A man brought his son to a wise sage, saying “Master, could you teach my son about happiness as you taught me when I was a boy?”
“Yes, of course,” said the master, and all three of them sat together at a table to talk about how the teaching would proceed. At one point the master mentioned that it would take ten years for the boy to master the art of happiness.
“But Master, the boy protested. “I am a very diligent student. Don’t you think that if I study hard, it will only take me 5 years?”
The master was silent for a moment. Then he turned to the boy and said, “In this case, for you it will take twenty years.”
How long will it take? is one of the most common questions people first ask us when they start The Happy Body Program. We understand the question, because most people want to have a sense of control and predictability in their expectations. Based on our experience as coaches over the years, people who don’t have injuries or limitations can accomplish The Happy Body standards in six months to one year. But everyone is different regarding their personal challenges and how they react to them, and only by doing the Happy Body will practitioners ultimately know how long it will take them to achieve their goal.
Micro-progression is necessary to create any progress; it’s cumulative and takes commitment. We often hear clients’ worries around time:
“I don’t want to waste my time.”
“I wish I had more time.”
“I don’t have all the time in the world.”
“The older I get, the more quickly time passes.”
If time is a concept that humans invented—‘human time’—there must be a good reason to make time our ally. It’s to make our lives easier and more aligned with seasons, natural cycles, biorhythms, and how we’re changing. In this case, we mustn’t try to resist, but instead, find out how to befriend time and how we can benefit from its mutability. For instance, a woman who decides to finish her degree or learn another language or become an artist at 80 is a true master of time. The concept of time well spent is in how you use it, not when you reach your goal.
Sometimes the more people have wasted time and let themselves go, the more desperate they are to improve themselves quickly. Yet if you try to rush the exercises, push too hard, or over-starve yourself in an attempt to “catch up” (to what?), you’re more likely to injure yourself and set yourself back. Comparison is useless in practicing The Happy Body, but how you use time is essential. In performing the exercises, you must slow down to feel the pleasure in perfection. It’s better to do a shorter workout that flows than to force your movements and exhaust yourself. You’ve then created your own pain and suffering.
Pain is physical, while suffering is created in the mind with judgments, comparisons, regrets, etc. It begins first with being out of control, or procrastinating and being passive when instead you should take action to avoid a situation you’ll regret. Control makes you content even when you’ve made mistakes, because you know you tried your best.
So pleasure is related to happiness, but only when paired with achievement that’s harmonious and organic. In finding pleasure you can reach a state of flow and transcend time, especially if it’s pleasure that also makes you better and creates results.
Whether we extend or shorten the time we have, whether we feel rushed and harried or relaxed and expansive, depends on our attitude. Even meditation can only take 5 minutes, so the question is whether you do it or don’t. So don’t waste your time. Use time wisely. Time is precious.
Watch the movie Click with Adam Sandler and keep in mind how the remote control is used to control outside events so all challenge is erased. What is lost? What voids are still within? Do you think you could manage to use the remote control in a responsible way?
(If you have children, you may want to use the remote control in a few places!)
Leave your response below in the comments.