I read a lot of books, and I mean a LOT of books. Some I recommend to my friends and clients, some I don’t. However, not since The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho have I felt compelled to buy a copy of any book for son and daughter to read, after all, they are both in their early 20’s, and just not that into a lot of the things I am. Once I read The Man Who Wanted To Be Happy by Laurent Gounelle though, I knew I had found another book I was going to buy for them.
The Man Who Wanted To Be Happy is the story of Julian, a man escaping from his unhappy and unfulfilling life during a vacation in Bali. He’s not happy, and he knows it, the problem is, he doesn’t know HOW to change it. So during this trip that he decides to consult a legendary and wise healer, Master Samtyang. Samtyang confirms that Julian’s health is good, but happy? Not by a long shot.
One of Julian’s problems is that he doesn’t have a partner, and most importantly, doesn’t think that he’s worthy of one. Why? Because he feels that he’s far too thin. Samtyang calmly explains to him the problem is not in his body, but in his head, and in the ways he believes women perceive him. That is an issue can apply to ANYONE. I am developing crow’s feet, and I’m not happy with certain aspects of my body, I have clients who think they are too heavy, too thin, too old, too anything. We ALL have something that we think jumps out at people, but the fact is, it seldom does. Samtyang explains to Julian that, “When you see yourself as ugly, other people see you as ugly…other people see us as we see ourselves.”
Julian’s lack of confidence with women isn’t the only area where he is having problems, his unhappiness carries over to other areas of his life, his beliefs, his fears, his work, his living situation, you name it, and most of his problems are based on his thoughts and core beliefs. We know that our thoughts create our reality, and Samtyang tells Julian just that, and how our core beliefs create those thoughts and in turn, allow us to interpret that reality.
Samtyang is able to do more than just TELL Julian where his problems stem from, he is able to SHOW him. Samtyang has Julian do a series of tasks, each one apparently meaningless to Julian at the time, but all working through the layers of his own unhappiness and limiting beliefs. Beliefs he put into place through his own experiences and his own thoughts. Why? “Listening to someone giving you a piece of information an finding it for oneself at the source is not at all the same thing,” Samtyang said.
That is the basis for all change – the work. I can’t have a client sign up for my services and expect me to fix their lives – if they do, they’ve come to the wrong coach. Each of us is ultimately responsible for the work – whatever that work may be. It is only through doing the work that change can happen, and for Julian, he put in the time, did the work, and turned his life completely around. He not only is able to see and address his immediate issues, Samtyang helped him visualize, prioritize, and take the steps he needs to radically transform his day-to-day experience and his career.
When it comes to changing, one of the most powerful statements comes when Samtyang says to Julian, “You mustn’t confide in people who will try to discourage you just to satisfy their own psychological needs. For example, there are people who feel better when you are down and will therefore do anything to stop you from feeling better! Or others who would hate to see you fulfill your dreams because it reminds them of their lack of courage to fulfill theirs. There are also people who feel their standing is enhanced by your difficulties because if gives them the opportunity to help you. There’s no point in being annoyed with them, because they do it unconsciously. But it’s better not to tell them your plans, they will make you lose confidence in yourself.”
I loved this book and the simplicity of its message. While Gounelle shares some universal truths, he does so in a way that makes the issues easy to address, not some obscure insurmountable goal. Would I recommend this book? Yes. In a heartbeat. In fact, I am ordering copies for my kids now.
I am a Hay House Book Reviewer, and received this book free of charge for review. My credibility, and the credibility of Zen Life Solutions, LLC, is extremely important to me, and I only review or promote products that personally resonate with my journey and our work. Hay House did not request a positive review of the book. This site is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.
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