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5am Club - Use what was naturally given to you

Growing up in the 1980's we didn't have the modern convenience our children have today. We would use our imagination, creativity, excitement and endless energy to entertain ourselves what seemed like hours. A ball in an empty filed would bring all the neighbourhood children together. A silly game of hide and seek would keep us running around our neighbourhood for hours on end. A world where internet didn't exist, our television only had one channel and our parents only wanted us home when it was time for dinner. Our knees were always bruised, our clothes were always getting ripped on something and our will to spend everyday no matter what the season was endless. 

Despite the abundance of material wealth, the idealism of democratic values, and flashy new gadgets, most people are suffering. From our suffering emerged a new world of self-help an industry profiting on the emotional pain of people seeking quick fixes. 

We aren't just getting ill from living in a superficial society that values materialism, consumerism, and working way too many hours each week. It's trying to buy your happiness one book or one pill at a time.

We lost touch with our community, our neighbourhoods, our family. We define ourselves with how busy we are, we keep our heads down trying to justify our lack of social skills with our hunger for mind numbing digital work. We convince ourselves that without us everything will fall apart, our attention, our creativity and our happiness is constantly invested in a small handheld device. What we thought would bring the world closer together, our electronic devices are creating invisible social barriers unlike anything else ever seen before.  

In 2008 the self help industry was valued at 11 billion dollars per year (American statistics) That's a lot of books, CD's and motivational speeches that failed to help the 40 million people suffering form anxiety, the 15 million suffering from depression and the 7.7 million suffering from post traumatic stress disorder. And in 2016 the United States alone spend over 446 billion dollars on medication. 
How has the world changed over the past 30 years? With so much money being spend on quick fixes, self help and personal development why do so many of us still over indulge, over stimulate and over think everything? They think that happiness is an object that can be purchased. Whether in a book, a pill, a work-out plan, or a simple to-do list prescribed by a life coach. The truth is that real happiness is always present in your life--you just need to get out of the way to access it.
You create suffering each time you imagine that happiness is an object. You elicit unhappiness each time you search for happiness. The mechanism of this seeking for happiness is what reinforces your isolation from its presence. Convincing yourself that you are inadequate--that your life needs something more and that you need to achieve things, own things, and buy things to find happiness--is what shackles you to unhappiness. And, it gets worse. Me telling you to commit yourself to the process of discovering real happiness goes against your conditioning, your instincts, your fear of vulnerability, and the propaganda of the entire self-help industry.

 

The only way to discover true happiness is to surrender to it. Open yourself up. Transform your habits. And stop practicing unhappiness. Put down your devices, create a technology free zone in your house. Take the time each morning to reflect on happiness. Make a point to write about all the positives in your life. No matter how small or insignificant you think they might be. What makes you happy? Focus on that, don't ask others, because they don't know you. Focus on you, your own positive outlook. 

Here is an example of my daily happy reminders. 

  • I woke up at 5 am - got to see my girl before she left for work
  • Had a full hour to myself, reading, working out and reflecting 
  • It felt great to clean my room and make my bed
  • Made a delicious breakfast for Thomas and I
  • Had a chance to escape the office for an hour to get some fresh outside air. 
  • Enjoyed my peaceful morning drive to the grocery store 

You need to realize, most profoundly, that you are the storm. The sun--real happiness--is always present. But in your self-absorption and tendencies of unhappiness, you create the dark clouds that block the warm, golden light. To re-discover happiness, then, you need to release the darkness that you create through your own life-patterns.

You need to release the illusion taught to you by the self help industry--that happiness is an external object that can be purchased--and recognize that happiness is here, now. You are not broken. You are not weak. You are beautiful and complete just as you are.

Surrender to the process of real self-development and remember your simpler days.