5 Things You Should Be Able to Smile About in 5 Years

40 Powerful Mantras to Help You Think Positive

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
―Mae West

Fifteen years ago, I was lucky enough to witness the humble, elegant, peaceful passing of my 89-year-old grandfather.  As I sat quietly in his hospice care room alongside other family members, his nurse smiled softly and said, “I can see he lived well.  Everyone dies the way they live.”

And as I drove home that evening, three questions began cycling through my mind…

“Am I living well?”

“Where do I have room for improvement?”

“What do I want to be able to smile about on the inside when I’m on my deathbed?”

These questions are tough, especially the last one.  In fact, I desperately struggled to envision myself on my deathbed – thinking about it stressed me out.  So I turned my back on these healthy questions and didn’t think about them any further.  I distracted myself for a couple years, until I found myself back in a hospice care room with my 90-year-old grandmother (who was the most amazing human being I’ve ever met, by the way).

The questions came roaring back into my thoughts.  But this time, as soon as I felt inner resistance, I rephrased the final question:

“What do I want to be able to smile about on the inside in 5 years from today?”

When rephrased in this way, I found it so much easier to digest.

And as crazy as it may sound to you, this small change in thinking changed my life.  From that day forward I started living differently.

So today, I challenge you to ask yourself these questions, and let them inspire you to make positive changes in your life.

If you do, I guarantee in 5 years from now you’ll catch yourself smiling about…

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1.  The fact that you didn’t talk yourself out of doing your thing.

Walt Disney once said, “Around here, we don’t look backwards for very long.  We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious – and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”

This is one of my favorite quotes.  It inspires me to [Read more…]

17 Ways to Conquer Soul-Crushing Negativity

17 Ways to Conquer Soul-Crushing Negativity
by Scott Sind

When we are aware of our weaknesses or negative tendencies, we open the opportunity to work on them.

Ever had one of those moments when all you wanted to do was crawl back in bed, put a pillow over your head and shut out the world for a few hours?  For a few days?

For the rest of the year?

I’m willing to bet that you have wanted to throw in the towel at some point.  And it’s okay if you have.  It’s a perfectly normal response, actually.

Human beings have an elaborate, built-in defense mechanism designed to keep us safe.  The only problem is that the system doesn’t do a very good job of threat assessment.  All dangers are equal, whether the threat is a hungry lion or the empty judgments of others.  Our minds and bodies react the same way to both—we retreat back into our cave, where the soft glow of the fire keeps us safe and warm.

You’ve said it before: “It just won’t work.” “Why am I even trying this?” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “This is stupid.”  Deep down you know you’re trying to rationalize your way out of doing something that’s scary, whether it’s looking for a new job, starting a business, writing a book, or calling up your estranged sibling.  And every time you rationalize, you sink further into the depths where the pressure of negativity will ultimately crush you.

A few years ago I wrote a novel.  Sometimes it was easy, when the words flowed onto the page and I saw the story clearly in my head.  Other times it was as if my fingers were made of lead and the story disappeared behind layers of thick fog.  On those days I felt like giving up—like I was never going to finish, and even if I did, the book would be terrible.

So I quit writing.  My manuscript sat there, untouched, for over a year, and I agonized over it daily because I had sunk so deeply into the rationalization that I wasn’t cut out to be a writer.  Every day that I didn’t write I died a little bit inside.  I knew that I should be creating, giving the characters life and using words to paint the pictures I saw in my head onto the page.

A little over a year into my creative isolation, I had an epiphany.  I started thinking about my book, and my life as a writer, differently.  I discovered little tricks to coax the writer within me out long enough to put words on the page.  At first these were fleeting moments—maybe ten minutes here and there.  But soon, and without much effort, I was spending more and more time working on my novel, enjoying the process, and even laughing off those moments when I couldn’t produce any words.

The very things that had previously driven me into isolation—fear and insecurity—actually propelled me forward now.  I’d learned, through various techniques and mindset shifts, to prevent myself from sinking completely into the depths of negativity.  The result?  I’m now more focused and better able to climb over obstacles and wade through the challenges that come my way.  I’m happy to share these tips with you so you can accomplish more, and live an abundant, more confident life.

1.  Frame your questions in a positive light.

“What if I fail?”

“What will people think of me if I’m wrong?”

These kinds of questions bait us into negative thinking.  By framing our decision-making this way, we’ve [Read more…]

7 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Yesterday

7 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Yesterday

Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness and peace of mind.

Yesterday afternoon I met a friend at a local coffee shop.  She brought her laptop along so she could show me some of her latest digital art designs.  As we chatted and scrolled through her artwork, the laptop suddenly started making an unhealthy buzzing noise, then the screen flickered on and off and then cut off completely.  And as we both stared at one another in disbelief, the funky aroma of fried computer circuits filled our nostrils.

I quickly grabbed the laptop off the counter to inspect it and the problem instantly revealed itself.  The bottom of the laptop was soaking wet and an empty, spilt water cup rested against the side of her purse just behind where the laptop was sitting.  In the midst of us chatting and shifting the laptop’s 15-inch screen back and forth, we somehow spilt a cup of water the barista had inadvertently placed on the counter behind the screen, which was out of our view.

When life throws us nasty curveballs like this, it typically doesn’t make any sense to us, and our natural emotional reaction might be to get extremely upset and scream obscenities at the top of our lungs.  But how does this help our dilemma?  Obviously, it doesn’t.

My friend threw her hands up in the air and, to my surprise, cracked a half smile and said, “That’s exactly why I backed up my files this morning, and why I have insurance on my laptop!”

I was truly impressed by her sentiment.  Many people I know have had meltdowns over much smaller inconveniences.  And yet, this unfortunate situation didn’t steal her happiness in the least.

So let’s all take this as a lesson learned.  It’s time for us to let go of the needless stress weighing us down.

This is a new hour of our lives – a new beginning – and life will continue to surprise us with changes, one way or the other.  So we mine as well make positive transitions going forward.  Don’t you agree?

Aren’t you tired of dealing with the same type of headaches and heartaches over and over and over again?

Seriously, focus on purging some negative habits as you begin anew.  Focus on learning from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and letting your errors be of commission rather than omission.

Remember, you ultimately become what you repeatedly do.  If your daily habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.  Here are seven common examples of the latter that have stolen happiness from thousands of our coaching/course students and readers over the years (and I’m betting you can relate):

1.  Letting every little problem get the best of you.

Inner peace begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions. [Read more…]

15 Reminders You Need When You Feel Like Giving Up

15 Reminders You Need When You Feel Like Giving Up

Our character is often most evident in our highs and lows.  Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.

Why are we feeling this way – so beaten up and worn down?

Why do we, who start out so passionate, courageous, worthy and believing, become utterly bankrupt by the youthful age of 30, 40 or 50?

Why is it that one of us drowns in material consumption and debt, another puts a bullet in his head, a third seeks oblivion in hard liquor and gambling, a fourth, in order to stifle fear and judgment, cynically tramples and berates her own individuality, intelligence, and pure, beautiful youth?

Why is it that, once fallen, we don’t attempt to rise back up, and, having lost one thing, we don’t attempt to seek another?

Why?

Because we give up on ourselves too soon.  We let that monster named negativity chew us up and spit us out into a deep gutter of self-doubt.

If you can relate in any way at all, here are some important reminders to keep in mind…

  1. When your marriage, parenting, faith, etc. gets tough, it’s not a sign that you’re doing it wrong.  These intimate, intricate aspects of life are toughest when you’re doing them right – when you’re dedicating time, having the tough conversations, and making daily sacrifices.
  2. On particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far. [Read more…]

5 Things that Happen When You Embrace Being Alone

5 Things that Happen When You Embrace Being Alone

Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to like it.

“Last night I was all dressed up and waiting on my blind date to arrive.  He never showed up.  It made me feel ugly and unworthy and abandoned.  I thought he may have seen me from a distance and bailed.  All sorts of negative thoughts were running through my mind.  Then, as I left the restaurant alone, I heard a little girl ask her mom if I was a princess.  It made me smile and changed my mindset.  I decided to walk the long way home, and I truly took it in – the fresh air, the peaceful solitude, the moonlight glistening off the sidewalk.  And I realized being alone right now was exactly what I needed.”

Those are lines right out of an email I received this morning from Diane, a coaching/course student of ours (I’m sharing this with permission).  Her feelings of loneliness, and then her willingness to embrace being alone, is both inspiring and a wonderful reminder for all of us.  Because sometimes being alone is exactly what we need, whether we realize it or not.

The truth, however, is that an astounding number of people in this world hate being alone.  Perhaps all of us do at some point or another.

We fear being without friends, family, or a partner.  We get anxious about traveling alone to strange places, and being lost without anyone to hold our hand.  We fear taking on life without a shoulder to lean on, for fear that we’re not strong enough or good enough to stand on our own two feet.

This is natural – this resistance to being alone. We’ve all felt it deep down in our own way, though we often try desperately to ignore and deny it.  And this is one of the greatest causes of our stress…

To avoid being alone we’ll socialize endlessly, online and offline.  We’ll date, and even marry, someone who isn’t right for us, just to have someone to cling to – someone to fill up the empty space in our lives.  We’ll watch hours of TV, or stuff our faces with junk food, or buy toys we don’t need, because these things are replacements for love… especially self-love.

The secret to turning things around?  Awareness and acceptance.

We have to open our minds to the empowering nature of being alone.

We tend to see solitude as grim and imprisoning.  But in fact the exact opposite can be true.  Solitude can be seen as freeing, as an opportunity for exploration and growth – an opportunity to get to know and love yourself, deeply.

Like most of us, though, this is something I’ve learned the hard way.  For many years I feared being alone, but I gradually strengthened my emotional self-sufficiency, and now I love it.  The more I’ve experienced and explored my own feelings of loneliness and uncertainty, the more I’ve realized how necessary these feelings are.  It’s good for us to spend time exploring unknowns by ourselves.  It gives us an opportunity to discover who we really are and what life is all about.

Being alone is nothing to fear.  Solitude is beautiful.

Here are some things that happen when you embrace it:

1.  You develop strengths you need, and didn’t know you had inside you.

Whenever I tell a coaching/course student that they need to embrace being alone, they usually say something like:

“But don’t you think the thought of being alone is [Read more…]