Who doesn’t want to get a visit from the bluebird of happiness every day? But what if, instead of the bluebird, we get visits from the vultures of self-doubt, remorse and self-loathing?
Dr. Mark E. Klein, in his new book What Do I Do Now? A Handbook For Life (Greenbriar Publishing, $15 US), tries to give a primer on what you can do to produce true lasting happiness and personal fulfillment.
Q So you think you’ve found the secret to happiness. How did this come about?
A Over the course of 20 years as a doctor, I got a chance to talk to people. If you are willing to spend extra time, people will open up to you and reveal the world.
And the main question was, “How do you get the most out of life?” Getting there isn’t so easy. Happiness is a function of two different areas, I’ve found. No.1: the relationships we develop and nurture, and No. 2: the personal accomplishments we generate.
Those are the two that determine our happiness.
Q But developing relationships isn’t all that easy. What if you are shy or have a hard time talking to people?
A In our society we tend to make excuses. “I am too fat, too thin, too ugly....” If you want to have a happy life, there are some variables you need to take on. There is nobody in this world that can’t develop the skills in this book to develop happiness that has legs. There are rules. All of the factors that relate to happiness are in our control. None of them are environmental. The boss, our neighbourhoods — none of it has to do with that.
Q What if your boss is a jerk and you live in hovel?
A When bad things happen in our lives and jobs, you have to decide how to interpret the world. You are never diminished by the misdeeds of others, only by your own. That’s a very important thing. The only time you will feel badly is when you want to feel badly.
Q But it’s a “dog eat dog” world out there. You aren’t going to get ahead by just shrugging your shoulders to the world. You need to fight for things.
A If someone cuts you off in the car, that says nothing about you. You might want to think, “Aha! This is another example of the world taking advantage of me.” But who cares? If you like who you are and can be proud of yourself, people can’t take that away from you. ... You have to learn how to create accomplishments. You generate accomplishments by creating the person you want to be.