The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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Physical vs. intellectual independence; both are necessary for happiness.


































(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Movie clip

Male 1:             Smell my hands. I�m just so proud. I had to stop for gas and I pumped it myself. Part of a new kick I�m on.

Male 2:             Which is what?

Male 1:             I�m learning to be handy. I depend too much on other people so I�m doing it myself. Feel that? Tell me that�s not the first of a first-rate callus. I got my first work shirt this morning and tonight I�m tackling the squeaky hasp on my cigar humidor.


Dr. Kenner:      That�s from Fraiser. And of course he�s focusing on just minor things. Filling up your gas tank and the rest, to try and be independent. Independent more fully means thinking for yourself and having the courage to act on your own independent judgment. Say someone says, �Let�s go to a movie. You�ll love this movie.� And you don�t like the movie and you say you don�t want to hurt their feelings, but really, you�re feeling insecure yourself, so you don�t know how to assert yourself. That�s lack of independence, or you�re dependent on other people for your income or you�re dependent on other people to feel good about yourself. You falsely place your self-esteem in others. You don�t want to do that. Independence is a primary virtue for yourself. That means that some guidance to making choices in your life, thinking for yourself, thinking well for yourself � not just seat of the pants thinking � but giving something that is important, such as a relationship, some thoughtful analysis and looking at it from different angles and figuring out where to go with it is important for you. 


Now, that being said, I have to say that I once got stuck in the rain, way before cell phones, in a little Fiat car at the time with a flat tire. Far away from any phone booths. Far away from anyplace. It was pouring rain. It�s just me and my car and a flat tire and AAA wouldn�t do me any good because I didn�t have a phone to call them. I had never changed a tire in my life. I didn�t even know where it was located. You know, we take so much for granted. So, I just put on my raincoat and in the pouring rain, figured out where the tire was hidden in the car, got these little cheap tools � it wasn�t an expensive car � so I had to take something called lug nuts off and they were probably put on my car with a heavy machine, so I had to manually take them off. I worked and pounded, used all my weight. I�m not a big person, I�m 110 pounds. All my weight against those lug nuts. I got that tire changed. And I want to tell you, or maybe I�ll let you guess, what emotion I felt after I changed that tire? I felt like I could take on the world. It�s not the tire per se, but it was my attitude of, �I can handle this.� A crisis can happen � in this case it�s obviously a mini crisis � but something can happen and I can manage in my life. I can change tires. I can accomplish other things. Obviously I went back to school for a PhD so I did accomplish a lot. 


But you want to nurture that attitude in yourself, that �I can do it� attitude, in whatever form that it shows up in your life. If you�re afraid, let�s say, of spiders, you want to get can I can do it. I can overcome this phobia. If you�re afraid of public speaking, you want to get that feeling of I can do it. You want to give yourself the gifts of focusing on any fears that you have that you think are not founded in reality. Obviously we would all be afraid of a hit man, but a spider? I mean, unless it�s a black widow spider, if it�s just your garden-variety garden spider, you want to get over fears like that.