That other driver shouldn’t have cut you off! Your teenager should have cut the lawn or you should have made the cut for the soccer team when you were fifteen.
Your mind doesn’t care what day it is or even what year it is. It dredges stuff up from the past or worries about the future. It has little respect for your emotions and will often provide just the wrong thought at just the wrong time.
It will demand that eclair right after you started dieting or day dream about someone other than your spouse distracting you from the fact that today is your anniversary.
Your mind often doesn’t seem to be yours. It seems to have its own plan for you which may have little to do with what is really best for you.
Your mind has so many ways of harassing you and it never, ever plays fair.
You can live peacefully with your mind but it isn’t easy. I have one little trick that will make it much, much easier.
Your mind is a great asset. Its flexibility is incredible, so is its creativity, quickness and power.
But when your mind gets up to mischief it can embarrass you, say things you don’t really mean, get angry even upset and in so many ways mess up your life.
Your Mind Matters
In the past thirty years I have worked with thousands of people and they all had minds. Some of the people I worked with seem to have several minds while others were out of their minds and yet others were quite normal.
I have found that how we relate to our minds is the deciding factor which determines the quality of life of you and me and everyone else.
Having your mind in perspective makes every aspect of life easier and more fun. It sets you free to play and relieves you from the suffering, unhappiness and depression that often result from a mind gone wild.
I am going to share with you the one most important, vital thing you need in order to return to reality from the mind’s magical journeys into the facts and fictions and illusions it spins out to assist you in navigating your world daily.
A Tiny Perspective First
Before I can tell you how to balance out your mind and have a much easier, lighter, more successful and peaceful life you need a little perspective.
I have some bad and some good news for you. Actually the same news may be both bad and good for you. The news is simple, direct and I invite you to ponder it for a bit before you read on.
The News: You Are Not Your Mind
Your mind is a small part of you, and it is a part that tends to imagine it is in control. It is more than willing to pretend to be all of you. Remember I have worked with thousands of people, almost all of them came to me putting way too much importance on their own thoughts and the thoughts of others. This overemphasis on thoughts results in putting way too much pressure on your mind and way too little emphasis on your other resources.
I have worked with really smart people, average people and really dumb people. I have worked with rich people, poor people and financially in-between people.
The most important change I have seen people make is a slight shift in perspective which allows them to discover that they are not their minds.
They know that they are not their computers or their cars or their kitchens but they, no matter how savvy they are tend to forget that they are not their minds.
Your mind doesn’t want you to know that you are not your mind.
It will do anything, including creating problems that keep you so busy you wouldn’t believe it, to keep you from discovering that you are not your mind.
So, lets take simpler route, lets avoid the problems and the resistance of the mind. Lets take the road less travelled and find an easy way to make this shift.
The surest way to discover that you are not your mind is to shift your attention from your thoughts to your body. To your arm, or your leg or your belly or your cheeks or your knees. And the most certain way to get your attention on your body is dance, dance and dance some more.
Don’t waltz or watuzy, though those dances are fine. Just move your body around, move it in unpatterned ways and notice how it moves. Move it often. If you work at a desk job you can move it right as you are sitting there. If you are walking to lunch then dance to lunch. If you are a bit angry with your spouse dance a little before you scream.
Dancing moves your attention to your body.
You think all day long, you dance very little, unless you are a dance instructor. Did you know that the suicide rate of dance instructors is the lowest of any occupation? I just made that up but it might be.
I do know that when you are dancing your thoughts aren’t so serious. When you are dancing you are less apt to worry or get angry or try to get even. When you are dancing you are even more likely to dance some more.
In my thirty years working with clients I have never, ever had anyone come to me and say “Please help me I am dancing too much.”
I have had people ask me how they could make more money, how they could improve their relationship or their communication with their kids. I have had people who want to be more successful or happier or who want to be thinner or smarter or way richer.
But not once have I had anyone want to stop dancing or dance less.
In fact, I have watched the lives of many people get better as they dance more often.
You don’t have to dance for an hour or even for five minutes. You can dance for a few seconds here a few minutes there. You can dance if you are in the bathroom or in the kitchen or in the board room. You can dance if you are happy, if you are sad, if you are mad or if you are just plain bored. You can dance if you are apathetic, pathetic, scared, worried or depressed.
Dancing, as I have said, shifts your attention to your body and that makes all the difference.
Mike was a head hunter and a more driven man I have never met. He was a no-nonsense guy who needed a bit of nonsense badly. I couldn’t suggest that he dance, he was too stiff for such an assignment. Instead I asked him about his work – His favorite subject.
But I didn’t ask him the sorts of thing he expected. I asked what it was like when he arrived at work. He drove to work and parked each day in the same parking space (of course).
He then walked into the building, took the elevator to the fifth floor, got off and walked to his office.
I suggested that he back into his parking space, instead of pulling forward into it. He looked at me oddly. He was smart enough to know that he was in trouble. I then suggested that he not walk directly to the building door but that he meander a little on the way there – That he weave in and out of cars, noticing the cars as he went and, “dancing” his way to the front door.
By dancing I meant anything but a direct route. A couple of days after Mike returned home, I received a call from his wife. “What did you do to him?” she asked with genuine curiosity.
Mike, being the diligent, driven guy he was, applied the exercise all over the place and was a lighter, more fun and even jubilant person. His wife was blown away by her new
man. After thirty-three years of marriage, she got a new, light and lively relationship. They both (of course) lived happily ever after.
Yes, Mike is a real person. Yes, he really did this, and yes, it changed his life. I have been leading courses for almost thirty years and have more stories about what works and what doesn’t work than could fit in a dozen books.
I have a lot of such fairy tales. And I could share more of them with you, but I would rather than reading about the experiences of others I would like you to start dancing. Do so a little bit at a time. Do so anytime and anywhere.
Shift your attention from your mind to your body, balancing out your life and relieving your mind of the terrible stress it is under.
Your body has a different sort of reality to it than your mind has. Your body has a physical presence that your mind doesn’t.
If you dance, even just a little bit, your attention will move to your body and you will be reminded that your mind is only a little part of you.
While your mind seeks to take what it considers to be the direct route, your body doesn’t have to. Dancing from here to there reminds you that it is the journey, not the here or there that is important.
Photo by African Fi
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23 thoughts on “Dance Your Way to Happiness and Success”
Great post and love the perspective of dancing. We get so wrapped up in how to be successful, how to make more money that we forget the most basic and important things in life like ——
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE
DANCE, DANCE, DANCE….
Thanks Nancy, let us keep dancing. With music, without it or anytime.
Promise to myself to dance more. I do some, but not enough – especially when others are around.
Best to decide that however much you dance is just right. Then dancing a little lore is a bonus.
Can even dance as you walk or stand in line at the grocery store. It is contagious.
Thank you for sharing the story of your no nonsense client making changes. Loved your suggestion that he make some simple changes to his routine. It’s a good suggestion for all of us.
Tomorrow I’m going to put my favorite music on and sing while I fold clothes. It’s gotta be a lot more fun lol!
It really is true that our body has a different sort of reality to it than our mind has. I read an article recently which mentioned that simply the act of smiling can change our chemical make up and cause us to feel better. When we take that smile to the next level and dance, imagine the internal changes that can happen!
Great stuff Wendy.
You can also smile inside. I learned about the inner smile in Chi Kung. It spreads through your whole body lighting up your life.
Call Wayne if you want at 7067547540. Tell him I sad you can have a copy od How to Win by Quitting. It is one of my books and I think you will enjoy it.
Thank you Jerry :-)
Jerry, thanks for an amazing post. I am SO TIRED of my mind right now. In fact it kept me up most of the night. As a result I’m sitting here feeling a bit washed out.
So I’m off to dance in the shower…..
Let’s see what happens :)
Ahhhhhhh dancing in the shower is great. You sound as though you deserve a bath though.
Please feel free to download my Mind Relief Manuscript, read it a bit and let me know how it works for you. The manuscript is free and has a wealth of easy lightening up exercises.
I play the Just Dance games on the Wii with my boys… it’s a great way to get the benefits you mention (plus it’s a lot of fun!).
Thanks for the article Jerry.
Sounds great Peter. Less structured dancing works too. I am in the Bahamas right now and the locals dance thought their days. Inspiring.
You make me feel like dancing. Good advice, however the mind is important, too. I’m a critical thinker and find that thinking can also be a freeing exercise. But you’re right about taking time to release our minds to our bodies for periods of time. It’s refreshing. I also have a blog @ http://danerickson.net
Yikes Dan, Sorry if I gave the impression I don’t think mind is important. Without it we wouldn’t be us or happy or sad or present. I have watched dancing contribute to thinking clearly. Call our office if you want and we will ship you my book Thinking Clearly for free. Office number is 7067547540. You can check out the book on amazon.
hey jerry, being a student, i do not qualify for the “break the monotony and dance” thing ..but i loved the part about mind and us being separate..this certainly motivates to control ur mind to achieve ur goals ..example was unique..:)
I concur with your thought Arpit. It is essential to address the cravings of mind as it propels you to think and think deep. I am a student too and clearly under a great deal of stress that it becomes extremely difficult to concentrate. I am certainly deluged by the idea of mind and self as two separate entities. Let me also try to govern mind in accomplishing my academic/ career goals. Luck!
Wow – this post literally got me up and dancing! You’re right, I feel much better. People have a hard time learning to control their minds and manage their thoughts and a lot of times it’s just because they’re thinking too much about the wrong things (or just thinking too much in general.)
Amen Steve. And then people start thinking that their thinking should be different and that really embeds them where they don’t want to be.
I appreciate your comments and remind you that anytime is a great time to dance, dance and dance some more.
Yikes. I’m a horrible dancer! But I do dance whenever I’m alone, not often enough though… Thank you for the idea!
Judging dancing or yourself as a horrible dancer probably isn’t fun for you. You might want to just dance for the fun of it without the judgement.
Jerry – quite a thoughful post. thx much for sharing. Could you please elicidate few techniques that can govern/ lead my mind toward a specific goal/ objective?
Just happened to be dancing and jiggling along to Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” as I read this article. Was sitting on my usual chair, on just another Monday at work… and yet, this little Monday gets to be a bit different all the same.
Very much like this idea of parking-dancing. Of course — just like there is eating meditation, walking meditation and sitting meditation, so, too, can all acts have a bit more dance to them.
Amazing Article. In Hindu philosophy we worship Lord Shiva in the famous form of “NATARAJA” meaning “The King of Dancers”. I was explaining to my son that as a child plays merry go round with his friend (holding each other’s hands across and going round in circles) the facial expression changes automatically from normal to ecstasy even though there is always a possibility of falling (children know it too). Similarly if we spin or dance which invariably involves circular motions, we forget ourselves and happiness comes just like that. I was telling him that the faces of the dancers are never sullen. I was looking for an authentic source to support my view. I am really wondering the grace of God for guiding me thoroughly.
Hindu philosophy also insists that through various guided practices if we are able to raise the divine power within our body from the Route Chakra to the Crown Chakra (chakra is energy node), a person can forever, remain in a the state of BLISS. By spinning or dancing perhaps this phenomenon occurs temporarily in the humans, because we cannot maintain physical balance of the body if we are always spinning. This is just a loud thinking. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my ideas with you. I will now recommend your ways towards being HAPPY. Thank you once again.
Nice post. Great work jerry. After reading your post i promise myself to start dancing more.