In my Mastermind group, we spent almost a year with Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz: reading, discussing and incorporating all that we learned into our daily lives. There are literally thousands of self-help books out there, but Maxwell Maltz was first. (Maybe even Napoleon Hill with Think and Grow Rich, but I think Maltz made the information more practical and therefore more accessible.) He is foundational.
In the last chapter he talked about ways of getting more life out of your life and the ways you limit yourself: by choking off channels that could bring you happiness. By saying no because you’re too busy, too tired, too [insert your excuse here].
A couple of weeks ago, I was downtown Chicago. A truly spectacular day. 82 degrees and sunny (my favorite!) The kind of weather we Chicagoans live for. I met a friend for lunch and then he had to go back to work. My calendar was clear the rest of the afternoon. The Taste of Chicago had just opened a few blocks away (I had forgotten it had started). Sure, it would have been fun to go with a friend, but that wasn’t an option, so I went by myself. I truly couldn’t stop smiling. I loved all the food I tasted. I loved all the people I watched. I just loved being there. And I would have missed it had I insisted on only going with a wingman.
Once I asked a friend to go to a dance event. All I got out was “Would you like to go with me to…” and she said “YES!” without even knowing what it was. She inspires me to say YES! as much as I can. How fun to be so open-minded and curious and adventurous!
Maltz calls this developing “a nostalgia for the future.” He believes if you “develop an enthusiasm for life, create a need for more life…you will receive more life.” “Faith, courage, interest, optimism, looking forward brings us new life and more life.” This is why you may actually reap more physiological benefits from excitedly anticipating your next vacation than actually being on your vacation.
He says creativity brings more life. “And the essence of creativity is looking forward toward a goal.” When some people retire, they retire the need for goals (i.e. feeling purposeful) too. And they age quickly. Maltz points out many creatives who were still doing great work well past the age of 90: Picasso, Shaw, Edison. More current examples are Tony Bennett, Betty White and Jimmy Carter.
“Whatever your definition of happiness may be, you will experience happiness only as you experience more life.”
So what does “more life” look like for you? What possible happiness channels are you saying “no” to? I’d love to know below!
P.S. Can you see me in the photo?