Making Happiness Magic Happen

I first saw Marvin Oka perform his magic one evening before a large audience who’d come to hear about Marvin's latest research and ideas on personal mastery and NLP. Born and raised in beautiful and exotic Hawaii, Marvin performed for many years as a Professional Magician and Entertainer before thousand and thousands of people. His skills are consummate and elegant. At the tender age of 18 he’d already won the coveted World Magic Competition for Sleight of Hand magic.

Marvin’s quest for excellence and his passion for understanding human communication lead him to study the newly emerging field of NLP and Behavioral Modeling. Since then he has become one of the top NLP trainers in the world and as a Corporate Consultant his client list reads like the who’s who of the business world. He now travels the world consulting and training trainers and is considered to be a master of the magic of human excellence and behavioural performance.

Marvin spoke to me about his thoughts and ideas on happiness and how to make magic happen in your own life and the lives of others.

“Happiness is not something you strive for, it’s a natural state of being. Anytime you are not happy, it’s because something is getting in the way. You need to look at what stops you or separates you from your natural state of happiness.”

In Marvin’s view, people experience misery and unhappiness because they have a poor ‘philosophy of life’ – a poor philosophy of how it ‘all’ works that doesn’t make them feel happy and authentic. As Marvin points out, “You cannot not have a life philosophy.” Choosing not to focus on or be aware of your philosophy is still a philosophy. The key according to Marvin is in knowing your self and in making finer and finer distinctions about your own processes.

For Marvin, one of the main enemies to happiness is a lack of self-awareness. Overcoming this enemy requires a capacity for meta-cognition – thinking about your own thinking and tracking it. Marvin says you need to keep vigilant of your own states and internal representations and monitor them. Your philosophy needs to support you getting back from states of negativity and suffering. When you find yourself engaged in doing suffering dis-identify with it and come back to choice. It’s not an ‘is’ question about whether life ‘is’ good or ‘is’ happy; it’s a ‘choice’ question. Happiness comes from choosing and maintaining an attitude of internal peace, flow and harmony in the difficult circumstances of life.

Marvin also believes it’s important that your life philosophy continues to develop and grow throughout your life. “Continue to study, learn and think about it and test it. If you find yourself getting stuck or attached to a model or philosophy that causes suffering then it isn’t working.”

Another important key to happiness is having goals, dreams and wishes. Intention is a major component of creativity and life is creative. Intention requires choice and consciousness.

You might ‘wish’ to be happy, but you just can’t force it. One of the biggest enemies is trying to chase happiness. Happiness is not out there; it’s a way of being in any given moment. Being able to ‘be’ happy requires not ignorance but self-awareness, not great external circumstances but choosing to do happiness regardless of the circumstances. Happiness requires a consciousness that doesn’t make you happy, but instead involves a way of doing your self so that you experience and connect with the natural state of happiness that exists in all of us. As Marvin puts it, “Happiness is not a goal – unhappiness is a deviation. If you aren’t experiencing the natural state of happiness and joy then look around, you are probably ballroom-dancing with one of the enemies to happiness.”

Marvin’s key enemies to happiness

  • Lack of self-awareness

o       Learn to manage your state so you can do ongoing self-awareness

o       Feel the feelings and also be aware and meta to them

  • Limiting life philosophy

o       Beware of poor comparisons and reference models

o       Seek wisdom via multiple points of reference

  • Poor languaging skills

o       Learn to language your feelings and emotions

o       Study and practice emotional intelligence

  • Negative societal conditioning

o       Question and overcome limiting assumptions

  • Negative environment

o       Stay away from negative people and systems

o       Stay away from stressful physical environments

o       Learn to transcend your environment

  • Lack of health and vitality

o       Maintain your physical well-being

o       Exercise, sleep and watch your diet