November 2011 ~ The Pinball Effect: How to Create Happiness
- How is it possible to create happiness?
The Pinball Effect
- Sounds simple, doesn't it?
It really is as simple as that!
How do we shift our personality "levers"?
- Resources (links, books, articles, the
2011 ~ The Pinball Effect: How to Create Happiness
What does it take to be happy? Money? Love? Career?
No, not really. We may think those will make us happy. For most
people, being happy means being with people they care about, having good health,
have a safe place to live, being able to make their own choices, feeling like
they are contributing something to the world and feeling like life is working
out well for them.
For most people, happiness comes in small doses mixed in with the day-to-day
challenges of living life on this busy planet. Happiness sometimes seems
fleeting at best and seems to come out of nowhere, not something we can create.
The truth is, we CAN create happiness and we CAN create a happy life — if
that is what we want.
You may be thinking — "Of course, I want to be happy, but . . .
Well, the "buts" are part of what is keeping many people from
having the happiness they so deeply think they want. They imagine all
sorts of external things that are keeping them from being happy, when happiness
is really an inside job.
No one can make us happy and nothing external can
change our happiness when we have it. Happiness is OUR own inside job
— no one else's.
Some time ago, as I was learning more about personality styles and how they
affect our life, one day I was watching my kids play pinball at a local
arcade. All of a sudden, it struck me — we can push our own personality
"levers" up, have happiness and keep playing — or we can let them
all fall down, give up and lose the game.
The various parts of our personality have positive aspects and negative
aspects. If any one of them flips down into the negative side, all of the
other parts of our personality also flip down — just like the pinball
machine. If we let them flip down, then all of our bad aspects come to the
forefront and take over. We become angry, frustrated, sad, depressed,
disappointed, unfulfilled, discouraged, etc. At that point, we are definitely NOT happy.
Well, so what?
That’s the magic of the "Pinball Effect"! If we don’t like
being down in the dumps or being a jerk or feeling depressed, we can choose to
push our personality "levers" back up. If one goes up, they all go
up! And, then we become the really great person that is our true nature!
How do we know when we are in the "down" position? We refer
to our Personality Game for the Role
archetypes (Artisan, Sage, Server, Priest, Warrior, King, Scholar) and the
various personality "overleaves" to describe the positive and negative
parts of our personality. We’ll try to keep it simple for these
When the negative parts of our personality are in control, our Personality
come out in full force, taking over our personality. The dragons come out
more prominently when we are stressed and not paying attention to what we are
doing. While we are busy being stressed, the dragons take over, often
without us even realizing what has happened.
When these things show up, it is a sure sign the dragons have taken over and
our personality is running on the negative side:
- We become impatient with our self or others. [Impatience dragon]
- We feel sorry for our self or feel trapped by circumstances. [Martyrdom
- We blame others for our problems. [Arrogance dragon]
- We feel we are not good enough. [Self-Deprecation dragon]
- We feel that we can’t get enough of what we want. [Greed dragon]
- We hurt our self or others. [Self-Destruction dragon]
- We dig in our heels and refuse to budge. [Stubbornness dragon]
So, if our personality "levers" are in the negative position with
the dragons in control, it affects all the other parts of our personality as
well. When that happens, our primary personality archetype called our
"Role" can show up as:
- An Artisan who is not creating something in a positive way.
- A Sage who is not communicating in a positive way or is not having fun.
- A Server who is not helping others or who feels over-burdened.
- A Priest who is not being compassionate or not inspiring others.
- A Warrior who is not protecting others in a positive way or not organizing
our world for the better.
- A King who is not leading in a positive way or not mastering their area of
- A Scholar who is not learning or not studying in a positive way.
The other parts of our personality also go into the negative mode. For
example, the part of our personality called our Attitude will shift to their
- A Skeptic becomes overly suspicious.
- An Idealist becomes naïve.
- A Stoic becomes resigned to their fate.
- A Spiritualist becomes overly invested in their own beliefs.
- A Cynic becomes caustic and denigrating of everyone and everything.
- A Realist becomes convinced that their reality is the only truth.
- A Pragmatist becomes dogmatic that their way is the best say.
The other parts of our personality also shift into their negative side. (See personality
overleaf chart for positive and negatives attributes).
What we can learn to do is to notice when any part of our
personality go negative. When that happens, we can make a conscious choice
to change our mind, change our thoughts, change our feelings and change our
actions to a more positive way.
If we shift from being in the negative side of any of our personality aspects
to the positive side, all of the other parts of our personality will also raise
up also. And, just as in playing pinball, when we flip up, we can continue
to play the game and have more fun.
In our physical life, when we are in the positive sides of our personality,
we can resume playing the Game of Life in a positive way. Our life then becomes
We can shift by doing these things:
Whatever it takes, you can learn to make a habit of catching yourself when
you are shifting into the negative, and learn to bring yourself out of it
quickly and easily. After a while, it won’t be much of a struggle at
all to make the shift to a more positive way of being. You will learn to start your day in a positive frame and
stay that way all day long.
- Pay attention to what you are thinking and feeling and doing.
- Learn the negative things that you think or feel or do when you are not at
your best. Then, as you notice those things happening to you, STOP!
- Then, make a conscious effort to think, feel or do something
positive. It could be a physical thing like going for a walk. A
thinking thing like reading something positive or something inspiring.
Or, a feeling thing, like remembering a happy time or a special person that
brings you joy. It’s important to bring all of your Centers
(thinking, feeling and doing) into balance.
- Instead of seeing the bad side of any situation, teach yourself to see the
good parts of every situation. If you have to, make a list of as
many positive aspects of the situation as you can. Before you
reach a dozen items on your list, your mind should have shifted toward a
more positive view. If it hasn't shifted, keep adding to your list
until your view shifts to a more positive view.
- Start each day with a smile and gratitude. FEEL the joy of being
alive, breathe in the air, feel gratitude for the shelter that you have and
know that you are safe. If you have an office where you spend a lot of time, you can have family
photos that will give you a positive feeling every time you look at
them. You can have inspirational readings for when you need that type
of lift. Or, something that you can use for physical exercise.
Or simply, get up and walk around — inside or outside if possible.
Learn what works best for you and learn to do it when you need a shift.
- If you are lucky, your office might be near a park where you can visit to
re-connect with nature if that helps shift you to a more positive frame of
feeling. Often, changing your environment or taking a conscious break
from what you are doing helps to make the shift.
- Put a smile on your face when greeting people, answering the phone, going
about your day. Greet others with enthusiasm and when some asks,
"How are you? answer with something, "I am fabulous! How
about you?" Notice the positive way you feel and the positive
responses you get from others when you do this.
If you have a spouse, close friend or associate you trust, you can ask
them to tell you what they see when you are in the negative parts of your
personality. They can help you notice how it looks to others, and if
it is someone you really trust, they may be able to spot your negative side
before you do. Over time, that will help you to more quickly learn
your own habits and you can shift them quickly.
Once you are able to shift yourself out of the negative and into the positive
sides of your personality, life will begin to look better. Conflicts will
be fewer and more easily resolved when they do come up. Your health will be
better and you will sleep better. You won't worry endlessly about all
those things that never happen.
Stress and negativity are very hard on the body, so the more positive you
are, the better your body will feel as well. Remember, our physical body
is what carries us through life. If we abuse it, it won't be there when we
need it. If we take care of it, it will take care of us.
Learning about yourself and learning to operate from the best parts of your
personality — instead of the worst parts — is a great way to become the
person you came here to be and to be the person you always though you could
Learning to be in the positive parts of your personality provides an immense
feeling of control, especially when so many things in our world are out of our
direct control. Feeling in control is a very important part of creating
Carol Heideman in her book Searching for the Light, describes the curriculum
in the School of Happiness this way:
- Level 1: Communication Skills
- Level 2: Relationship Skills
- Level 3: Problem-Solving Skills
- Level 4: Decision-Making Skills
Level 5: Skills for Managing Abundance
Level 6: Leadership Skills (includes Teaching and Parenting)
Level 7: Flow Skills (expanding your capacity for Joy).
It goes on to say: “Our primary reason for creating this ‘school
curriculum’ is to help you to perceive happiness as a learned skill.”
For all those people who thought the world was going to end today (October 28,
2011), it just goes to prove: worrying and fretting about the future is a huge
waste of time and energy. Let the Game of Life continue!
Making a choice to be happy every day is the very
best possible thing you can do for yourself. It may also be the best thing you can do
for those who know you and love you.
We wish you a happy and joyful month!
- Enlightenment for Nitwits: The Complete Guide to 2012 &
Beyond. Shepherd Hoodwin. Summerjoy Press, 2011. ISBN-13:
978-1885469120 (very funny!)
- 7 Personality Types: Discover Your True Role in Achieving Success and
Happiness. Elizabeth Puttick, PhD. Hay House, 2009.
US version: ISBN-10:
1401924565 ISBN-13: 978-1401924560 (UK & Australia
- The Personality Puzzle: Solving the Mystery of Who You Are. Jose Stevens, JP Van
Hulle. Pivotal Resources; (December 1990) ASIN: 0942663063
- The Power Path: The Shaman's Way to Success in Business and Life.
Jose Stevens. New World Library, 2002. ISBN: 1577312171
- The 7 Aspects of Sisterhood: Empowering Women Through Self-Discovery.
Debra Gawrych. Common Boundaries Consulting &
Communications; (September 2002)
- Transforming Your Dragons: Turning Personality Fear Patterns into Personal Power.
Jose Stevens. Bear & Co; (July 1994) ISBN: 1879181177
- Searching for Light: Michael's Information for a Time of Change. Carol
Heideman. Twelve Star Publishing; December 1, 1994. ISBN: 0964345501
- The Toolkit for Happiness: A guide to creating a lifetime of greater
happiness. Nancy O'Brien. Experience Happiness, LLC,
- The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read
Aristotle and Generally Have More Fun.
Gretchen Rubin. Harper, 2011. ISBN:
- Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill.
Matthieu Ricard, Daniel Goleman. Little, Brown & Company,
- The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom.
Jonathan Haidt Basic Books, 2006. ISBN-13:
- Stumbling on Happiness. Daniel Todd Gilbert. Vintage,
- 14,000 Things to be Happy About (revised/updated version).
Barbara Ann Kipfer. Workman Publishing, 2007 ISBN-10:
- Income Without a Job: Living Well Without a Paycheck. Michael
Jay Anthony, Barbara J. Taylor. Lulu.com,
978-0-557-00377-8. Website: www.income-without-a-job.com.
Tap into your own creativity and use your full potential. Learn
how to see opportunities that others miss.
Related newsletter article:
October 2010 - Personality Types: the
July 2009 - Life Roles in the Workplace
October 2009 - What is Your Primary
November 2003 - Attitude is Everything
June 1999 - Dealing with Personality
July 1999 - Slaying the Personality
December 2009 - The 10 Commandments of
a Happy Work Life
September 1997 - Balancing Life and
Work (The Four Pillars of Vitality)
February 2000 - Finding Your
December 2010 - Optimism
May 2007 - The Law of Attraction at
- Official certificate of membership in the Society
of Childlike Persons ( pdf)
- The purpose of life is to be happy ~ from The Toolkit for
- If you can’t find happiness in your own backyard, you never really lost
it to begin with. ~ from Enlightenment for Nitwits.
- If you want to be happy, be. ~ Leo Tolstoy
- What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it
sooner. ~ Colette
- Happiness and sadness run parallel to each other. When one takes a
rest, the other one tends to take up the slack. ~ Hazelmarie Elliott
- Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~
- Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
- If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to
be happy, practice compassion. ~ Dalai Lama
- Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in
harmony. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
- Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.
Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love,
grace and gratitude. ~ Denis Waitley
- Some pursue happiness, others create it. ~ Author Unknown
- Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to
success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. ~
- When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so
long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for
us. ~ Helen Keller
- There is only one happiness in this life - to love and be loved ~ George
- Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So
practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop
the happiness habit and life will become a continual feast. – Norman
- I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and
abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they
keep getting a busy signal - and soon they'll forget my number. ~Edith
- Don't waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work
before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour's duties
will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it. ~ Ralph
- If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~ Roger Babson
- Whenever you notice that worry is taking over your mind and threatening
your peace and clarity, gently remind yourself that worry is a choice.
Rather than trying to stop worrying, choose to replace the worry with words
and thoughts of peace. As Robert Eliot tells us in this modern classic
of worry quotes, “Rule number one is, don't sweat the small stuff.
Rule number two is, it's all small stuff.”
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