The Power of Visualization

Visualization is the act of leveraging the powers of your brain to achieve your goals.

The art and practice of visualization have been around for years; however, with the increased focus on mindfulness and the power of positive thinking, visualization is gaining more attention.  The beauty of visualization is that it is something that can be learned and doesn’t take a huge amount of time daily.  What it does take is the commitment to an ongoing routine.

Before outlining a simple process for visualization, I’d like to provide a level of supporting information.

How people define the power of visualization varies.  At the most basic level, visualization is seeing your goals as if they have already been achieved.  It’s understanding the power of how your thoughts work for you.  By visualizing something, you are imprinting this vision in your subconscious mind.  If it is different than the current reality, what your conscious mind is experiencing, there will be a conflict between the two.  This is where the power of your mind works.  The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and your vision, it simply wants to minimize any conflict.  Think of your subconscious mind as an inner collaborator that works with your conscious mind to align what you need to achieve your goals.  You begin to see what it will take to achieve the goal more clearly and be attracted to those things and understand how they will help you achieve success – what you have visualized.

When you hear about visualization, you will also hear about the Law of Attraction – where positive or negative thoughts bring about linked outcomes.  At the highest level, the belief is that people and their thoughts are made up of “pure energy” and the energy of your thoughts is truly connected with all the energy in the universe.  Your thoughts will attract “like” energy.  This is the underlying premise of the power of positive thinking.

Additionally, there is the Reticular Activating System (RAS), which is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information that we are bombarded with daily so that the important information gets through.  Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it.  By focusing on positive or your goals, your RAS will filter out what doesn’t fit.  Here’s an easy example of how the RAS works.  Think about being in a crowded restaurant or bar where everyone is talking.  You don’t hear their conversations, but if someone happens to say your name, you are likely able to hear it.  Another example would be when you consider buying a car.  Suddenly you begin noticing that same car everywhere you drive.  While those cars were already there, your RAS letting through the information that is important to you.

Let me address the naysayers: I understand that the practice of visualization will not automatically make things happen.  What is does is set in motion the process needed to achieve your success.  You need to follow your subconscious mind as it frames and guides your actions toward achievement and eliminate the conflict between your vision and current reality.  You can’t sit on the couch and lose 20 pounds just because you visualized it while eating a donut.

As mentioned above, visualization doesn’t take a lot of time, it simply takes a commitment to follow through with a few simple activities with consistency.

Steps to visualization:

  • Determine your goal – what you want to achieve.
  • Get comfortable.
  • Visualize the situation in as much detail as possible.
    • Use all your senses when going through this process –
      • What do you see, feel, smell, hear, and taste?
      • What are you wearing?
      • Who’s there with you?
      • What are your surroundings – where are you?
    • Add emotions and bodily sensations.
    • Be as vivid as you can.
  • Visualize in the first person, as if you have already achieved your goal. Don’t think about it as some future state, experience it as if you were there in the moment.
  • Repeat this practice 2 to 3 times a day. Frequency is important to training your subconscious mind to this new reality.
  • An additional step I recommend is to also visualize the steps along the way to achieving your ultimate goal. Visualize your success in increments and in doing what it will take.  Experience the journey.

That’s it. It’s that simple.

Now that you understand the basics of visualization, go out and leverage it for your benefit.  Start with something small and experience how powerful your mind is.



I have written before about memories and their impact on your happiness.  But I wanted to share one quick anecdote.  People continue to strive for different material things that they believe will make them happy, but at the end of the day (or more importantly end of one’s life), memories are what you will always have.

Do a quick test of this hypothesis.  Think of something in the past where you bought something that you “needed” to have, e.g., that latest device.  How does it make you feel today?  Now, think of a time where you invested in an experience, like a trip to somewhere that you always wanted to visit, e.g., London or Europe.  Which one created the best memories?

This past weekend, I attended my 40th high school reunion.  My former classmates and I not only relived old memories but also built new ones that we can put in our memory lockers to pull out and experience again later.  While I was apprehensive going in, it was a great weekend.  The smiles and laughs were so contagious that I am sure everyone had a fantastic time.

Part of creating a memory is taking time to truly enjoy the experience.  You will hear some people say to mentally take a snapshot in the moment – meaning to truly experience the moment and not just let it pass you by.  In the future, there will be things that trigger your memory vault and you will be able to relive the experience.  The good news about technology and social media today is that posts, pictures, and stories automatically stimulate memories.  I can tell you that I have been reliving my reunion already based on all the pictures being posted.

So the next time you are thinking to yourself, “wow, I am having a really great time”, pause in the moment and enjoy the moment.  You will be able to relive it again over and over in the future.

How do you capture memories?




If you know me well, you know that I like to research, read, learn and better understand happiness and positivity – what drives happiness, why some people are happy when others aren’t and is there a relationship between being happy and being positive.  Recently, I started reflecting on the “why” of my focus on happiness and the underlying influence in my life…

Most studies show that there are three primary areas where happiness comes from – our genes, our circumstances and ourselves.  The percentages across each of these varies slightly from report to report; however, I am safe in generally saying that 50% comes from genes, 10% is due to our circumstances – leaving 40% that is within our control.  This is why they say that much of your happiness is your choice.

Looking at these percentages, understanding that a percentage of a person’s happiness is genetic and based on their surroundings, I looked to understand where my positivity and happiness came from in my developmental years and beyond.

Growing up I was generally happy and positive; however, I didn’t understand the drivers behind my perspectives.  We had a great neighborhood, one of those that we’d be out with friends playing kick the can or some other activity that involved $0 investment “until the street lights came on”.  The good news is that due to the power of technology and social media, I am still connected to many of those that ran the streets around Livonia.

While never really being a person who reflected on the past, it was a challenge for me to be open minded to discover these influences.  I did have a number of good teachers, but at the time, I wasn’t really the studious type (shocker) to have one that I could say was an influence.  I also had a number of good mentors in my career, but by that time, I believe my perspectives were already ingrained.  The one thing that kept coming to me was my Dad.  Again, I haven’t been one, previously, to say that my Dad was one of the bigger influences on my life, but this time of reflection allowed me to see a variety of different things.

My Dad generally saw the positive in things, so much to a point that there is actually a joke in the family about him saying that every meal he had was the best he had ever had – no matter what his meal was, it was the best he’d had… that was the best steak, that was the best burger and so on.  I can’t remember a time when he said that his meal was “bad”.

This doesn’t mean that my Dad saw everything as sunshine and rainbows, he was realistic, but generally saw things from a positive perspective.

As I continued to think through this process and remembering back to the key areas where happiness comes from (genes, environment, ourselves), I can align myself with the fact that 50% of my perspective on life and happiness comes from my Dad’s genes.  As he was an only child, I am unable to compare his perspectives with his siblings and his father died at an early age so I never knew him.  While I knew his mother, my grandmother, I can’t say I knew her well, but I do know that she wasn’t the most positive.

Reflecting on my memories, I think my Dad was simply grateful for what he had and wasn’t trying to compete with others.  He set an example of his gratitude by working to give back to the community.  We weren’t wealthy, so I can’t say he was a philanthropist, but more of a servant to the community.  I don’t remember a time that he wasn’t engaged with the church – St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church – Livonia, Michigan.  Then after he retired, he expanded his volunteer work with the Open Door program at Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit.  He’d be at Fort Street every Thursday morning supporting those in need with not only food, but other basic necessities of life – hygiene kits, access to medical facilities, clothing, etc.

Another example that stands out for me around his focus and gratitude, was the day my daughter was born.  While he’d been planning his retirement from Chrysler, the day I called to say that my wife was in labor, he handed in his papers, retired and headed to Indianapolis to welcome his first Grandchild.

So, if the studies are accurate and 50% of one’s happiness comes from genes and another 40% comes from within themselves, I believe my Dad’s genes and his overall perspective had a significant influence on why I generally have a more positive perspective and try to be happy.  It really took me a while to dig through my memories to determine that it was my Dad that influenced me in this way.  I am not sure how much this influenced my professional life and career; however, I do believe that positive psychology in a professional environment does tend to drive success.

11 Things That Decide The Future Of Your Love Relationship

By Rachel Pace

Relationships are a key indicator of both your happiness and your success.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few years or you’ve just had those first few slightly awkward but really sweet first dates and you’re hoping they’ll call again soon, there’s one question that most people ask about their relationship at some point.

Where is this going?

If you’re in the first flush of relationship fun, you’re wondering if this could turn into something long term. If you’ve been together for a few months or a couple of years, you’re wondering whether you’re going to be settling down and maybe even having a family together. And even if you’re married, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve wondered what the future of your relationship looks like.

So, does your relationship have a bright future? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have a handy list of things you can look at to give you a sneak peek at the future of your relationship.

Here are 11 things that decide the future of your love relationship.


  1. Whether You Share Values

Shared values are the foundation of a strong relationship. You don’t have to agree on everything – different opinions are absolutely ok! – but having core values in common   is vital for long term relationship success. If you both value the same things in life, you’re more likely to stay the course.


  1. Whether You Can Have Healthy Fights

Every couple fights sometimes. It’s just human nature. However, whether or not you can have healthy fights has a direct impact on the future of your relationship. You need to know going forward that whenever you and your boo don’t see eye to eye, you can resolve it amicably.


  1. The Way You Measure Intimacy

Intimacy is about so much more than sex, gifts, or romantic gestures. Sometimes life will throw challenges your way that put sex on the back burner or drain your bank account so gifts are out of the question. But true intimacy is measured in being there for each other and being able to trust and talk to one another. Couples who know this  could well have a bright future ahead.


  1. Being Able To Work As A Team

Being in a relationship means being part of a team. Your partner is not your opponent, and there’s no room in healthy relationships for holding grudges or scoring points off each other. Couples who tackle life as a team are setting themselves up for a happy life together.


  1. Having Good Communication Skills

Good communication is so important in relationships. Good communication means you can weather life’s storms together without getting caught up in misunderstandings. No matter what life throws your way or what each of you is going through, you can meet each other in a place of honesty and openness.


  1. Your Levels Of Commitment

Relationships with strong futures are ones where both parties are committed to staying the course. If one of you isn’t all in, you’ve got much less chance in the long term. After all, why stay with someone who isn’t as committed to staying with you? Make sure you’re both on the same page.


  1. Whether You Make Each Other Laugh

Life will get rough sometimes. Jobs will fall through, someone’s health might suffer, families will bring stress and heartache. It sounds gloomy but these challenges are just part of life! If you can make each other laugh no matter what is going on, your relationship will be an oasis for both of you.


  1. The Ability To Make Compromises

Compromises are just part of being in a relationship. Of course you don’t have to give up yourself and your dreams – your needs and goals matter – but when you share your life with another person, you need to compromise at times. Learn the art of compromise and your relationship will have much better odds.


  1. How Much You Trust Each Other

Trust is key to long term happiness. It’s hard to build a future with a partner that you don’t trust. If you find yourself questioning what they say or where they’ve been, it’s time for a serious talk and perhaps a look at your attitude to them.


  1. Your Attitudes

Talking of attitude, it makes a massive difference. If you both approach your relationship with an attitude of positivity, appreciation, gratefulness and commitment, it will be much easier to keep it strong in the long term.


  1. Being Friends As Well As Partners

Look for a partner who is also your friend. Someone you can share anything with, confide in, talk to and laugh with. Someone you look forward to catching up with and sharing all your news at the end of the day. Those relationships are special, and likely to last.

There are many things that can decide the future of your love relationship – and several of them are in your hands.


 Author bio:- Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.


A Teenager’s Perspective on Stress and Anxiety

By Gabriele White

Many teenagers get stressed out before tests or presentations in front of their peers.  It’s true that nearly every high school student goes through this. It is not true that this response has to take control and overwhelm you. Stress in these situations is self-induced and can be controlled by your own positive thoughts and actions. Believe in yourself and stay positive.

You can reduce your stress in many ways.  You can accept that you can’t change the way things happen or what people think of you.  You can prepare more for the test and you can choose not to panic or let the stress take over your thoughts.  Many teenagers become so focused on the story, “oh, I lm stressed” that they create increasingly more stress. In reality, if you tell yourself, I can do this and take it one step at a time you will be able to manage the stress and end up more successful and happier.

Teenagers tend to struggle with the concept of taking responsibility for their actions. They never think it’s their fault for putting everything off until the last moment.  They believe that the teacher shouldn’t have assigned such a dumb project.

Take responsibility for your actions.  More and more often you see teenagers blame their failures on others.  Not even other people but other objects too.  A lot of the times kids start believing that it really was “Sandra’s fault for not giving me the pencil so I couldn’t take the test” or “it’s my math teacher’s fault for not teaching.”  But let’s get real; you should have brought a pencil to class.  I mean it’s annoying Sandra didn’t give you a pencil, but it’s your fault for not coming prepared, and your math teacher is a teacher for a reason. She went through 4 years of training for this and I’m sure she’s doing better than most people would.  When you fail a math test, it’s your fault. When you screw up and get caught cheating, stealing, or doing something you shouldn’t be doing, it’s your fault. This may seem obvious to some people, but not to others. You have to admit it’s your fault and realize that consequences come with every decision.  You may not like them or want them, but they will help you learn and grow from these experiences.  Once you’ve done this and accepted the blame and failure, you’re no longer a victim. You can take control of your life and your feelings.

People feel pressure to always be in touch and posting online.  I mean, if it’s not on Snapchat did it really happen? Social media influences us to fit into society by being perfect and cool and funny and smart.  This can be stressful, overwhelming and lead to bad decisions, but we still check Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter during every free moment.

Whenever we go online we automatically start comparing ourselves to the beautiful filter covered photos. For me I know get jealous seeing all my friends on Snapchat hanging out while I’m practicing sports or just at home with my family. Some people would say this give you “anxiety and stress”. If that’s the case then maybe it’s time to put the phone down.

Snapchat is a great example of how technology controls us.  It makes me feel like I must Snapchat every day so I don’t lose my streaks.  Once I ran out of data and it was really stressful because I didn’t want to lose my streaks.  Rather than a choice, it became a burden. Once I stopped, I found that losing my streaks made me feel better, almost freed.

Also, don’t define your best friends by the list of 7 people you snapchat the most. Snapchat who you want to Snapchat; and don’t worry if they aren’t who you hang out with. Don’t let this computer generated list define your life.

I recently noticed that I have touched my phone every day for nearly 2 years.  Yet I am not sure I have hugged my parents or brothers or anyone every day of those two years.  Also, my phone has seen my face for a longer period of time than any one person. Our phones have become the center of our lives .

We use them to connect with people who are hundreds of miles away from us. As cool as that is, there’s actually people who are less than 20 feet away from us who are perfectly capable of having a conversation in person. I believe many teenagers do not realize that our body’s already have this connection feature and it doesn’t cost extra or take time to install.

I am not saying that having a phone or social media is bad.  I ‘m just saying if you allow it to control your life, you miss out on more personal connections.  You become a victim of technology rather than allowing technology to enhance connection. We are allowing our phones to consume us. While reading this, you’ve probably gotten 3 new notifications, and you may have even stopped to read them or at least check to see if they were important.

Appreciate where you are in life and who you have around because eventually they won’t be there anymore. My family consists of five people; me, my two older brothers and my parents. One of the hardest things lately is that my two older brothers are moving out of the house. I never thought the day would come.  They will always still be children, even if legally they are considered adults. I’ve been scrambling to absorb every detail of these last years.  I don’t want to forget what it was like rushing, pushing, and shoving as we race up the stairs to bed. I realized that not one of these memories came from my phone through Snapchat.

Stop wishing you were somewhere else with someone else. If you aren’t where you want to be, then change it. If social media brings you down then put it down. Make real life memories. Stop letting the virtual reality become your only reality.

Throughout your life you will face hardships, but you have to persevere. Don’t give up because life is difficult. You can’t expect a great life to be handed to you; you’ve got to work for it.  This has been said many times, but it hasn’t sunk in for many of us. So I am saying it again.  You are in control of your life. You decide what to do with the difficult times. Don’t give in to stress and anxiety.  Take responsibility, make good choices and fight through it.

Lesson #27 – Keep a “To-Do” List

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.


Today was the first day of classes for me. I got A LOT done in PLP office hours today and feel confident about kicking off the semester with our SD meeting and member meeting tomorrow! In addition, I got a final approval from Central Housing today to take an LSAT prep course. After that, I registered and secured my spot in the class I wanted!

In between it all, I got a lot of little things crossed off of my to do list! It has been a bit of a long day, but a pretty productive day as well! Talk to you soon!




This weekend was exactly what I needed! I was able to spend some time with my friends and my family, as well as get some work done! I was able to spend some time getting my to do list put together and making a plan for the week so that I can get as much done as possible! In addition, I was able to spend some quality me time and tons of playing with my dog time! I am feeling very refreshed and ready to go for the week!  See you in the morning!




Today has been quite a long day for not having much on my schedule. I have gotten a handful of things crossed off my to-do list, but I do have a lot left. It will have to make for a productive weekend! I’m tired and now off to bed! Can’t wait for our meeting on Monday… It feels like its been forever!



Today I had a very productive day at work, productive class and a pretty productive night as well. I had some me time and some friends time and also got a workout in. I still have a lot on my to do list for the week but I feel like I’m at a good spot as of now! I’m off to bed!




Lesson: Keep a “to-do” list.

If you want to get things done, you will need a “to-do” list. If you want to be a leader, you need items on your “to-do” list related to accomplishing your goals and the goals of the team. You want activities that will matter and make a difference in your life and the lives of others. Review your “to-do” list; if it includes things like “buy milk” and “stop by the bookstore,” then it is good you have those items captured. But what you really need is a list of the activities that are most important to reaching your goals and helping the team reach its goals. Don’t just think about what you have to do, but think about what is the most important thing you can be doing? Look at your “to-do” list and add the actions that will move your goals forward. Make sure those are prioritized so you get them done first. Then add all of the other smaller items swirling around in your head. But be sure to mark them a lower priority and fit them into the schedule vs. spending your time on the lower priority items and never getting to the activities that will make you successful and happy.

One important note; make positive relationships one of your top priorities. Nurturing positive relationships is an investment in your happiness and success.


Opportunity: Create a “to-do” list. Put a priority level next to each item. Do the high priority items first.

Activity: Schedule your to-do list

Make a list of things you need to do tomorrow and schedule each one on your calendar to hold yourself accountable. Make sure your most important activities get the highest priority times and the most cushion in your calendar. Check your calendar often and stick to your scheduled times.

At the end of the day, tomorrow, review your success. Check each item and confirm whether you were able to complete it or not. Did you schedule enough time to complete the activity? Did you schedule enough transition time and down time? Honestly evaluate your progress. Did you get side tracked by something unexpected? Was it more important than what you had originally planned or just more urgent?

Your schedule should remain flexible, so don’t worry about being perfect and never missing a scheduled activity. It is more about creating a habit, learning to budget enough time, and making sure the highest priority activities don’t get replaced by the lower priority activities.


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

What is Pleasure?

So if happiness is an inner state of well-being that can be created, what is pleasure?  To oversimplify, pleasure is an activity that makes you “feel good now.” Pleasure is different from happiness in that, instead of being created within and by you, it comes from outside stimuli. You get pleasure from an event, activity, or occurrence that generates positive feelings. Eating a good meal, buying something nice, playing Xbox, or watching a movie can create pleasurable sensations. Because pleasure comes from outside stimuli, it is short-lived and limited to the timeframe during and immediately after the activity occurs. Pleasure is also different from happiness in that we quickly adapt to the level of pleasure an activity provides, and we need more and more of that activity to provide more pleasure.

Pleasure is subject to a phenomenon known as Hedonic Adaptation, or the Hedonic Treadmill. In other words, a person gets accustomed to the activity creating the pleasure; and in order to experience continued pleasure, the level of the activity has to be elevated. Video games are a great example of this phenomenon: there are always more levels to advance to, so the game is constantly changing and becoming more difficult. How fun would a game be if there were only one level, with one degree of difficulty? Personally, my kids gain a lot of pleasure from playing video games, but I’ve noticed they can’t play the same game at the same level for an extended period of time. The challenges of the game have to be constantly increased. They want more and more challenging levels; or they want to break their previous records; or, even better, they want to switch to more realistic game experiences.

Many of us believe that once we get that {fill in the blank: car, house, boyfriend, money}, that is all we’ll need or want. We will not want anything else. Has that ever really happened for you? How long after you bought your new car were you ready to buy another one? How about that girl in high school— the one who, if she would just go out with you, all your dreams would come true? Did that work out? What about the beliefs that “if I can just graduate college, or if I can just get that first job, or if I can just get a promotion, or a raise, then I will be happy”? After those things happened, you were probably happy, even giddy for a while. But soon you returned to your normal level of happiness. This principle can also apply to more dangerous situations, such as drug addiction. The first time a person tries a particular drug, he only needs a little to get an intense reaction. But his body adapts quickly; and the next time he needs a little more, and the next time even more. His body continually adapts and needs more of the drug (or a more potent drug) to get the same feeling.

Over the centuries, our ancestors survived and prospered because of their amazing ability to adapt to changing circumstances. This is great when conditions are negative, such as in harsh climates or with limited food sources. They adapted so they would survive and not be miserable. They adjusted to the new normal and began looking for ways to flourish. The trait works similarly when conditions are good. Rather than being happy and comfortable with warm weather and plenty of food, they adapted to those comforts and looked to add more. Their brains were wired not to settle completely so they wouldn’t become overly comfortable and stop trying to make things better. This trait we inherited pushes us to always get better, and to continue to evolve and move.

Unfortunately, it can also work against us now that we have all the comforts human beings could need. We are still trying to evolve, so we keep adapting, even to the great things in our life. When we encounter pleasure, chemicals in our brain are released that make us feel very good and make us want more. We instinctually look for ways to repeat and increase that level of pleasure. We are programmed to want more rather than to be grateful and satisfied with what we have. We find something pleasurable, and we adapt to it and want more. This is the basis of Hedonic Adaptation and the reason many of us run on the Hedonic Treadmill.

One of the most famous and surprising studies about Hedonic Adaptation was done in 1978. It showed that whether a person had won the lottery or became a paraplegic, as quickly as two months later, that person had returned to the level of happiness experienced prior to the event. It also showed that often, over the long term, the paraplegics actually became happier. The lottery winners quickly adapted to their new mansions instead of apartments, and champagne instead of beer. They had no way to move up after a series of initial improvements. The champagne was top of the line and the beer didn’t taste as good anymore. Going back to a job paying $30,000 per year held no interest for someone who had won millions of dollars in the lottery.

The paraplegics, on the other hand, reached rock bottom. Every movement was new and appreciated. They had nowhere to go but up. Every day brought a new challenge, and overcoming each challenge brought joy and confidence that built on itself. The happiness came from overcoming lots of challenges and running into and overcoming roadblocks that they could face because of their experience in winning tiny battles in the past.

Winning tiny battles and overcoming obstacles builds self-confidence that can’t be easily undone. If you appreciate and celebrate what you have accomplished, the next bigger challenge seems more doable. This creates a virtuous circle of success that builds on itself. Your ability to experience happiness over time becomes stronger. That is why older people and people who have experienced significant trauma in their lives tend to be happier. They have been through the trials and tribulations that strengthened their confidence, provided perspective, and gave them a reservoir of memories and successes to call on whenever life presents negative challenges.

One other reason lottery winners are not as happy as people might expect is related to activity in the brain created by earning a reward instead just being given the reward. Researchers at Emory University measured brain activity when subjects had to complete tasks to earn money vs. when they were just given envelopes of money with no effort required. The subjects who worked for their money showed significantly more activity in the pleasure centers of the brain, and these effects lasted much longer than those in the subjects who received money without expending any effort. It seems the Science of Happiness supports what grandfathers everywhere have believed and taught for years about money: “I get my money the old-fashioned way. I earn it.”

Hedonic Adaptation also explains why the standard of living in the US has gone up 250% in the past 50 years, while the average level of happiness has not kept pace. We are adapting to the nicer houses, cars, and general consumerism faster than we can earn more money to buy bigger and even better stuff.

Pleasure, by definition, is something that is positive. If it is negative, we call it pain. Happiness, on the other hand, includes both positive and negative events. Happiness does not mean everything is always good and we are always wearing rose-colored glasses. Happiness is experiencing negative events and emotions and knowing that we can get through them and come out okay. It is also knowing how to get through those tough times, knowing how to use our minds and our memories to make the best of our current situations. People who have developed the skills for happiness are aware of something my mom has always said: “This too shall pass.”

Another important point is that we can experience pleasure even when we are not happy. Again, drug use and alcoholism are clear examples. Addicts experience short-term pleasure when they indulge, even though they are often depressed, or at least unhappy. As soon as they sober up, a potential inability to deal with the present situation can cause them to jump back into chasing the quick pleasure again and again.

As an analogy, buying art is a pleasure. Putting it in your house and looking at it is pleasurable. Becoming an artist is more like happiness. You have to work at it. You can’t buy it. It is not something you can get from outside of yourself. It can only happen if you spend the time and cultivate the skills necessary to become an artist. The small but important difference in becoming an artist and becoming happy is that talent may be a requisite to be a successful artist, while truly anyone can be successful at finding happiness if he or she is willing to put in the time and acquire the skills.


Let’s do a quick review of the differences between pleasure and happiness:


Happiness Pleasure
Internal External
Ongoing Present during the pleasurable activity
Builds on itself Subject to Hedonic Adaptation
Lasting state Temporary state
Way of thinking Often an impact to the senses
No Limits Too much can become addictive and disconnect you from happiness
Includes negative events Defined as positive
Includes dealing with the pain Attempt to avoid pain
Includes Pleasure Can occur without happiness
Within our control Dependent on external factors


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #73 – Know that You are Enough


You are enough.  It is ok to want to be more, but you will be happier and more successful if you can first understand that you are good enough just the way you are.   You are worthy of being treated fairly and with respect. You are worthy of feeling important and feeling like you can make a difference in the world. You have flaws and have made mistakes, but that is ok, because so has everyone else. Other people have more; more money, more recognition, more opportunities, more friends, and more of lots of things. But still other people also have less of those things. We are not keeping score. Your worthiness is not based on who has more or less. You are worthy because you are you; and you are different, not better or worse than anyone else. If you want to change you can.  But don’t change because you are not enough; change because you want to be more. Don’t torture yourself with the lie that you don’t measure up. Believe that you are good enough and you, like everyone else, can always get better.

Embrace happiness now.  Happiness should not be feared because it might be fleeting.  It should be embraced because it is here. You are worthy of feeling happiness.  You deserve to be happy.  Don’t let your fear of what you might lose, keep you from being happy about what you have.

Embrace being imperfect. The quest for perfection drives us to never feel good enough. Embrace your worthiness and grow because you want it for yourself, not because you want to measure up to someone else. It is ok to say “no.” You don’t have to do everything. Practice appreciating what you have and who you are. Reach out to your network for support. There are others in your life who believe in you, if you are willing to let them in.


You are enough and you will be happier, when you make that a guiding principle of your life.


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Lesson #3 – Share Your Smile

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

Alexia was among the most beautiful people I knew on campus. Her beauty was not merely external: it was also internal. This inner beauty shined through her speech, her actions, her attitude, her schedule, her bearing, and her smile. I remember a number of times coming down to the front desk of Honors Hall with questions and concerns, and Alexia was so helpful and kind. She was a hard and determined worker. I was amazed after hearing about everything she was involved in. Her drive was motivating and inspiring. Amidst school and work, Alexia still had time for Honors Hall, her residents, and her friends. Even when she was faced with stress, she dealt with it in a composed manner.

Every time I walked into Honors Hall, and Alexia was in the lobby or working the front desk, she always made it a point to smile or say, “Hi, Julie! How are you?” Even though she probably never realized it, those hellos really meant a lot to me.

At the conclusion of this spring’s semester, a huge number of exciting doors opened in my life. When Alexia heard about them, she gave me a huge hug and a joyful “Congratulations!” I came to Alexia with some problems and I knew that if I ever needed help with something personal and troubling, I could go to her. I felt so comfortable around her. She made herself approachable and available to any who needed her.

The thing that will always stand out in my mind when I think of Alexia Ardeleanu is her smile. Her smile was contagious, so joyful, and happy. It was a very rare occasion to see her without it.

Julie Hagen, Honors Hall Resident


My most prominent memory of Alexia is her uplifting attitude. Even when I saw her very busy with a lot of things on her plate, I don’t recall ever seeing her with a negative attitude. She made such an effort to make me feel welcome on staff that I looked forward to running in to her.      Marla Ross

Alexia always knew how to cheer me up with her genuine, sweet smile and words of encouragement that honestly lifted my spirit more than most people could.                         Jennifer Ciocan


Lesson: Share your smile.

Your smile is one of the best gifts you can share with the world. It is easy and doesn’t cost anything.  It communicates warmth, welcome, and caring. Your smile is viral and will make others want to smile. Smiling actually releases a chemical in your brain that makes you happier. People who see your smile will instinctually mimic it and it will make them happier. It will then spread to other people who see them smiling. Practice smiling. Share your smile with everyone. It makes more difference than you could ever imagine.


Opportunity: Think about whether you are so focused on team and personal challenges that you are walking around with a grimace on your face, or are you taking a few moments to appreciate life and share your smile with others?



book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

What is Happiness?

What we are talking about when we say “happiness?” Happiness means many different things to many different people. Happiness is a higher-level pursuit or achievement. Several authors and philosophers have captured this concept:


Mathieu Ricard, a Buddhist Monk with a degree in Molecular Genetics, and author of the book Happiness says “Happiness is more than a mere pleasurable sensation. It is a deep sense of serenity and fulfillment. A state that pervades and underlies all emotional states and all the joys and sorrows that can come one’s way.”


Mahatma Gandhi said “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”


Gandhi also said “Man’s happiness really lies in contentment.”


Robert Ingersoll stated “Happiness is not a reward – it is a consequence.”

Deepak Chopra said “Happiness is more than a mood. Its a long-lasting state that is more accurately called well-being.”


Wayne Dyer, a self-development author and speaker, explains that “Happiness is something that you are and it comes from the way you think.”

Margaret Lee Runbeck, another author, wrote “Happiness is not a station you arrive at, but a manner of traveling.”

Over two thousand years ago, Aristotle proposed that “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”


George Sheehan, a doctor and author, wrote “Happiness is different from pleasure. Happiness has something to do with struggling and enduring and accomplishing.”

And finally, John B. Sheerin said “Happiness is not in our circumstances but in ourselves. It is not something we see, like a rainbow, or feel, like the heat of a fire. Happiness is something we are.”

They all describe happiness as something that is within you, something that you create, rather than something that comes from external forces.

What is happiness?

  1. Happiness is a feeling of contentment, satisfaction, and fulfillment.
  2. Happiness is a sense of inner peace vs. external restlessness.
  3. Happiness is an on-going state of well-being vs. a fleeting experience.
  4. Happiness is a state of mind, rather than an event or activity.
  5. Happiness includes bad as well good experiences.
  6. Happiness is internal and not a victim of external experiences that we can’t control.
  7. Happiness is created, not received.
  8. Happiness is within our control.


book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

buy from amazon white small


My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Last updated by at .