The Tao of Instant Liberation (in Dating and Beyond)

This article is about how your perpetual happiness is pretty much in your hands right now. And I will state without proof that being a healthy, happy, optimistic person makes you more fun to be around. And that people who are fun to be around are just going to be more successful in the dating arena and beyond.

Let me start with a quick little story.

There’s something that I’ve been thinking about for a while – a couple of decades, actually. And recently it just really hit me in a way that it never had before, and I want to share that realization with you.

(Bear with me as I go through some factoids that are potentially boring to non-basketball fans – it’s all to make a worthwhile point. Thanks :)
Let’s rewind to about twenty years ago. See, I used to be a big basketball fan. Of the Los Angeles Lakers, specifically. And those were the glory days – ‘Showtime’, as it was called.

You had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson. You had James Worthy and Byron Scott. You had all these guys who were superstars in their own right, and they were all on the same team.

And then, you had the arch-enemy – the Boston Celtics. The ungainly (yet highly competent) Larry Bird and his cohorts. Man, did I despise them.

Now I haven’t had a TV for years, but sometimes when I’m out, a Lakers game is playing on the screen and I watch for a couple of minutes.

And even though I really don’t follow sports anymore, sometimes a twinge of the old fan-hood creeps in, and I want to root for ‘my team’.

But, now it’s different people on the team. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Oh wait, he left to play for another team. Two other teams, actually.

So every person on the team now is different from 20 years ago. Heck, one of them, Luke Walton, is the son of a former Celtic (Bill Walton).

The uniform is also different. It used to be purple and yellow, and now it’s just yellow. And they’re playing in a different arena now – the Staples Center, vs the old Forum.

And nobody on the team is really from Los Angeles. And if they were offered a better deal elsewhere, or got disenchanted with their situation here (like Mr O’Neal), they’ll skip out an go somewhere else.

So my question is: exactly which part of the Lakers is still the Lakers?

See, there used to be a time when the defeat or victory of ‘my team’ had a great effect on my psyche. I’d get elated when they won, and seriously bummed out when they lost.

But now I’m realizing that ‘my team’ did not really exist. The only thing that existed was a certain agreement I had made with myself to believe in this entity called ‘The Lakers.’

So I ask you this: how many illusory entities have you made contracts with to control your state of mind?

When you were a kid, you may have made a contract with Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. And woe betide them if they didn’t show up when they were supposed to.

But you grew out of those. Right? You don’t believe in that kind of fairy-tale stuff anymore. You’re an adult now.


Well, how about the last time you lost when playing a game? Did you get a little bummed out then?

Or maybe you were waiting for a raise, or promotion. And it didn’t come. How did you feel then?

Or maybe your pet did something bad. Or one of your relatives said something pointlessly nasty. Or you got left out of a party invitation. Or you lost your job. Or you got a parking ticket. How did you feel then?

Here’s what every one of these events have in common: not one of them has a way of plugging directly into the back of your brain to make you feel a certain way.

If you felt crappy, it’s because you consented to do so. You CHOSE to do so. Now for most of us, it may be an UNCONSCIOUS choice.

But it’s still a choice.

Here, try this on for size: Imagine that the cutest little 4yr old kid EVER just ran up to you – maybe it’s your own kid, or a niece or nephew. Someone you can’t help but make you smile. This kid is all smiles, and now hands you a hand-picked flower, and just beams. (For me, I imagine my 4yr old niece. I’d do anything for her, and the clever little tyke probably knows it.)

Notice how you go “awww”, and your heart just opens wide. Perhaps you’re even smiling now, and a certain sense of softness folds into your body.

That’s called opening your heart. It took about 30 seconds to do. And there was no kid really in front of you. You did it all through the power of imagination.

Well played.

This brings us to the utterly mundane yet utterly profound observation which is the crux of this article, and perhaps the crux of all Eastern wisdom and spiritual tradition.

Are you ready? Here it is:

As a human being, you have the unique gift of being able to think and feel independently of circumstance.

Most of the time, reality is a crutch. Sure, every once in a while a piano falls on your head, and man can that hurt.

But most of the time, the ‘problems’ that are ‘out there’ are manufactured by your own imagination.

In fact, all problems are problems of the imagination. And all solutions are solutions of the imagination.

In scientific terms, you possess the full manufacturing capability of the world’s largest legal drug factory at all times. It’s called your brain, and you can make happy juice, sad juice, thrilled juice, disappointed juice or any other kind of juice you want pretty much on demand.

My job is merely to remind you of that fact. So – remember! In fact, let’s do a fun little exercise right now.

happinessA winning lottery ticket has no electrodes going to your brain to zap you into a state of delirious ecstasy. It’s just your imagination.

So feel free to grab a scrap of paper RIGHT NOW. And imagine that it’s got the winning lottery numbers on it. HOLY CRAP! YOU JUST WON 12 MILLION BUCKS!

(C’mon, play along. I promise it’ll be fun.)

Now imagine all the things you can do with that big stash of cash. Travel! Toys! Big home! Fancy cars! Do a little preview of all the excitement in your upcoming life.

And now realize that you have ALREADY won the lottery. It’s called being alive. (And having a roof over your head, clean dry clothes on your body, most limbs intact, a computer in front of you, and enough leisure time to ponder how you want to spend it.)

(Oh, and if your main concern is that you can’t score a date on a Friday night, you’re doing very, very well indeed.)

It’s called being alive and in control of your own mind. You win the lottery the instant that you realize that you have that power and start to use it actively.

Reality’s mostly a crutch. Asking it to conform to your particular wishes so you’ll be happy is just another way of saying you’re okay with being lazy and unimaginative. Which none of us are, of course.

When you take control of your imagination and CHOOSE to be happy and CHOOSE to have an open heart, it will be impossible for you to be lonely. Great companions will flock to you from far and wide and will never want to let you go.

Why? Because you become the catalyst for THEIR drug factory to make happy juices. They will be physiologically addicted to you. Who doesn’t want to be around someone who makes you feel great?

Be the factory. Be the force. Be the beacon, the fire that everyone wants to be around.

If you need a little boost for that, for the men I recommend subscribing to Mindtracks, available at They will change your mindset from the inside out (and if you’re not ready for the full subscription, the Equanimity Generator and Courage Amplifier are particularly relevant). And if you don’t already have The Tao of Dating for Men, you can get that here:

For the ladies, the Tao of Dating for Women is coming in February. Download the teleseminars and sample chapters at

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from George Bernard Shaw:

“This is the true joy of life: the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it what I can.”

The power is within you,

Dr Alex

PS: Can you think of two friends who would also
find this article useful? Then don’t be selfish —
send it to them!

PPS: I’m interested in your questions and
comments regarding dating, persuasion and
networking, so please do send them to me. I can be
reached at dralex(at)