Learning to be happy is not mystical, mysterious, or magical. Happiness is an ordinary skill that anybody can learn and master through practice, like driving a car or playing the piano. George Kimeldorf, having mastered and taught the skill of happiness, uses examples from his own life to explain why self-help books are mostly counterproductive and why seekers, despite doing all the “right” things, rarely find joy, satisfaction, and peace of mind.
This revised version of the book, From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness, is an accessible guide to the everyday practice of happiness available to each of us.
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COME ON, GET HAPPY: WRITER EXPLAINS HOW JOY CAN BE PART OF DAILY LIFE WITH JUST A LITTLE PRACTICE
George Kimeldorf releases ‘From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness’
DATELINE – Described by fans as a “breath of fresh air,” George Kimeldorf shares an honest account of finding joy and how others can do the same in “From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness” (March 2014, Newlog Publishing Company).
“From Seeker to Finder” isn’t your run-of-the-mill self-help book exposing some special trick behind perpetual bliss. Offering valuable insight and uplifting stories, Kimeldorf’s book reveals that happiness is not an unachievable, mystical power. It’s just an ordinary skill that takes a little practice.
Kimeldorf once thought he knew what he needed to be happy – earn a Ph.D. in mathematics, marry a wonderful woman, raise two lovely children, pursue a successful career as a mathematics professor, and become wealthy. But something was missing, so Kimeldorf began to “seek” happiness. He is now proud to call himself a “finder” as he has found the peace of mind he long sought.
In just 118 pages, Kimeldorf explains how he mastered the skill of happiness and how it changed him forever, giving him a profound experience of love, joy, and fulfillment.
“‘From Seeker to Finder: Discovering Everyday Happiness’ is an inspirational account of one man’s personal transformation and his commitment to a life of joyful well-being,” says don Miguel Ruiz, M.D., author of the international best-seller, “The Four Agreements.” “By sharing himself in this clear and caring way, George Kimeldorf sets the reader on a course toward self-love, happiness and harmony.”
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Q&A with author George Kimeldorf
What are some things people can do every day to boost their happiness?
They can feel and express sincere gratitude—not gratitude for things for which they “should” be grateful, but gratitude for little things for which they are truly thankful. For example, “I’m glad no cop was present when I rolled through that stop sign” or “I’m lucky I got to the bathroom on time” or “I’m grateful to have heat and hot water.” By doing this until it becomes habitual, they will be happier.
Another thing they can do is to monitor their self-judgmental thoughts, just being aware of them, not trying to eliminate or change them—thoughts about how they should be different or better. Pay attention to various aspects of “I’m not good enough,” such as “not smart enough,” “not thin enough,” or “not happy enough.” Merely being aware of such thoughts and the unhappiness they cause will decrease their emotional impact. It will also become clear that these thoughts are a principal source of unhappiness, not the boss, spouse, or mother-in-law.
Do you consider yourself to be a happiness guru?
I don’t consider a driving instructor to be a driving guru or a guitar teacher to be guitar guru. Happiness is an ordinary skill that anyone can learn. I have mastered this skill and taught it to a few people.
Why do you think finding happiness is such a challenge for some people?
First, it is challenging because our culture falsely teaches that happiness can be achieved through education, material success, and the approval of others. Successful actors, CEOs of large corporations, and politicians are not happier than other people. Second, some people believe they must earn happiness, like a reward for a righteous life. Third, even “seekers” who know that the path to happiness is through awareness, love, gratitude, and forgiveness often fail to find the happiness they seek because happiness is an experiential skill like driving a car. It’s challenging to teach yourself how to drive, or to learn it from a book.
Can you give us some examples of mistakes people make when they’re trying to make a change?
One mistake when trying to get from Point “A” to Point “B” is to reject Point “A.” A famous 20th-century psychologist said, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I change.... We cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are.” Also, a part of our mind strongly resists change. It is a mistake to underestimate that part by trying to overpower it or outwit it.
Does living a happy life take continual practice?
I think so. I would certainly be less happy unless I continually expressed love, felt gratitude, and let go of stressful thoughts.
Are you happy all the time?
No. I find it challenging to be happy when my body is ill or in pain. Although I am happier than I have even been and rarely criticize others, I occasionally lapse into complaints or self-judgment. But these breaks from equanimity are short-lived.
How is your book different from all those self-help books out there?
My book demonstrates that happiness is an ordinary skill that anybody can learn and master through practice, like driving a car or playing the piano. Having mastered and taught the skill of happiness, I use examples from my own life to explain why self-help books are mostly counterproductive and why seekers, while doing all the “right” things, rarely find joy, satisfaction, and peace of mind. Some happiness books were written by psychologists who have studied happiness, but not achieved it themselves. I would much prefer to learn the violin from a virtuoso, rather than an expert on violins.