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Why Do You Keep Repeating The Same Mistakes Repetition Compulsion!

Uploaded 6/1/2023, approx. 35 minute read

Judging by your comments on my YouTube videos, my main contribution to psychology is my hair.

You are evenly split like the Democrats and the Republicans in the United States. Half of you prefer my hair, slicked back and over gelled, and the other half yearn for the natural look.

Aiming to gratify both of you being the people pleaser that I undoubtedly am, one video would be with gel and the other would be a gel-less video like this one.

And with this very relevant introduction, allow me to tell you the topic of today's video.


We are going to discuss fantasy, memory and repetition compulsion.

This is one of three videos, the first in a series of three.

And in this particular video is for laymen. I am going to talk to you heart to heart, face to face, eyeglasses to eyeglasses. I am going to discuss various techniques.

What does repetition compulsion mean? What is fantasy and what is the difference between fantasy and daydreaming?

I am even going to teach you three techniques to deal with these issues.

Then the next video in this series would be a deep dive into the concept of repetition compulsion. And the last one in this series would deal with fantasy and its role in various theories in psychology.

So let's get right in.


My name is Sam Vaknin. I'm the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited. I'm a former visiting professor of psychology in Southern Federal University in West Omondon, Russian Federation. And I'm on the faculty of CIAPS, Commonwealth for International Advanced Professional Studies in Cambridge, the United Kingdom, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria.

Now that you know everything about me, can we move on?

Focus on my hair. Your eyes are getting heavier and heavier. You're descending into deep sleep. I'm hypnotizing you into the Vaknin state.

Okay, enough with the nonsense. Why do we keep repeating the same mistakes?

Freud called repetition compulsion and he attributed it to the death instinct, some kind of demonic force, which is out to destroy us.


Today I want to offer you a new perspective.

But let's start with the fact.

Anyone who has worked with clients or patients, I'm not a therapist, so I work with clients, but anyone who has worked with people knows that people repeat behavior patterns which are counterproductive, self-defeating, self-handicapping and even self-destructive.

Why? Why do people keep making the same mistakes over and over again, choosing the wrong partners over and over again, compromise mate selection? Why do they engage in patterns of conduct and misconduct which lead them astray, causes them to be penalized or suffer?

What in them is so masochistically overwhelming and overwhelming that they can't resist it?

I'm going to offer you today a new perspective based on recent discoveries in neuroscience.

Here's a fact.

When you contemplate your future self, when you think about yourself in the future, the areas in your brain that light up are the same areas that deal with strangers and celebrities.

So when you think about yourself in the future, you consider yourself to be a stranger or at best a celebrity, someone you're acquainted with but not too intimate with. Your future self is a stranger to you.

You don't really feel affiliated, aligned with, intimate with or in connection with your future self. It's an obstruction to you.

However, when you consider your past self, this is very real to you. You feel extreme intimacy, attachment, bonding. You react emotionally, not intellectually.

When you consider your future self, your reactions are mostly cognitive. When you consider your past self, your reactions are mostly emotional. These are facts.

There's been a recent study exactly about this issue. You can look it up online.

Future self, stranger, future self, celebrities.

Okay?

And here's another fact.

There is no such thing as a present self.

You need to work very hard consciously to ground yourself in the here and now.

Mindfulness.

You need to think about the present. You need to conceptualize it. You need to somehow embed yourself in the present.

It's hard work. It doesn't come naturally or automatically because there's no such thing as the self at the present.

There's no present self. There's only future self and past self.

It's like the famous saying, every moment in the present is half past and half future. It's pretty true. It's pretty accurate when it comes to the psychodynamics of human beings.

So bear this in mind.

Your future self is a stranger. You're mildly acquainted with it.

You don't react to your future self emotionally, only cognitively, and even then very cursorily and very fleetingly.

You're not emotionally invested in your future self and you don't have much of an intercourse, verbal I mean, with your future self.

Your past self, however, is dominant, overwhelming, important, crucial. It fills up your entire mind and your entire life.

Your past self by far is far more crucial and important to you than your future self.

And there is no present self.

Go on, Bear this in mind. Let's move on.

Let's discuss memories.

Why do we need to talk about memory?

Because there's no identity without memory.

When you say past self, it implies that there is a self.

In other words, memories generate a continuous sense of self identity, also known as core identity.

If your memory is disrupted, if you are highly dissociative, if you have problem with memory owing to some organic condition, brain, traumatic injury, whatever, then you would have a problem with a sense of identity.

Ask any dementia patient. Ask any Korsakov patient, someone whose memory centers have been damaged by alcoholism.

So when memory is impaired, identity is disturbed and disrupted. Dissociation leads inexorably in time to identity disturbance.

And where there is no identity, there is no coherent, cohesive, functional self, no past self, no present self, because no one has a present self, and of course, no future self.

To have a dissociative memory, or lack of memory actually, to suffer from dissociation means to not have a self and to not have an identity.

Memory is very crucial, a crucial component therefore.

Bear with me. I'm getting to repetition compulsion.

But we need to go step by step.


So the next step is memory.

Let me read to you an excerpt from a book called This Is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin.

By the way, this book also deals with or describes the phenomenon of entraining something that I've applied to narcissistic abuse and verbal abuse.

So here's a segment from the book about memory.

Is memory relational or absolute?

The big debate among memory theorists over the last hundred years has been about whether human and animal memory is relational or absolute.

The relational school argues that our memory system stores information about the relations between objects and ideas, but not necessarily details about the objects themselves.

This is also called the constructivist view because it implies that lacking sensory specifics, we construct a memory representation of reality out of these relations with many details filled in or reconstructed on the spot and on the fly.

The constructivist believe that the function of memory is to ignore irrelevant details while preserving the gist.

The competing theory is called the record keeping theory.

Supporters of this view argue that memory is like a tape recorder or digital video camera, preserving all or most of our experiences accurately and with near perfect fidelity.

I am a constructivist when it comes to memory. I belong to the Loftus school and its followers.

There's been a lot of criticism of Loftus's work. I'm aware of all these criticism.

And still, if you talk to experts in memory, the vast majority of them are actually constructivist to this very minute.

So according to the constructivist school, memories are reconstructed on the fly, on the spot. Memories are improvised out of relationships between objects, events in space time, not the objects themselves, not the events themselves, but the relationships, the relations between objects and events. The relations are stored and they serve as the skeleton upon which we impose a body of memory.

Consequently, one could easily extrapolate and say that memory, a sense of identity, they emerge from these relations. They are relational and that by extension, personality is a relational issue.

We are the sum total of our relations with the animate and the inanimate, with the world at large, with reality, and of course, most importantly, with other people.

OK, where do we stand up to here in my presentation?

Number one, your past self is much more real to you than your future self.

Number two, your past self constitutes 80, 90 percent of your identity because it is the repository of memories.

Of course, you remember the past, you can't remember the future.

There is an asymmetry there. Memory helps you to live in the past. Memory is useless when it comes to the future because you can't remember the future.

That's what we call time asymmetry. Time flows in one direction.

So when you look at your past self and at your future self, your future self is not connected to your identity because it does not have memories attached to it.

Your past self is the crux and the gist and the bulk of your identity because your past self is where memories reside. It's the container and repository of your memories.

So when you try to live your life, you will consult your past self almost exclusively. You will extremely rarely revert to your future self for advice or guidance or direction or a sense of identity. All of it, all of it will reside in the past.

Whenever you try to construct your life on the fly, whenever you try to live your life and to engage with reality and with other people, you will revert to your past self where memories are and where identity is.

But because memories are not real, they are reconstructed time and again. Every single time you try to remember something, you are reconstructing the memory from scratch, from zero, based on some relations stored in your memory.

So because this is the case, you're actually confronted with a multiplicity of past selves.

Let me explain what I've just said. It's a bit revolutionary, of course.

What I've just said is this. Your memories are not set in stone. They are not invariant. They are not always the same.

Every time you try to recall something, every time you try to remember something, you recreate the whole thing from scratch.

Because this is the case, your identity is fluid. It depends crucially on the current versions of your memories, the ones you have created today. And tomorrow, your identity will be different because your memories, reconstructed memories, will be different too.

The differences between today's identity and tomorrow's identity are, luckily for us, very small. They're infinitesimal.

Because they're very, very small, we maintain a false sense of continuity.

But the differences are still there, and they accumulate and accrue so that over a period of 10 years, your identity does change dramatically.

So the only safe haven, the only secure base, is your past.

Your past, not even your memories, but the past itself, is the only place that is immutable, unchangeable, untouchable, believable, credible. Your memories change all the time because you keep reconstructing them differently each and every time.

Consequently, your identity changes, however glacially, however slowly, it changes all the time. Yourtime.

Your identity is mutable. What's left? What can you trust? What can you rely on? What can you believe in? What can serve as the rock upon which you will found your decision-making processes, your made selection, other types of selection?

What? History, the past.


So in order to live your life, you can't rely on your identity, you can't rely on your memories, you rely on your autobiographical memory, on the incontestable facts of the past.

But wait a minute, you say, how would you know what are the facts of the past?

Don't you use memory to access these facts?

Yes and no.

There is a clear distinction between the type of memory that deals with immutable facts.

For example, I was born in 1961 in Israel. That's a fact. No amount of reconstruction of memory is going to change this fact.

Autobiographical facts of this kind are the cornerstone, the cornerstone, of the immutable part of our identity upon which we can rely in going forward.

So we tend to return to these facts time and again.

This gives rise to repetition compulsion.

Now I'm going to close the circle.

Not before I whine. Not dying, unfortunately, but whine.

Whining over, we can proceed.

Imagine that you have to make a decision. It could be a simple decision. Should I go to the cinema with my girlfriend or should I say at home and watch Netflix?

A decision.

In order to make this decision, you have to draw on past experience.

But past experience is not reliable because it is founded on memory. And memory is not unchangeable. It's not immutable. It is reconstructed on the fly.

That's a problem because you're not sure who you are.

As your memories in flux, your identity is in flux.

Now the flux of your identity is very, very, very incremental and gradual and glacial and slow.

So you don't feel it. It's not palpable. You don't feel the change in your identity, but it's there.

What would you do? What do you do instead?

You rely on your autobiographical memory, the incontestable facts of your existence, your documentary history, if you wish, the parts of you, the memories of you, the facts that cannot be argued with in any way, shape or form.

Among these facts are your emotional reactions to specific events. These are indelible. For example, if you were traumatized at a given point, you're likely to recall this trauma.

If it's not dissociated, you're likely to recall it and you're not likely to mistake it for something else.

If you had been traumatized in the past, you're not likely to believe that you had been happy. You're not likely to misconstrue your emotional reactions to the trauma. You're not likely to say, actually, I haven't been traumatized. I've been joyful and cheerful. It was a great experience.

This is never going to happen. Indelible emotional impressions and reactions are as stable as some autobiographical facts.

So when you try to go on with your life to make decisions, choices, to opt for certain alternatives, to select mates or anything else, you're likely to rely on autobiographical memory of some kind and on your emotional reactions to catastrophic events in your life.

Mainly traumas, but not only.

Now, when I say catastrophic, it could be positive. Catastrophic simply means, in a mathematical term, it simply means unusually big, unusually intensive, unusually extensive.

There is a theory in mathematics called catastrophe theory, and it deals with the change in the value of an equation following a change in the value of one of the variables, changing the solution of the equation based on a minor change in one of the variables.

So when there is a catastrophic outcome in your life, positive or negative, the emotional reaction to this event or these events is unlikely to be either forgotten or altered, reconstructed wrongly. It's likely to become immutable.

So when you try to go on with your life, you are likely to go back, revert, repeat, repeat these emotional reactions.

But in order to recreate these emotional reactions, you need, of course, to recreate the events that have led to these emotional reactions.

Again, wide break and a recap, because that's not easy material.


Here you are, and there's this girl, and you really like her. So you're faced with a mate selection decision. Should you go for her or not? What can you rely on in making your choice? What can you construct your decision upon? What are the foundations? What would make you feel safe and secure that the decision you're about to make, the selection, the choice, they are good for you. They're the right ones for you.

There is intuition, of course, but intuition is just a label we give to unconscious processing. It's the same process goes unconsciously and consciously.

So what is this process? Can you rely on your memories? No, because they are reconstructed continuously. You cannot rely on them. Can you rely on your identity? No, because your identity is a derivative of your memories.

Consequently, consequently, your identity is in flux as well. You cannot rely on it. Can you rely on your autobiographical memory? Yes. To a large extent, many of the facts of autobiographical memory are there for good, they're stable, they're like a rock. You can rely on them. Can you rely on your emotional reactions to similar events in the past? Yes, you can.

If these events in the past had been sufficiently catastrophic, in other words, if they had been sufficiently intensive and extensive, you can rely on your memory of the emotional reactions to these events.

These emotional reactions imprinted themselves on your mind to the point that they cannot be altered, they cannot be reconstructed, they cannot be modified.

So you can rely on them. Your autobiographical memory and your emotional reactions to catastrophic events, both positive and negative, these are two very safe and secure bases.

These are two excellent guides. You can trust them. You can rely on them. You can consult them.


But how? How would you consult an autobiographical memory? How would you hark back and converse with your emotional reactions?

How to do this?

The only way is to recreate the situation. When you recreate the situation, then it has led to these emotional reactions.

When you repeat a segment, an element from your autobiographical memory, only then you can be sure of the authenticity of the information that you are receiving.

So if I want to consult an event that has happened to me and that I'm sure has happened to me because it's part of my autobiographical memory, I have to actually reconstruct this event in order to feel safe, ensure and ascertain in the outcome.

If I don't repeat the event, I may be falling free to a reconstructive mechanism. I may be deceiving myself. I may be inventing things.

But if I were to recreate the event, then I can be sure that whatever information I'm deriving, it's real because here I am reliving the experience, reenacting the conflict.

So for sure, I'm getting the right information.

This is the reasoning behind re-traumatization in certain treatment modalities.


Okay, what if I want to consult the emotional reactions I've had to similar situations that became catastrophic, that led to either a very positive outcome or a very negative outcome, trauma.

For example, imagine that 10 years ago, I was faced with the same situation. I had to choose a mate and then I chose her and then I had a very traumatic relationship with her.

And the relationship with her, the relationship that I had with her, is untrustworthy. I cannot consult my memory of the relationship that I had with her because this memory is subject to reconstruction, modification, defense mechanisms, reframing, you name it, is unreliable.

The memory of a previous relationship is unreliable as a guide to any future relationship.

However, my emotional reactions to the relationship that I've had with that previous partner, my emotional reactions are a reliable guide.

They are a trustworthy compass, but only on condition that the previous relationship ended catastrophically, catastrophically good or catastrophically bad, traumatizing.

Then I can consult the emotional reactions that I've had to that previous relationship in order to make a decision about a future relationship.


But how? How to access these emotional reactions?

I can't just sit back in an armchair and say, okay, now I'm going to re-experience and relive the emotional reactions I've had with Masha five years ago. I can't do this, of course.

What I have to do is I have to recreate the experience. I have to recreate the experience.

And the way to recreate the experience is, of course, to engage the prospective new partner and to have a relationship with her, which resembles or replicates, is identical, mimics the previous relationship.

The only reliable guide I have, remember, the only thing I can trust 100 percent is my memory of their previous relationship, my the fact that I had a previous relationship, that's an autobiographical fact, and my emotional reactions to the previous relationship.

So if I want to be guided by these two things, I need to recreate the previous relationship in my new relationship.

In short, if my new relationship is identical to my previous relationship, I feel safe because I know the ropes. I know what to expect. Everything is predictable. It's a replay. It's a reenactment. There are no surprises, no shocks. The new relationship becomes a comfort zone because it is the spitting image of the previous relationship.

And because I already know what emotions I had gone through and experienced in the previous relationship, I feel safe and secure and comfortable and relaxed in the new relationship, even if it's going to end as dramatically as the previous one.

That's why people who have experienced abuse seek abuse again and again. That's why people who have been physically abused as children seek out physically abusive partners.

We replicate. We replay. We reenact previous relationships, previous events, because we have the memory of our emotional reactions in these events.

And this is a trustworthy memory, unmodifiable, unalterable, something we can rely on, something that can guide us like the Northern Star, a compass which is never compromised.

Not the event itself, because our memories falsify the event. It's not the event. You can't trust your memory of an event. Never mind how traumatic the event is. The memories are not trustworthy.

But the fact that the event had happened is trustworthy, and your emotional reactions to that event, that's trustworthy.

That's all you have to go on.

Of course, this also explains why some types of personality and some personality disorders are more prone to repetition compulsion than, shall we say, healthy people.

The greater the dissociation, the more proneness to repetition compulsion.

If you are a highly dissociative individual, because you have narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, some type of dissociative identity disorder, if you are highly dissociative, you can't trust your memories.

Therefore, you have an identity disturbance. Therefore, you would tend to rely much, much more on autobiographically mutable memory and above all on your emotional reactions to past events.

And to be sure, 100%, you would recreate these events, thereby restoring your comfort zone, your sense of internal locus of control, your self-efficacy and your ability to function.

The more dissociative you are, the more often you engage in repetition compulsion, because only the past is a safe haven, safe guide, a reliable compass.

So narcissists, borderlines, people with mental health issues, they're much, much more likely to engage in repetition compulsion, because they have no past. They have no memories. They have no identity. They have no core. They can rely only on the indelible emotional reactions they have had mostly to trauma.

And so they need to recreate the trauma to feel safe. That's the irony.

Trauma makes these people feel safe, not the other way. That's why they flourish in traumatic states. That's why they function well in situations which are hair raising, terrifying for most other people. That's why they engender, foster, initiate crisis and drama.

This crisis and drama replicate the conditions in the past which created the emotional reactions with which they are familiar.

Get it? I hope I did.

In short, we would all prefer to repeat our past experiences than to have new experiences.

Our comfort zone is the past, never the future, because our future self is a stranger and has no memories to offer us.

While our past self is fully fledged, fully fleshed out, real, perceived as real by us, and is the repository of memories, including authentic, genuine, unfalsifiable memories like the memories of our emotional reactions to events.

That's why whenever we are faced with the future, we choose the past, also known as repetition compulsion.


Okay, let's talk about fantasy, daydreaming, wishful thinking and plain dreams.

I told you earlier in this video when we were all much younger and a lot less tired.

I told you that recent discoveries in neuroscience demonstrate that we have no real perception of our future selves. Our future selves are abstract, they're like celebrities or strangers or a name you've heard.

We don't really feel that our future self is us.

We know, but we need somehow to plan for the future. We need to establish a bridge between our current selves or actually our past selves and our future selves.

How to do this?

There are four ways, fantasy, daydreaming, wishful thinking and plain dreams.

What are the differences between these four?

I'm going to delve much deeper into the answer to this question in my third video in this series, which will be dedicated to fantasy.


But let me give you a hint. Fantasy does not include planning because fantasy is ever present. Fantasy is about a state of mind. It's not about a state of being.

The fantasy, when someone is in the throes of a fantasy, when there is a fantasy defense, when there is a shared fantasy in psychopathological conditions, such as narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder.

The fantasy is not about what is going to happen. It's not about even who is involved in the fantasy. It's about your emotional reactions to the fantasy.

So when the narcissist fantasizes, narcissism is a fantasy defense gone awry.

And narcissists, when they fantasize, they don't fantasize about events. They don't even fantasize about their intimate partner. They fantasize about how events any intimate partner would make him feel.

And this is known as grandiosity. It's a cognitive distortion.

So the narcissist says, "If I secure this intimate partner, if she becomes my intimate partner, I'm going to feel ideal. I'm going to feel perfect. I'm going to feel grand."

It's about his emotional reactions to the elements of the figments of the fantasy. And one of the figments is the intimate partner.

Another figment could be a location and activities or events within the fantasy.

But all these are not relevant because they're only instruments or tools to secure a specific state of mind.

In the case of the shared fantasy, a specific state of mind which involves grandiosity, entitlement, but also a maternal environment.

We're not going to it right now.


So fantasy is about a state of mind. All the instruments of the fantasy, including activities to actualize the fantasy, they're all geared toward securing a specific desired state of mind.

Fantasy, therefore, is static, not dynamic.

In the mind of the fantasist, the mind of a person who fantasizes, the fantasy is identical. Yesterday, today and tomorrow, it never changes.

It's like a snapshot.

And that's why narcissists snapshot you. They take a snapshot of you because they need this static image of you, which is then idealized.

They need to take it and incorporate it in another static snapshot of a future state of mind. That's the fantasy.

Now, fantasy, therefore, never involves planning, wishful thinking, and dreams. Dreaming about something, dreaming about becoming a fireman, if this kind of dream still exists. Dreaming about making a discovery in science, dreaming about writing a novel, dreaming about drinking a wonderful glass of red wine in the middle of an excruciating lecture. Dreaming, daydreaming, and wishful thinking involve some degree of planning. Fantasy never involves planning, never includes planning.

That's why there is a lot of confusion among self-styled experts online.

Future faking involves planning. The psychopath uses future faking to manipulate his victim. It's a deliberate ploy. Fantasy never includes future faking. It's a state of mind.

The narcissist believes his own nonsense, his own promises, his own lies and confabulations, not because he aims to manipulate anyone, but because the fantasy is him. The fantasy is his mind.

Anything that occurs in the fantasy, anything that is a part of the fantasy, because nothing occurs, there's no process, there's no dynamic, but anything that is a part of the fantasy, including some elaborate concoction pertaining to the future, anything that is a part of the fantasy is the narcissist.

He doesn't have to fake anything. He truly believes 100% of everything he says.

Not so the psychopath. The psychopath fakes the future in order to obtain some favorable outcomes. It's part of his self-efficacy, his goal-oriented.

The concept of fantasy, in the clinical sense, is a defense mechanism, never involves planning.

Actually, planning is the antithesis of fantasy. It destroys the fantasy, because planning is grounded in reality. Planning involves the manipulation of elements in reality in order to secure favorable outcomes from a highly specific environment.

That's the opposite of fantasy. It eradicates, demolishes any fantasy. Fantasy is nothing to do with reality. Fantasy is about escaping reality. Daydreaming is an intermediate stage between fantasy and wishful thinking and dreams.

Daydreaming has static elements, and that is why daydreaming almost never, rarely, leads to action, because it has many static elements, but it does have a component of planning.

It's planning coupled with desperation. Like, I'm going to plan, but I know it's never going to happen. I wish, so there's wishful thinking involved in daydreaming.

Daydreaming is the following.


Or, I love this fantasy. I wish I could subsist in this fantasy. I wish I could convert this fantasy into reality.

And these are the steps I think I should have taken or should take in order to convert my fantasy into reality, but these steps are so onerous, so demanding, so outlandish, that there's no chance I will ever carry this plan out.

So daydreaming is a cop-out. It's like trying to convert fantasy to reality and then giving up on it because it's too much. It's too overwhelming. It's too unrealistic. It's an interim phase, interim stage.

And then there's dreaming, actual dreaming. Not dreaming at night when you sleep, but like sitting down and dreaming of a specific project, specific outcome, a goal, a purpose, an aim.

Dreaming involves actual planning and the planning is usually partly realistic.

Dreaming does not involve wishful thinking. It's not about wishing. It's about focusing on how to traverse the space between dream and consequences and reality.

Dreaming is actually an integral part of planning. Everything you see around you started off as a dream. The building you're in was once someone's dream. And then he committed it to paper and then the paper became a blueprint of the dream and then became a building.

Dreaming is an integral and crucial part of progress and it has nothing to do with fantasy. Fantasy is not about dreaming. It's not about reality. It's not about trying to modify anything or anyone.

Fantasy is the equivalent of drugs. It's about modifying your own state of mind. It's like coke or alcohol. Therefore fantasy is addictive.


Okay, now I'll teach you three techniques.

Number one, talk to your past self from the point of view of an actualized dream of fantasy.

In other words, put yourself in the shoes of your future self.

You've realized your dream or you've actualized your fantasy and then you're in the future, consequently, and talk to your past self from the point of view and from within the actualized dream plan of fantasy or wish.

Say what you have to see, what you have to say to your past self and even more interestingly, see what your past self has to say to you.

That's technique number one. Go wild with this. There are no rules.

Technique number two, write a letter to your future self. Use guided imagery.

Try to imagine yourself in the future and write a letter to yourself in the future. Then reread the letter as your past self, as your present self, although there's no such thing as present self, but like your grounded self and read the letter as your future self.

You will be amazed at the different reactions.

Your past self, your present self and your future self will read the same text and will have totally different emotional reactions.

And finally, I'll teach you a third technique. It's called map of happiness. It's a technique that I've developed. It's proprietary and it's part of Cold Therapy. It's a treatment modality that I was unable to implement because of the pandemic. I was training mental health practitioners and the pandemic put a stop to it.

The map of happiness is a simple technique, but very powerful.

Write down all the things without which you cannot be happy.

Now listen well. Pay attention.

I'm not asking you to write down the things which make you happy, but write down all the things without which you can never be happy.

So let me give you an example.

I like wine. Wine makes me happy, but I can be happy without wine. If I'm told from now on you can't drink wine anymore, I am still likely to be happy.

However, books, books make me happy.

But if I'm unable to read books, I will never be able to be happy. So wine will not make it into the map of happiness.

I can't be happy without wine. Books will make it into the map of happiness because I cannot be happy without books.

It's a list of things you cannot be happy without.


OK, now next stage.

Find the preconditions for these things.

Let me give you an example. Traveling and shopping.

What's the precondition for traveling and shopping? Money. If you don't have money, you can't travel. If you don't have money, you can't go shopping.

So money is the precondition for both.

So what you do, you eliminate traveling. You cross out traveling. You cross out shopping and you write money.

Another example. Writing and composing music. The common denominator, the precondition for both, creativity. Cross out writing. Cross out making music. Write down creativity.

Another example. Being on your own, doing your own thing. You love it. That's your preferred state. You're happy only when you're alone.

And not having a job. Being a freelance. What is the precondition for both? Freedom. Personal freedom. Cross out being alone. Cross out not having a job or being a freelance and write personal freedom.

Go down and down level after level. Find out the common denominators, the preconditions.

Down and down and down. For example, money and personal freedom. You can cross out money because money gives you personal freedom.

And so until you narrow the list down to two or three common denominators, these are the preconditions for your happiness.

Pursue them.

When you plan for the future, you can safely ignore other things. Look to the map of happiness. To these isolated two or three elements and pursue them and never ever go against them.

If you go against them, you will never be happy.

Okay. One last thing. I'm now writing columns for Brussels morning in the description. You will see a link to my author archive. Those of you who are interested in politics, geopolitics, economics and finance.

Remember, this is the first of three videos. This video that you're watching is for laymen.

The next video is about repetition compulsion, heavy stuff. And the third video would be about fantasy.

And of course, I will try to introduce some modest, because modest is my middle name. I try to introduce some modest personal contributions to these two concepts.

Thank you for listening.

And those of you who survived, it's my permission to clink a glass of wine with moi. Jealous Sam.

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