John Michael Chambers is a former Hua Hin resident. He is an Author, Consultant, Public Speaker, and Songwriter. If you had run into John and asked him what he does, he’d tell you that he is an activist for humanity.
Born and raised in New York, John has travelled and lived in many countries. He is a very perceptive individual who has often taken the road less traveled, which has proven to be a very diverse journey and pathway. John was a successful financial advisor with seven offices in the U.S. and a radio talk show host. He’s given speeches in more than six states, thirty cities, and three countries. He has also written the music and lyrics to over fifty songs and enjoys playing his guitar.
John’s written a book which is available on Amazon, it’s called “Misconceptions and Course Corrections, A Collection of Critical Essays for our Times.” The book was written pre-covid but is very applicable due to the times our world is in. We are pleased to present a few selected excerpts from John’s book for your enjoyment and contemplation.
Be kind to one another
At the end of the end, as we shuffle off this Earth, it matters not how much money you have, or any of your worldly possessions. What will matter most is how you treated people along the way and the quality of richness in your life’s relationships. Were people better off having known you? Did you have a positive impact on the lives of others? These things matter most. What did you contribute to life and living? Be kind to one another.
If we all applied the simple statement of being kind to one another, we would, of course, transform the world and the way in which we live. We may not be able to change the world overnight, but we can certainly change the world around us, our circle’s influence, and our intimate circles of life. And we can do this right now, today. So what are you waiting for?
Kindness is like a solvent. Being kind can calm the fear, anger, frustration, despair, or whatever the case may be. It can defuse a crisis or prevent a potential nightmare of sorts. It introduces calmness into any situation. Being kind makes people feel good. Who doesn’t want to feel good? It’s courageous to be kind, especially when the circumstance before you are most challenging. Kindness is contagious, therefore it also invites an act of kindness in return.
Remember, to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world. Be kind to one another. Never forget how fragile we really are, especially in times like these.
Happiness, The goal of life
Some would say this is the goal of life. In the humanly sense, to a large extent I would agree. We are all striving to be happy. Joy and pleasure come from that bliss of connectedness that is the soul, our spirit, which you can feel deep inside. You get it from that connection, not from money, and when you have that connection you will feel it, and there will be smiles and laughter. These are the reflections of the moments that really count!
I have seen people in my travels that are very much less fortunate than others, yet they are some of the happiest people you will ever meet. Much can be learned from this. Perhaps contentment with what you have, a loving family, good friends, or perhaps faith? Conversely, I have seen people with extraordinary wealth and opportunity and some of them are among the meanest, nastiest, most shallow people who are very far south of an inkling of true happiness, and from this there is also much to be learned. Possibly the reality of greed, selfishness, corruption?
Now of course that is not to say that the wealthy and more fortunate are all like this, some are very caring and giving people and are happy as well as in the case of the less fortunate, where some are very unhappy. Since happiness seems to be the goal of life, something we all would like to have and sustain, let’s look into this a bit. We know one thing for sure, money and material things do not create happiness.
“Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body” – George Carlin.
So, what is happiness? As you look around, you can find all different kinds of definitions for happiness. Here are some of the basic examples of which some, I believe, really do not equate to happiness but can contribute to happiness. They are: good fortune, prosperity, a state of well-being and contentment, joy, and a pleasurable or satisfying experience.
Wikipedia defines happiness as “a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.” It is of such fundamental importance to the human condition that “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” were deemed to be unalienable rights by the United States Declaration of Independence. The United Nations declared March 20th the “International Day of Happiness” to recognize the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals.”
I would further define happiness as not only freedom from suffering, freedom from fear, freedom from want and need, but also a feeling of pleasant contentment and fulfillment on a cellular level, physically, spiritually, and mentally at varying levels or degrees.
You know, as I think about this, it seems worthy of our time to briefly explore the obstacles to obtaining happiness so perhaps we can overcome these to at least some extent with the hopes of obtaining more happiness. If it were only so easy to attain happiness like that pop song says by the artist Bobby McFerrin, back in the 1980’s “Don’t Worry, be Happy.” Maybe it is? Let’s have a look at this.
So how to obtain more happiness? For starters, we need to recognize truth and then identify and overcome barriers and obstacles. It is important whom we surround ourselves with, whom we choose to have in our circles. Your life was not intended to be an unhappy one. It was not intended to be one of scarcity, pain, and suffering; these are the intentions of others. Your intention can override this, so don’t buy the lie; this can end today.
We might start out by reassessing ourselves, who we are, and how we operate. It seems we can be somewhat habitual, then we kind of get on autopilot with such habits. Take a look at the non- optimal habits and replace them with more optimal ones. For example, being healthy, eating right, and exercising. Being honest with oneself and others and kind to one another and perhaps performing random acts of kindness by spreading a sparkle of your light, love. Being charitable and helping those in need. I find that operating with high integrity, encompassing more than just ourselves, and applying the “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you” rule, are all steps that can lead to happier moments. Having a small, close circle of friends is a true treasure but not to be solely relied upon for your state of happiness. Maintaining independence and self-reliance is grounding and actually contributes to sustainable friendships.
I also find the space around us to be a contributing factor, so cleaning up the clutter and being competent in everything we do might be beneficial. You know, clean hands make a happy life? Cleanliness is next to Godliness? All of these things are like putting order in and carrying on at a more elevated level of decency and survival – it feels good. Being competent and productive and having a purpose in life is grounding and uplifting.
Keep abreast of critical information from credible sources. Turn off the negative junk food news, junk television, junk movies, and junk music, etc. Be selective about who and what you expose yourself to. Don’t think in terms of scarcity; life is meant to be abundant. Put yourself in a state of joy. Do the things that make you feel good and be with people that make you feel good. Go to places that make you feel good. Experience what you do and have in life that makes you feel good. And stand very far away from gossip and if it reaches you, let it end there. Gossip is very unproductive and does not contribute to your desired state of happiness; it’s like a cancer.
Remember again the Bobby McFerrin song “Don’t Worry, be Happy” and Pharrell Williams’ huge hit called “Happy.” Why were these songs such big hits? One reason is that the simple, pleasant message about happiness, is something we all desire, and not just situationally, but rather for sustainment. So by applying the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart) concept, you can be with people you like and do the things you enjoy. Stop and smell the roses along this journey. In this lifetime we are born and we will die, so in between we better have some enjoyment, wouldn’t you say?
Don’t worry be happy!
As we go through the days of our lives, there are moments and periods where we all struggle. You know, when things are just not going right whether it be financial, relationships, depression, loneliness, etc.
Try this: take a long walk somewhere nice, be it your favorite park, the beach, or any place you enjoy and simply look around at the beauty that surrounds you. Then find some alone time and look at all the things in your life that you do have and that you are, and should, indeed be grateful for. Perhaps say them out loud or write them down, but most importantly feel it sincerely, whatever it is. You may be grateful for a good family, your beautiful children, for the job you have, or for your good health. You may be grateful for happiness that nature brings you. You may be grateful that you woke up that day! Whatever it is, be grateful. Each and every day acknowledge what you are grateful for. This can be as simple as the pleasure you had from eating a slice of pizza, or that strong cup of coffee in the morning or the fact that the Yankees won yet another World Series! Things will change in your feeling world when you have an attitude of gratitude. Simple, yet true.
Okay, so now what is gratitude and why is this so powerful and so important? Like happiness, gratitude can be defined in many ways. Wikipedia spells it out this way: “Gratitude, thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive. The experience of gratitude has historically been a focus of several world religions and has been considered extensively by moral philosophers.”
Gratitude, in many ways, can help you to achieve success. It is also a way to help one put things into perspective so it is not just about “I, me, mine” and puts selfishness where it belongs (out of the picture all together). Also, when we fall on hard times or experience some tragedy or when we are affected by the worldly events which wear and tear us down (knowingly or unknowingly), gratitude helps you appreciate every moment and every good thing in life.
Gratitude can help open up your heart, and when this happens many new doors and opportunities seem to arrive daily at the doorstep of your life. What I have observed about gratitude is that it changes your perspective about life. You are able to be thankful for the beauty that surrounds you. We shift how we operate in life away from the human and more from the spirit within – from perhaps being an unaware, unloving, reactive, and ungrateful garden variety grown human being, to an aware, kind, productive, and grateful spiritual being. Gratitude helps to set us on a much needed course correction and helps to put us on a path of a more purposeful and meaningful life. And this, my friend, is critical as this leads to more contentment, which is a component of happiness. And since happiness seems to be the goal of life, I would consider gratitude as an important step to achieving happiness.
Each day I strive to practice an attitude of gratitude and again, we are creatures of habit so to speak. Change your habits – change your life! Each day consider upon awakening and before sleeping, writing down or vocalizing (and feel it in your feeling world), all that you are grateful for. Go ahead and try this. Your thoughts and feelings have much to do with your happiness. So when things seem troublesome or desperate, harmonize your feeling world. One way to do this is through appreciation and gratitude for all good things in your life. We don’t need to do this just once a year at Thanksgiving. Try it daily; you will see and feel a difference. Gratitude can open your heart and once this happens, you have opened the door to all kinds of possibilities.
If you would like to read more of John’s essays you can do so by buying his book “Misconceptions and Course Corrections, A Collection of Critical Essays for our Times.” Available from Amazon.