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Smash Pessimistic thoughts

Happiness Hack #16 Optimism

Practice Optimism to Become Happier

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

Optimism changes the way we look at and remember our interactions in life. We put a more positive spin on our events and activities. By changing how we see and think about future outcomes, we influence those outcomes for the better. We work harder to keep outcomes in line with our optimistic expectations.

Numerous research studies have confirmed the benefits of optimism which include better health, longer lives, faster recovery from illness, and even healthier babies.

Some tips for creating optimism in your life:

  1. Visualize Your Best Possible Self – Visualize a future for yourself in which everything has turned out the way you want it.
  2. Find a pessimistic thought and smash it – Keep a small rock or some other touchstone in your pocket or nearby. Whenever you recognize a pessimistic thought, visualize yourself smashing it with the rock and replacing it with a more optimistic thought.
  3. Put a quarter in a cup – put a coffee cup on your dresser or desk. Every time you consciously replace a pessimistic thought with an optimistic thought, put a quarter in the cup. When the cup is full, you can use the change to buy yourself a treat. An empty cup reminds you to keep finding ways to choose optimistic thoughts.

 

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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.

Believe Lighthouse

Believe to Achieve

(photo courtesy of Colleen Kilpatrick)

It has been proven that if you don’t believe you will not succeed.  How can you achieve something if you don’t believe you can?

Our beliefs are what we decide we want to think is true – based on our own personal experiences and information we have learned through our lives.  It is the only common factor in determining your ability to achieve something.  If you don’t believe you are capable of achieving, then, you will not achieve.  However, if you believe in yourself, you will likely endure in finding a way to succeed.  “Unbelief” manifests itself in the same way – if you have a thought, but believe it will not occur, then forces will drive your thoughts and emotions to be true – it will not occur.

Your power is very forceful and real.

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” –  Henry Ford

While Shawn Achor was specifically talking about happiness in his book, The Happiness Advantage, he explains that the brain scans for positive or negative meanings from the input it receives.  Problems arise when you program your brain to scan for the negative (disbelief) before positive (belief).  By scanning for the negative first, we ultimately shut down opportunities to succeed because we are masking our ability to see positively.  We need to program our brains to look for the positives first and believe.

While there is relevance in the “law of attraction” (think about something and you will attract like things), I am not saying that by simply thinking of things, they will automatically appear.  That is more “wishing” than believing.  Believing is having the confidence that you will be able to do what’s necessary to achieve your goal.  You will put the steps in place to be successful.  Begin believing in yourself and see the power it unleashes.  Doors will open because you are “looking” for them to open.  If you are negative with a closed mind, you may not recognize the opportunities in front of you.

Here are a few examples of what you can do to see things more positively:

  • Positive is a choice – being positive is a choice and you can control how you approach your thoughts.  You know when you are thinking negatively.  If you recognize your thoughts as negative, simply shift them to being more positive.
  • Positive Affirmations – repeat positive statements of your desired outcomes.  This repetition will build positive momentum in your subconscious thinking and open your mind up to success and positive thinking.
  • Visualization – like affirmations, visualizing yourself being successful will cause you to be more positive.  Visualize yourself succeeding – experience every moment and all of the senses.  The more realistic your visualization, the more powerful it will be.
  • Eliminate negative influences.  External factors have a significant impact on our thoughts.  You need to recognize the negative influences in your life and replace them with positive.  Generally these negative influences are people at work, friends and even family.  While not always easy, you need to minimize interaction with these toxic influences and replace them with supportive and positive influences.
  • Share Positivity – the true impact of becoming positive is your ability to share being positive with others.  Like many things in life, being positive is contagious – make an effort to smile at someone else, share a compliment, reinforce that someone has done a great job.  Bottom line, Be Good to People.

The outcomes of our activities will greatly depend on how we look them.  Take time to understand your thoughts and guide them toward the positive.

 

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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.

 

 

Happiness Hack #14 – Play with Your Dog

Many scientific studies have shown that people who interact with dogs on a regular basis are more active, have lower stress, and are healthier than average. Being around dogs can also help us learn to be happier.

Dogs are excited to see their friends. We can improve our positive relationships and increase our own levels of happiness by showing a little excitement when we see our friends and people we love. We don’t have to jump up and down and run around in a circle, but letting go of the gruff exterior so friends know we appreciate their company contributes to happiness. Dogs are grateful for everything. Having gratitude, even for the smallest things in life, is a great way to raise our levels of happiness. Dogs forgive you no matter what. They refuse to hold a grudge. If you get mad at your dog, they will hide in a corner until your mood changes and then jump up excited the second you show interest in them again. We can all be happier by forgiving the people that challenge us and spending our time thinking about what we like rather than how someone wronged us.

When you want to be happier, spend a few minutes with your dog.
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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.

Does Your Organization Have Clarity?

Clarity: it guides every aspect of your company from employees and daily activities to investments, long and short term decisions and virtually every facet of the organization.  Without it, success will be minimal.

We often see leaders in organizations that believe their purpose is clear; however, in many instances, it is only clear to them.  They wonder why the organization is struggling to achieve its goals.  These leaders need to begin to peel back the onion to determine if there is truly clarity across the organization.

Clarity needs to start at the top, with a defined purpose of the organization.  By providing clarity of purpose, you establish the basis for which all decisions and activities will be made.  As decisions are made and actions taken, the fundamental question that should be asked is – Does this align with the company’s purpose?  If it doesn’t, then the action shouldn’t be taken and people should move on to more critical issues that support the purpose.

If there is ambiguity in your purpose and too much left for individual interpretation, decisions may conflict with the purpose and may not be aligned with others who have interpreted the purpose as something different.  Activities will be uncoordinated and while they will likely be based on sound business logic, they may not be in line with the organizational objectives.

We often hear the word “silos” in business.  This is when different pieces of the organization are operating separately and truly by themselves.  Silos tend to happen when there isn’t clarity of purpose at the organizational level.  People spin off and begin doing what they “believe” is right without fully understanding the broader impacts.  This often creates conflicting strategies that then compete for the same resources and drive additional inefficiencies.

Organizational roles & responsibilities must also have Clarity.  Without this clarity, people become confused as to what expectations are on them and how they are impacting the overall success.  Without a strong understanding of their individual purpose, people will become less engaged in what they do and thus less effective.  A number of studies show that employees want to be engaged and supporting success.

Clarity of roles & responsibilities is critical not only at the individual level, but also across the organization – having a clear understanding of what others are responsible for.  With this understanding people will know who to leverage and team with to accomplish objectives.  By clearly tying each individual’s purpose to the broader purpose, you will create a stronger and more cohesive team with known objectives and linked goals.

Clarity also helps with accountability across the organization.  With a clear sense of purpose and defined roles & responsibilities an organization and its individuals are more likely to hold each other accountable to achieving goals and objectives.  Too often we see organizations that lack clarity which makes accountability difficult to achieve.  If individuals are accountable, they are more likely to be driven toward success.

If you lead an organization, take a moment to ensure that you are driving clarity across all aspects of your business.  I would even ask you to validate your belief by surveying your team and asking a few simple questions:

  • What is the purpose of our organization?
  • Do you understand your role in driving the success of this purpose?
  • Do you understand the roles of others and how they are linked to the success of this purpose?

While you may find some interesting responses, all of the information you gather will allow you to ensure yourself of clarity.

Happiness Hack #13 – 100/0 Principle

How to Guarantee Your Relationships will Work

 

Positive Relationships is one of the strongest concepts supported by the Science of Happiness. The more and better your relationships are, the happier you are. A foundational element to creating and improving positive relationships is a concept Al Ritter writes about called the 100/0 Principle. Most of us go into a relationship believing that it should be a 50/50 exchange. Two people giving half each, adds up to 100% and then we will all be happy. The challenge is 50/50 doesn’t work a lot of the time. If one person is giving 50% but the other person is only giving 30% because of some challenge they are experiencing in their lives, the relationship suffers.

Give 100% and expect nothing in return. The other person can give 0% and you will still be there for them because you want to give and you believe that relationship is important. If you have no expectations that they will call you, or bring you flowers, or remember your birthday, or behave in any particular way, you will not have a reason be disappointed in them and they won’t feel pressure to be someone different from who they are. Most likely, and even though you are ok if they don’t, they will respond in kind. They will appreciate your efforts and they will give more than 0%, and often more than 50% back to the relationship. You will find abundance rather than scarcity in your relationship. Give 100% to the relationship and expect nothing in return.

 
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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.

Time Prioritization

How to Take Control of Your Busy Life

Create a new relationship with time.

We are all leading busy lives and unfortunately it seems that they are getting busier each day. No matter what we seem to accomplish our list at the end of the day seems longer than the list we started with. If we answer 5 emails, there are 10 more to take their place. If we help one client, 3 more need something else. If we handle one family crisis, three more pop up.

So how do we handle all of this and feel good about what we accomplish at the end of the day?

The answer is in changing our relationship with time. Instead of trying to grab and hold on to time, or wish for a little more time, we can accept and make the most of the time we are given, and even learn to appreciate that time.

Let’s start with the understanding that there are only 24 hours in a day and we can’t steal more hours from anyone or anything. So how do we want to allocate our 24 hours?   If we can accept that we can’t do everything, then we have to decide what we will do and what we want to do.

So let’s start with work. There are 24 hours in a day. Are you going to spend all 24 hours working? The answer is of course not. So then how many hours are you going to spend working? 16, 12, 10, 8? Pick a number. Let’s use 10 hours as an example. Now take control of time by understanding you are going to work 10 hours per day. So what you have to do is get everything done in that 10 hours. Rather than believing you can add 2 hours here or 2 hours there, understand you only have 10 hours to work and after that 10 hours is done you stop working and do something else.

A common response is, “I can’t stop working, I have to get it all done.” To take control of time, you have to recognize that you can never get it all done. You have to choose the most important items and make sure those get done.

So let’s talk about prioritization. If you only have 10 hours and you can’t add hours, then what do you have to get done in those 10 hours. Make a list of what you have to get done, and give everything a number from 1 to 100. 100 is your most important task and 1 is your least important task. There can be no duplicate numbers. You have to decide which items are the most important. See blog on $100 rocks for more detail.

Now you have a list, start with your biggest rock, the 100 priority, and get that done first thing. You may be able to complete the entire project or just take a small step, but do something to move forward on your 100 priority. Then start your 99 priority, then your 98 priority.   Now we know you will not get to everything on your list, but if you can get the top 3 done every day, then you will be adding value at work each day. You can probably also move the top 3 forward in about 2 hours each day, which gives you the next 8 hours to work on other things with the confidence that you have already added your value for the day. Which also means, after 10 hours, you will be able to go home and take on the other phases of your life.

Let’s address some of the non-work phases of your life. Let’s start with sleep. When we get busy, and even sometimes when we are not busy, the first thing we tend to sacrifice is our sleep. Even just small amounts of sleep deprivation can cause irritability, lower your resistance to stress, and reduce your feelings of general healthiness. Lack of sleep also reduces your productivity and cognitive performance. Your brain categorizes what you learned the day before while you are sleeping, so a lack of sleep impacts your recall and ability to quickly solve problems. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep per night to function at optimal levels. Don’t steal hours from your sleep.

The good news is with 7 hours of sleep and 10 hours of work, you still have 7 hours left in each day for a total of 35 hours on weekdays and another 34 hours on the weekend for a total of 69 hours each week. How do you want to spend that other 69 hours?

You probably need to allocate time for meals and/or spending time with children. You can build relationships by calling a different family member each day on the way into work. You can exercise for 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. You can listen to music or a book on your commute home from work. You can schedule 4 or 5 dinners a week with your family or friends. Try spending 30 minutes each day taking a walk with your dog, spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend. Try spending 2 minutes each day being grateful for what you have or remember what was good about the day.

Don’t schedule every minute of every day. You need room to handle the unexpected and unplanned activities. Focus on getting a few important things done and then filling in your time with everything else.

Create a new relationship with time. Take control of it, instead of letting it slip away from you.

 

 

 

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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.

 

$100 Rocks

Happiness Hack #12 – Prioritization

How To Prioritize Your Day – $100 Rocks

Part of being happy is feeling productive and that we can make a difference each day. In order to make a difference we need to make sure we complete the tasks most related to our accomplishing our goals.

One method of prioritization is $100 Rocks. As an analogy, picture two rooms. One is filled with rocks and the other is empty. Every day, in order to reach our goals, we have to move as many rocks from the first room to the second room as we can. Every rock has a number on it, from $1 to $100 that corresponds to the impact that rock will have on achieving our goals. If we can only move 5 rocks a day, we want to make sure they are the rocks that most help us reach our goals. We can go into the first room and pick up 2 $5 rocks, 2 $25 rocks, and a $30 rock. Now at the end of the day we have moved 5 rocks and made $90 of progress toward our goals ($5 + $5 + $25 + $25 + $30 = $90). The other option is to pick out 5 $100 rocks. This time we have moved the same number of rocks and made $500 of progress toward our goals. We are 5 times as productive. The fastest way to reach our goals is to take a few extra minutes to pick out the $100 rocks. Once the $100 rocks are gone, we pick out the $99 rocks, and then the $98 rocks, etc..

So what are $5 rocks and what are $100 rocks? It is up to each person to define what will have the most impact on achieving his goals. But some of the lower-value rocks may include reading non-essential email, answering texts or instant messages, playing games on our phone, surfing iFunny, Facebook, or your digital distraction of choice. Some high value rocks include your relationships, your health, your career, and that big project you have been procrastinating about, and anything else that will make a difference in someone else’s life.

 

Write down a list of things you have to do today. Give everything on the list a rocks size.   Make sure your top 3 rocks are done first. Every day find your $100 rocks and do those first. Then you can spend the rest of the day on your lower value rocks.

Happiness Hack #8 Finding Meaning

Happiness Hack #9 Start Small

Happiness Hack #10 Cross it Off Everyday

Happiness Hack #11 Higher Purpose as Motivation

 

 

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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.