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Happiness Hack #63 – Don’t Wait for the Weekend

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Be Happy Today!

It starts when we are young; sitting in classrooms dreaming about how much fun we will have on the weekend. The sheer anticipation of no class and no homework makes us happy. Then recess starts or we go to lunch and talk to our friends and find additional reasons to be happy. But as we get older and our lives and the week become more stressful, anticipation turns into expectation.  We look at our crummy day at work and expect that we will be happier when the weekend comes. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work.
The difference is subtle but important for our happiness. Anticipation makes us happier today as we think about positive outcomes in the future while expectation puts off happiness in the hope that something will change and we will find happiness in the future. Anticipation leaves us open to happiness today while expectation gives up today’s happiness because it will come later. The challenge is that happiness really doesn’t come later.
New research is showing that for many of us, we actually become less happy on the weekends. We build up our expectations of happiness to such a high level that we end Saturday disappointed.   Then on Sunday, we start worrying about what challenges we will face next week. It creates an unhappy cycle of not enjoying today because the weekend will be happier but then the weekend can’t make up for all the happiness we missed during the week.
The solution is to be happy today.  Anticipate happiness so you can enjoy today more.  But don’t give up your happiness today by expecting happiness in the future. Certain aspects of today will be stressful and crummy; so what can you find to enjoy today? Can you take a moment to be grateful for something or focus on a great memory? There is something good about today.  Find it and focus on it.  Do the same thing for weekends. Enjoy and be present in your weekends. Don’t think about the coming week and what you will miss or how bad it will be. Think about today and what is great about today.
Don’t wait for the weekends to be happy. Find reasons to be a little happy today and every day. Happy moments create happy days.  Happy days lead to happy weeks.  Happy weeks build happy years and lots of happy years create a happy life full of wonderful memories.  Create a happy day!

 

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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 #62 – Is Your Thinking Stinking?

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What Do You Spend Your Time Thinking About?

Do you spend your time thinking about what went wrong and why your job or your life are not what you want them to be?  Do you ruminate about a list of people who have treated you poorly and how you will eventually confront them and set them straight? Are you worrying about the things that could go bad in your future? These are all signs of “Stinking Thinking.”

You can fill your head with thoughts about how great life is, what you appreciate about people, and what you are going to do to create a great future or you can fill your head with negative thoughts.  The choice is yours.  “Stinking Thinking” leads to stinky results and positive thinking leads to positive results and more happiness for you and those around you.

It is natural to have negative thoughts, but you don’t have to let them overwhelm your thinking. You can create the habit of replacing those negative thoughts with more positive thinking or at least with possible solutions, rather than just focusing on the negative impacts of your problems. Try to catch yourself thinking negative thoughts and find more positive things to replace them. Replace your “Stinking Thinking” with more positive and productive thoughts and you will become happier.

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MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

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, Success, and International Travel – Part 2

More Adventures with Travel Delays and Why Do Bus Drivers Take Breaks While Passengers are on the Bus?

This is a continuation from last week’s travel adventures where we were stuck in a 95 degree plane with a broken indicator light and the delay meant we would miss the connecting flight to Halifax. Click Here to Read More.

Luckily, the mechanic had made it to work on time and apparently we were the first mechanical failure of the day. We only had to wait another 10 minutes before we got the go ahead to take off. So we were only about 20 minutes late and the pilot reported we could make up some of that time in the air. Once we got to 35,000 feet, the plane cooled down significantly and there was a rush to get the jackets and sweatshirts out of the bins where they had been ignominiously stuffed. It is always interesting to observe unhappy travelers watching their belongings being pushed and shoved by fellow travelers who are attempting to locate their items and then re-pack the over-stuffed bins and force the doors closed. Luckily we made it through the process with only minimal harsh words and no full blown fist fights.

We made it to LaGuardia with 45 minutes before my flight to Halifax. All I had to do was find the gate. Disappointingly the flight attendant didn’t mention Halifax in her list of connecting gates. Also, checking my handy American Airlines App, I could not find any information about my connecting gate or flight, except that it was on Delta. Even worse, the video boards, filled with arrival gates, did not show any departures for Halifax or Delta. I came to yet another stressful realization. I was in an American Airlines only terminal. No Delta flights, no Delta information, no one who knew how to get to Halifax. So with 40 minutes to go I searched for an information desk. Did you know that all information desks are outside of security? Apparently once you get inside of security, you no longer need information.

So I headed towards the baggage claim area searching for anyone who could help. The Security Guard was able to tell me that Delta was in a completely different terminal and I would have to go through security again. Not only that, I would have to take a bus to the Delta terminal. My next move was to go outside and try to figure out the right bus to get on. If you have flown into LaGuardia, you know there are a lot of buses, a lot of people, and a lot of signs, so I did a lot of reading and considering trying to confirm that I would be getting on the right bus to get me to the Delta terminal. Believe it or not, I still had hope. With 30 minutes to go, I was hoping the plane to Halifax might be slightly delayed. After careful review of the bus routes I determined that there was only one stop between here and the Delta terminal. All I needed was an efficient bus driver. Notice my positive thinking or maybe wishful thinking. As we headed to the Delta terminal, we made what in my eyes was an unplanned stop. There were no people waiting, but the bus driver gets off the bus and looks any way. He is looking for potential passengers, or so I thought. He then starts strolling away from the bus. I am very confused at this point, but I see him pause, think, and then stroll back to the bus. I slowly let my breath out. I had been holding my breath trying to figure out my next move. The bus driver steps back on the bus and peers around the safety bar at his passengers who look on with expectant and somewhat surprised faces. He announces that he is on break now, and the replacement bus driver should already be here. But not to worry, the current bus driver is sure the replacement driver will be here in the next 5 minutes. I relax and breathe as I realize everything has conspired against me to make sure I don’t make the flight to Halifax.   There must be a reason. But in the back of my mind, I have a tiny glimmer of hope for the trip saving flight delay. After a few minutes, a new bus driver appears and we are once again off to the races. We get to the Delta terminal in less than 5 minutes, which means I probably could have walked there faster, and we all rush off the bus to check our flights. I get inside the Delta terminal and surprisingly, I quickly locate the video displays for the arrivals. Where are the departures? No need to panic, they put them right next the arrivals. But the arrivals have 3 screens and the departures have 1 screen. So the departures have to scroll through. Should I be looking for Canada, Halifax, or Nova Scotia? After seconds that seem like minutes, I locate Halifax and excitedly I notice my flight has been delayed. That’s right, what was horrible news 4 hours ago is now fantastic news. But my American Mobile Ticket App doesn’t work for a Delta Ticket, even though we bought it through American, so I try the self-serve kiosk. I don’t know my Delta frequent flyer number and I can’t get my passport to scan.   So I pull out my glasses to read the tiny print on my phone as I try to find the email or calendar notice that gives me the flight locator number to appease the kiosk. After many minutes of frustration, I am able to locate my reservation and get informed by the machine that I have to speak with an agent. Will wonders never cease! Not being a Delta frequent flyer medallion member, I have to get in the “we love you, but not as much” line,   which is always longer and is a guaranteed 30 minute wait. Now I am worried that even with the flight delayed I won’t make it.   I shouldn’t have been worried. That flight was not going to take off for hours.

I finally made it through the line and a very helpful Delta employee sent me toward security with the message not to feel rushed, because the flight had been delayed by yet another hour. My trip was saved and I would make it to Halifax. But I found that saved and safe are two different concepts.

By then, it was almost noon and my breakfast burrito of unknown origin was no longer providing the energy I need. Since I had a little extra time and I had made it through security with little trouble, I decided to take a few minutes to eat.   Luckily there was a burger place just past security. I noticed a line of people, but nobody at the counter. Not a good sign. I started looking around and I noticed that people were ordering using iPads secured to the counter. So I await my turn and notice all of the frustrated looks. It was unclear whether people were ordering or not. When I finally get my turn, it is because the man in front of me just gave up. He was half way through his order and couldn’t find something so he just walked off. Meanwhile a lady kept coming out from behind the wall, yelling numbers, and handing out orders. So food was actually being distributed. Having worked with technology my whole career, I should not have been intimidated by an ipad menu. But I could barely read the screen without my glasses which I always hesitate to take out, and I can’t figure out how to order anything that is not a combo with a number. So I find the burger combo and forgo the special orders that make my wife crazy when we visit a drive through burger place. No mayonnaise, no onions, add cheese, etc.. I follow her advice and just pick a number. But there was no menu to pay and no place to swipe a credit card. Could I have gotten really lucky and stumbled on the only free burger place in New York? I see my ticket print out from the mini-printer on the counter. Not too difficult until another ticket prints out immediately after it. Which one is mine? No glasses and I don’t remember what number I ordered. So I let the more experienced airport worker pick up the tickets and figure out who gets what. It is a good thing to, because when he handed me the ticket, everything was abbreviated and I can’t tell if I got the right ticket or not. About that time the lady comes out from behind the wall and yells at the milling crowd, “You have go down there to pay before you can have your order!” She is clearly angry about this because no one seems to understand the system. As we all look down the hallway, off in the distance, about 100 yards away, we can see long lines in front of registers that apparently collect money for all the restaurants in this general area. So I need to go way down there to pay. But I want a bottle of water for my trip and the cooler with drinks is next to the ordering counter. So I grabbed a water bottle and began the long trek down to the registers, hoping my food doesn’t come out before I make it there and back. No need to worry. The burger makers had plenty of orders to prepare before mine. So many that they forgot about mine. As I am walking down the hallway to the registers with all of the other travelers who have just come through security, a panicked thought crosses my mind. What if they think I am stealing the water? I mean, I could just keep walking and keep the water without paying for it. There is no way they can keep up with who has paid and how hasn’t. Being honest and hungry, I stop at the register, wait in line and pay for my food. I then trek 100 yards back to the place where I ordered and wait for the angry lady to come out from behind the wall and yell my number, which she never does. While waiting I decided to fill the to-go cups with ketchup for my French fries. There are two red ketchup dispensers and one mustard dispenser. I had the weird thought that I should sample ketchup from both dispensers, but dismissed that as crazy. Maybe not so crazy after all. More on that in a minute. After about 10 minutes of waiting and confirming that my number was passed 10 orders ago, I stepped up to the counter and asked the lady about my order. This set off a firestorm of checking and yelling which eventually resulted in my box of burger and fries being shoved through a window near the wall. I then inquire about my Mocha Shake, which is not exactly a Mocha Frappe, but close enough. Once again I had set off a flurry of yelling and activity the resulted in a shake being unceremoniously plopped in front of me 5 minutes later. I politely say thank you and prepare to leave the counter. That is when I realize, I didn’t get a nice bag of food to go. I got an open box of fries and burger, a shake, a bottle of water, and two of those little cups of to-go ketchup. I also have a suitcase and brief case I am lugging around. Now anyone with four arms could have easily left the counter, but I had to do some re-organizing. There were no seats and tables anywhere in sight. I had to prepare to carry an open box with fries, burger, mocha shake, ketchup cups, and my luggage through the busy airport terminal without spilling or making my usual mess. Which reminded me, I had forgotten to get napkins. But it was too late to turn back now and I didn’t have any hands to spare.

Finally and without incident, I found my gate. It was over crowded with people and seats were at a premium, much less seats with a table. I got lucky and spotted a guy packing quickly to catch his flight, so I snagged his seat and table. It was nice to have a moment to relax and enjoy my food. That was until I figured out that my chosen ketchup bin had really been Bar-B-Q sauce. So I had French fries and two cups of Bar-B-Q sauce with my greasy burger. And no napkins!

 

“Victory belongs to the most persevering.” – Napoleon Bonaparte

 

[Success Hack: Perseverance is a marker for success. Success is never a smooth road. It is full of challenges and obstacles that provide us with the opportunity to give up at every turn. Practicing perseverance on the smaller things like lunch and making a flight will increase your confidence and ability to persevere through the important and truly challenging obstacles in life.]

 

[Happiness Hack: Positive Thinking helps build perseverance and helps make you happier. Believing you can get through the challenges you are facing to reach your goal creates hope. That hope increases your will power to keep moving forward and your level of happiness because you realize that no matter how tough the situation you are facing now, you can create a positive ending.]

 

Think positively and persevere until every option is exhausted and you will be happier and more successful.

 

Next week: Crowds and Flight Safety: Should You Be Worried If the Emergency Hatch Lever Cover Keeps Popping Off?

 

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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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How Optimism Can Help You Be Happier

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

 Optimism is a form of Positive Thinking that is focused on the future and how the future will unfold.  It helps improve our lives and make us happier.  Optimism changes the way we look at and remember our interactions in life because we put a more positive spin on our events and activities. Numerous research studies have confirmed the benefits of optimism which include better health, longer lives, faster recovery from illness, and even healthier babies.

Tali Sherot a leading researcher and teacher of happiness lists three reasons that optimism is a key component of our happiness:

How we interpret events matters. As we go through life, remembering a majority of our interactions with an optimistic and hopeful attitude gives us the feeling we are on the right path and things will work out for us.

  1. Anticipation enhances our happiness. By thinking optimistically about the future, we get excited about what we think could and will happen. We are as happy during those times of anticipation as we are when the event actually occurs. So our happiness lasts for much longer periods of time if we are optimistic and anticipate good outcomes.
  2. Optimism makes you try harder. If you believe an event is going to turn out positively, you may be surprised or disappointed when events start taking a negative turn. Consciously or unconsciously, we redouble our efforts to get life back on the right track. As a result, we create better outcomes through efforts we put forth because we are optimistic about the better outcomes.

Optimistic thinkers experience more positive emotions because they explain events in ways that help them feel good about themselves. Pessimistic thinkers take a negative approach and explain events in ways that make them feel worse about themselves.   The good news is that pessimism can be replaced with optimism.  Pessimistic thinking can be exchanged for optimistic thinking with a little effort and practice.

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. This can be a short timeframe, like the project is successful and everyone likes it, or a long timeframe, like how your life turns out more fantastic than you could ever imagine.
  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.

“Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier” – Gen. Colin Powell

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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