There are physical laws that maintain order in the physical world, and there are truths that sustain us emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Even if people live in concert with these truths, it does not mean they will be happy all the time however they could be, because happiness is a matter of personal choice. These truths or axioms also allow for an equal right to abject misery if you choose to live in conflict with them. The fifth axiom is covered in its entirety in this chapter...
...Logically, if you give something away you seem to suffer a loss. Our culture has a tendency to believe this type of sterile logic, suggesting that you need to hold on tightly to what you have. But there is so much to life that is not logical. It takes faith rather than logic to give to others with no strings attached.
The truth is you never find happiness by demanding it, taking it, or manipulating others into giving it to you. You take positive control of your life only when you stop measuring your happiness by what other people can give you (or give back to you) and start building your level of happiness based on what you contribute to others...
... The five axioms are simple in concept and completely understandable, but as with anything that has immense long term benefits, "easy" is probably not the best way to describe them. The axioms are relatively simple to understand, but not necessarily easy to execute.
Some people are unaware of how their behavior may adversely affect them and others around them. Some people believe they have already been practicing the five axioms, and yet they openly admit that their lives are characterized by abject misery and loneliness. In such cases they are probably doing the best they can. They have their own perspective on things and are trying to be as happy and fulfilled as they know how to be.
These people are knowingly or unknowingly practicing the truths to the best of their ability but achieving less than stellar results. This is a result of having a limited understanding of how to enjoy life. They may find it difficult to motivate themselves. Little progress can be made by those who see no real reason to try harder. Ignorance is not bliss. To get more effective results from the five axioms, you need to have a thorough understanding of yourself and how you function in the world. This will be accomplished through the autobiographical process in Chapters 10 and 11.
There you will write, in detail, about who you are, which tends to make people much more open to new methods for self-improvement. You may be someone who is skeptical of the axioms and their life-changing effectiveness. We suggest you withhold your judgments until you have completed the autobiographical process. You may find the results of that exercise quite surprising.
You may believe that you are doing a good job in life, but also feel as if something is missing. This can cause you to feel frustration and anger when you study this program for the first time. You might say something like "Nothing here is new. I have known these things all my life. I go to church. I care for my kids. I go to work every day. I don't need a morality lesson. I need to learn how to stop using heroin (crack, booze, etc.). That's why I bought this program. I didn't buy it to learn the golden rule!" Or, you might think, "I have always tried to be the best person I can be. I do not see how practicing these simple five axioms will improve my life? And besides, I'm already doing all this stuff!"
There are two separate issues here that need to be examined. First, this portion of the program has nothing to do with alcohol and/or drug use. In the earlier chapters we explained that alcohol and drug use are choices not necessarily connected to other behaviors. Once you choose to abandon or moderate your use of alcohol and other drugs, it is over, forever. That is a simple direct choice.
The second issue is that "simple" does not mean "easy." We can't stress this enough. Learning to care about others when you already feel dead inside, being open to change, forcing yourself to be positive in uncertain or stressful times and pushing off impulsive behaviors for positive results are not easy to do and may take some time to achieve. You have already begun the process through the earlier charting process, but that was just the tiniest tip of an immense iceberg. You will reach far greater personal heights as you progress through the following lessons.