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Where does Finding Our Happiness Flow rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
In the top 3.
What did you like best about this story?
Dr Puff begins by stating why happiness can be so elusive: It’s all about want in society. He then invites us to begin the book with the goal of happiness itself.
The book is interspersed with Dr Puff’s personal anecdotes to illustrate the core concepts. The voice of the narrator is warm, captivating and easy to listen to. In fact the voice is much like that of Game of Thrones’ Varys (actor Conleth Hill).
Happiness, says Dr Puff, is about feeling fresh, new and alive. And he warns us that labeling and notions stop us experiencing what is before us, right now in this moment –‘Once we see a sparrow and name it a sparrow, we stop seeing it’.
He goes on to explain that happiness is more a journey than it is a destination and if we want to be happy, we need to enjoy the journey. It’s wrong to miss out on life as we achieve our goals. If we don’t like working towards our goals then we should stop and change the goal.
As Macklemore put it ‘comparison’s a motherf*****’ and Dr Puff makes it abundantly clear that if we compare ourselves to other people we are going to suffer. The way to avoid this suffering? Become more aware of the comparison game. ‘Lets celebrate the bronze medals,’ he says. ‘Just living is worth celebrating’. Dr Puff highlights the importance of focusing on what we do have.
The author asks us to make a deal with ourselves: If we are going to blame anything for our suffering or for our bad behavior, lets blame our exposure, not ourselves. Dr Puff convinced me that whatever we expose ourselves to impacts our thoughts and our happiness. We have to think of choosing our exposure as choosing our happiness diet. This theme continues into one of the greatest strengths of the book, namely Dr Puff’s analysis of addictions. When it comes to addiction, he expresses how important it is to feel our feelings. And he provides helpful tips on how to break free of negative thoughts. Our minds can only focus on one thing at a time. We can, he says, break our focusing on the negative thoughts if we go for a walk, allowing for some quiet time in nature which refocuses our mind.
He explains that it’s actually the negative critical thoughts about ourselves that perpetuate addictions and bad habits. We tell ourselves I’’m bad, I’m bad’, and we believe ourselves, and then do more harm to ourselves . We must, says Dr. Puff, learn to separate the self from the action or addiction. And ask, what can I learn from this bad behavior? What situation, what exposure allowed for this to come about?
I especially enjoyed the section of the book on conditioning: If we change our conditioning we will change our behavior, but we must be kind, not self-critical of ourselves. We must be aware that it is our conditioning that caused our behavior. And we can change our conditioning. Dr Puff provides the listener with three practical things to do when bad things happen.
The author is spot on when it comes to talking about addictions. Feeling the feelings rather than suppressing them. Confronting the pain is healing the pain. We can work through the pain and then work on improving our lives. He also states that experiencing suffering helps us grow. Dr Puff identifies a direct correlation between the amount of suffering and the amount of growth in an individual.
‘We need to realize that life has mosquitos,’ he says. ‘ If Mother Theresa couldn’t be liked be everybody, how can we’. The author provides useful tools for dealing with criticism, and explains why the fear of slipping up causes us to slip up. If we start thinking it’s ok to make mistakes we will grow from our mistakes. It’s OK to mess up. We can accept our fallibility.
Dr Puff advises us to be flexible when changes happen rather than resistant. We need to relax our bodies before the change impacts. If we resist it, and stiffen our muscles, the impact will do us more damage.
There is a common theme in the book that happiness only exists in the here and now and Dr Puff reiterates the importance of getting in the present as soon as we begin our day. Just breathe.
The book also offers surprisingly good relationship advice, and comprehensively addresses the subject (and the benefits) of online dating.
In summing up, Dr Puff recommends that each day, if we set ourselves the small target of just finding happiness today, not in the future, then we are more likely to get closer to our goal of happiness . To quote a line from American Sniper, ‘Small targets, small misses.’
In fairness, I’d appreciate it if Dr Puff could intersperse some of his points and anecdotes with some of of the readily available scientific research from himself and his psychologist peers, but that’s the only improvement I can suggest. All in all this was an inspiring listen, and a great way to break away from negative thoughts and to refocus on happiness each and every day. The narration and audio quality was also excellent. I recommend everyone listen to this book. 5 Stars!
Which scene was your favorite?
The scene where Dr Puff says: 'once we see a sparrow and name it a sparrow, we stop seeing it'
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
It made me laugh, and smile. And it brought me back to the present moment, the here and now. I also felt more relaxed in my body and it stilled my mind.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Absolutely, I could not recommend it highly enough. It has changed my life for the better and I am confident it would do the same for my friends. This book has something for everyone, from the ones lacking direction and happiness to the ones just needing a little reminder about the importance of being yourself and keeping true happiness in your life.
What about Hugh Trethowan’s performance did you like?
I love audiobooks but find some narrators to be irritating or, even worse, boring. This was definitely not the case with Hugh Trethowan - his narration was interesting and engaging at all times without being over the top.
Any additional comments?
This is one of those books that people will come to for different reasons. For me, it was quite a simple story - I was certainly not depressed but I was certainly not TRULY happy either. I felt I was lacking a bit of focus, a bit of direction and was perhaps spending too much seeking validation and happiness from other people instead of trying to finding internally in myself. I think this is the reason several relationships and friendships had failed in recent years. How can you be happy with someone else if you are not truly happy with yourself?
I had tried several books of this nature but found them all to be full of either incredibly cliched advice or went so far in to the unrealistic realm it was pointless (one book actually suggested I quite literally stood on a mountain top chanting...yes, really.)
This book was different. It made me think, it challenged me, it changed me. The advice in it was not stuff I had read a million times before, nor was it completely unrealistic nonsense. It was simple to follow advice which made me really look at my life, change or eradicate the stuff not making me happy and fill my life with the good stuff.
Within a few days of listening to this (usually on my commute to work in order to really set my day off to the right start) I found my relationships with other people getting better, simply because how I was looking at MYSELF was changing. My internal voice had changed. I was slowly discovering true internal happiness, not connected to money or the trappings of the modern world.
I see this as an ongoing journey. You cannot expect to listen to this one and to then find true happiness for the rest of your life. What this book does give is the tools and the steps to follow and as long as you are up for working at it I am fully confident this book will see your happiness increase. The right sort of happiness. The happiness in yourself.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Truly a life changing book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful