Why this book?

Does your life seem beautiful, simple, interesting and easy?
If so, you don’t need to read this book, because you are lucky enough to have all the natural resources to go through life happy and successful.

But it’s more likely that your life does not seem all that easy. You may think that you aren’t so badly off, that there are people on this earth who are far more unlucky than you, but you still can’t seem to find happiness.

You may think that there’s nothing we can do about it, that life is hard, that it truly is “a vale of tears”, and that this is all normal.

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t feel worthy of being loved, happy and successful? Or have you just drifted along, not caring about what you eat or other responsibilities for so long that you don’t think you can ever get back on the right track?

Are you the kind of person who doesn’t want to change? After all, why bother changing if I’m not so badly off? Why change when it’s so much easier to leave it to other people? Why change when it’s so comfortable not to question yourself, to say that everything around you is rubbish, to say that the world has never known such a lack of humanity, so much disrespect and so many wars?

Or maybe you are quite happy and doing pretty well in your life, but you’re looking for something more? Maybe just a little inner peace?

I am certain of one thing in life: no matter where you fit into the descriptions above, regardless of your age, your living conditions, your situation or your past: everyone wants to be happy and successful.

The other thing I know is that: everyone can choose to make a big difference in their life by making small changes to their way of thinking.

So, why this book?
I definitely fall into the category of people who are looking for something more, because as soon as I knew how to read, I started searching. Why are we here? What is the purpose of life? Why do we do well at certain times and less so at others? But above all, I was already trying to understand if it is possible to deal with what happens to us, if there is a better way to live and be happy and successful.

When I was about 15 years old, a typical teenager, I was looking into aliens, Lobsang Rampa, and the paranormal. Essentially, anything that seemed a bit out there. I did not realise it at the time, but all these areas have one thing in common: they are all about fleeing reality and believing that some sort of magic can make the world into an enchanting place. Personally, I wanted to flee from a scary world that I didn’t like, a world I didn’t want to enter: the adult world, so serious, sad, and lacking in poetry.

Between 17 and 20 years old, I mainly read books on psychology, philosophy, religion and spirituality. I subscribed to all the libraries in the area and devoured anything and everything that talked about making a better life, no matter how incidentally. After all, shouldn’t being successful and happy be the most important goal in life, the only true project to undertake? I thought so then, and I still think so now, 40 years later.

To succeed at such a grand project, you have to work and learn by reading lots of books. I read so many that, at the age of 20, I calculated that if I stacked all the books I had read one on top of the other, I could reach the 2.5 m ceiling of my student bedroom.

Between 20 and 35, I continued to read, maybe at a slightly slower pace. But I started thinking about all the things I had read, going over them in my head and sorting them out a little. Which elements could be useful in my day-to-day life, and which ones served only to nourish or soothe my intellect?

Living in fairly good conditions in Switzerland, I didn’t find life particularly difficult or unpleasant. But I soon realised that some people who had the same living conditions as me were always complaining, and seemed to find life difficult and unpleasant.

By the time I was 35 years old, I had a family and children, with all the worries that entails. I also went through two periods of unemployment, during which I watched people on television in the same situation as me, sinking into a black hole. I, however, was doing just fine.

Over time I had built up a list of beautiful positive phrases, and these helped me tremendously in the most difficult moments. I almost never read them, but I incorporated their principles. Thanks to what I had read, I had somehow created a good mindset for myself. Other people complained about their fate when they faced the slightest difficulty, or groaned about the injustice of the world. I was always able to stay positive, and I quietly continued growing. Had I found a method for coping with life’s hardships, or would I have had the same skills without reading a single book about philosophy or personal development? The first hypothesis seemed more likely. It was all the positive things I had read that helped me to navigate the obstacles life threw my way.

Around the age of 45, I looked at my notes again. I analysed my list to see if I was using everything on it. I began pruning so I could create a summary of my summary, made up entirely of useful things. Something really condensed, that I could read once or twice a month, but that would provide me with a constant boost. I was still reading a fair bit, and I came across Loving What Is by Katie Byron. This book really clicked with me. Despite everything I knew about letting go, Katie managed to make me understand what letting go truly means. Her words opened the door to a simple, non-academic way of writing, which explained things better than dozens of other books. Loving What Is, alongside Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and Unlimited Power by Anthony Robbins, allowed me to summarise half of the philosophy that I had taken almost 40 years to establish for myself.

A few years later, I went back to my summary and pruned it some more, but also added in some ideas from Katie Byron and Eckhart Tolle (who I had discovered in the meantime) and new personal experiences. I was now in possession of a document that seemed good, concrete and usable. I decided it was time that I stopped this kind of reading, as I wasn’t learning anything from it, and started to put into practice the wonderful concepts that I had spent decades constructing. Then one day, about four years ago, I remember thinking that it would be a great pity if old and young people alike had to spend as much time as I did acquiring these tools, which were so useful to me in my everyday life.

Another year went by before I said to myself: “What if I wrote a book? I am not a writer, an author, a journalist, a psychologist or a philosopher. But my document, my common sense and the technical side of my training could help me to explain to others how everything that I have discovered works”. Some of the books I had read in my life were completely unintelligible, as they seemed to have been written by Nobel laureates or as academic theses. Others spoke only of money, and never mentioned happiness. Maybe we were missing a book. A book that would speak like Katie, Napoleon and Anthony, but that would also include the myriad of small ideas that I had been lucky enough to have acquired over the years.

At this stage, it was impossible to imagine “40 years of work” ending up at the bottom of a drawer, destined only for my own personal use. So, once again, I took up my document, this time with the idea of creating a book from it. I reworked everything over the course of two years.

I hope you enjoy this book, and I know it will help you to push yourself towards happiness and success.

 

Raph Lavandou

Raphaël Savoy, born 27/12/1962 in Chermignon in the canton of Valais in Switzerland.
Education Electronic engineering and computer engineering.
Current occupation Computer engineer for an insurance company.
Other activities Author of this book.
Interests Life, because that’s where we live.
Sport, because that’s when you can really feel yourself living.
Plans I probably won’t write any more books, because, as it says in the subtitle, I think I have said everything I have to say and I don’t think I have another 40 years left to write another.
Keep working on this blog to clarify the techniques explained in the book and listen to readers.
Translating this book into new languages as soon as sales of existing versions allow.
Continue to live, play sports, and enjoy lots of other activities, happily and successfully.