What Makes Us Happy? Novelty, Challenge, Connection and Expression
Brendon Burchard is a personal development rock star
From very humble beginnings, he is now one of the highest paid personal coaches to the stars. When one of the world's most successful authors found that 'the bed can only get so soft'; that is, found that all the money and success in the world don't necessarily bring happiness, he called Brendon Burchard (that author was Paulo Coehlo, by the way, author of The Alchemist, an allegoric MUST READ, and some other great works).
I've been following Brendon since I saw him speak at an author's seminar in October. It was electric. He represented much of what I'd like to become. He was open, transparent, shared everything, and still had a great sales offer at the end. It was the perfect presentation. I learned a lot. I wanted more.
If you have found yourself in a rut, if you have all that you should have to be happy, and you still aren't feeling happy, then get his book The Charge. It explains, in very basic terms, ten things that have been found to make humans happy, and conversely, to make us unhappy.
Our Basic Needs Are Met
The thing about being alive in this amazing time is that we have mostly taken care of the basic needs of humans. You know, food, clothing, shelter, and safety? Almost all of us, thankfully, have these things taken care of. 200 years ago, just having these handled was cause for celebration. But that is no longer the case.
It's the doubled edge of the sword of modern life. In our abundant world, our basic needs are easily met. For so many of us, that doesn't equate to life satisfaction. So what gives?
Humans are brilliant creatures. While well-fed lions may be more than happy to just lie in the shade after having their basic needs met, we are much more complicated. And those complications lead to seeking. When we don't find what we want, we get antsy.
In The Charge, Burchard proposes ten human drives that make you feel alive. A few of the things we need, he says, are novelty, challenge, connection and expression.
Part of the probelm stems from the fact that many of us are specialized workers that do the same thing over and over every day. It's not challenging. It's not novel. It doesn't make us feel that we are expressing ourselves.
So, is the problem our jobs, the sameness of our day to day activity? Well, maybe. I'd say that is more the symptom than the problem. Because we are responsible for our situations, to blame our jobs for our problems takes away our power, so that's not the way to go. A change in what we do may be called for, but it can go deeper than that.
What seems to be the idea is that our brains are super-powered organs that aren't going to be satisfied easily, so when we aren't feeding them with novelty, challenge, connection and expressing ourselves, dissatisfaction shouldn't be a surprise.
If we just find a new job, or start a new business, we take ourselves with us, so when that new activity finds its way to routine, as it probably will, we could wind up in the same exact place. The book I am speaking of, along with taking full personal responsibility for everything that happens in our lives, can really help to find the root of happiness. Rather than just saying "I am unhappy because my job sucks" or "I'd be happier if only I (insert different life condition that you think would make you happy here)", it serves us to explore the true causes of happiness, and unhappiness.
I think The Charge is a great place to start. I'm on my second listen, and I love it.