Zen And the Art of Happiness – Chris Prentiss

Zen And the Art of Happiness – Chris Prentiss

After reading Delivering Happiness and wanting to further explore Hsieh’s views on happiness, I stumbled upon this book.

Prentiss teaching is based on the response to two questions:
(1) Would I want this to be true: Every event that befalls me is absolutely the best possible event that could occur?
(2) Would I give that a chance to be true?

If the answer to both of these is “Yes,” Prentiss advises us to view every event in life such that: “Everything that happens to me is the best possible thing that can happen to me.”

Most of positive psychology is fluff. I don’t know what truly makes me happy and don’t think I ever will. That’s not a bad thing though – because I agree with Prentiss – every event in my life is of benefit to me, and happiness will ultimately circumvent the response. My life motto has always been: “You live and you learn.”

Your life today is the result of a series of decisions you made that have caused you to arrive where you are.

  • We are authors of our every moment. We are the mechanism by which our life is controlled, and we control the events in our life by our personal philosophy, which determines how we respond to those events.

When you believe something is one way, you will react that way because the emotion leads back to the original belief.

  • Emotion has a trickledown effect. If you believe something that happens to you is bad, you will react to the events in a way that will cause more unpleasantness, and that unpleasantness you experience will then appear to confirm what happened is unpleasant.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

  • William Shakespeare . . . was Zen

“Happiness comes from within. It is a state that is produced by our minds. Although there are external objects and circumstances that can cause us to feel happy, the objects or circumstances themselves are not the cause of our happiness.”

Stress comes from the way you relate to events or situations.

  • Neither stress nor happiness is contained in things, events, or situations. It’s up to you to supply your reactions to them.

“If you’re not now happy most of the time, it’s because you are relying on something that you learned should make you happy and isn’t, or there is a condition in your life that is causing you to feel unhappy. That condition could simply be the habit of being unhappy.”

  • Change the way you are thinking about what happened and the results will change as well.
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