And so I am going to be re-exploring “happiness tips” from famous, cool, dead people…to see if their theories are indeed timeless.
This week, I’m going to start with the very interesting (aka: controversial) Ayn Rand.
First of all, you pronounce her name “Ayn” so it rhymes with “mine” – which is apropos, because Ayn’s famed life philosophy of OBJECTIVISM is all about going for the “mine, mine, mine” – living your individualistic destiny to its fullest potential.
“I swear, by my life and my love of it,” said Ayn, “I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. ”
Ayn described this philosophy of hers as “rational individualism.”
In her famous novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn dramatized this “rational individualist” – this “ideal human” – this “heroic being” – as someone who lived by their own effort – never giving away or receiving anything undeserved – who honored self-achievement – and rejected envy of others.
As a self-help author I’ve read many modern day research studies which support this Ayn philosophy as a timeless one.
Plus the happiest people are the ones who don’t step foot onto what psychologists call the “hedonic treadmill” – enviously wanting more, because their neighbors have more.
Ayn went on to promote how this “rational individualist” could never expect to achieve their dream goals by mere wish or whim – but only by a feisty one-pointedness.
“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me,” said Ayn.
This particular one-pointedness theory is also timelessly proven to work – especially in today’s world – where there’s a hugely competitive marketplace.
This is why there’s a slew of best selling books about focusing on your “signature strengths” – and warning you not to raise your kids with lazy entitlement issues.
I tell my clients all the time that …
“The purpose of your life is to find and do the purpose of your life.”
Ayn described the timeless power of making your purpose a “must” everlastingly well when she said:
“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.”
Another of Ayn’s famed theories asserts how the individual should NEVER feel guilty about having it all – if the individual can snag it all!
Unfortunately, far too many people also timelessly self-sabotage if they start to amass too much success and joy.
Basically, people wind up creating negative monetary beliefs about how much they “deserve” – which then creates negative monetary habits which then create negative monetary results.
If you want to make gobs of cash, you must first get in harmony with making gobs of cash.
Once you’re in harmony with wealth, you will see money opportunities everywhere you look.
In time the word “harmony” might start to appear to you as if it’s spelled “harmoney”!
Although I jest, the timeless truth within still twinkles rightly and brightly.
Ayn offers many timeless thoughts on this subject of breaking free from the shackles of limited thinking about wealth.
“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil,” said Ayn. “That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. ”
With all this said, I do find that although Ayn is a great encourager of folks going for the big cash prizes, sometimes she takes her espousing of materialism a bit too far.
”If any civilization is to survive,” said Ayn, “it is the morality of altruism that men have to reject. ”
Ayn writes a lot about the negatives of altruism versus the benefits of materialism in her famed book of essays “THE VIRTUES OF SELFISHNESS” – a book I found both fascinating and downright offensive.
Personally, I am a big supporter in taking time to give back to our world through charity and service.
Infinite research studies prove the benefits of doing altruistic acts – not only for the world at large—but for the altruistic individual’s personal happiness.
According to Martin Seligman, the famed positive psychology author and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most effective techniques for creating personal happiness is to lead “a meaningful life” -use your personal strengths to serve some larger altruistic end.
In an experiment called “Philanthropy versus Fun,” Seligman divided his psychology students so some engaged in pleasurable activities (going to the movies, eating yummy ice cream) and the others did philanthropic activities (volunteering at a soup kitchen, reading to the blind).
The happiness afterglow of the fun was nada compared to the lasting happiness of doing altruistic acts.
Doing good for others will also make you feel good—and, according to Seligman, your highest level of feel-good.
Altruism raises your mood because it raises your self-esteem – and high self esteem is a big booster of happiness. Plus giving to others gets you outside yourself and thereby distracts you from your problems. In other words, a good timeless happiness tip to ask yourself: “What loving deed can I do? How can I help those in greater need?” Then go out there and follow through with these acts of altruism and service.
With all this said, I’m betting that even if Ayn and I started off a conversation disagreeing on this topic of altruism, Ayn would nonetheless be open to hearing about these modern day research studies and theories.
To quote Ayn:
“When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit. ”
And it is for this particular version of the word “profit” – as in to profit in one’s spirit and mind from hearing new, exciting ideas – which Ayn consistently promotes – and which I will timelessly appreciate Ayn for!