moment experience where you view the world and people around you with kindness, peace, respect, and love. It gives you peace, contentment, and joy in good times and stormy situations. No matter what happens in life, you can identify with this statement:
“I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens.”― Philippians 4.11
My Disclaimer is that I am not a licensed counselor or medical professional. I am sharing what I have learned in terms of perception to endure life’s storms and enjoy the experience of adventure! Here is one of my favorite true stories to illustrate a subtle change in perception that led to peace, wonder, and contentment.
When my daughter was quite young, we would go camping. Arriving after dark requires the car headlights to set up the tent. When we finish, she jumps up and down with excitement.
“Can I turn off the lights now, Daddy?”
She runs over to the car, climbs onto the driver’s seat, grabs the steering wheel, and leans way forward to push the headlight switch off with her tiny fingers. In the sudden darkness, she screams in fright, jumps out, runs over, and clutches my leg.
“IT’S DARK, DADDY! SAVE ME FROM THE DARK!”
The silence is overcome by the sounds of a thousand crickets, bugs, the wind in the trees, and stirring leaves. An owl hoots in the distance. We stand very still, and my hand rests gently on her head for assurance. Our eyes gradually adjust to the darkness, and we can see what was hidden moments ago. It seems the darkness has lightened up all around us, but our eyes have adjusted to the lessened light.
So, too, with us. Darkness can seem all around suffocating and depressing. Yet, even in darkness, it is possible to hear and glimpse the most amazing things. Edward Teller was a famous theoretical physicist partly responsible for creating the atomic and hydrogen bombs. One of the other legacies he left us is this quote:
“When you get to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”— Edward Teller
My hope is that this story and book inspire you to know that, in the darkest night, you stand on solid ground, and it is possible to fly.
This book provides an overview of what holds us back from being entirely successful to experiencing peace, contentment, happiness, and joy. And the steps you can take to overcome and fly above the noise.
Oh yes, before I forget… What resulted from my conversation with my friend, and what was his surprising response? Remember, after ten years of asking and searching, we had this conversation:
“Have you found Joy yet?”
I was quiet momentarily as I mulled it over in my mind. Then, in a soft voice, I answered in the affirmative. His response left me stunned. All those years prior, I suppose I felt he was challenging me because he already knew something about it that I did not. Instead, he said, “Tell me how I can find it.”
This is my telling.
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Authored by H Mark Taylor – An Independent Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer, and Speaker with Maxwell Leadership Certified Team
Copyright © 2024 H Mark Taylor. All rights reserved.