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11 Ways to Be Happier Day to Day

Empaths and Narcissists. Two very different types of people. You could say that they’re extremes. On one hand with the empath, you have a person who feels everything that is going on with themselves and the people around them. Perhaps they feel that they’re “out of this world” or misplaced because they see all the emotion. That they have superhuman powers to read people. To sense vibes. Many times, they absorb all these emotions that are around them feeling weighted down by the burdens of the world.

On the other hand, you have the narcissist. One could say that this is the opposite of the empath. They look at others as instruments to get what they want. Many times, these people have become like this because of some sort of pain they received earlier in their life. Furthermore, the narcissist won’t realize that the world doesn’t work this way. That the world is a two way street. They’ll literally do anything to get where they want to get to in life.

In either case, neither will likely be able to create their own happiness. The empath might think that having their own happiness is too selfish. The narcissist, on the other hand, will think that their unhappiness is everyone else’s fault. So why should they put time into it if no one else will?

That said, I think most of us that have struggled or currently struggle with being happy fall somewhere between these two extremes.

Your Happyness is Yours to Build

Just like many things, Happiness is a journey, not so much a destination. The Founding Fathers knew this when they mentioned it in the Declaration of Independence. If you should remember anything about July 4th this weekend, is that in the United States it is the God Given Right to live life, be free, and strive towards our own happiness – whatever that might be. So as we come to this celebration of what the US stands for, I wanted to break down 10 things that we can do to be more happy.

The reason why I recommend the Four Agreements on a regular basis is because I believe it has led me to be happier myself. The agreements are as follows:

Be Impeccable with Your Word

Don’t Take Anything Personal

Don’t Make Assumptions

Always Do Your Best

In these four, I’ve come up with a list of 11 key everyday practices that can help you gain more happiness daily.

Be Impeccable with Your Word

Stop Complaining

Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems. – Zig Ziglar

Chances are you don’t want to be around some that complains all the time. So why would anyone want to be around you if you do? If you must complain, give yourself 5 minutes to do so. Better yet, instead of complaining about something, instead look for a possible solution? No solution? Focus on the positive and perhaps cut a joke.

Focus on the Positive Things in Life

When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems. When you focus on the possibilities, you’ll have more opportunities. – Unknown

The more you focus on negative things in your life, the more they’ll come in. It will show up in your work, your relations, and everything else. Instead, shift your attention to the positive perspective. In return, more positive things will come.

Blame yourself, not others

The moment you take responsibility for everything in your life is the moment you can change anything in your life. – Hal Elrod

Every one us is where we are in life due to choices we’ve made in the past. Sure, our circumstances are different, but more often then not, many of us take the easier route which in the long run makes us weaker for the hard stuff in life. Take the challenges as they come in life and you’ll be prepared for when crap really hits the fan.

Don’t Take Anything Personal

Stop Caring About What Others Think of You

If you care about what other people think, you will always be their prisoner. – James Frey

Every great leader, artist, entrepreneur, and/or political leader (George Bush is a painter now… wha!?) ignored what people thought of them at one point or another. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to take off. Instead, if others are tearing you up, realize it’s more than likely because they’re envious OR threatened by you.

Stop Needing to Be Right All the Time

Humility is the solid foundation of all virtues. – Confucius

Learn to laugh at yourself. It’s ok to stand up for things you really believe in, but not on every subject. In stead of trying to be right, learn how to see other people’s point of view. When I argue politics on Facebook, I typically do after understanding the other side’s perspective. Start asking more questions to see other’s points of view, it might open a whole new perspective for yourself… one that you incorporate your old perspective and theirs into an ultimate right answer! 😉

Don’t Make Assumptions

Stop Judging

Ask Questions to Clarify

Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in. – Alan Alda

This is simple. If you’re interested in being successful, learn to make things clear at the beginning. Yes, it’s impossible not to assume 100% of the time, especially if you’re doing something that has been multiple times before, but make sure you’re always asking questions to clear things up before it gets worse.

Always Do Your Best

Be Present

What is presence? It is a grounding and harmony in this very moment; it is a physical alertness, an emotional acceptance, a spiritual awareness and union with what is in front of us in the here and now; it is a vital consciousness to who we are and what we are sensing; it is a mindfulness to what is meaningful; it is the Way – Brendon Burchard

Brendon talks all the time about his life mission being “Did we live? Did I love? Did I matter?”. So often we find ourselves living in the past in how good things used to be. Or we live in the future in how we want things to be. Live in the present. You’ll never get to the future you want if you don’t appreciate where you are now.

Be Fearless

Being Fearless isn’t being 100% not fearful, it’s being terrified but you jump anyway… – Taylor Swift

Fear is a strong motivator in life. Perhaps possibly the strongest to not be great. Perhaps you’re worried about leaving friends behind. Perhaps you’re worried that you might fail in whatever you’re setting out to do. The hard truth is that at the end of the day or even your life, you’re going to wish that you at least tried to do something vs always dreaming “what if”. Don’t waste the gifts that you’ve been given. Go Do Your Thing.

Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. – Steven Furtick

I know I’m my own worst critic. I know that inside of us there’s a fan and there’s the scrooge. For many of us, we’ve been told our entire lives that we can do anything we want to do… just don’t screw up. Furthermore, school taught us, pass without failing.

What we don’t learn until after school is that we don’t learn in life without failing. Failing is part of life. Once you accept this, then you start relying more on the fan to motivate you. The scrooge will always be there saying, “you don’t deserve to be awesome”. However, as you start gaining success, you’ll listen to the fan more and more. While you might not be perfect, you give value to others.

Stop Worrying About the Small Stuff

Worry is a misuse of the imagination. – Dan Zadra

We worry about everything and anything. Part of limiting what influence the scrooge has is to realize that others aren’t perfect either. Just because someone isn’t replying to your emails, texts, or phone calls doesn’t mean they suddenly don’t like you.

Learn to focus on what you can do in the current moment and not worry so much on what the outcome is going to be.

Your Turn

So below in the comments, let me know what you do to feel happier on a day to day basis. Are there any tricks or tips that you do when you feel yourself getting down? Chime in and share!

5 Ways to Make Marriages Work

So, a few weeks ago during the middle of the Millennials as Entrepreneurs series, there was a little article that made some waves in my Facebook News Feed. While many friends agreed with it, Maria and I kinda thought it was a little off center.

As we were reading it, it occurred to both of us that the problems that the author, Anthony D’Ambrosio, noticed were superficial problems. That said, I think in general that the problems that many Millennials have are due to much deeper problems. Problems that are going to take some actual time and possibly some self investigation to figure out.

So, here’s my tough love advice in how Millennials (well, really, anyone) can make marriages work. After reading this list, I hope you’ll have better luck in the marriage department!

Statement 1: Sex Becomes Almost Non-existent

My Response: Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

First and foremost, let’s not confuse sex columnists with relationship columnists. They are not one in the same. Sex experts generally run in the same circles as pickup artists and porn stars, while you usually find relationship columnists in circles of people like John Maxwell, Les Brown, or a Gary Chapman. They’re typically not the same people.

Need an example of who you might listen to? Ok. Then let’s take an example that I’m sure you’re familiar with: Dr. Drew Pinsky of Loveline.

Now, Dr. Drew has been in many of our lives since we were growing up. (It’s still hard for me to not think of him AND Adam Carolla hosting the show.) However, he’s not just about sex, even though many of us would think he is. He’s actually a licensed Physician and Surgeon. On top of that he’s been married since 1991 and has a couple of kids. So obviously, you can listen to him as he does have experience.

In contrast, sex educators like Emily Morse and Sandra Daugherty, while they might actually have credentials to talk about sex, you can tell just by listening to their podcasts that they have issues with relationships.

Also, you’ll also notice that in the political spectrum, relationship experts are generally more conservative while sex experts are more liberal.

So make sure you’re getting advice from the right kind of expert here.

Now that we have that ironed out, here’s something else to consider. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages tells you all you need to know about filling up your partner’s love tank. In the article, Anthony says that sex is the “most important part” of a relationship. Well, there’s a type of person that’s like that in Gary’s book. There’s also 4 other types of people who think that the most important part are other things.  One guess is that Anthony and his spouse might not have had matching love languages.

My recommendation? Find a partner who shares the same love language you have so that you don’t have to think about what fuels their fire, so to speak. 

Statement 2: Finances Cripple Us

My Response: Learn How to Live Under Your Means

Having grown up as the only child of a single mom, I’ve kind of always known about the problems of the household. People need to vent at times and frankly who else was she going to tell? Of the many things that my mom could have talked about, the thing that she did talk about the most was finances. I think mainly because she didn’t understand them herself until she was in her late 40’s. Even then, she wasn’t a master. So she made sure that I was interested enough to study them myself. In the end, I learned how to be frugal. Lol, who am I kidding. I might suffer from being a tight wad… but I’d sooner be that than out on the streets.

One of the things that Anthony talks about is that he can’t live life because of all the debt he has.

Well. I don’t have debt. Not much, anyway. Hell, I didn’t even have a credit card until a couple of years ago. Why? Cause either a.) I worked my tail off to get what I wanted in college and bought with cash. or b.) mom helped.

NEEDS vs WANTS

However, her helping me didn’t come free. There was a trade off somewhere. Many times my WANTS were put aside for my NEEDS. For example, I’ve never owned a brand new car. Would I like one, sure. Who wouldn’t? But instead at college, I rolled around in my 1983 Oldsmobile Firenza and later my 1995 Chrysler Lebaron. I made the trade of getting a college degree vs having a sporty looking import. (A side note, it’s 2015 and I just scored an awesome 2007 Dodge Magnum. Pretty pimp if I do say so myself. Has the space for the future me but the engine of the now me!)

Another want? To go on vacation. Like, for it to be paid for and not worry about money. As far as vacations go, the last vacation I took was my honeymoon in 2013. Thanks to gifts from my wedding. Before that, the last vacation I had was in 2003 to Las Vegas… where I didn’t play anything more than $50 at the slots? All other trips I’ve taken have been road trips to visit family. Not really vacation.

Don’t judge your life based on other’s high points.

Another thing he mentions is that he sees others having awesome lives. That we’re “forced to see the life everyone else is living.”

I don’t know what kind of life he’s living, but the awesome pictures that I see others posting on Facebook and other social media are more than likely those people’s high points. To judge yourself based on an endless stream of those highs, is really not fair to yourself. So stop it. Seriously. The people who travel all the time? They probably aren’t in a steady relationship unless you see that person too. The person who posts pictures of their family? They probably desperately want some alone time. One thing that has helped me out quite a bit is learning how to curate my news feed. Now all I get are pictures of cats, memes, and political stuff. Totally ok by me!

That said, if you have no idea how finances work, then you’re going to be the victim of your circumstances. Unfortunately, that rarely ends up at an ideal destination. Want to start learning about finance? A great source would be Dave Ramsey’s show and/or podcast. He’ll give you all the tough love you want.

Statement 3:We’re more connected than ever before, but completely disconnected at the same time.

My Response: Put down the controller and go outside, kid.

People who can’t learn to put down their phone or tablet or put down their laptop, apparently were never told to go play outside as a kid. I admit that I am the definition of a gamer and even I know when I’ve had enough. But that’s because I’ve been around technology all my life. I was a geek before it was trendy. I have this clock inside of me that tells me when it’s time to do something productive.

So, first hand, I’ll tell you this: If you want to lose time quickly, stare and interact with a screen that has moving things on it. Time will fly by, I guarantee it. Likewise, as an adult, poking at social media all day isn’t any different. The same synapses are firing in your brain.

Going outside to play makes life slow down as a kid. As an adult, putting down your phone and just being present is what you should be striving towards. Stop worrying about things you can’t control. You’ll drive yourself insane if you do otherwise. Don’t let your social media and technology control you. Learn to control it. Learn to know when enough is enough.

Statement 4: Our desire for attention outweighs our desire to be loved

My Response: There’s an empty hole inside you, dear serial selfie taker.

I have never taken a selfie. Not once. Have I had other take a picture of me? Yes, of course. There’s a difference. In my case, a big difference. I’ve never enjoyed having pictures of me taken – even when I was a kid. I know a part of it was that I didn’t like looking good in pictures – that kind of still lingers to this day. However, I think the biggest thing was that I didn’t like being the focus of attention. I’ve never been interested in being a celebrity.

However, there’s a difference in being a celebrity vs what celebrities have, don’t get me wrong. If I could be a part of the infamous 1%, I would. Even with the media hating on them and people constantly trying to assassinate them or the need of constantly having to worry about million dollar deals on a daily basis, I’d think that would be awesome. Why? Simply because with money does come options to help people in ways that no one person can do otherwise and frankly, who wouldn’t want the ability to have the finer things in life if it was desired?

But outside of being a teacher and speaker, I have no interest in being in front of people. If I am going to be in front of people, I better be adding value to them. 

Statement 5: Social media just invited a few thousand people into bed with you.

My Response: This is actually a continuation of Statement 4…

Ok, so you don’t take selfies. I’ll give you points for that. But why would people feel it necessary to take pictures of their wardrobes? Or during their date? Why? What’s that going to get them? Again… you’re going for bragging rights or least some form of being a celebrity. The last I heard, true celebrities are made the old fashioned way. They’re selected by the powers that be. Just because some people Liked your last Instagram picture, doesn’t make you an insta-celebrity. If you want people to stick around in your life, leave them feeling better than when they came in it. They’ll never forget you.

So, that’s just my 2p…

What about you? Are you or anyone you know struggling with the above problems? Are you guilty of some of these? Is your significant other? How about a friend and their mate? Did you say anything similar to what I’ve said above? In the comments below, I’d like to hear about cases in your life… and if they were a friend, what you told them!

Millennials as Entrepreneurs, Part 8 of 10: Leading is An Ideal Goal for Us

In part 1 we discussed some statistics about what Millennials want in the work place. I’ll share them again:

 

  • 64% of them say it’s a priority for them to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would like to be their own boss. But if they do have to work for a boss, 79% of them would want that boss to serve more as a coach or mentor.
  • 88% prefer a collaborative work-culture rather than a competitive one.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules.

 

Look at that second number. 72% of us want to be our own boss. To do that, we have to run our own business. And to do that, need to have some sort of leadership skills.

 

The World is Full of Followers who want to Lead

 

In the 6th installment of this series, I talked about The Prussian Education System contributing to why Millennials are Lost. How it has been used to create a population of soldiers who follow the oligarchy of the Progressive Movement that originally installed it. They want and continue to want followers.

 

The other contributing part to the Lost Generation can be found in part 1, when we saw how Millennials generally want a lot out of life.

 

The catch is that these two ideas contradict each other. One of them is going to have to yield to the other.

 

So far it seems it seems that many of us don’t know which to choose. In fact, many of us are even pushing back our internal clocks to have more time to develop “Me”. It seems like a whole lot of confusion. Do we invest in a job that might have the conditions we’re used to or do we invest in ourselves and create that atmosphere for ourselves?

 

Leaders Get The Credit Through Failure

 

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from our role models growing up is that leaders get the credit. From our coaches in high school, to athletes in the pros, to politicians, and award winning actors, we see that those who succeed get the most credit. It is almost intolerable for us to be unsuccessful. We have grown up most of our life believing that we CANNOT and MUST NOT fail.

 

The problem with this is that we now have a generation of people who don’t really know that failing is a part of learning. That we can’t really learn something until we’ve tried to apply knowledge and screw up.

 

Many of us have not heard of all the failures that successful people have had before they were successful. However, it’s true.

 

As it’s suggested then, we need get out there and fail quicker! Otherwise, the alternative is taking a seat and job hopping in the new economy – something that personally I don’t want to do. I’d prefer security.

 

Leadership is Something Learned

 

Leadership for most of us is appealing and scary at the same time. We know that if we want things to go our way, that we must appeal to others to follow our plan. If we’re successful with spreading the idea, then we find ourself leading. At the same time we know leadership can be lost as quickly as it can be gained if we’re not careful with our followers. So we need to learn how to lead with purpose.

 

A big key in being a leader is actually studying it. Seeing what other people have done successfully before us and actually studying those actions. We can do that through case studies, or the hard way through personal experience OR we can cheat and read books by authors like John Maxwell.

 

Once you have successfully gained influence of others and can wield it successfully, then you are on the path of being a true leader. But just like anything else in the self development world, it’s something that you’ll need to continue to study.

 

Leading By Example

 

In the comments below, I’d love to hear about your experiences at being a leader. Whether you’ve had success or have failed at it, let us know below. Also, if you did fail, what did you take away from the experience?

 

Next week, in part 9, we’ll discuss making the big choice. Those that succeed in building a business will be the ready made leaders after 2020. Will you be a leader or a follower? We’re in a perfect place in history to make our collective mark for other generations to follow!

Millennials as Entrepreneurs, Part 7 of 10: Easiest Method of Self Expression in One’s Career

In the last session of this series, I had a little tough love for our generation. But there was a reason for that. A lot of us ARE lost. Not lost as in a lost cause but lost as in confused. It is said that when people are confused, they lack clarity on what action to take – so they take none. The secret on taking action is to first find out where you are.

 

Just like when you’re lost geographically and you want to get somewhere, you need to know where you’re at so that if you had a map, the map could actually be of use to you.

 

Part of finding out who you are includes finding your personality. Another part includes finding your purpose in life. To Millennials, these are highly important. We are very self expressive. (You might not think you are personally, but then again we are the Generation of “Me!”.)

 

When you find your purpose in life, life gets that much easier. You start making choices that reflect where you want to go. It’s a life hack that is well worth the search.

 

On the other hand, when a person hasn’t found their purpose, there’s a good chance that they’ll jump from occupation to occupation or vise to vise hoping that they can fill the void in their life.

 

How to Find Your Purpose

 

Personally, I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve gotten out of grad school. I’ve had time to figure out what makes me tick and what I’m good at. This has helped me clear the view of what I want to accomplish in life. In other words, I’ve found my purpose.

 

Before you start on your path of finding your purpose, you might need to deprogram yourself. I did this with the book The Four Agreements. I highly recommend this book, however it might come off a little out there. So if you want something that’s more down to earth, try this. It has a longer list of things to remember… but it’s still useful.

 

Once you deprogram yourself, the first part to finding yourself is to recognize your personality. Finding your personality helps you learn how you naturally interact with the world around you. Do you live for the future? Do you live for the now? Or do you live based on where you’ve come from? How do express yourself? How do you think? These are questions that can be answered by figuring out your personality.

 

Once you find out who you are including your strengths and weaknesses (and acknowledging them) then you can start looking at finding your passion. Your passion is basically the concept of what you’re naturally interested in. What do you do with your spare time?

 

People might have similar strengths and weaknesses. They might have similar personalities. But the chances for them to have the same strengths, weaknesses, personality, AND interests is a pretty small chance. This is what makes you valuable. You just need to know where you fit. Once you’ve discovered your passions, you’ll be onto finding your purpose.

 

Your purpose is finding out how you fit into the world. And my biggest recommendation is: Don’t try to force it. If you’re a circle, don’t try being a triangle. If you’re a connector of people, don’t try being a super geek.

 

If You Don’t Program Yourself What To Think, The World Will Do it For You.

 

The mistake of not finding your purpose will more than likely land you in a situation you don’t want or appreciate. I’ve seen several people struggle with themselves through a midlife crisis. Yeah, you remember that phrase? It’s not used as much as it used to be, but people still go through them. Why?
Because they have been living someone else’s dream for them. They didn’t take the time to figure out what they wanted in life… until they realized they were a certain age and it wasn’t what was supposed to happen… to them. They might be really successful if compared to others, but in reality, they should have been doing something else the whole time. Have you ever heard of the expression in regards to a person’s career: “I found that I was climbing a ladder but realized that it was on the wrong building”?

 

Believe it or not, this has happened to a number of our parents. It’s one cause for people suddenly seeking divorce after being married a long time.

 

Have Full Reign to Follow Your Purpose

 

As an employee, we’re told what to do, when to do it, and possibly how to do it. Of course, as an employee this is what we signed up for. We’re selling our most valuable commodity, time, for money. If you have a problem with any of that… you should probably be a business owner.

 

However, if you’re an entrepreneur, there’s obviously risk involved. But there’s also risk if you’re an employee as well. As an entrepreneur, you might find yourself not needed. As an employee you might find yourself… not needed.

 

The difference? When you first started your job, you were guaranteed income. You knew you were going to get paid. As an entrepreneur, that might not be the case. However, as an entrepreneur, you have full control on your career. For some that’s a little hard to handle. Yet for others, that’s all we want to handle. We want to be personally responsible for our own success.

 

In the comments below, let me know if you’re on the path that you feel is right for you. If it isn’t right, say why not. If it is right, let me know how you found this path. Did you go through the above process or simply stumble into it?

 

Next week in part 8, we’ll be discussing Leadership by means of being an Entrepreneur. We touched briefly on this in part 6, but we’ll be looking more at why being a leader gets you closer to your ideal self.

 

The E4 Project – Not Just for Glenn Beck Fans

I don’t really listen to political talk too much any more. That’s kind of sad considering at one time I was a political junky. I might just still be, but I tend to stay away from it. On occasion I will listen to your typical political talking head just to get an idea of what’s going on out in the world. For the longest time I used to listen and watch Glenn Beck all the time. From time to time, I’d also check out what Rachel Maddow had to say.  Totally too opposing points of view. But to be honest, I started thinking that both of them eventually had the same thing to say over and over. Plus, I started instilling a rule into my life: if it’s something I can’t do anything about, then I’m not going to worry about it. Thus, I simply stick to my standards (as mentioned in the last post) and live life.

But as I said, I do tend to turn in from time to time and heard Beck talking about this new project of his not too long ago: The E4 Project. The E4 Project is called as such because it focuses on 4 words each starting with an E – Enlightenment, Education, Empowerment, Entrepreneurship. All of which I think are important to know and think about.

In a squidoo post I found on the web, Brooke Allen discusses what each word means as a Beck fan. But I’ll go over them fairly quickly and mention their importance in self improvement.

Enlightenment – Faith. To me, Faith can be understood in two ways. It can be understood in the spiritual sense. That if things are meant to be, then they will happen. Or if you’re more of a numbers person, then Faith would be a single term for the phrase “chances are…”. If you have faith, it will happen! Understanding the fact that if certain things are done with a certain result in mind, then chances are that result will happen.

In the world of improving ones life, it should be known that a fundamental change of a person’s life isn’t going to happen over night. Faith is illustrated over an expanded period of time that a goal will be achieved if you continually work towards that goal. Faith is simply knowing that the crock pot is going to cook the food; that the seed is growing to grow into a plant and letting time and a process do its thing.

Education – We’re all familiar with this term. Personally, I love learning. I always have. I’m just naturally curious about the world and whenever I have a question, I find the answer. Just like in everything else, you can never know too much about yourself, others, and self improvement in general. You can spend your entire life learning how to better yourself and those around you but you’ll never know it all.

Empowerment – Once you have a basic understanding of how people and life works, you need to put it into practice. Start making your life better. (For example, make your own list of standards and start living by them!) Start making the lives of others better by adding value to them. Go out of your way if you need to at times!

Entrepreneurship – If you’re unemployed, underemployed, or not making enough money – then perhaps another job isn’t the answer! Even in this economy, there are so many opportunities out there that aren’t being taken advantage of that is no excuse not to be able to develop “side” income. However many people don’t even think outside the box. It’s a major case of “Who Moved My Cheese?”. To put it simply, the old system is broken and not producing money where we’re used to finding it.

With that said, it doesn’t always take money to make money. I almost find it amusing when people limit themselves based on the lack of money is the reason they don’t do something. “Uh, duh! That’s the reason you’re in this spot in the first place! You haven’t figured out a way to make additional income. This is your chance!” If people just simply start adding some habits in their life that can make them money outside of a job, then they won’t be upset because their job doesn’t pay them. Especially with the advent of e-commerce, the sky is the limit. If you can find a need, fill it, make a profit, and do so with a passion, then you might just have your real career at your fingertips.