Episode 65: Incline Your Mind Toward Joy

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“ One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said, “My son, the battle is between the two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” ~ Marci Shimoff from Happy for No Reason

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“ One evening a Cherokee elder told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people. He said, “My son, the battle is between the two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. One is Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, and compassion.”The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.” ~ Marci Shimoff from Happy for No Reason

I *love* that. Which wolf are you feeding?

Marci talks about the power of neuro-plasticity and the fact that we’re literally re-wiring our brains moment to moment to moment as we either continue to reinforce our old, unhappiness-creating behaviors or build new, happiness-affirming habits. She says we need to “Incline our mind to joy!” Powerful stuff.

One way we can do it is to “Register the Positive.” As Marci says: “Have the intention to notice everything good that happens to you: any positive thought you have, anything you see, feel, taste, hear, or smell that brings you pleasure, a win you experience, a breakthrough in your understanding about something, an expression of your creativity--the list goes on and on. This intention activates the reticular activating system (RAS), a group of cells at the base of your brain stem responsible for sorting through the massive amounts of incoming information and bringing anything important to your attention. Have you ever bought a car and then suddenly started noticing the same make of car everywhere? It’s the RAS at work. Now you can use it to be happier. When you decide to look for the positive, your RAS makes sure that’s what you see.”

That’s a REALLY Big Idea.

Isn’t it wacky that when you buy a new car all the sudden you see that model/color *everywhere*?!? The number of those cars (obviously) didn’t change. What changed was your RAS started filtering those cars into your awareness because it was now relevant for you.

Same thing with positive and negative events. One really fun Idea Marci shares on this: start giving away awards throughout the day: the most beautiful flower award, the kindest driver award, the most amazing clouds award. By playing the game you’re conditioning your mind to see the beauty and wonder of your world--which, of course, is a VERY good idea if you’d like to live with more joy. Try it out. It’s super fun. :)

Brian Johnson,

Chief Philosopher

This is one of the 1,000+ Big Ideas we share in our 6-page PDF and 20-minute MP3 PhilosophersNotes on 100 of the greatest self-development books. Get 100 Notes for only 47 bucks!