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Keep Christmas Happy

For many of us, Christmas can be a very stressful time of year. The office party and other holiday commitments, finding the right gifts, managing expenses, and spending time with friends and family we don’t normally see. We get caught up in the overwhelming list of what we are obligated to do and often miss the joy and fulfillment those activities can bring.

To keep Christmas happy, start by knowing and being clear about your “Why”. Why are you going to the office holiday party? Is it to spend time with your friends and co-workers or because you feel like you just have to go? Know your “Why” before you go. If you don’t have a good “Why” then don’t go.

Are you rushing around stressed out about getting gifts for everyone, or are you enjoying the adventure of finding a gift you will be excited to see them open. Don’t buy gifts because it is a social requirement, find gifts make you think about the excitement you will get to see on their faces when they open them. Make your “Why” about the reward of giving instead of the guilt of not giving.

Are you worried about spending time with the uncle or cousin who drives you crazy? Is your “Why” all about obligation or is your “Why” about the warmth and fulfillment you will get seeing your parents, siblings, or other energy givers in your family circle?

Remember that Christmas is about Faith, Family, and Friends. It is a time of celebration, joy, and fulfillment. Don’t get lost in your obligations. Focus on your “Why” and keep your Christmas Happy!

 

 

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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.

3 Tips for Comparing Yourself to Others

 

It is a common challenge. We look over at someone else and wonder why we don’t compare. They have a great car, or a great job, or great looks. They always get the lucky breaks or the attention of the important people. Why aren’t we like them? What’s wrong with me?

First and most importantly, nothing is wrong with you, you are perfectly normal. As a matter of fact, that person whose gifts you are admiring is looking at someone else and doing the same kinds of comparisons. Believe it or not, they may even be looking at you and asking themselves why they can’t be like you. It is instinctual for humans to want to get better. We look for clues in our environment that will help us benchmark. The challenge is the comparison instinct was built for survival and finding better food and shelter. Those of us that have sufficient food and shelter, move on to social comparisons. Unfortunately, we use the social comparison to be disappointed in ourselves rather than for creating inspiration about how we can make ourselves better.

So how do you keep social comparison from being a negative in your life?

  1. Be conscious of the Halo effect – Every time you compare yourself to someone else, you are looking at their best features and comparing them to your worst features. You don’t pay attention or compare to the people who are worse off than you. You are looking for something better. You also rarely see the whole picture. You are looking from the outside so you don’t know the whole story. One aspect of their life may be great, while another is not so much, just like everyone else. There are no perfect people with perfect lives. Everyone has challenges in their lives and positives. No one has it all even though it may appear that way on first glance.
  2. Be proud of your uniqueness – There is no one in the world like you. The things you have and don’t have are all part of who you are. Be proud of your strengths and work on your weaknesses. Don’t focus being someone else, focus on being the best you. Be happy for other people and their gifts and talents. You might even try to develop similar talents so that you can become better. But work on being your best self instead of wishing you could be like them.
  3. Be grateful for what you have – There are thousands of people in the world who are not as lucky as you are. They don’t have homes or jobs. They have health challenges. They were never able to complete their education. They have lost family members or they live in dangerous cities or countries where they don’t feel safe. When you see these people, help them if you can, but also take a moment to remember how lucky you are.

 

When you see someone else, you can waste your time comparing and wishing you were like them, or you can let them become an inspiration for you to work a little harder to be a better you. Comparing and wishing will sap your happiness while becoming a better you will build your confidence, happiness, and success.

 

What do you think about comparing yourself to others?

 

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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.

Success: How to Stop Speeding and Get There Faster

Have you ever been driving to some important event, running a little late, and then you get lost?  You think you know where to go, but you are not quite sure, so you go faster and faster, trying to get there on time, but still getting more lost?   You think you are heading in the right direction, but not quite sure, so you go even faster.  You could stop to check the map on your phone, but you are so close, you know your destination is probably just around the corner.  So you speed up a little more.

This is what we do in our lives.  We think we are on the right course, but something doesn’t feel right so we just keep speeding up.  We keep getting busier and taking on more commitments because success and happiness are just around the next turn.  One more big project, one more raise, one more promotion, and we will arrive at happiness and success.  We think we are on the right path, but partially formed thoughts in the back of our heads keep nagging at us.  Unfortunately, we are too close to stop and re-evaluate.  We are too busy to take a few minutes and examine what we are doing or to admit we might have taken a wrong turn somewhere.  We might have something in our plans that is moving us farther from happiness and success rather than closer, but we are going too fast to stop and find out.

Is it time to stop and check the map?

  1. Stop and take 15 minutes to write down your definition of success.  What is success for you?  How will you know when get there?  What are the markers in your life that tell you when you have arrived?  Do they include your family, your health, and your relationships? Does your definition of success include being happier? Is there more in your definition of success than just your career or the amount of money you will accumulate?
  2. Now write the top 3 milestones you have to work toward each day to reach that definition of success.  What are the 3 things in your life, that when reached, you will be confident in saying that you have met your definition of success?
  3. Check your to-do list for today. Is working on each of your 3 milestones a top priority, or are other less important but more urgent matters pushing them down or even off the list?  Slow down and focus on your definition of success and your top 3 milestones.  Get those done first and you will know you are on the right path.

 

Write your definition of success and identify the 3 milestones you need to work towards each day, and you won’t have to keep speeding up.  But you will get there faster!

 

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.

Skiing Down the Mountain of Life

We just finished a week long ski vacation with the family, and every year it is a fantastic experience.  Over the years I have noticed a few lessons that are applicable to our success as well as our life and happiness.

 

  1. Sometimes you go with the flow of the mountain and roll with the hills and turns it gives you; sometimes you cut across the mountain and define your own path; and sometimes you tuck and go as fast as you can in a race to the finish.   Our lives and careers are a balance and we are happier when we can learn to do all three. If we spend too much time going with the flow, we get bored and don’t feel challenged.  If we spend too much time battling and blazing our own trail we get worn out and beat up, and don’t have time to appreciate the other parts of our life, and if we don’t focus and head for the finish line every now and then, we spend our lives in “almost mode”, never fully reaching our dreams. Find the balance that is right for you.  Pay attention to when one method isn’t working and you should switch to another.
  2. The battle is between you and the mountain; don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.  Some people will be slower than you and some will be faster.   Older people will struggle to get down the mountain, while small children will whiz by in a flash of confidence and skill.  If you are thinking about how or what they are doing, you can’t focus on how you can get better and make it down the mountain in the best way for you.    If you compare yourself to others and come up short, you risk losing the confidence and momentum needed to be your best.   If you compare yourself to others and come up looking better, you can become complacent and not reach your full potential.  Your success and happiness depend on your ability to focus on being the best you can be, rather than being distracted by what everyone else can be.
  3. When you fall down don’t lay in the snow.  It just makes you colder and less motivated.  Too often we get knocked down by the challenges in life and find it easier to just lay there instead of jumping up and risking another failure.  The longer we lay there the harder it is to get up and get going again.  Don’t get stuck on the mountain wishing you hadn’t failed. Get up out of the snow as fast as you can, fix your skis, adjust your goggles and head back down the mountain. Chase your goals until you reach them, no matter how many times you fall.
  4. Take lessons.  Don’t believe you can teach yourself or that you are the only person in the world who is dedicated to helping you get better.  We all need help and perspectives from different people. We need encouragement and brutal honesty.  Surround yourself with teachers, learn from everyone you can.  Keep pushing to become better. Help others by letting them help you.

 

Lastly and most importantly, skiing is not just about getting down the mountain; it is about enjoying the trip.  Focus on the goal, but have fun along the way. Then when you get to the bottom, you will be excited to ride back up the lift and start again.

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 get Happy – 4 Concepts connected to Leadership and Success

Over the years I have had the opportunity to study leadership and success.   I am struck by the connections between each area and how those connections are similar for happiness as well.

 

Your first test on happiness:

  1. Do you want to:
    1. Receive happiness like winning the lottery or receiving a gift?
    2. Experience happiness as a state of mind?

If you choose A, then you may be waiting for a while, possibly forever.  However, if you choose B, then we, the team at Pursuit-of-Happiness.org, have a lot to share that may be helpful.

 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book The How of Happiness, explained that happiness is created through our daily intentional activities.  This is consistent with Leadership and Success as well.   Happiness is within our ability to control with what we do in our daily lives and how we think.

 

Here are 4 concepts that will provide a framework for exploring happiness.

The first concept is understanding the difference between Pleasure and Happiness.   Are you chasing immediate pleasures like sex, decadent foods, couch time, and video time, or are you nurturing relationships, maintaining your health through diet and exercise,  finding ways to improve yourself, and being thankful for what is working in your life.  The pursuit of pleasure involves feeling good in the short-term at the possible risk of negative long-term outcomes; the pursuit of happiness consists of intentional activities and habits that promote long term health and well-being.

 

 

The second concept is taking control of your life.   George Bernard Shaw although a little gruff, was headed in the right direction when he explained pursuing happiness as, “…being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. “  Do you own your decisions and the consequences of those decisions?  Are you deciding every day to invest in the habits and activities that will lead to happiness or are you waiting and hoping that happiness will find you?

 

The third concept is cultivating close positive relationships.  Do you have a few close friends you can talk to and share tell about your failures and successes? People who know and appreciate the real you, the good and the bad?  Are you caring and sharing in the community? Is there a person, group, or cause that you care for and give to?  The acts of sharing our true selves with others and caring for others are the most important things we can do to generate happiness and contentment in our lives.

 

The fourth concept is finding and expressing purpose and meaning.  The full George Bernard Shaw quote is:

This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish little selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

 

Do you have something bigger than yourself to focus on?  Is there something bigger that you believe in or something that you know you were meant to do?  For many people this can be expressed in their religion or other spiritual pursuits.  Others may focus on their children or their meaningful contributions.

 

In summary, if you are choosing to pursue happiness:

  1. Understand the difference between Pleasure and Happiness
  2. Take control of your life and your happiness.
  3. Develop close positive relationships and care for others.
  4. Find and express purpose and meaning in your life.

 

As described above for happiness, leadership and success require a long term perspective, action and ownership, strong relationships, and a sense of purpose.

 

Also like Leadership and Success, happiness is not a possession that can be acquired.   It is a state of mind resulting from the cultivation of intentional daily habits.    It has to be pursued, explored, and experienced on an on-going basis.   Find out more about how to cultivate Happiness Habits at Pursuit-of-Happiness.org.

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