Blog

The Keys to Happiness

When I recently did a search for “Keys to Happiness” on Google, there were over 54 million results. Wow! That’s a lot of keys to happiness. And although any key to happiness is probably a good key, 54 million keys can feel quite overwhelming. In The Get To Principle, I share four keys that I find are most fitting in finding happiness. In this blog, I’m going to focus on the first one: Having purpose.

As I’ve contemplated and looked at my life over the years, I’ve realized that I feel happiest when I’m just being me. When I’m not searching for something or trying to do anything or be anything that I’m not right now. My purpose: Just be me.

Once I’ve found a sense of happiness in that feeling, I’ve also found that when I am doing something positive - with a direction, with a goal - I also feel happy. It’s like a secondary purpose. Be, and then do. When I’m pursuing a goal such as studying Japanese, playing my guitar, or playing with my kids, I feel alive and happy.

It starts within yourself, reflecting on what you, as a being on this planet, are wanting to achieve, to experience, to feel. Sit for a moment and think, “What do I want in this life?” For many, if not most people, one purpose is simply having peace of mind and happiness. I love that and have it as one of my top goals in life. For others, their purpose might be to raise children to be successful adults. Or maybe it’s to create a lot of money and things. (In my experience, material wealth doesn’t usually bring happiness, but if that’s a purpose for you, go for it. I’ve met some pretty miserable rich people, but I’ve also met some really happy rich people as well.)

Regardless of your secondary purpose (and we can have many), it is important to keep in mind the following definition of life:

“The condition that distinguishes animals and plants from inorganic matter, including the capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity, and continual change preceding death.”

Continual change. Life is full of ups and downs, struggles and joys, sun and rain, tears and laughter. Change is life. The expectation that, poof, you have peace of mind and happiness, your children won’t get sick, or that your stocks will keep going up and up, and you’ll live happily ever after is, I believe, the biggest hindrance to getting happy. Acknowledging that bad things happen, and that you are going to have good days and bad days, is a way of helping you stay on purpose.

For example, along with being happy, one of my purposes is raising healthy, well-rounded children. I have two teenagers. For the most part, this goal feels fantastic and on point. But, needless to say, there are times when it doesn’t feel so good, where my parenting is not up to par or, in their exploration of life, their choices aren’t the best. But remembering that this is all part of change, part of the flow of life, keeps me on the path of happiness.

The question is always, what do you want to experience and who do you want to be during this lifetime? Start with just being you. I take my own advice often, referring to The Waking Up meditation app by Sam Harris. He has a way of having you point your finger back at yourself and realizing there’s no one there to be pointed at. You are just you. Everything is just arising in consciousness, including all of your thoughts. You are just you. It’s pretty fantastic.

From there, having goals is a great way of enhancing that happiness. Recognizing that it comes with all the other stuff, too, is paramount to actually experiencing it. Accepting it all, the good and the bad, keeps you on track to staying on purpose: Being you. And in the end, being happy.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

March 16, 2020

The Magic of the $10 Million Mindset

I'm all about waking up. Not in the sense of waking up in the morning, although I love that, too. I'm talking about waking up to what is really going on in life. Waking up to the present moment as it is, without distraction from the movie in your mind of regret (of the past) and worry (of the future). When you say, "I Get To," in that millisecond, you wake up with compassion for others and a feeling of being grateful for what you have. And tapping into the powerful force of gratitude can change how you are in the world and bring you to experiencing the present moment, just as it is. The mantra is, Get To – Smile – Do it. Say it enough times, and you wake up more and more.

But there is also another waking up I want to share. It's about waking up from the limitations that we put on ourselves regarding the goals that we have. There's a great quote from Richard Bach's book, Illusions: "Argue for your limitations, and they're yours."

If you say you want $1000. You'll usually, with some struggle and time, get $1000. When someone asks, "Why not go for $10,000,?" you might say, "$1000 is a lot already. I can't get $10,000." Argue for our limitations…

In the chapter, The Magic of the $10 Million Mindset from The Get To Principle, I talk about a way of creating more than $1000, more than $10,000, more than $10 Million, more than whatever it is you currently want. It's about creating a mindset of who you need to become to get what you want to get. It doesn't matter how much or what it is. The point is to create beyond what you think you can.

One way to do this is to increase by ten times the amount you "think" you can get. Let's say you think you can make $1000 a month. You then say I'm going to go for ten times that. In this case, it would be $10,000. As soon as you think, "I make $10,000 a month", you might hear yourself thinking or even saying out loud to yourself, "No way, I can't do that" or "Who am I to want that much money?" But here's the thing: as uncomfortable as it is, just by saying it, creating that larger goal for yourself, on some level, your mind automatically starts to make plans for you to get it. You begin to BECOME who you need to be to make $10,000. You could make your goal $10 million. It doesn't matter. Whatever you want to experience, state it, believe it, and it will start to create for you.

When I first heard of this idea, that 'what you think creates your reality,' I was pretty negative about it. "It just doesn't work that way. Those crazy 'new-agers,'" I thought, even though I pretty much am one. But when I started exploring it, it made sense. Here's a simple way of looking at it: When you say, "I want x," you start looking for ways to make x appear in your life. Even if you don't believe it, your mind, on some level, begins creating that.

Let's say you want to play the piano. When you say, "I want to be good at playing the piano," your mind kicks in: you buy piano books, get a teacher, (of course buy a piano if you don't have one), and get to practicing. If you keep at it, before long, you'd be good. It is that simple. You think it; you create it.

But where the $10 Million Mindset comes in is when you go to the next step and instead of saying, "I want to be good at playing the piano," you say, "I want to be a concert pianist." Nothing really changes: In the moment of saying, "I want to be a concert pianist," your mind will visualize you up on a stage, and you'll start doing things to get you there. The difference is because it's outside of what you're comfortable with, your mind might also say, "No way! I'll never be good enough. Why try?" But here's the thing: Saying "I am a concert pianist" creates a mindset, and you start looking for ways to make it happen. Get through the negative thinking, and you start becoming who you need to become to be a concert pianist.

So what's the key? Decide, and then stick with it. No matter how long it takes, no matter the battle in your mind against the negative thoughts, keep with it. Do whatever you can toward the end that you are wanting to create. Allow yourself to become who you need to be to get what you want to get. And before long, that's what you'll have.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

March 9, 2020

Breaking Free of Thought Indulgence

A fundamental part of saying "I Get To" is to help free you from the stress and suffering that comes from the non-stop thinking of our minds.

In our everyday lives, we are flooded with thoughts so thoroughly it's like a movie that we have no control over. We don't even know we are "in" a movie created by our minds. The key to happiness is to recognize that you are not the movie, but the one watching the movie happening. From that vantage point, sitting behind the noise of your mind, watching everything unfold, your mind gets quiet. You smile. And life gets fun.

Although we have moments and glimpses where we recognize the noise of life is not us, for the most part, the movie running in our minds is low level, just a natural part of living. It's "who we are." Things happen, and we react with a feeling of good, bad, or neutral. Most things are neutral, and life just moves forward.

Sometimes, however, we get so stuck on one recurring thought, and we can't step behind the noise. We think we might go crazy. I call this Thought Indulgence. It's those times when your mind whirls on and on about one thing that happened, or didn't happen, something you said or didn't say, or something else in life that has you obsessed with thinking one particular thought. This is when we really suffer. I know I've done it a lot.

So how do you break the spell of thought indulgence? Allow me to offer my recipe here in four easy steps:

  1. As soon as you recognize a thought indulgence, say to yourself, "I Get To have this thought." This moves you from the "victim" mentality of having thoughts beyond your control. Just this will help break the trance.
  2. Ask yourself, "Is this a thought I want to have?" Obviously not. But acknowledging this is part of the act of separating from it. At that moment, you step into the driver seat of your life by saying, "I want to change this."
  3. Create a folder in your mind called, "won't happen" and put the thought in there. It might sound silly, but that mental action alone can be a huge relief. For example, think of a blue elephant. Now, decide to put that thought in the "won't happen" folder in your mind. Let it go. Now think of eating an ice cream cone. Pause. Where's the blue elephant? In the "won't happen" file and gone from your mind.
  4. The final step is to be grateful for your life. Here's a tip to do this. Repeat in a whisper the words "Thank you" over and over. Thank you. Pause. Thank you. Pause. Thank you. You don't need to think of anything in particular. Simply say Thank You, and your subconscious will fill in what you are grateful for. Before long, you will have enormous gratitude for your life.

As you get free of thought indulgence, you can start applying Get To in general. I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating. In any given moment instead of saying, "I have to experience this," say, "I Get To experience this." No matter what you are feeling, no matter what you are doing, repeat it either out loud or in your head. I Get To experience this. Say it until you feel it. I don't have to; I Get To experience this. In that moment, you will feel gratitude and appreciation for your life. Your mind will get quiet, and you'll recognize the movie of your life. It's quite interesting.

I want to end with one last idea. The idea is that each of us is here, in our own way, to help each other wake up from the movie of our lives. To help others connect with the essence of life by having a mind that is free of incessant thought. My small way is to share the Get To Principle. Even if one person says, "I Get To" and smiles a little more lightly, I know I have done something good. Share it with others. Say, You Get To, and watch them smile.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

March 2, 2020

Are You Ready to Wake Up?

Are you ready to wake up? Ready to open yourself to new possibilities? Ready to create a new way of looking at life? You might ask, "Is it possible?" And I say a resounding, "YES!" Not only is it possible, but it's also something we should strive for daily. Waking up, seeing reality for what it is, precisely as it is without regrets of the past and fears of the future, is what we're destined for! I know it's a big ask, but it's what we need to do to live fulfilled lives.


In my latest book, I share a simple but powerful tool to help you wake up. Like the book's title, it's called The Get To Principle. It's a simple way of looking at life and changing HOW you are experiencing WHAT you are experiencing. It's moving from dread to joy in almost everything you do.


Here's how it works: Whenever you are doing something, and you say or think, "I have to…", change it to "I Get To…" For example, as you are doing the dishes, you might say or be thinking, "I have to do the dishes." You might even grumble a bit. Even if you're not speaking or thinking it specifically, it's a feeling inside, one of obligation or being a victim to what you are doing. That feeling is, "I have to do this."


As soon as you feel that or notice you're saying or thinking, "I have to do this," stop yourself and say, "I Get To do this." When you consciously do this, you'll start to notice three things:

1. You immediately feel compassion for others. You don't have to do the dishes; you Get To. Twenty thousand people will starve to death today on the planet. And you Got To have a meal. Wow, you Get To do the dishes.

2. From that feeling of compassion rises a sense of gratitude. With each scrub of the dish or pan, you feel grateful for your life, no matter what's going on in it.

3. Finally, with compassion and gratitude welling up inside, you become inspired to live a better life, do more, tap into your "true self," and begin to create something better for the world. Action for a higher purpose, whatever that is for you, becomes a dominant thought.


Cleaning the cat box? You Get To. Rushing out the door to get the kids to school? You Get To. Here's a big one: Mourning the death of a loved one? Yes, you Get To. This isn't a quirky "just get over it" attitude. It's a profound realization of knowing life is as it is, and your acceptance of it as it is the highest form of living.


There is even more to Get To. Do you meditate? Or have you wanted to? I've meditated for over 30 years, sitting with monks in temples in the mountains of Hiroshima, Japan, attending a 10-day, silent meditation in the hills of central California, and even, after meeting Mother Teresa in Calcutta, meditating under the Bodhi Tree where the Buddha is said to have found enlightenment.


But now my meditations are different, and they tap into the Get To principle in a profound way. The basic premise is to recognize that everything we are experiencing is "content of consciousness." Notably, the thoughts that are arising as you sit quietly are merely content that is emerging in consciousness. It is not you. Everything is coming out of nothingness, and we are the experience of all that is arising. It's a very profound viewpoint to have and fits Get To perfectly.


You see, when you say, "I Get To," you let go of the victim's viewpoint of what's happening, and your mind gets quiet as you allow what is happening to be just as it is. When you smile, it makes it all that much sweeter.

We've all had our ups and downs and twists and turns in life. We're all heading for a certain death that we mostly don’t think about. But as we start to wake up from the dream of our thoughts and the victim mentality that comes with saying “I have to”, and start thinking and saying, "I Get To," your life begins to change, and you feel, well, just fine.

-Ted Larkins, author of The Get To Principle

For more on living a life full of joy, check out The Get To Principle>>

February 24, 2020
All content and design copyright © Simple Truths 2020. All Rights Reserved. View our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.