Secrets For A Happier Life March 1, 2012

Secrets For A Happier Life: Ideas, Inspiration & Practices


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Michael D Selzer DDS


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Live your preferences        
March 1, 2012

Dear Michael,  


If you draw a circle and then erase about one quarter of the circle when you show that image to someone their mind will automatically fill in the missing part of the circle. Our brains are wired to note what is missing or wanted and to seek it out. That is the main reason why happiness is elusive. Our brains are looking for what is missing rather than being content with what is already there.


I invite you to read on to discover one solution to this dilemma.

Michael Selzer DDS

Quick Changes
Most of the time we are focused on what we do not want, on what is lacking or what is not right. We focus on the hole rather than the delicious donut. But if we are continually focused on what we feel needs to be better we are rarely satisfied or happy with what we already have.


“Greek salad no onions, hot tea with lemon and plain rolls with butter.” Both the waiters and I knowsalad bar accident that this is most likely my routine lunch. The interesting thing is that the salad is always different. Some days there are more or less tomatoes or the peppers are whole or chopped or the olives are too soft or they are not there at all. It is not always the way I prefer.


The first suggestion is to focus on what is there not on what is missing. Not “how”  is this salad today and what does it need to turn it into the fantasy salad of perfection but “what” is this salad today.


If the salad is a bit dry and I focus on the dryness rather than on the remainder of the salad I am missing the enjoyment that can be there with each bite. Sure I could ask for more dressing and then for different tomatoes and then different olives etc. building the perfect salad but why not just shift to what is right.


It’s fine to hold the intention of a perfect salad but not the striving for one.


Small Moments Of Happiness

Shift to focus on what is okay rather than what is not okay. Try this in each moment.


Imagine being at a salad bar (meeting, party, movie, golf course, traffic jam etc). You have a number of choices for building your own salad. You have your preferences and you can choose from what is available that meets your preferences. You cannot choose what is not there.


When you review your choices and select what you prefer from what is available in each moment, yousalad bar cat litter box start to live the life that you want. You may need to momentarily let go of the fantasy reality that is not currently available but you will be much happier in the mean time.


At times during the day our mood may shift from neutral to positive which we usually enjoy. If we shift to negative we start to feel stress and we would prefer to get back to neutral or positive. The sequence is usually from negative to positive and then back to neutral. This is like a diminishing sine wave that settles back to a nice even neutral position.


Actually a positive mood although it is sought after is actually a shift away from the homeostasis of the body mind. Rest in neutral, enjoy the positive when it comes up and use a selection of preferences from what is actually available to rise up from negative moods.


Experiment with this:


Over the next four hours look for moments when you realize or become aware that you are not happy. See if you are focused on what you perceive is lacking and the sense that if that missing item were there you would be happy.


Immediately drop the wanting of the missing item that you brain has filled in and find something to be happy about and satisfied with. Find something that is right with the salad rather than what is wrong. Of all the choices available which one do you prefer and then decide to choose that one.


Start living by choosing your preferences rather than what is lacking or unavailable. When you choose the yummy donut rather than the hole you end up with something rather than nothing.


Golf Secrets:  A golfer’s perspective for living in the moment
What is available that you can choose is the swing and attention to the weight of the club head as you swing. Once the ball is struck you have no more control or influence on it. You cannot choose to change the flight of the ball.
You can choose to accept the ball flight as it is and use its feedback to plan your next swing. That swing is done and gone. Go back to your intention of having fun and watching the ball fly where you prefer. Let go of striving.
The swing is always there and is an available choice to enjoy. The resulting ball flight may be what you want or not but it is as it is. It is not an available choice to make that ball flight different. But you can choose to enjoy each swing and use the feedback of the ball flight to help guide the next fun swing.

Happiness:  A puppy’s perspective for living in the moment
I imagine that Austen has preferences but I don’t really know for sure. He seems to enjoy everything.austen smile If he has a preference it seems to be that he prefers to always be ready to accept whatever is offered to him.


If you give him food he is happy to eat it. Wiggle or throw a toy and he is ready to play. Ask him “do you want….., ” and before you finish he is up and ready for whatever it is.

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