How To Choose Happiness With Words

Choose Happiness with Words

This guest post was written by Tehseen, the author of Recharge Your Mind.

Happiness is simply a state of mind.  No, I’m not implying that we can instantly heal the pain of a severe or unexpected personal tragedy just by thinking about being happy.  Rather, I am referring to our levels of happiness on routine days when things in our lives are close to normal.  In these neutral times, when we are neither ecstatic nor extremely sad, the slightest change in attitude can swing our happiness balance drastically in either a positive or negative direction. One of the primary factors that affect our attitude is our choice of words.

Words have a lot of power and influence on both the speaker and the listener.  When we speak we sometimes unintentionally choose words that have a negative undertone.  This can make us seem unhappy (and negative) in the eyes of others.  Even worse, after we have spoken these words our unconscious mind starts believing in them.  “If this is what came out of my mouth, it must be the way I truly feel.”

However, this is not always true.  The first fleeting words that come to mind are not necessarily the most accurate representation of our feelings and intentions.  We must realize that we have the power to choose the words we use, and if we pick them carefully, they can change the way we feel.

Here are three typical scenarios where positive language can inject positivity and happiness into our lives.

Inject Happiness into Casual Communication

Typically, when I ask someone “How are you?” they reply, “I’m fine” or “I’m okay.”  But one lazy Monday afternoon last month a new colleague of mine replied, “Oh, I am fabulous!”  It made me smile, so I asked him what was making him feel so fabulous and he said, “I’m healthy, my family is healthy, and we live in a free country.  So I don’t have any reason not to be happy.”  The difference was simply his attitude and his choice of words.  He wasn’t necessarily any better off than anyone else, but he seemed twenty times happier.

It really struck a chord with me.  Suddenly I realized that I have a choice.  I can either say “the glass is half empty” or “the glass is half full.”  Why not rejoice in the fact that, thankfully, I don’t have anything to be terribly upset about.

So now when someone asks me how I am doing, I say “I’m doing wonderful!” or “Everything is awesome!” or something similar that reflects a positive, happy mood.  Since I’ve made a regular habit of doing this, multiple friends and acquaintances have noticed a positive change in my attitude.  And I do genuinely feel happier.  Also, it seems like the people around me are smiling more now too.  So I guess it’s contagious.

Keep Friendly Discussions Friendly

We’ve all been involved in friendly discussions that turn into heated arguments.  This usually results in a complete breakdown of productive communication.  The reason for this is simple.  When people get into heated arguments they get unhappy, and unhappy people are not productive.  More often than not these arguments transpire due to our choice of words rather than our point of views. If communicated peacefully and appropriately people usually tolerate each other’s perspectives pretty well.  Hence, it’s very important to choose our words wisely even when we strongly disagree with someone.

  • Instead of telling the other person “You always…” try saying “Sometimes you…”.
  • Instead of saying “That’s not true,” try saying “I don’t think I completely understand your point of view.”
  • Instead of telling your friend “I don’t want to go to that bar,” you can say “Oh, we can go to that bar too if you want, but I would rather…”

Using words that make the other person feel negated always creates negativity in conversations.  On the other hand, choosing words that assure the listeners that their perspectives are being respected drastically improves the chances of getting your point across without heating things up.

Wendell Johnson once said:

Always and never are two words you should always remember never to use.

Maintain a Hopeful Outlook

When we are talking or thinking about ourselves we are typically the least careful with our choice of words.  We assume that there are no restrictions on what to say or how to think about our own person.  In some situations this might be true, but the positivity or negativity of our words and thoughts still affect us.

For example, there is a huge difference between saying “I wish I have a house that big someday” versus “It would be great to have a house that big someday.”  The latter gives a greater sense of possibility and confidence which allows us to believe that ‘yes’ it is possible and ‘yes’ it could happen one day.  Whereas, using words like ‘I wish’ makes it seem unreachable and impossible, which generally leads to feelings of discontentment.

Conclusion

These are just some simple examples that illustrate how important it is to choose and use positive words.  Remember, our words transparently coincide with our mindset.  Positive language creates a healthy balance between our mind and our heart.

Tehseen Baweja writes about creativity, productivity and personal growth.  If you are looking for some tips, check out his blog at RechargeYourMind.com.

Photo by: Greekadman

Who Will Save Your Life?

Who will save your life?

In the summer of 1997, at the age of fifteen, I learned a valuable life lesson.

And I learned it the hard way.

Leave It There For Now

“Go deep!” Roger shouts.  I sprint as fast as I can, but not fast enough.  The football flies over my head, bounces off the ground, and takes a massive leap over the schoolyard’s fence.  It lands in private property on the opposite side.

“Ahh… jeez!” I yelp.  “That’s the witch lady’s yard!  You’re going to go get that!”

“No I’m not!” Roger insists.  “I had to deal with that freak last week.  So this time it’s your turn.”

“Man, she creeps me out!  The way she speaks… and that hairy mole on her nose… yuck.  I don’t feel like dealing with her.  It’s my football, and I’d rather just leave it there for now and get it later.”

“Fair enough, I’m ready to do something else anyway,” Roger replies.  “Let’s head over to the arcade.  I wouldn’t mind whooping your butt in a few rounds of Street Fighter.”

“Hah, you wish!  I’ll destroy you, but not today.  I promised my mom I wouldn’t leave the schoolyard.”

Roger rolls his eyes.  “Dude, you’re such a goody-goody.  The arcade is practically across the street.  We’ll be back here long before your mom comes looking for us.”

I think for a second.  “Well… alright, screw it.  Let’s go.”

We jump on our bikes and peddle off to the arcade.

It’s Too Late

Thirty minutes later, Roger is begging for mercy.  “Ah, today is just your lucky day,” he gripes.  “Don’t let it get to your head.”

I chuckle.  “Yeah, yeah… I didn’t say a word.  But we do need to get back to the schoolyard so I can get my football.”

We jump back on our bikes, peddle to the crosswalk, and wait for the ‘walk’ signal.  “Okay, ‘walk,’ we’re good!  Last one to the witch’s house is a rotten egg!” Roger shouts.  I have about a six foot head start on him, so I begin peddling as fast as I can.

“No Marc!  Watch out!” Roger squeals in a panic.  I look up just in time to see a black car speeding directly at me through the red light.  I leap from my bike.  But it’s too late.

My lanky fifteen year old body smashes into the windshield, flips lifelessly over the roof of the car, and strikes the concrete with a sickening thud.

Barely conscious, bloody, and broken.

I vaguely hear Roger’s voice crying for help over the sound of screeching tires… as the black car speeds away from the scene of the accident.

He’s Our Guardian Angel

I open my eyes slowly and my vision gradually comes into focus.  “Hey honey,” my mom says.

“Where am I?”

“You’re in the hospital, dear.  But the surgeon said you’re going to be just fine.”

“Surgery?”

“It’s okay, you’ve already been through surgery in the ER,” my mom replies as she grasps my hand.  “You cracked four of your ribs, which punctured your lungs.  But they went in and stitched you back together.”

“That…  That…”  My mom interrupts me as tears begin rolling down her cheeks.

“We just need to be grateful… because you were barely breathing, honey.  The surgeon said your lungs were filled with blood.  He said it could have been a lot worse had the ambulance not gotten to you in time.”

“That car… that black car… it ran the red light,” I whisper restlessly.

“Shhh… It’s okay,” my mom reassures me.  “The same wonderful man that called the ambulance also called the police with the license plate number of the black car.  The driver was drunk.  It was a hit and run.  But the police already have him in custody.”

“Do you know who made the calls?”

My mom reaches into her jeans pocket, pulls out a post-it note, and holds it up so I can read it.  “Chris Evans – 305-555-8362” is written in red ink.  “Chris Evans,” my mom says as she takes a deep breath.  “Whoever he is, he’s our guardian angel.”

“How’d you get his name and number?”

“I asked the paramedics for it.  They told me they weren’t supposed to give out this kind of information, but I begged,” my mom says.  “I told them I needed to know who saved my baby’s life.”

“Have you called him?”

“Yeah, but he doesn’t answer my calls.  It rings four times and goes straight to a voicemail beep.  There’s not even a voice greeting.  I’ve already left three messages over the last forty-eight hours.  But he hasn’t called me back, and I suspect he may never.”

How Do You Know?

Six months later, after a grueling recovery process, my doctor finally gives me the nod to partake in regular physical activity again.  Roger and I jump at the chance to toss his new Nerf football around at the schoolyard.

“Go deep!” Roger shouts.

“Not yet, dude.  I’m still not 100%.  My doctor says I need to ease into it slowly.  Cool?”

Roger smiles.  “Yeah, of course, bro.  My bad, I didn’t mean to…”  He is suddenly interrupted.

“Marc!  Marc Andrew something!” a raspy female voice hollers from behind us.  Roger and I turn around and are shocked to see the witch lady peeking her head over the schoolyard’s fence.  “I believe this belongs to you.”  She holds up an old football and tosses it towards me.  The ball bounces across the ground and rolls up to my feet.  Sure enough, it’s the ball I left on her property the day of the accident.

“Thanks, but… how… how do you know my name?  And my middle name?” I ask.

“About six months ago, your mom left me a few voicemail messages.  My name is Chris Evans,” she says.

Photo by: Yuga

5 Practical Steps for Generating
New Ideas and Insights

Generate News Ideas and Insights

This guest post was written by Glen Allsopp, the author of PluginID.

About a year ago, I feared I would struggle to build an audience for my new personal development website.  My fear was solely based on the fact that I had just turned 19.  I simply assumed most people would question my age, and thus, my advice.  After all, I haven’t lived as long as many of you who are reading this right now.

I did, however, manage to break my own limiting beliefs by sharing quality information and using my fresh personal experiences to my advantage.  Just last week a friend from the speakers club I go to came up to me and said, “I love your website, but how do you do it?  Where do you get all of your insight from?  I’m 40 and I haven’t even come to some of these realizations yet.”

At the time, I had to give a quick answer and it probably wasn’t the best advice.  However, now that I’ve had more time to think about it, there are certain principles I follow that have allowed me to generate loads of new ideas and insights in a relatively short timeframe.  I’ve come to realize that ideas don’t tend to just ‘come’ to me, but instead there are clear-cut actions I take to produce them.

For a little boost of creativity and insight, follow these 5 steps.

Think Before You Sleep

Although you may not be aware of it it, even when you’re sleeping your brain continues to process and evaluate your ideas and thoughts.  Throughout history, famous figures like Napoleon have stated that they focus on their problems just before they sleep, and tend to have an answer when they wake up.

As soon as I read about this, I instantly remembered how many times I had solved an issue of mine just minutes after waking up.  The stresses of our daily routine can sometimes get in the way of our creativity, but if we focus on our thoughts, ideas, and insights minutes before bedtime, our subconscious mind will ponder it all while we rest.

Don’t Let Your Beliefs Limit You

I thoroughly believe that at times we stall on executing excellent ideas and solutions simply because we think they are too obvious or too easy.  We think about it too much and convince ourselves that it’s silly or not worth it.  At other times we doubt the fact that we are even capable of coming up with good ideas nobody else has thought of yet.

If you let your beliefs limit you, like I almost did by telling myself that I was too young, then these beliefs will always hold you back.  Realize that you are a unique person with the ability to create and conjure ideas that no human has had before you.

Read Relevant Books

Truth be told, I’ve never been a big reader… at least not until the last year or so.  In the last 12 months I’ve probably read more books than I did during the previous 18 years of my life.  So it’s no coincidence that I’m now coming up with more practical insights than I had in the past.

It’s been said that you can become very knowledgeable about something just by reading 3 quality books on the subject.  Of course, it also helps if you concentrate on reading books that pertain to subjects you have an interest in.  If you enjoy personal development, then two books I highly recommend are Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz and The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Remember, humans have been around for thousands of years.  There’s lots of excellent information out there to digest.

Take and Review Notes

I think this is the most important habit of all.  Think of a book or great article that you read in the last year.  My guess is that you can remember some of the key points, but you’ve probably also completely forgotten numerous pages of useful information.  Whenever I read a quality book, I either take notes at the time or go back through it and highlight my favorite points.  I then review these points regularly until I have them ingrained in my mind.

This doesn’t apply to reading only.  You’ll probably find that some of your best ideas come when you are doing something completely unrelated to the idea itself.  In such cases, it’s wise to carry a small notebook or smart phone around with you so you can record your ideas on the go.

My Google Docs account is literally flooded with high quality notes from a number of my favorite authors and my own personal experiences.  I tend to look through these notes when I need inspiration or just to refresh my memory.

Maintain an Open Mind to New Information

If you adopt the position that you know everything about a subject then you’ll obviously never come up with any new insights about it.  Additionally, if you are too shortsighted to see that some of your current beliefs may be mistaken, then you are completely inhibiting your peronal growth potential.

Instead, be open-minded and realize that there will always be more for you to learn.  Of course, you don’t have to accept every new piece of information that comes your way, but at least evaluate it properly before discarding it.

Conclusion

I believe everyone, regardless of age or background, can come up with new ideas and excellent insights.  You just need to know how to harness them.

Glen Allsopp writes for a blog called PluginID on the subject of personal development.  He also teaches people how they can be who they want to be through personality development.

Photo by: Stephen Poff

When Less Advice is the Best Advice

Less Advice is the Best Advice

The subject of her email reads “CRISIS.”  I could tell she hastily wrote it in a state of desperation, since it’s filled with misspellings, flighty run-on sentences, and profanity.  A premise of self-doubt bleeds from every single line.  All of which caught me off-guard, because it isn’t like her to be so pessimistic.

Lost at 25

Like most college freshman, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life.  But during our sophomore year, she developed a love for mathematics and chose her major accordingly.  She scored so well in her undergraduate math classes that the university offered her a full scholarship to their master’s degree program.  She gladly accepted.  And just last year, while working as an assistant math professor, she decided to pursue her Ph.D.

She told me she loved her work.  She actually used the phrase “life is good” last time I saw her.  I remember this because it made me smile.  But that was 4 months ago… and apparently things have changed since then.

Now she says she wasted 6 years of her life.  Because she doesn’t want to be a mathematician anymore.  But she doesn’t know what she wants.  She just says she feels alone, confused, and lost at 25.

I Stay Silent

I meet her at a local pub.  There’s already an empty cocktail glass on the bar in front of her.  And she has dark bags under her glassy eyes.  She looks like she hasn’t slept in days.  But when she sees me, she smirks and gives me a hug.

Without delay, she spills her heart, and some tears, about everything.  Emotions pour out of her for nearly 30 minutes.  And I listen.  She says she’s lonely and unhappy.  She says her and her boyfriend just broke up.  And she’s sure she ruined it, because she didn’t spend enough time with him.  Because she was busy with mathematics… teaching it, grading it, and studying for more of it.  She pleads for some advice.

I tell her to slow down, to breathe, and to listen to herself and find herself.  Not the self that’s in a panic, or emotionally absorbed in a failed relationship.  But the self that loves mathematics, and her students, and is proud to be an independent woman… free to seek new directions.  She asks me how.  “How do I find that self again?  How do I reestablish my direction?”

And there’s so much I want to say.  Because I want to give her real, logical advice that will enable her to find what she so desperately seeks.  But I stay silent.  And she stares into my eyes, patiently waiting and anticipating the advice I’m about to dispense.

Instead, I reach for her hand and maintain my silence.  As I’ve lived long enough to know that, other than telling her to slow down and breathe, there’s no logical advice to give.  Because sometimes life defies logic, especially in delicate personal situations like the one she’s dealing with now.

Uniquely Ours

I’ve seen young, rocky relationships develop into wonderful marriages, and fleeting inspirations ignite a lifetime of passion and happiness.  Our life stories, like the answers we give to long essay questions, are uniquely ours.  What she wants to know is already somewhere inside of her.  She just needs time to think, and be, and breathe…  And continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help her find her direction.

Photo by: Light Knight