My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
purchase it at B & N, Amazon or (click on image of cover)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Pitfalls To Happiness

This is the fifth week of responding to some questions I have been given about my book, “Living More Than OK”. The final question is very good, in that it looks at the hindrances people have to positive change. With a new year here, this is important to think about! In the first blog post of this year I mentioned a study where only 8 percent of people actually keep their new year’s resolutions. The question posed to me is: what pitfalls do readers have to overcome to maintain a happy life? This causes me to think back to a couple of weeks ago when I spoke about choices.

The Dangers of Passivity

One major pitfall is the passivity of choosing not to choose. Going back to the thoughts of Dr. Shad Helmstetter here is one of the quotes I mentioned from him, “Those who choose to succeed always do better than those who never choose at all.” The successful and the happy make wise choices to move in that direction. The phrase, “those who never choose at all,” is a little misleading to me, as I believe not making an active choice to spiral up to abundant living is still a choice. It is a choice for the negative boring status quo that so many complain about, but never take action to do anything about. This pitfall is easy to get out of by simply taking time to put on your critical thinking and creative thinking hat on, and brainstorm new active choices to improve your life.

Photo credit: Marty.FM / / CC BY-NC-ND

There Is No Such Thing As a Happy Pill

Another example of a pitfall is all the excited talk about legalizing marijuana. Those wanting marijuana legalized act like that is the solution for instant happiness and enjoyment. To me, that is a pitfall that people want some easy way to happiness. “Just give me a drug to make me happy.” I never used alcohol or drugs, as I saw the negative fallout in people’s lives and thought: “Why would I want to do that to myself?” I read how Joe Scarborough of MSNBC came out recently, saying how he never tried marijuana because he thought those using the drug looked so dumb. I bring that same thought out in my book. I have seen a group high on marijuana before and they simply looked and sounded stupid. So my rationale was always why do I want to look stupid?

My essay chapter in “Living More Than OK” about Natural Highs clearly shows that there are so many ways to enjoy life to the full without smoking or snorting drugs. Again on the marijuana front, it is amazing how society has discouraged cigarette smoking as dangerous when it used to be considered cool years ago. Now the same people are exalting marijuana use even though it has more chemicals than cigarettes, is held more intensely in the lungs when they inhale it and some of the chemicals stay long term in the fatty tissue of the brain. Tell me where the critical thinking is on that issue?

What I am trying to get at is the easy way of hoping for a happiness drug is not the best way to “Live More Than OK”. There are so many more healthy and positive ways to have a more flourishing life.

Photo credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources / Foter / CC BY-ND

Open Up To Risks

The final chapter in the book relates to another important pitfall that stops people from growing in happiness. That is not being open to take risks. The openness to try something new. Many freeze up with fear in trying something new. I do honestly admit in my book that I am a low risk-taker. My natural highs are reading, music, travelling, enjoying time with family and friends. You notice I do not mention scuba diving or parachute jumping. That is just me. If you enjoy those activities go for it. Go for sports, art, dancing, photography…..the positive options are endless. I give ideas and resources in my book in relation to new natural high ideas. Take the risk to try something new this year.

Photo credit: o0bsessed / / CC BY

I have enjoyed answering these few questions about my book, “Living More Than OK” at the start of this year. Next week I will move into more topics. But if you have a question you would like me to speak to please send me a comment about it and I can address your question in a future week!

Reflection: What personal pitfalls hinder you from moving towards Living More Than OK in your life? What new activities would you like to do in the coming year?

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Life In Relation To Living More Than OK

Several times in the past I have been asked what has my career as a licensed professional counselor taught me about life and my concept of “Living More Than OK”? I want to answer that question from the context of my overall career journey. So this week I will focus on my career journey then show how it connects to “Living More Than OK”.

Starting Point Library

Photo credit: JanneM / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

My first job was in my high school years in my hometown at Barberton Public Library. Of course, that was part-time and being a book head, being around books is what made that job enjoyable for me by nature. I could not have asked for a better first job experience of working with friendly people and being around books.

After high school, but before moving to Chicago for my Bachelor degree at Moody Bible Institute, I worked for a year at a company that made sample books for carpet companies as a shipping and receiving clerk. That was a 40-hour grind, but the people were wonderful to work with and the management was friendly. On that job, I did observe what I mention in my book -- the living for the weekend mentality. Through my observations it was for many of the workers, dealing with a boring work life and waiting for a short respite of entertainment on the weekend. Primarily, I saw how the bar scene created a self-inflicted cycle of living paycheck to paycheck for many people.

Chicago and Career Change

Photo credit: Foter / CC BY-SA

I am a firm believer in considering careers, of Dr. Krumboltz’s Happenstance theory and Dr. Jim Bright’s Chaos theory of careers. I left Ohio and went to Chicago for college study; thinking and planning to go into Protestant church work. I finished in Chicago a Bachelor and a Master degree that related to religious work. Even though with my Master of Divinity at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School I began a serious interest in Counseling.

Then life events occurred to create a shift, as Dr. Bright calls them. I found myself in customer service work at a variety of companies in the Chicago area. This allowed me to see the same life pattern I had seen in the Ohio company. The pattern of people living merely for a little fleeting happiness on the weekends. I always had wondered -- is the life of work, TV, and bars and clubs on the weekends the only reason we were created? Customer service is considered a mundane job of being in a cubicle on the phone and computer all day. Again, years doing that made me think that yes, it can be mundane, if that is your mindset, but all work can have intrinsic meaning and purpose. My longest position was with a textbook publishing company. Maybe working at a textbook company, some may think that is boring, but that company was helping to improve education. So there was meaning in being connected to such a company that was improving minds of customers around the world.

Further Career Change in Texas

In my final couple of years in Chicago I met my wife and we moved to Texas to allow her to follow her career journey. For me the move to Texas was where I was able to connect with my first job of helping college students in a Student Success department of Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, Texas. This was a job that I truly felt a passion for as it connected with my desire to counsel and encourage students in their career dream journeys. This position was an impetus to go on for a second Master degree this time in Counseling. At this point, I found myself being shaped by theories, such as, Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory that emphasizes the making of quality choices, which is one theory basis of my “Living More Than OK” thinking. Another style of Counseling theory, which is termed Solution-Focused, became important to me as it is very positive and goal oriented, which also in my book is a theme that runs throughout the thinking in it.

With a family move from deep South Texas to New Braunfels, Texas I continue to work with college students as an Adjunct Professor and I also do Counseling and Coaching. My continued work in higher education is one factor that has moved me to be working on a PhD in Psychology through Capella University. My studies there has reaffirmed my passion for Positive Psychology. My future dissertation will have some connection to the subject in a practical manner for people to live better lives.

So what does this chaotic, happenstance journey mean? A thread I have seen through my work life is that too many simply live as Henry David Thoreau stated, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” Through jobs that allowed me to observe that, those jobs helped to shape my passion with college students to inspire them to live out their song.

Of course my book’s compilation of essays is also an attempt to challenge on a larger scale more people to move beyond desperation and sing out the song inside them.

Reflection: What have you learned from your career journey over the years? Is your job just a job? Consider the meaning that can be found in your work by considering the big picture of how you help people, or the service or products your company provides to help people have a better life.