Ever thought about leaving your daily routine behind and riding from the East to the West coast on a motorbike? Well, Ran Zilca did, and he didn’t just think about it either. In his latest book ‘Ride of Your Life’, he shares his insights with us, and those of the positive psychology experts that he visited on his journey.
Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, between the tumbleweeds, he was asked: “Did you ride all the way from New York?” , he answered:
“Yes, it was always a dream of mine. Life is short. Decided to do it.”
Ran Zilca is a scientist, entrepreneur, author, coach and Happify’s Chief Data Science Officer. Not only does he love positive psychology as much as you and I do, but he has shown how to put it into practice and test it to its limits.
I highly recommend ordering a copy of this book on Amazon. While the book is on its way, let me share some of the greatest insights that I got out of it with you.
- One of them is the importance of ‘just doing it’ – being proactive instead of observing things and analyzing them passively; even if you’re not exactly sure what to do, taking some sort of action is the best way to find out which way to go. You may have noticed that perfectionists have a hard time with this because they want to do things perfectly right away, which is pretty much impossible.
- Buddha said that the source of all human suffering is attachment, lack of flexibility, and the expectation that things remain the same.
- God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference. A lot of people lack the wisdom to know the difference.
- Meditation helps you empty the mind to divorce yourself from your daily routine. When you empty the mind, you can now finally focus it, and then absorb the mind – now looking at the world through a lens of love.
- Pennebaker told Ran that ‘psychology is bullshit’. His recommendation his as follows:
“Show me the money. Show me whatever you’ve got – does it work? Does it work for you? One thing I encourage everybody is to be their own inner scientist; you have to find out what’s really working. Sometimes, it’s right, sometimes it’s not, but I would encourage everybody to try to look at it in a cold, distant way, and if it works for you – great, keep doing it.”
- Very often, an emotional burden is not a direct result of events, but rather, comes out of the story we construct around them. Writing allows us to create a new story to replace the old one, with a perspective that is more beneficial to accept and cope with.
- Writing brings some kind of meaning and closure to events. This has been my personal experience as well. I’ve been able to deal with a lot of (negative) things from my past by writing about them.
- People benefit more when they construct a new story.
- I no longer feel that my money, time or skills are my own. It’s as if they were entrusted to me to keep and use, but they actually belong to anyone who truly needs them.
- Inner peace, Ran made a note-to-self, is not a permanent state. A rider through life can develop the skills to obtain it, but one cannot hold onto it all of the time.
- When visiting Zimbardo, Ran found out that: “Happiness comes from the love of mankind, “humanizing” each person you meet, and understanding that they experience life just like you do.”
- The benefits of writing come from putting mental/internal experience (feelings, thoughts, and emotions) into the structure of language. (Pennebaker’s research)
“When you start questioning what you believe it expands the mind; the mind is free to be creative rather than stuck. And in that creativity, there’s no problem we can’t solve.”
– Byron Katie
Final insights in point form
- When we thoroughly question our stressful thoughts, what we’re left with is gratitude and laughter.
- The most important time in your life is now. The most important person in your life is the one you’re with now
and the most important activity in your life is what you’re doing now, the rest is theory (Deepack Chopra).
- It’s not the strong who survive, but the ones who adapt.
- Lyobormirsky found that unhappy people tend to focus on their neighbors’ grass instead of their own good fortune.
“Reality is always kinder than the story we superimpose onto it. When you argue with reality, you lose – but only 100% of the time.”