What's your map
What's your map

I believe, that the key to finding happiness is realizing that you haven’t lost it. Happiness is a choice, a choice that each of us makes every moment of every day.

Now I can hear some of you talking to your computer screens right now saying  “where the heck did this idea come from, and why is Andy talking about it.”

I know that many of you have found this blog through hearing me speak about storytelling, technology, teaching and the intersection of those things. The thing is, I believe that the ultimate story that we tell is one that we tell every moment of every day by choosing where to put our attention, and how to live our lives. When things become really interesting, is one we live at the intersection of multiple areas that don’t normally meet. This is where I live, so expect to find interesting connections, some may surprise you, some even shock you, but hopefully all of them make you think.

This morning, I read a post that Craig Perrine made on his blog titled “What would you BELIEVE for a Million Dollars?” Which really got me thinking, so much so I wrote a rather lengthy comment on his blog (which as of this writing is waiting for moderation to determine that I’m human and not a spammer.) But in any case the thought stuck with me and so I thought I would write about it here.   Craig said, “You just have to believe you can be happy now. ”

I think there’s something more to it.

In this case I don’t think it’s just a matter of believing that you can be happy, (although I think that that’s necessary.)  In my experience, you have to *decide* to be happy.   I’m fortunate to have several friends who have made this decision. They have decided to be happy in whatever situation they happen to be in. They have decided that it’s not worth the energy to be negative, and it makes them amazing people to be around.

This ties into the other thing that Craig’s post got me thinking about. It’s so easy for us to forget that our perception of the world is not, in fact, the world. It is just our perception. We are only capable of perceiving, and processing a tiny fraction of the information in the world around us in every moment. We take that information, filter it through expectation and pattern recognition, and act like that’s reality. It isn’t, not even close.

It’s like spending so much time staring at a map that we forget that the map is not the territory. It’s just a map, a collection of data about the territory filtered and organized in a hopefully useful way, but that’s not a guarantee of accuracy or even usefulness.

I have been reminded of this recently, how much it’s worth consistently pouring into my brain things which keep my map tuned up the way I want it to be.   I’ve been spending a lot of time lately listening to books (from audible.com) by people like Joe Vitale and Craig Perrine. Keeping a constant stream of this sort of material flowing into my mind has really moved me into a place where I’m seeing possibility everywhere. It’s a great place to be!

Even the experience of writing this blog has changed my map, my beliefs about myself, in a really significant way. But you’ll have to wait for tomorrow to hear that story. I think it may be the most important blog post that I’ve written so far, so come and check back.