Category Archives: gratitude

“You can get anything in life that you want if you help enough other people get what they want.”             Zig Ziglar, speaker, author and salesman

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How can you help others succeed?

When those you work with are more successful it boosts the results of the entire organization.    What do you do on a daily basis that helps those around you be more productive, more successful and more loved?

It doesn’t matter where you are in life or on what stage you are playing, you can help others achieve more.   It might be simple things, like doing something for someone else with no expectation of receiving anything in return.   Perhaps it is fetching someone a cup of coffee when they are focused on getting some work done and allowing them to get that work done.   Maybe it is doing a few more chores around the home so that one person isn’t doing all the work or maybe it is giving a loved one a few minutes of relaxation that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

There are many ways, perhaps hundreds of ways that you can help others be more successful.

Now, what makes this beneficial to you?   There is a well known rule of human behavior called reciprocity.   If you give to others they will feel an obligation to give back.  It is an unwritten rule of behavior, you give others want to give back. They don’t want to feel that there is an imbalance of giving and receiving and as a result you’ll see others step up their game when you help them improve theirs.

Will it work all of the time?   Maybe not,  some people may never sense an obligation to anyone else but themselves, so help them anyway.   Give them an extra dose of encouragement,  a helping hand even when they haven’t asked or a gift of a few minutes of time to relax.   Whatever you give to them will come back in one form or another to you.   It may not be today, but there will be a time when that gift you gave is returned to you in abundance.

Try it … give to others and help them in some way to have a better day.

the common man

“I am no one special. Just a common man with common thoughts. I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but in one respect I’ve succeeded as gloriously as anyone who ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul and for me that has always been enough.” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Today I have a guest who wrote the following  poem  it is written by a man who lives in Christchurch, NZ.   Let James tell you the story of the common man.   Do we really live in this type of world?

Common Man  by James Wilkes

We’re all different and we’re all the same
Life, living, loving, it’s not a game.
We have one world, one chance and if we don’t change this could be our last dance. The rich strive for more and more, the poor do with less and less….what a mess.  We’re all different and we’re all the same. Why can’t we change, it’s such a shame.

We arrive and leave through the same door, it’s just some of us get so much more. How did this happen I hear you pray, we’re the same aren’t  we, that’s what I heard you say. Maybe George did have insight; some of us are more equal by birth right?  If I’m here and you’re there, surely we both breathe air. We’re all different and we’re all the same. Why can’t we change, it’s such a shame.

You ride in a Rolls, I ride on a bike and some others I know, they just hike. As silly as it sounds we’re all going the same way; it will just take some longer than others on this day.

We all step on the planet, we all look up at the sun, it just seems that some have all the fun.  It’s not hard to share and it’s not hard to care, all we have to do is just dare.  We’re all different and we’re all the same. Why can’t we change, it’s such a shame.

Creativity is key, imagination is free, we can do something about all this, just wait and see.  We learnt to fly, we went to the moon, surely we can manage to get some food on a spoon.  Black and white, yellow and brown, we’re all in it together so come on down.  Feel inside, feel around and look up, not down.  We’re all different and we’re all the same. Why can’t we change, it’s such a shame.

 

find self-compassion

“Feeling compassion for ourselves in no way releases us from responsibility for our actions. Rather, it releases us from the self-hatred that prevents us from responding to our life with clarity and balance.”  Tara Brach

You spill the cup of coffee you just brewed and it splashes over your clothing leaving a nice brown stain.    What are you saying to yourself?

What do you say to yourself when you don’t meet your expectations, when you are late, when you say something you shouldn’t, when you forget an important meeting, when you oversleep or when you get a speeding ticket? What are you telling yourself?

Many people find that their message to themselves upon any unmet expectation is filled with insults and derision that would never be heard by someone else.   People become their own worst enemy and call themselves names that only reduce their ability to succeed.   Some people believe telling themselves that they are “not good enough” as a way to motivate themselves to better results and often it only yields more of that same message … “you’re not good enough”.   Before long that becomes their internal truth and all they do by yelling at themselves is provide confirmation that they aren’t living up to the world’s standards or their own.    If they are “not good enough” then that means people around them aren’t good enough either and it sours those relationships as well.

What do you tell yourself when you don’t meet your own expectations?

What if you could tell yourself a different message?    You can.   New research is being done in the area of self-compassion.    It might be worth reading about or learning more about.   Practicing self-compassion just means that things can go wrong and that it is OK.

You can change what you tell yourself when things don’t go exactly as planned.   Instead of beating yourself up, try this just say it to yourself:

“This is a moment of suffering.
Suffering is part of my life.
May I be kind to myself in this moment.
May I give myself the compassion I need.”  (From Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff)

Just repeat those lines and practice it for a week.   See if you can notice a difference.   Go ahead every time you are ready to condemn yourself say those lines above instead.

To hear more about self-compassion listen to this video:

 

Create your own happiness project

Gretchen Rubin the author of “The Happiness Project” has a new happy project ready to launch in American stores, “Happiness at Home”.    Projects that you can do to increase your own happiness.   Happiness isn’t something that happens to us, it is something we create within ourselves.

Listen to Gretchen provide some happiness hints.  Getting started on being happier is something that you can do and it doesn’t cost a lot.   Becoming happier might mean giving something up, something that is energy draining.

Maybe your one of those people who for whatever reason gets stuck and delays doing the work you know you should do.   How do you get out of that rut of procrastination, here’s a tip.

The idea is to generate some fun ways to get excited about life everyday.  Small happiness moments that can elevate your mood and your view of life.    Thinking positive or in positive ways cultivates creative activity and creative activity provides benefits.   Negative thinking is often destructive and energy robbing and doesn’t generate much in benefits.   So why not change your way of thinking and put more time into building momentum for creative events in your life.

Start generating more happiness in your life today.   If you can’t do it by yourself hire a coach to work with you so that you can start living that life you really want to live.   Happiness matters.

 

Meditation


“We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship.” – C.S. Lewis

How are you feeling about life right now? What are you distracted by? What are you concerned about? What is the state of your mind right now?

Today we are shifting the conversation away from doing and doing more to taking time out to do less.    We are talking about freeing the mind and the body of the constant noise we hear from all aspects of our life.   Right now turn off the TV, the radio, the phone and any source of external stimulation.  Just turn it off for a few minutes.

I want you to observe your mental state and the thoughts you have having.  What are they?   What thoughts and what feelings do you have right now?   Are you at a place of peace and calmness?    I didn’t think so.   You’re thinking about what to do next.  Your mind is cluttered with ideas and thoughts as a constant buzzing and it doesn’t bring about any sense of peace at all.

In the book “The Emotional Life of your Brain”  the author Richard Davidson talks about meditation as a way to create new ways to respond and experience thought.  In other words meditation or mindfulness  helps the brain create new pathways which reduce the negative impacts of stressful situations.   Meditation then help one respond rather than react to situations that generate negative emotions.

In a world where there is more and more negative stimulation,  taking the time to focus on nothingness helps retrain the brain to shift from negativity to something that is more positive.    Quieting the brain creates a greater sense of well-being and peacefulness which is what many people long for.

To help strengthen a more positive outlook without learning meditation you can do the following:

1. Focus on your positive characteristics – write down one of your strengths and one of a person you know well.

2. Be grateful.   Be intentionally thankful and keep track of how many genuine thank-you’s you share with others.

3. Complement others genuinely.   Look at the Smile & Move campaign for some ideas.

Now take a few minutes sit back and listen to the following clip.  Take the time to slow down, and recharge.

running on the hedonic treadmill

“The 7 Deadly Sins are:
Wealth without work
Pleasure without conscience
Knowledge without character
Business without morality
Science without humanity
Worship without sacrifice
Politics without principle”  Gandhi

Everywhere people are chasing something and are finding that as hard as they chase they are unable to grab hold to this elusive thing.   You may hear in their words, “If I only __________________”, then I would be _____________.  What is that second word?

Was it happiness?   Yes, people are chasing happiness and are having a hard time grasping it.   The faster you run towards happiness the greater the distance to achieve it.    Studies have been done on those who win lotteries and those people have a six month boost in happiness before returning to the level of happiness they had before their fortunate outcome.

People who are the happiest have strong relationships, a rewarding career, supportive social networks, financial sufficiency and ability to make choices. To jump of the hedonic treadmill try improving your relationships,  working at something you enjoy, and spreading happiness around.

Relationships matter

 Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. ‘Pooh!’ he whispered. ‘Yes, Piglet?’ ‘Nothing,’ said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw. ‘I just wanted to be sure of you.’ “ A.A. Milne

Positive psychology research has shown that people with good relationships are happier than those who don’t have relationships with others.

Rewarding Career

Working a career that uses your strengths and abilities leads to greater happiness.   Examine your strengths and talents and find work that leverages them.

 

 

Supportive Social networks

Happiness is contagious.  Research done by Dan Gilbert shows that happiness spreads.   If someone else is happy you’re likely to catch some of that happiness and spread it to others.  Find people who are supportive and happy and spread it around.

 

 

Other happiness indicators are:

  • Financial Sufficiency – having enough money
  • Democracy – sense of choice, empowered
  • Religion – increased sense of fulfillment
  • Praise to criticism ratio of 3 praises to 1 criticism

“In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on, and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. “Deserves” is not the point. And “owes” is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is — in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.”   Amy Bloom

Three ways to increase happiness

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”  Nathaniel Hawthorne

Happiness is something many people strive for and fail to achieve.   Happiness can be elusive to some and easy to obtain for others.   A new film called “Happy” is documenting happiness, where it is found and how people live a life of happiness.

Recent research provides some steps to achieve greater happiness.   The study of happiness is growing and is a reflection of the positive psychology movement and the strengths movement.  Markus Buckingham one of the leaders in the strengths movement shows people why strengths are important in this short video.   People that use their strengths are happier.   Don’t know your strengths then got to viastrengths and find out what your strengths are.

Another aspect of happiness is purpose.    Having a purpose increases happiness.   Knowing who you are what you are gifted at doing and having the ability to use those gifts increases happiness.    If you haven’t found your purpose or aren’t sure you have a purpose take a look at this.   See if you can figure out your purpose, you’ll be happier when you do have a defined purpose.

The third element of happiness is developing relationships.    Relationships that work well increase happiness.  As we approach the holiday season many people feel stressed due to the fact many relationships aren’t what they should be.   Here are some hints on dealing with broken relationships.

Three steps to increase happiness.

1. Know your purpose

2. Strong and deep relationships

3. Knowing and using your strengths.

What are you doing to increase your happiness?   Happiness is part choice, part development and to some degree inherited qualities.   Choose to be happier.  Choose to develop your strengths and choose to develop deep and meaningful relationships and you will be happier.    Maybe you have a story about how you found happiness, what is it?