Introduction – Chapter One

Introduction – Chapter One

As a psychotherapist, when I see a client for the first time, I listen for the first ten minutes or so and the problem usually becomes apparent. I will then say. ‘Let me show you how the mind works; what makes us tick – the roadmap to where you are now and how to get to where you would like to be.’ A happy person is living a successful life. This book is the roadmap to living a happy life in a nutshell and you don’t need to be a brain surgeon to understand it. It is simple and I like to keep it this way. Understand the structure of what you create through your thoughts,change it and you change the experience. I was almost fifty before I turned to psychotherapy, long enough to sort out the wheat from the chaff, and there is a lot of chaff around!

tragic-to-magic-introductionMany years ago I was Managing Director of an engineering company travelling the world on a good salary and with a new car, my own home, a fantastic wife, plus good friends. Some may have seen me as being very successful considering my humble beginnings, but I wasn’t happy most of the time. Don’t get me wrong here: there is nothing wrong with working hard and having nice things; but it should be the by-product of a happy life – not the reason for it. This underlying feeling of unhappiness resulted in my beginning to study self-help books and attending self-help seminars – but to no avail. I was still an unhappy chappie. I even tried a seven day Date with Destiny seminar with Anthony Robbins (costing a small fortune). I came out of it feeling that I had changed my life for good, but within a few months I was back to feeling unfulfilled. I came across many seminar junkies looking for the next hit after the previous one had worn off and knew this wasn’t for me. ’Why weren’t the changes permanent?’ I would ask myself while regretting the money I had spent.

At this point I started to study psychology in order to understand myself and my staff better. I studied Sigmund Freud and thought he probably had just as many problems as his clients! Freud’s theory of the Oedipus complex (the theory about how a young boy has sexual desires for his mother and jealousy of his father) just seemed plain odd. It made me wonder about Freud’s upbringing and underlying thoughts. I have no recollection of ever being attracted to my mother or jealous of my father. Freud’s treatment of his associate Carl Jung, who didn’t follow his point of view in many ways, confirmed to me that Freud had his own demons. He did however introduce me to the subconscious mind, and I acknowledge the great leap forward in psychotherapy as a result of his work.

There were many others to study, like Carl Rogers and Viktor Frankle, and I found a great deal of common sense when reading William Glasser in his work on reality therapy and choice theory. In a bid to gain more knowledge I looked at how views in psychology fitted with the teachings of Christ and Buddha. For example the teachings of Lester Levenson, the creator of the Sedona Method, developed later by Hale Dwoskin that were similar to the Buddha’s teachings in so many ways.

Now, let’s take a look at how we gain knowledge. Stage one, you can be told something or read it. Stage two, you can intellectually understand it. To get to stage three, the final stage, you need to have proof to really know it: you have to experience it in some way. At that stage in my life I wasn’t experiencing it. Why? I came to the conclusion that it was because of the habit patterns in my mind.

The mind is brilliant. We teach it through repetition to drive a car and then the subconscious mind takes over and drives the car without the driver even thinking about it. He or she is then free to think about what they will have for dinner when they get home. Meanwhile the car is blissfully driven along with the subconscious at the wheel and keeping an eye out for any threats. The driver is not even conscious of driving. It just happens on auto pilot. Our subconscious is a perfect servant once trained and is usually a better driver than the conscious mind! Try to consciously stay in the middle of your lane when driving and you will see what I mean. This is the brilliance of the mind and also the reason why it is so difficult to change it. Try driving in a country where they drive on the opposite side of the road for the first time. It’s guaranteed to make the heart skip a beat or two. This is the reason all the books and seminars didn’t work for me. The mind reverted back to its old patterns.

This book is designed to offer the first and second stages of knowledge – the intellectual understanding of how the mind works and how we create the way we feel. Don’t believe anything I say in this book without testing it yourself. Only then will you have the third stage – the experience of it, the proof of it and ultimately true knowledge.

So how do we define a successful person? From a psychological point of view, a successful person is a happy person. When we are not happy it is usually because we are postponing our happiness to a time when we might get something we feel we are lacking now. But more about that later….

‘From Tragic to Magic’ is a compilation of the tools I use to help clients in my psychotherapy practice. It could just as easily have been called the psychology of happiness or the psychology of success. A happy person is a successful person. I hope you enjoy your journey through these pages.