Happy Day

10 Tips for a Happier Day and Happier Life

We can build happier lives by being happy each day. Here are 10 tips to create a happy day.

 

  1. When you wake up in the morning, think of 3 things you are grateful for.
  2. Practice smiling in the mirror and then share that with 5 people throughout the day.
  3. Nurture a positive relationship during your commute.
  4. Implement a Random Act of Kindness – Bring coffee, tape a dollar to the vending machine, or pay for the person in line behind you.
  5. Build an autonomy list – what things in your life do you get to choose?
  6. Volunteer for a charity and include your team members.
  7. Have lunch with a new friend
  8. Take a vigorous walk outside
  9. Take 15 minutes to think about your next vacation.
  10. At the end of the day, remember the 3 best things that happened.

 

“Because how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard

 

Our lives are made up of years. Our years are made up of days and our days are made up of moments. How we spend the collection of those moments will determine how we spend our lives. Spend them being happier!
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About 

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.

Focus on Today

Happiness Hack #15 Mindfulness

Focus On Your Happiness Today. Don’t Wait For Tomorrow.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” Alice Morse Earle

Research has shown that mindfulness can improve immune function, as well as reduce muscle tension, headache, and other forms of chronic pain. It has longer-term impacts such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Mindfulness has also been shown to help with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Mindfulness is about appreciating what is happening today rather than worrying about what might happen or agonizing over what happened in the past. It includes being curious and open to discovering new inspirations and information in the current setting.
You can be mindful by living in the present moment and appreciating what you have right now to be happy about. Take a few moments to observe your environment and notice things you haven’t seen before. Instead of focusing on “getting it done,” try to enjoy doing it. When you sit down to a meal, don’t just eat. Look at the colors, smell the aromas, think about all the tastes. If you are spending time with a friend or loved one, concentrate fully on them and what they are saying. Don’t think about what you have to do next or what you are going to say. Listen deeply to what they are communicating and appreciate the time you are spending with them.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.” Oppenheim

 

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About 

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.

I can't

How Many Times Do You Say “I Can’t”?

Think about that question for a moment. How many times have you told yourself or someone else that you “can’t” do something? There are a few things in life that are absolute and we really can’t do them. But most of the time we use the words “I can’t” as a replacement for “I choose not to…” There are many things in life that we just don’t want to put the effort into or don’t want to pay the price necessary to take an action or accomplish a goal. For example saying “I can’t stick to an exercise routine”, “I can’t sit through a class”, or “I can’t get the job I want”, really means I choose not to put forth the effort it will take. You have a choice and you choose not to make the sacrifices it will take to achieve that goal. Which by the way, you shouldn’t feel bad about, it is your choice. You get to choose where you want to spend your time.

The challenge is that using the words “I can’t” limits your autonomy. Autonomy is the feeling that your life and activities are self-chosen. Research has shown that autonomy can have a greater impact on our happiness than money. Saying “I can’t” out loud or even in your self-talk insidiously limits your feelings of autonomy and as a result your happiness.

Using the words “I can’t” creates an unknown force that prevents you from doing something. So instead of feeling autonomy and the resulting happiness, you feel limited. The more times you use the words “I can’t” the more boxed in you feel.

 

There are many things in life that seem extremely difficult or even impossible and you would probably tell yourself “I can’t.” Fortunately for there are also thousands of examples of people who have overcome the odds and all the obstacles and replaced “I can’t” with “I can”. For example Kimani Maruge was 84 when he went back to finish elementary school; Izzy Arkin quit his job and became a ninja, Dumitru Dan walked around the world in 1923; Derrick Coleman is deaf and not only played in the NFL, but played in the Superbowl; Doris Self was 81 when she won the Master’s Video Game Tournament; Minoru Saito was 77 when he sailed around the world, and Gladys Burrill was 92 when she ran a marathon. These are all examples of the many times in life where you might think “I can’t” applies, but really you have a choice.   There is nothing wrong with saying “I choose not to run a marathon.” You may not enjoy it or have any desire to do it. But don’t limit your autonomy by saying “I can’t.”

Take control of your life and your happiness. Try using the words “I choose not to…” instead of “I can’t.” Change a few words and you can change your happiness.

 
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About 

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.

 

 

Don’t Cry For Alexia

Don’t cry for Alexia, she is in a far better place now. Cry for our loss of a wonderful young lady who had a talent for positively impacting the lives of others. Cry for our pain and deep sense of grief that threatens to overwhelm us and seems like it will be with us forever. But don’t cry for Alexia. Instead, let’s honor her memory. Let’s make others’ lives better just as she has made ours better.

Alexia loved and respected her parents. She never showed entitlement or animosity like so many young people in all generations have done. When her dad was in the hospital for surgery, she worried about him and made time to be home and help him recover. She never spoke of it as a burden or duty, but as an opportunity to help someone she loved and respected. She was so excited about her mother’s new job, because she knew how much less stress the better hours and weekends off would provide for her mom. She appreciated all the time and investment her parents made in helping her get her education and succeed in life. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her memory by loving and respecting your parents.

Alexia was proud of her brother. She told me “He is different than me, but he has found his path and I am so happy for him.” She talked about and embraced his diversity rather than judging his differences. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by embracing the diversity of all our brothers and sisters. Support them and help them succeed at being them rather than asking them to be like us.

Alexia pursued excellence for noble reasons. Alexia studied hard and took classes to get great scores on her GMAT and LSAT, even while she was taking a full course load and working two jobs. I quizzed her about her motivation to work so hard, asking about the usual assumptions of getting good scores, to get into a good college, to get a great job, so eventually she could be rich and successful. But that was not her plan at all. She wanted high scores so she could get scholarships, so her parents would not have the extra burden of paying for her graduate school. Her plan B was to take a few years off and work to save money to pay for her extra schooling. Alexia owned her excellent outcomes. She made them happen and greatly appreciated rather than expected the help she got along the way. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by creating excellence in your life and not placing the burden on others.

Alexia made her work more than a job. Alexia didn’t want to just have a job as a Resident’s Assistant. We talked several times about how she wanted to work with her RA team to become the best dorm on campus. She wanted to impact the residents’ lives and provide a wonderful experience. Alexia didn’t just do a job; she brought her heart and passion to her work to create a fulfilling experience. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by creating purpose in your work and finding fulfillment in how you can help others.

Alexia implemented change. I work with many students and offer tips to help them be happier and more successful. I consider it a win if 2 of the 10 tips I offer are implemented. Small changes can make a big difference in people’s lives. Alexia implemented every tip I ever offered. She implemented them with excitement and vigor and shared them with her friends. She constantly worked to improve her life and make it better. Then she reached out and helped others improve their lives. Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her by making changes to make your life better, and along the way help someone else make their life better.

I don’t cry for Alexia. I know she is in a better place. I cry for my loss and my pain and my deep sadness. But I know that soon I will get past this grief and work to honor Alexia. I will learn from her example and try to be half the person she has taught us to be. Alexia led by example. She loved and respected her parents, embraced the diversity of her brothers and sisters, pursued excellence for noble reasons, turned a job into a fulfilling part of her life, and implemented changes to continuously make her life and the lives of others better.

Don’t cry for Alexia; honor her memory.

How to Be Happier in Less Than 1 Minute Per Day

We all want to be happier, but it is hard to carve time out of our busy lives to do the things we think will make us happier. Or we are hoping that if we can just get through our to-do list then we can take time to be happy. We are chasing success with the hope that when we finally find success, it will also include happiness. Unfortunately, happiness is not something we eventually get to once we have achieved success. It is something we need to practice every day. The good news is practicing happiness daily will help us be more successful. So here are 5 tips that take less than 1 minute to implement every day to be a little happier and create success.

 

  1. Be Grateful – Each morning list 3 things you are grateful for. Being grateful helps us start the day with appreciation and optimism rather than dread and worry.
  2. Smile More – Take 15 seconds to practice smiling in the mirror. Then smile at 7 more people throughout the day. Smiling makes you feel better and connects you to other people. It also sends a signal to your brain to be happier. Most importantly, smiling is contagious. Other people will catch it and share it.
  3. Hug – Offer someone a hug. Hugging releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel better. Hint: It has to be a mutual hug. Don’t hug someone that doesn’t want to be hugged.
  4. Remember Your Last Vacation – Pause and remember a wonderful moment from your last vacation. Positive experiences can provide happiness over and over again each time we think of them.   Hint: Spend your money on experiences rather than things.
  5. End the Day on a Good Note – At the end of the day think of 3 good things that happened. We can’t remember every detail of every day. So we usually remember a peak experience and/or how our day ended. A month from now we will categorize our days as good or bad based on those last memories. So end with a good memory and your days will be categorized as good days. Keep it up and eventually, so will your weeks, and months, and years.

 

Hopefully you already do a few of these things automatically. The rest can be added to your list of habits. Start small and don’t try to adopt them all at once.   Pick one of the tips and practice it every day for a month without skipping a day.   Once it has become a habit, pick another tip and work on that one.

 

One more note, the research shows that happier people tend to be more successful. So build these happiness habits that take less than 1 minute each day and not only will you become happier, but you will be able to leverage that happiness to create success.

 

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About 

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.

 

 

Exercise for a Higher Purpose to be more motivated

Happiness Hack #11 Higher Purpose as Motivation

Stick to a New Diet or Exercise Plan by Connecting it to Your Higher Purpose

 

Rather than exercising or dieting so you can look better, do it to help other people. Trying to look better is something we do for ourselves and it is not as motivational or inspiring as trying to do something for someone else. Connect your diet and exercise to a Higher Purpose and you will have more success.

Exercise and a healthy diet give us more energy, help us be more productive, and help us live longer.

 

We might exercise or eat a healthy diet so:

  1. We will be around long enough to help our children and grandchildren
  2. We can be around and healthy and when our friends need us
  3. Our friends and family won’t have take care us when we get ill from a life of unhealthy habits.
  4. We can bring more energy to work to help our peers and customers
  5. We can have more energy to help our favorite charity
  6. We can be more productive and advance our careers
  7. Insert your own Higher Purpose here.

How can you give to others by exercising and dieting? How can you be there for others by having more energy, being more productive and living longer?

 

Happiness Hack #1  – Find 3 Things to be Happy for Everyday

Happiness Hack #2  – End the Day on a Good Note

Happiness Hack #3 – Schedule 15 minutes every morning for prioritized “Me” time

Happiness Hack #4 – Practice Autonomy

Happiness Hack #5 Make Time To Exercise

Happiness Hack #6: Find Flow

Happiness Hack #7 Keep a Happiness Jar

Happiness Hack #8 Finding Meaning

Happiness Hack #9 Start Small

Happiness Hack #10 Cross it Off Everyday

 

Book Cover 5_27_14

 

 

 

 

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About 

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.

Tesla and Our 25th Wedding Anniversary

How would you imagine your 25th wedding anniversary? Maybe getting dressed up, taking a limo to a fancy dinner, having a night on the town, and finishing with a champagne toast to 25 years of happiness? Well that wasn’t exactly how ours went, but close, or not.

To set the stage, I am lucky enough own a Tesla Model S. For those of you not familiar with Tesla, it is a high performance luxury sedan that is 100% electric. It is a fun car to drive with a sophisticated look and feel. So I decided that who needs a limo when you have a Tesla. So we drove the Tesla for our anniversary event. At least we drove it there.

Our plan was a nice dinner followed by a play and few after dinner drinks to cap off the evening. Since we would have to start a fancy dinner really early in order to make the play on time, we opted for something a little less formal. I dressed up in slacks and a nice shirt and my wife put on a dress she looks gorgeous in and we headed for Taco Bueno. Neither of us are connoisseurs, and we have had a lot of good memories talking about new homes, kids, and careers at this fast food restaurant, so it seemed fitting to eat there on our 25th wedding anniversary. By the way, half way through this story, it may seem to you that I am a little cheap. That is not really the case as you will see by the size of my tip in the end. Anyway, I prefer to think of it as being frugal.

So after our fancy dinner at Taco Bueno we headed for the play. The play was Sherlock Holmes and my wife had bought the tickets, so we had great seats in the second row. We could almost reach out and touch the actors. It was a fantastic experience. You might imagine where the tickets would have been if I had been responsible for acquiring them.

There was one slight challenge.   On the way to the play a warning light in the Tesla had indicated that we had low tire pressure. So after I handed the keys to the valet (only $5 with our tickets to the play), I did what any classy husband would do and I went around the car and kicked all four tires with my dress shoes. I am sure the valet appreciated my thoroughness in checking the condition of the car before turning it over to him. I was not able to detect any problems with any of the tires. My wife compares this act to my diagnosis of my kids’ broken limbs. I act like I know what I am doing, but I am really clueless and just swinging in the dark.

After the play we picked up the car from the valet. As I pulled into the road, I noticed another warning light. This one said something along the lines of, Your Tire Pressure is Dangerously Low, Pull Over Immediately. So I quickly found an empty parking lot with a flickering street light. As you can imagine, late at night in downtown Dallas with a flickering street light and possible flat tire is not my anniversary dream scenario. Maybe I should have sprung for the limo.   Especially since Teslas are not equipped with spare tires.

I identified the problem tire and the cause of the leak, a small screw in the tire. No problem, I came prepared with “Fix-a-Flat.” You know that green goop you put into your tire and then air it back up so you can get back on the road in 15 minutes. Or not.

In order to use “Fix-a-Flat”, you have to position the valve stem of tire in top most position. So my wife in her dress is guiding me to position the tire correctly which results in the nail being pushed further into the tire with a louds hissing sound. Definitely not a good sign. But we pushed on and followed the “Fix-a-Flat” directions, which included to “pull the obstruction out of the tire.” I was dubious, but I was determined to do this right and get us back on the road. Since Tesla’s are electric, I didn’t see the need to carry any tools.   So I had to pull the screw out of the tire with my fingers and anything else I could find in the empty parking lot. So I get down on the ground in my slacks and use whatever I can find to pry, lever, and pull the screw out. Luckily I was eventually able to pry the screw from the tire and the long whooshing sound that followed indicated what a huge mistake I had made. But I don’t give up easily so completed the directions and filled the tire with the green goop. Then I spent 30 minutes putting air into the tire only slightly faster than it was leaking out. Needless to say the “Fix-a-Flat” didn’t fix anything. Note to self: the only tool I should ever use to make repairs is a phone.

Now that an hour of frustration has slowly passed, I decide to do what I should have done in the first place and call the Tesla service center. They of course dispatched a tow truck immediately, which due to traffic challenges, took 45 minutes to arrive. But my wife and I got some great alone time for our anniversary. We also got a text from our Tesla rep who helped me arrange to get the tire repaired first thing the next morning.

So we got the Tesla loaded and I helped my wife in her dress, up into a Tow Truck. Not exactly a limo, but close. The tow truck driver, Charles was a great guy. He was friendly and talkative. The one challenge was there had been a serious accident and our main route was blocked by traffic so we had to find another route. Charles told us all about the carnage of the accident that was causing the traffic back-up. He even entertained us with stories of the kinds of death and carnage a tow truck driver sees throughout his career. He of course focused on the most horrific stories he could remember. All the while driving in the rain, did I mention it had started raining, with my beautiful bride of 25 years sitting patiently in middle of a tow truck cab in her dress.

We dropped off the Tesla so the tire could be repaired and Charles took us home sometime close to 1 am.   I gave Charles a $20 tip for all his help and entertainment. I couldn’t help but think I would have had to pay a limo driver at least a $50 tip. Of course Charles was close, instead of opening our door to let us out, he instructed me to roll down the window and reach outside to open the door, since it would not open from the inside. Almost like a limo.

Despite the challenges we had a fun and memorable 25th Wedding Anniversary. I can’t wait to see what we plan for next year. My budget is at least $100.

 

About 

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.

 

How to Love Your Work

How to Love Your Work

We spend more than half of our waking hours working, and for many of us it can even be more. Those hours can seem even longer if we don’t like what we do. So how can we learn to love our work? The first step is trying to find something you love when you are looking for a job. When people love what they do, they are happier and more successful. They work longer hours, make more friends at work, spend most of their time thinking about how to do things better, and talk to everyone about what they do which provides them with lots of diverse ideas on how to do their job even better. Their job becomes intertwined in their life rather than separate from it and they excel because of it.

But the job may not be your passion. It may just enable your passion. Your job can be how you earn enough money to surf or play music. So you are not passionate about the job, but you are passionate about what it enables you to do. The key is to put your job into the perspective of your passions or dreams.

Job crafting is one way to find more interest in your job. How can you make adjustments in your job so it leverages your strengths, calls on your passions, and changes the boring and routine tasks? I often use the example of our janitor who doesn’t think her job is to clean bathrooms, it is to keep the “kids”, her name for our young work force, happy and productive. She makes sure they have coffee in the morning, clean dishes, and re-arranged furniture to help them be productive. Last week she pulled furniture out of an old storage room and set up shelves for the people who’s desks were getting overcrowded. She changed her job to be something she was passionate about. As part of job crafting you can also turn boring routine tasks into contests with yourself or others. If you did 100 entries yesterday, how can you do 150 entries today and maintain the same quality.

Job seekers and job holders alike can find more interest and passion in their job by looking for the connections. Do they connect with the vision and values of the company? Does the company purpose give them something bigger than themselves to pursue, for example, an alarm company making the world safer?   Do they connect with their friends and teammates at work? Can they be passionate about helping their co-workers succeed or help their team complete a big project? Can they connect with all the things they can learn on the job or the opportunity for travel and/or career advancement? Can they get excited about the opportunities for them to take on and accomplish huge projects with seemingly insurmountable challenges?

It is not about the job, it is about how they look at the job and how they choose to create the connection between their jobs and their lives.

If you want to love your work start by trying to find a job you will love. If that doesn’t work then find out how your work enables your passions. Focus on how your work can make a difference in someone else’s life. Find or create connections between your work and your passions.

About 

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.

15 minutes prioritized me time

Happiness Hack #3 Schedule 15 minutes every morning for prioritized “Me” time

We are busy with the craziness of life moving from one urgent matter to the next. School, work, kids, bills, and fifty other commitments absorb our time and willpower. Instead of getting lost in the busyness of your life, schedule 15 minutes every morning where you are the priority. We can all find 15 minutes somewhere in our day. For 15 minutes work on something that makes your life better.   If you want to go on a diet, then spend that 15 minutes creating a menu for the day or preparing your meals.   If you want to exercise more, spend that 15 minutes putting on some tennis shoes and walking down the block. If you have a hobby you want to try, spend 15 minutes on the Internet buying supplies or finding a quiet place to work each morning.

 

The key is to recognize that you and your goals are a priority. You deserve time to improve your life. It is best to start early before your energy and willpower gets sucked up by all of your other commitments. Once you have successfully found 15 minutes every day for a month or more, you can extend it to 30 minutes or an hour.

 

You are important. Prioritize time for yourself so you can connect happiness and success.

Happiness Hack #1  – Find 3 Things to be Happy for Everyday

Happiness Hack #2  – End the Day on a Good Note

Happiness Hack #4 – Practice Autonomy

Happiness Hack #5 Make Time To Exercise

Happiness Hack #6: Find Flow

Happiness Hack #7 Keep a Happiness Jar

Happiness Hack #8 Finding Meaning

Happiness Hack #9 Start Small

Happiness Hack #10 Cross it Off Everyday

 

About 

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.