And we’re off! Let’s dive into the second chapter from the book, “How I found freedom in an unfree world” by Harry Browne.
In part 1, seen here, Harry defined the Identity Trap and explained what Truth is.
I will simply be adding the parts of the book that I highlighted. By no means is this the entire book or even the best way to sum up each chapter, it’s just what I highlighted so that I could review the book quickly later.
Chapter 2: The Identity Trap.
Happiness is what you feel inside of you as a result of the things that happen to you.
Happiness isn’t a new car, fame, a good marriage, wealth, or a warm blanket. Those are things. Happiness is what you feel inside of you as a result of the things that happen to you.
Happiness might be produced by a good marriage, fame, a new car, or a warm blanket. For some people, happiness occurs as a result of doing favors for other people; for others, it results from bringing about social reforms; for still others, it comes from believing they’ve outsmarted someone.
Happiness is an emotion — an involuntary reaction to what happens to you. And unhappiness is an involuntary feeling of discomfort as you react to things that don’t suit your nature.
To change your mental state from unhappiness to happiness requires that you change your circumstances. And this is why you do things — to bring about the circumstances that will make you happier.
Everything you do is motivated by the desire to feel as much happiness as possible and to eliminate mental discomfort — either in the short term or the long term.
A positive decision is one in which you choose among alternatives to maximize your happiness. An example would be deciding whether you’ll be happier going to a movie or a football game.
A negative decision is one in which you choose among alternatives to minimize your unhappiness. An example would be deciding whether to let your roof leak or to deplete your savings account to get it fixed. Neither choice will increase your happiness; you’re trying to decide which choice would be the least unpleasant.
A free person spends most of his time making positive decisions — choosing among attractive alternatives.
What makes you happy will depend upon your own personal nature — which is different in many ways from that of any other human being. To try to find happiness by doing what seems to make others happy is to fall head first into the Identity Trap.
Others can suggest what you “should” do, or what “ought” to make you happy, but they will often be wrong. You have to determine for yourself who you are, what makes you happy, what you’re capable of doing, and what you want to do. Be open to suggestions, but never forfeit the power to make the final decision yourself. Only then can you act in ways that will bring you happiness.
You’re in the Identity Trap when you let others determine what’s right or wrong for you — when you live by unquestioned rules that define how you should act and think.
Avoiding the Trap
There are four basic principles whose recognition can help to avoid the Identity Trap:
1. You are a unique individual — different from all other human beings. No one else has the exact same nature that you have; no one else reacts to things in exactly the way you do. No one else sees the world exactly as you do. No one can dictate what your identity should be; you are the best qualified person to discover what it is.
2. Each individual is acting from his own knowledge in ways he believes will bring him happiness. He acts to produce the consequences he thinks will make him feel better.
3. You have to treat things and people in accordance with their own identities in order to get what you want from them. You don’t expect a stone to be a fish. And it’s just as unrealistic to expect one person to act as someone else does. You don’t control the identities of people, but you can control how you deal with them.
4. You view the world subjectively — colored by your own experience, interpretation, and limits of perception. It isn’t essential that you know the final truth about everything in the world; and you don’t have the resources to discover it.
Instead, the test to be applied to any idea is: does it work? Does your identification of things lead to the consequences you expect? If it does, what you’ve perceived was true enough for that situation. But recognize the context of the situation and be skeptical when generalizing from that test to draw broader conclusions.
Until you discover and accept yourself fully, you won’t have the conviction or the courage to be free.
- eBOOK: How I found freedom in an unfree world by Harry Browne
- BOOK: How I found freedom in an unfree world by Harry Browne
- AUDIO: Rule Your World! by Harry Browne
*I have all three!