You might be diligently doing your work –finding out everything that you need to know to be happy and successful. You have done your vision board and your vision statement, you have created a one year plan and even a ten year plan but maybe you have yet to ask yourself –how good can I stand to have it?
If you find yourself stopping before the finish line, if you seem to sabotage your success, it might not be because of some deep and troubling issue.
It might be because you have not upgraded your tolerance for joy, ease, or inner peace.
We are just as inclined to hold ourselves back from good stuff as we are to shy away from the bad. We are naturally inclined to keep things the same. The “same,” in our primal brain, is equated with being safe. Every change introduces a level of risk –even if the change is good.
Let me show you what this looks like:
You are starting your business and you just made your first big sale. First you are excited and then pretty soon you are terrified. You think, “I can’t do this. What was I thinking.”
Or, maybe you never have that thought, you just forget something really important.
Maybe this sale will drastically change your income or portends more success. You have wanted both of those for so long but now just as you get them everything starts going haywire.
What can you do about it? You can practice tolerating positive feelings and experiences.
I did say tolerating –one step at a time. With change and the risk that comes with it also comes discomfort. It is the discomfort that you really need to tolerate –the discomfort that comes from having things be REALLY good.
At this point we need to work with those impulses to stay the same.
Mentally, we can work to imagine our new way of being and set intentions. Emotionally, we can begin to label and experience our feelings differently. For example, fear can become excitement. Spiritually, we can learn to step out of our ego self and connect to our higher purpose. The purpose that makes these temporary discomforts seem minuscule in comparison.
If you really want to step into your fulfillment and success, you will need to stop looking at the past or sometimes even the momentary and start working towards creating the future you really want for yourself.
1. Love yourself to safety
Love is truly the most powerful force. We often spend a ton of time trying to figure a situation out or do something to change it. However, if we learn to be loved and bring love to the situation, amazing things happen! Easier said than done — for most of us — but well worth the effort.
2. Never give up!
To get what you want, it actually feels better to keep trying — even after we fail again and again — than it does to just give up. Trying for something even in the face of great challenges keeps us opening up — it keeps us growing. So, worry less about failure and more about what you think is most important.
3. Hide nothing. It will destroy you!
It might not always be on the outside that we see these problems, but, when we hide things, we are doing damage inside ourselves as well. We feel out of integrity. That’s a big price to pay — all for supposedly saving some face.
4. Don’t expect any guarantees
It can be so easy to go through life looking for someone to ensure us a safe passage. And there just isn’t one. The only things we have left at the end of the day are our intent and our integrity. So it helps when we stop looking for safety, start being who we know we should be, and start acting the way we know we should act.
5. Care more than makes sense
If you want to be fulfilled, a sure-fire way to get there is to “give a damn,” as I would say. In the face of uncertainty, care. In the face of problems, care. When people say you should not care or that it is hopeless, be brave enough to care. It will change your life forever.
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A recent study shows that only one out of every three Americans is actually happy. On a list of the top 20 happiest countries in the world, America just barely ranks at #17. This is kind of ridiculous when you think about all the freedoms and conveniences Americans enjoy that less wealthy nations will never experience. Even if you are not happy, it is likely you know someone who is. Think about how much you adore them and why. Observe them closely for a while and you might notice a surprising amount of room for growth in your own habits. Here are some of the things happy people do to make life better for everyone around them.
They Are Nice
It might seem like an overly general term, but happy people are usually nice. They are well-liked and pleasant to be around. They are respectful, warm, considerate, and helpful. They don’t get jealous. They don’t waste time gossiping and complaining. They seem to have infinite patience and give freely of themselves. Traits like these can only stem from a deep-seated sense of contentedness. Nice people create a social climate that puts everyone else at ease.
They Are Honest
True happiness cannot coexist with lies. Those who lie to themselves are more likely to lie to others and struggle with unhealthy relationships. Honesty starts with an informed sense of self. Happy people know who they are and aren’t afraid to show it. They are consistently themselves and do not feel the need to wear masks or pretend to be something they are not for any reason. Life is a lot less complicated when you allow yourself to be the same person at all times. By letting go of lies, happy people set an inspiring example which encourages those around them to flourish.
They Are Cooperative
Happy people are not overly concerned with dominating, yet they tend to come out on top. Victory is meaningless to the happy person without a team to share in the glory. There is a reason why it is customary for people who win awards to stand up and give a speech about all the people who helped them along the way. It is because nobody gets there alone, and taking all the credit for yourself is just mean. The idea of winning or dominating denotes pushing other people down on your way to the top. Those who recognize the efforts of others and freely share the joys of success tend to live much happier lives.
They Have Beautiful Smiles
There is a huge difference between smiling for the camera and smiling as a function of happiness. Anyone can show their teeth. Happy people smile with their entire bodies, and sometimes with all the energy in a one-foot radius. A real smile cannot be faked. When you run around emanating a radiant glow in response to all the joys of life, you are bound to attract some admirers.
They Are Well Adjusted
Happy people revel in life’s small pleasures. This gives them access to sources of joy that pass most people by. At the same time, they don’t get bogged down by the petty little details that seem to keep plenty of others stuck in the dumps. They know what is worth savoring and what to disregard. Happy people have a rational sense of scale to keep them grounded. The resulting positive perspective can turn any problem into an opportunity for growth.
They Surround Themselves with Happy People
Whether they actively seek out other folks with similar habits or they have the effect of raising the positive charge everywhere they go, happy people do not often stand alone. Glee is contagious. Groups of people tend to observe each other and subsequently imitate the most attractive behaviors they find in those around them. If enough folks agree to treat each other the way they would like to be treated, the result will be infectious and irresistible to bystanders.
They Are Spontaneous
A good relationship with the value of each passing moment is an essential component of happiness. If living in the present is so easy to do, why is it so many people are preoccupied with thoughts of the elsewhere, the future, and the past? Happy people are comfortable in their skin. They are content and aware in whatever moment they inhabit. This allows them to see opportunities for fun and adventure which others might overlook. It is part of why happy people are always the life of the party.
They Are Good Listeners
Communication is about more than just barking a bunch of orders and wondering why nobody is listening. Harmony cannot exist in a vacuum. Can you imagine trying to sing in a barbershop quartet without being able to hear the other singers? In order to create a resonating chord, you must listen to what is happening around you and find just the right place for your own vibrations.
Happy people are always looking for new perspectives as a way of informing their own. The feelings of others matter deeply to them because they know the greater good involves far more than just their own desires. Happy people have made a lifelong commitment to constantly learning, and they know the only way to do this is to be quiet and listen.
They Expect Less
It stands to reason that if you expect less, you will be satisfied with less. This mindset allows a more sustainable and unmaterialistic approach to life. Those who focus on what others should be doing for them are often disappointed more often than they are satisfied. True happiness comes from within, not from deeds or objects originating outside the self. Happy people know this, and they expect more from themselves than they do from external sources. They are more likely to accept than to demand, simply because a state of acceptance is a much healthier place to be than one of constant unmet demands.
They Don’t Judge
Nobody likes being judged. This is because the majority of judgments we make about each other are false and misinformed. Happy people understand through their own experiences that life is a perpetual learning process and everything we go through changes us in some way. With this knowledge, it just doesn’t make sense to hold a bunch of grudges. Happy people accept that we all struggle with different weaknesses, and everyone has the potential to figure things out in due time. This makes happy people better and more patient companions than those who are always judging others for their weaknesses.
The road to happiness is not an easy one to travel. It requires a sense of humble honesty which does not come naturally to everyone. Happy people are popular and successful for a reason. Anyone who smiles that much has got to be doing something right. It’s time you realized how much you have to learn from them. Happy people do not want you to be jealous. They want you to share in their joy by opening yourself up to the lessons all around you. They want to learn from you while inspiring you with their example. This is why we love happy people, and the world would probably stop turning without them. Hug your local happy person today. Let them take you by the hand and lead you toward a better life.
reblogged from www.lifehack.org
Challenging ourselves is one of the most important things we can do to increase our quality of life. By doing so, we not only improve as individuals but also enhance the lives of those around us and our communities, as well. You can challenge yourself to:
#1 Grow as an Individual
It all starts with you. The below challenges will all help you grow as a person but there’s even more than that. Engage in self-searching, learn who you are by writing, work on being more genuine, kind, honest, considerate, spontaneous, spiritual, etc. Much of growing as an individual will be related to the Behavior Needs categories.
#2 Attain Awareness, Knowledge and Education
Not expanding your mind is a waste of life. A complacent, inactive mind is a sad thing. Make your mantra “I must seek awareness” and your universe will grow and grow. The more we know the more we realize how little we actually understand. It’s inherently challenging and exciting! With the Internet, the all-time greatest library of knowledge is at your fingertips. Be curious and seek the truth about whatever interests you.
#3 Challenge Yourself to Become Healthier Physically and Mentally
Without health we have nothing. We can challenge ourselves to lose weight, eat better, exercise, get health care and educate ourselves on how to do so. A healthy body yields a healthy spirit.
#4 Build Wealth
Money, money, money. We all want more but without challenging ourselves we are likely to not earn it. Money can’t buy happiness but it can help us rest easier and enjoy life more! Set goals and challenge yourself to make more, save more and have more money, money, money.
#5 Become self sufficient
With the world economy struggling, more and more people depend on others to get by. Let’s face it, it sucks to not be in control of your life. Challenge yourself to take the needed steps to put yourself in a position in which you can be the master of your own domain.
#6 Advance in Your Career
Are you satisfied with your career position? If you answered yes, then good for you! Unfortunately, most of us are not completely happy with our career and would like to make advancements within it. A conscious, well thought out set of goals can challenge us and help us improve our station in life.
#7 Become a Better Friend or Partner
Conventional wisdom says friends, family and health are the most important things in life (I would add ‘awareness’). Having good, real friends is mandatory for being happy, but are we being the best friend we can be? Do we listen enough? Do we reach out to our friends to show them we care? Being a good friend is real work and requires conscious, consistent effort. Challenging ourselves to become a better friend will unquestionably make your life (and your friends lives) more fulfilling.
#8 Seek Inspiration and Be More Creative
All great artists eventually learn one golden rule: you must SEEK inspiration. If Vincent van Gogh waited around for inspiration to strike, we wouldn’t have his incredible body of work to appreciate and he would have been even more unfulfilled. No matter what you do in life, you’re in need of being creative and seeking inspiration is a never ending quest that requires real diligence. Challenging yourself to find ways to become inspired is a must.
#9 Gain New Experiences and Have More Fun
The alarm clock goes off, we get up and go through our daily routines, then return home to finish off our day. Routines are effective but can bog us down into a mundane lifestyle. BORING! The truth is, it’s easy to do the same old thing ~ it can even make us feel safe (a good thing). Why not challenge ourselves to try new things? By dong so we’ll meet new people, learn new things, have more fun and grow as an individual. Heck, we may even be rewarded with new opportunities that may lead to a more fruitful career.
#10 Achieve Happiness and Peace
Happiness and peace are usually the end results of successful challenges, but they can be challenges all on their own. Why not challenge yourself to be more happy and find more peace? This will help you better understand exactly what it is you need to attain these two prized life goals.
1. Meditate, contemplate and observe: You can’t be happy if you don’t know what is stopping you from being happy. Take time each day to focus inward and figure out what is going on.
2. Do something for someone else: We are most fulfilled when we can meet the needs or wants of others — not just when we meet our own needs. Giving back can help us be more fulfilled.
3. Learn to love something even in what you hate: There is always some way to find something good in what is most challenging in your life. Take a moment to see what you can bring to the things with which you struggle.
4. Change your perspective and learn to see opportunity: Opportunity is everywhere. Take a moment to see potential.
5. Eat REALLY well: You can’t be happy with a broken or struggling system. Find a way to get good food in your life.
6. Don’t settle: You know what is best for you. Settling is not a good way to create a fulfilled life.
7. Love what you have: Otherwise known as being grateful. If you can’t love it, see number 6 or number 3.
8. Do what you love: It is the only thing you really need to do and is also what will make you the most fulfilled.
9. Love what you do: See number 6 and remember — if you are doing it, you might as well find a way to love it.
10. Be a really good person: There is nothing that creates fulfillment like integrity. Be the best person you know you can be.
1. Be kind and generous: In every moment of every day it is possible to change someone’s life. Sometimes, it is as simple as just being kind.
2. Be clear about what does and does not work for you: People cannot work with you if they do not know what you are all about. If you are always compromising yourself, you will not be as effective.
3. Be your full self: Holding back because you think that is what others want is not helpful to anyone. You would not be who you are if it was not needed.
4. Let others be their full selves: The same goes for anyone else. If you think others need to be different, you are wrong. Let people be who they really are. If you don’t like it, figure out how to work with it.
5. Say thank you: People love to be appreciated. Let them know when you are grateful.
6. Look for ways to give back: Don’t lose track of making a contribution. No matter where you find yourself in your life, you can give back in a way that helps others.
7. Tip well and tip often: If you have money — and some might argue that this is true even if you don’t have money — make sure to support the people who are making minimum wage. They are working hard.
8. Support the things you believe in: Purchase what you want to support. Spend your time doing what you want to support. Talk about the things you want to support. You get the picture?
9. Really listen: Most people are not listened to enough. Pay attention to them and let them know they are important.
10. Focus: Know what you want to create and how you can help others. Then do it. Most everything else is a waste of time.
The covers of most men’s and women’s magazines have similar headlines: “Get Great Abs” and “Have Amazing Sex.” From the looks of it, these two issues have been recycled over and over (with some other stereotypically gender-relevant articles thrown in) on every Men’s Health, Maxim, Cosmopolitan and Glamour cover since the dawn of time. In fact, I’d bet that if we could get a better translation of cave drawings, they would read something like “Grok get flat belly. Make girl Grok moan with joy.”
And we keep buying them. We keep buying this lie that these things will make us happy. I’ve had washboard abs (past tense) and I’ve had some pretty phenomenal sex. Neither one made me a better person. Neither one completed me or made my life more fulfilling.
We chase this idea of “I will be happy when… “
I will be happy when I have a new car. I will be happy when I get married. I will be happy when I get a better job. I will be happy when I lose five pounds. What if instead we choose to be happy — right now?
If you can read this, your life is pretty awesome.
Setting aside our first-world problems and pettiness, if you are online reading this, you have both electricity and WiFi or access to them. Odds are you are in a shelter of some sort, or on a smart phone (and then kudos to you for reading this on the go). Life might bump and bruise us, it may not always go the way we plan and I know I get frustrated with mine, but here’s the thing: You are alive.
Because you are alive, everything is possible. So about those eight tips…
1. Stop believing your bullshit.
All that stuff you tell yourself about how you are a commitment phobe or a coward or lazy or not creative or unlucky? Stop it. It’s bullshit, and deep down you know it. We are all insecure 14 year olds at heart. We’re all scared. We all have dreams inside of us that we’ve tucked away because somewhere along the line we tacked on those ideas about who we are that buried that essential brilliant, childlike sense of wonder. The more we stick to these scripts about who we are, the longer we live a fraction of the life we could be living. Let it go. Be who you are beneath the bullshit.
2. Be happy now.
Not because The Secret says so. Not because of some shiny happy Oprah crap. But because we can choose to appreciate what is in our lives instead of being angry or regretful about what we lack. It’s a small, significant shift in perspective. It’s easier to look at what’s wrong or missing in our lives and believe that is the big picture — but it isn’t. We can choose to let the beautiful parts set the tone.
3. Look at the stars.
It won’t fix the economy. It won’t stop wars. It won’t give you flat abs, or better sex or even help you figure out your relationship and what you want to do with your life. But it’s important. It helps you remember that you and your problems are both infinitesimally small and conversely, that you are a piece of an amazing and vast universe. I do it daily — it helps.
4. Let people in.
Truly. Tell people that you trust when you need help, or you’re depressed — or you’re happy and you want to share it with them. Acknowledge that you care about them and let yourself feel it. Instead of doing that other thing we sometimes do, which is to play it cool and pretend we only care as much as the other person has admitted to caring, and only open up half way. Go all in — it’s worth it.
5. Stop with the crazy making.
I got to a friend’s doorstep the other day, slightly breathless and nearly in tears after getting a little lost, physically and existentially. She asked what was wrong and I started to explain and then stopped myself and admitted, “I’m being stupid and have decided to invent lots of problems in my head.” Life is full of obstacles; we don’t need to create extra ones. A great corollary to this one is from The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz: Don’t take things personally. Most of the time, other people’s choices and attitudes have absolutely nothing to do with you. Unless you’ve been behaving like a jerk, in which case…
6. Learn to apologize.
Not the ridiculous, self-deprecating apologizing for who you are and for existing that some people seem to do (what’s up with that, anyway?). The ability to sincerely apologize — without ever interjecting the word “but” — is an essential skill for living around other human beings. If you are going to be around other people, eventually you will need to apologize. It’s an important practice.
7. Practice gratitude.
Practice it out loud to the people around you. Practice it silently when you bless your food. Practice it often. Gratitude is not a first world only virtue. I saw a photo recently, of a girl in abject poverty, surrounded by filth and destruction. Her face was completely lit up with joy and gratitude as she played with a hula hoop she’d been given. Gratitude is what makes what we have enough. Gratitude is the most basic way to connect with that sense of being an integral part of the vastness of the universe; as I mentioned with looking up at the stars, it’s that sense of wonder and humility, contrasted with celebrating our connection to all of life.
8. Be kind.
Kurt Vonnegut said it best (though admittedly, and somewhat ashamedly — I am not a Vonnegut fan): “There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — ‘God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.'” Kindness costs us nothing and pays exponential dividends. I can’t save the whole world. I can’t bring peace to Syria. I can’t fix the environment or the health care system, and from the looks of it, I may end up burning my dinner. But I can be kind. If the biggest thing we do in life is to extend love and kindness to even one other human being, we have changed the world for the better. That’s a hell of a lot more important than flat abs in my book.
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Contrary to what our nervous systems might tell us, we need to learn to operate outside our comfort zones. Safety and fulfillment do not go hand and hand. When we play it safe and do things the way we are used to doing them, nothing changes. We do not grow. And you know what they say — if you are not growing, you are dying.
So, if we need to practice being outside of our comfort zone, how can we do it?
Find your edge: To actively and consciously leave your comfort zone, you need to know where it is. Think of it this way. If someone says to you that you need to do something to make a situation work — or, if someone asks you to do something: sky diving, for example — and you just flat-out say no. That is outside your comfort zone. But some situations are a little more vague. Calling someone you like and asking them out. Or, going a bit further with marketing your business. These things are not a flat-out no, usually. It is the examples that are uncomfortable but not unreasonable to us that are our edge.
Exercise your edge: You should be doing something every day that gets you more comfortable with doing the things that are on your edge. If you withhold the truth from people, practice speaking it. If you are afraid to speak on stage — my personal favorite — then take every opportunity to speak on stage. It is not about feeling good while you do it. It is about doing it.
Pay attention when you are in your comfort zone: How do you feel when you are doing something that you feel confident doing? Pay attention to this because it will give you insight into what feelings to connect with while you are exercising your edge. Practice your power and confidence: There are two pieces to this. When you are working your edge, remember to bring to your experience:
Getting comfortable functioning outside your comfort zone takes practice — just like all other parts of life. If you make doing it rather than not doing it a way of life, you become accustomed to the feeling and, therefore, it becomes easier to work with.
You might notice that as you begin to change your life, you will see changes in your relationships. Sometimes, unfortunately, change means some relationships will need to fall away, but the ones that do not – or the new ones – will likely get deeper and more fulfilling. For those who have not had the joy of being in a fulfilling relationship, I will spend a bit of time describing some of what you might look to foster in your relationships.
Of course, you are the final judge of what truly makes you happy and fulfilled in a relationship, but these might offer some useful signposts.
Open communication: Knowing what you think and feel and being willing to share it.
Trust: Behaving in a way that is trustworthy, fostering trust and being more trusting.
Respect: Understanding that the other person is an individual and should not be criticized for not being like you or any other person.
Love:I like the expression, “Love is a verb.” Healthy relationships seek to continually work to foster love through behavior.
Integrity: The understanding that each person has his or her won path and it is not loving to take them off their path.
Partnership: The desire to share life – its struggles and its joys.
Life pulls us in many directions. No matter the phase of development our work is in, we can get caught in the tangle of competing interest and loss of motivation. While I think it is unlikely, and perhaps even unproductive, to always stay on track, there are tools for getting back on track faster and easier. When we develop these abilities we also develop trust in ourselves. This makes the time we spend “off track” that much easier and more productive.
One of these tools you may have heard me talk about is the Vision Statement. There are just about as many ways to define the vision statement as there are people in the world, but one thing is sure – the vision statement is a useful tool for getting back on track.
When I talk with my clients, I am continually inspired by the dedication they show in bringing their work into the world. At one point, everyone works to get clear on their vision and their mission. It is not an easy thing – sometimes, the more we care, the more difficult attaining clarity becomes.
Your vision is the heart of what you do. Putting that depth of feeling and complexity into simple yet powerful words is a big task. But when you do it, you have managed to create the very thing that will pump life-blood through your work for years to come.
This means that, when you get off track, you are able to reconnect to the heart of what you are doing just by rereading your vision statement. The benefits do not stop there. Your vision statement also helps you every time you communicate with others about what you do because you are clearer about the real reason you are doing it.
So what is your vision for your world, your community, or your business? What would you like to see be different?