Change Your Focus, Change Your Life

One of the biggest findings in happiness research is that once our income is beyond poverty level, further increases in money does not lead to increased happiness.  Other ethical principles also are proving to be empirically sound.  Giving makes people happier than self-indulgent pleasures, and the strongest determiner of happiness is showing itself to be meaningful relationships.

Finding Your Focus

Successful Relating
Fulfillment through Connection and Community
Alice G. Vlietstra, Ph.D. Editor

February 2007

In this issue:

1. Welcome
2. Getting to Enough
3. An Internal Yardstick
4. Finding Your Focus
5. Announcements
1. Welcome

In the last e-newsletter we talked about
"Our New Heroes,” business entrepreneurs
who were making a difference. They reflect
a major shift in business focus. In the past,
success has been often defined in material
terms. But today, many people are looking
for something more. In order to be truly
happy, we need to be socially conscious,
honor our higher purpose, and utilize our
strengths.

This e-newsletter focuses on this shift in
mindset. In the process, we will discover
a common myth in reference to the law of
attraction. Many people believe that by
attending to the positive alone, good
fortune will follow.

You will discover that we also need to look
at our blueprints, the roots of our motivation.
As long as our desires come from a negative
root, like attracts like, and our good intentions
will not bring the happiness that we desire.

2. Getting to Enough

One motto that has driven American Society
is "More is Better." Yet many have found
that once they have enough for their basic
survival and comfort, the additional emphasis
on money and position does not bring happiness
to many people. Indeed, research shows that
focusing on money and position at the expense
of personal fulfillment and meaning lead many
to suffer from depression and anxiety.

This has been clearly shown in epidemiological
research. In almost all Western countries, once
basic needs are met, continued affluence does not
lead to happiness. Instead, it has lead to epidemic
levels of depression. Martin Seligman argues that
this results from two trends: (1) An increase in
consumerism, individualism, and emphasis on
personal satisfaction, and (2) a slide away from
individual investment in endeavors larger than
oneself: God, Nation, Community, Family, and Duty.

What motivates this continuous drive for more?
Many times it is motivated by feelings of inadequacy,
scarcity, and lack. When this happens, individuals
often measure themselves by an invisible yardstick
that is external to themselves. If more is better,
then what I have is not enough, but the "more" that
is supposed to make things better still is not enough.
As long as we are measuring ourselves by what
others have or think, we will never have enough.

The problem is that this motivation comes from
a negative root, and "like attracts like,"
resulting in continued strife.

3. An Internal Yardstick

Rather than an external yardstick, why not use
an internal yardstick of a purpose driven life?
Why not honor your positive strengths and gifts?
When you do so, you will experience more flow,
see yourself as acceptable as you are, and you
will be more able to use your strengths to serve
a higher purpose.

Beyond the point of enough, the secret to a
fulfilling life comes by exercising the capacity to
give. When you feel that you have a purpose for your
life, your energies are focused on fulfilling that
purpose, whether it is loving your family, contributing
to the community, or working for peace. Then you are
no longer defining your worth by what you get, and
you can leave behind the futile rat race of never
having enough.

One huge contribution of Positive Psychology has
been the identification of virtues and strengths
common to all cultures. These strengths are also
uniquely present in each individual. They give us
clues to our life purpose and our unique values
that uplift ourselves and others. Instead of striving
for more, they help us to focus on a sense of purpose
that fits within the community and the needs of
the world.

Then we can we can begin to align our earning and
spending with our values and sense of purpose, set
our own limits, and maintain a sense of balance
within ourselves and with our neighbors. We can
make more meaningful connections to bring a deeper
happiness and fulfillment in our lives.

4. Finding Your Focus

This shift in mindset presents a major challenge.
Today more than ever, people are frustrated with
their careers and their lives. They feel unfocused,
unfulfilled, and underutilized. They feel dispassionate
when their lives have little meaning and seem to lack
a purpose. This not only affects our work lives,
but our personal relationships, as well.

Nothing is worse than not having a clear direction.
Clarity is critical for success. It provides the power
to do. Without a clear direction, you are either
paralyzed or running around in circles. Even worse,
you can never reach your full potential because you
dare not fully commit.

The problem is, that not every direction will do.
Each of us is unique and has something special to offer
to the world. To be truly happy, we must use our
"uniqueness" to add value to the lives of others.
This is important in order to be financially successful,
and to have relationships that give us meaning.

I will be offering two workshops in March to help you
to identify the deeper purpose and direction to your
life. The first is "Life's Deeper Purpose." In this
workshop, we will help you to (1) re-ignite your passion
for life, (2) identify your strengths so as to clarify
your life mission and purpose (3) learn how your life
purpose helps you to make more meaningful connections
with others, (4) raise your prosperity consciousness by
releasing collective blueprints of scarcity and fear.

The second workshop is "Mind Your Money." It will help you
to define and apply your internal focus to decisions about
your finances. You will be come aware of the consciousness
of money traps, as well as the consciousness of prosperity
and success. In this way, your financial decisions will
bring more meaning and fulfillment.

Warm Regards,

Dr. Alice

Reference:

Seligman, M. "What you can change and what you can’t."
New York: Ballantine books, 1993.

5. Announcements

March 12 - Open Support Group for releasing your
negative blueprints. This group will be held at
12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101, 7:00 - 9:15 PM.
Phone 314-729-2855. A flyer is attached.

March 17 -18: Life's Deeper Purpose: Finding Your
Focus in Times of Transition and Change. This workshop
will help you clarify your life direction.
At 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 101. A flyer is attached.

Beginning March 26, Five Mondays.
Mind Your Money. This is an in-depth workshop
designed to help you relate your values and
internal sense of purpose to your finances.
At 12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 220. See the
attached flyer.

Copyright 2006 Alice Vlietstra. All rights reserved.

You have my permission to forward this newsletter to those
who might be interested.

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About Dr. Alice

Alice Vlietstra, Ph.D., formerly of the University of Missouri
St. Louis, was first trained as a researcher in Human Development.
This training provides the integrative developmental focus of her
work. Currently, she works as a family psychologist, coach,
and family business consultant. As a graduate of the
Authentic Happiness coaching program, she is trained
in promoting the positive. As a certified practitioner
of mind-body techniques, AFT and NET, she is also highly
skilled in understanding and releasing our blueprints
from early childhood conditioning. This combination leads
to high-powered strategies for enhancing our well being by
advancing our consciousness.

Alice Vlietstra, Ph.D.
12131 Dorsett Road, Ste. 220
Maryland Heights, MO 63043
314-729-2855 

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