12 Common Causes and Proven Cures for Unhappiness

Causes and Cures for Unhappiness

For the average person happiness is a choice, yet numerous people are unhappy.  There are many reasons, but it all boils down to one simple principle:  They choose something else over happiness.  Because it often takes less effort to be unhappy.

For example, instead of seeking happiness, they…

  • Lazily follow the path of least resistance.
  • Refuse to accept change.
  • Aimlessly try to control the uncontrollable.
  • Etc. etc. etc.

Averting these poor choices and the negative attitudes that accompany them is the key.  The list below will give you some ideas on how to do just that.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.
– Abraham Lincoln

1.  Lack of meaning in one’s day to day life.

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”  With the modern 9 to 5 work schedule it’s so easy to trap yourself into doing what you don’t want to do for 40 hours every week and then mindlessly waste all your free time being lazy.

Sure you have responsibilities.  And no, you won’t be able to do what you want to do every waking minute of your life.  But you almost always have a choice to do more of what you really want to do – to work on something that matters to you – something that moves you and gives your life meaning.

You must leave time to follow your inner curiosity and passion.  The Happiness Project is a great read on this topic.

2.  Obsession with the past or future.

Right now is life.  If you dwell on things that happened in the past, or obsess yourself too much with the things that might happen in the future, you’ll miss everything.

Focus on the present, not yesterday or tomorrow.  As Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us.”

Oftentimes we fixate our minds on the way things can be, should be, or will be someday.  But life always takes place in the present.  You never know what the future holds – whether or not you and your loved ones will still have good health or even be alive.  The opportunity to enjoy life is now.  Make time to do so.

3.  Feeling out of shape and unhealthy.

Remember, your health is your life, and your body is the greatest tool you’ll ever own.

If you are a little overweight, cut back on some of the fatty foods, get outside and take a two mile walk every day.  Losing extra body fat decreases your health risks, makes you look and feel better, and generally increases your self-esteem and happiness.

Don’t go on binge diets and crash exercise regimens.  Instead, gradually change the way you eat and live so you create new health habits that can be sustained for a lifetime.  Read The 4-Hour Body for a solid, entertaining read on getting in shape.

4.  Unfavorably comparing oneself to others.

When you catch yourself comparing yourself to a colleague, neighbor, friend, or someone famous, stop!  Realize that you are different, with different strengths – strengths these other people don’t possess.  Take a moment to reflect on all the awesome abilities you have and to be grateful for all the good things in your life.

The problem with many of us is that we think we’ll be happy when we reach a certain level in life — a level we see others operating at – your boss with her corner office, that friend of a friend who owns a mansion on the beach, etc.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile before you get there, and when you get there, you might have a new destination in mind.

Instead, appreciate where you are and what you have right now.  Try comparing yourself to those who have less, those who are dealing with tragedy, and those who are struggling to survive. Hopefully it opens your eyes to all the things you should be grateful for.  PS:  Help people who have less if you’re able… you’ll see why.

5.  Focusing on negatives.

You can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you react to things.  Everyone’s life has positive and negative aspects — whether you’re happy or not depends greatly on which aspects you focus on.  For instance:

  • Did you catch a head cold?  At least it’s only a temporary virus and nothing life-threatening.
  • Did you lose a basketball game?  Thankfully you got to spend the afternoon with friends doing something fun and healthy.
  • Did your stock market savings go down?  It’ll bounce back in the long-term.  And besides, it’s great that you’ve been diligent and fortunate enough to save a nest egg of savings when many people are barely making ends meet.

You get the idea — almost everything in life has a positive side, and focusing on these positives injects happiness into your atmosphere.  So stop concentrating on how difficult things are and why you don’t want to do them.  Focus instead on the benefits these things have and the opportunities they will create for you — the positives.

6.  Avoiding personal accountability.

Either you take accountability for your life or someone else will.  And when they do, you’ll become a slave to their ideas and dreams instead of a pioneer of your own.

You are the only one who can directly control the outcome of your life.  And no, it won’t always be easy.  Every person has a stack of obstacles in front of them.  You must take accountability for your situation and overcome these obstacles.  Choosing not to is choosing a lifetime of mere existence.

7.  Perfectionism and fear of failure.

If you work hard, do your best and then condemn yourself for not achieving perfection, you’re sabotaging your future.  Likewise, if your fear of failure, or of not being perfect, has driven you to take the safe road of doing nothing, you have already failed.

Perfect is the enemy of good.  Learn to accept the good – learn to love things when they are less than ‘perfect.’

If you find yourself at a point of intense decision making where you’re caught in a spiral of over-analysis and you’re making no progress, take a deep breath, break the spiral, make an educated guess on the next logical step, and take it.  Even if you get it wrong you’ve learned something, which is better than doing nothing.  Your failures along the road to your goals are simply opportunities to learn and grow.

Remember, the real world doesn’t reward perfectionists; it rewards people who get things done.

8.  A low self-esteem.

Don’t belittle yourself and don’t put up with people who try to belittle you.

Marcus Aurelius once said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”  Boost your self-esteem by recognizing your accomplishments and celebrating them.  Acknowledge your positive qualities, and when you come across a quality in yourself that you aren’t proud of, don’t sulk in your sorrows, proactively work on correcting it.

How you view yourself and your world are conscious choices and habits.  The lens you choose to view everything through determines how you feel about yourself and everything that happens around you.

9.  Financial debt.

The only way to get out of debt is to understand why you’re in debt in the first place.

But the sad truth is, if you’re a spendthrift…

You will not save money when you get your next raise.  You will not save money when your car is paid off.  You will not save money when your kids are supporting themselves someday.  And you wouldn’t even save a dime if I handed you $100,000 in cash right now.

How do I know this?

Because saving money has very little to do with the amount of money you have.  In fact, you will only start to save money when saving becomes an emotional habit – when you start treating the money you handle everyday differently.  The Millionaire Next Door is an excellent read on eliminating debt and building wealth.

In general, live a comfortable life, not a wasteful one.  Do not spend to impress others.  Do not live life trying to fool yourself into thinking wealth is measured in material objects.  Manage your money wisely so your money does not manage you.  Always live well below your means.

10.  All work and no play.

Fun is way underrated.  With all of our responsibilities, fun seems like an indulgence.  It shouldn’t be.  It should be a requirement.  Ponder what you did to have fun when you were younger and go do it again.  Leave the house messy and the yard un-mowed for a weekend and get out on the town.  When you’re older, you will remember the fun, not the clean house or yard.

Go to a carnival, play a card game, shoot darts with a friend, play catch with a kid, etc.

Make time for fun!

11.  Neglecting personal relationships.

The quality of our personal relationships correlates directly with our overall sense of worth and happiness.  Sometimes in the midst of life’s chaos we forget to do the little things that remind us we’re part of something greater than ourselves.  We need a certain amount of meaningful contact with other people to feel fully alive.

Make time for people, even if it’s just a quick meal at lunchtime.  It’s worth sacrificing a few minutes here and there to experience life outside your own inner bubble.

And remember, you don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends you can be certain of.

12.  Procrastination.

Nothing is so draining and stressful as the eternal presence of an unfinished task.

There are plenty of ways to sabotage your personal happiness, dreams and desires.  Procrastination, however, is the number one killer.  Procrastinators self-destruct.  They hinder their own potential by placing colossal road-blocks along the path to happiness and success.  In other words, they subconsciously choose to fail.

Do you put off doing things that would bring you closer to your desired goals?  I know I do at times.  But why are we so foolish?

It has something to do with how our daily responsibilities overwhelm us.  In the midst of all the important things we know we need to do, we somehow convince ourselves that none of these things need to be done right now.  In other words, we decide that some peace and relaxation in the short term is what’s most important.

So we take another break, read another blog post, watch another TV show and just kick back and relax.  And life is blissfully dandy… for a little while.  But then suddenly the inevitable deadline has arrived.  Ahhh!  It’s panic time!

By taking the time and initiative to understand your own reasons for procrastinating and devoting a little energy to take the necessary steps to move forward, you can beat procrastination.  We all can.  In fact, simply writing this article was a testament to this.  I kept procrastinating on writing it because I lacked focus.  So I locked myself in my bedroom, eliminated all distractions, kept the end in mind and started writing.  And as usual, starting was the hardest part.  Now I’m done.

Read Eat That Frog for practical advice on conquering procrastination.

Photo by: Agustín Ruiz

How To Make Good Things Happen

Make Good Things Happen

This guest post was written by Diggy, author of Upgrade Reality.

When wild animals are first captured and put into zoo cages they try everything to get out of that cage.  They bite it, run into it with their full weight, and claw at the cage.  They persist for weeks and months and they take any chance they can to free themselves.

But after a few years of captivity these wild animals lose their fierce desire to be free.  You could leave the cage door unlocked so the animals could escape if they wanted to, but they won’t.  They won’t even try, because they’ve become comfortable and given up the instinct that they could ever be free again.

Are you like these wild animals in a cage?  Have you lost your initiative to succeed and make good things happen in your life?

You may think your past is indicative of your future, and that you’ve been cast in an imprisoning mold.  You may believe that just because you haven’t yet been successful in X, Y or Z that you will never be successful in that venture and you may as well accept your fate.

The mindset of your past being indicative of your future is a trap – an extremely easy and unnecessary trap.

Your Wake-Up Call

“Everything you can imagine is real.”  -Pablo Picasso

Your reality can be whatever you want it to be.  The limits to what you can achieve are an illusion.  These achievement limits are mostly not set by others, but by you yourself.

Often things are not as difficult as they seem:

For years athletes couldn’t run one mile in under four minutes.  Once Roger Bannister ran a mile under four minutes, proving that the human heart could hold up when running that fast, others quickly followed.  And once Olympic champion, Vasily Alexeev broke the weight lifting barrier of 500 pounds, other weight-lifters broke his record knowing it was possible.  Yet before he could do it himself, Alexeev’s trainers changed his limiting belief by rigging 501.5 pounds of weights to look like 499.

This is also true for how you have lived your life from the day you were born until this very moment.  You wake up each morning and do as you have been doing for years.  You’ve got a belief system setting limits for yourself as to what you can and deserve to achieve.

People will jump at the chance to tell you what you can and cannot do.  Most people love to break down your dreams and get you to do what they think is best for you.  Sometimes your closest friends and family will crush your dreams without even realizing it.

But remember that your dreams are yours.  They are what your heart knows and feels, and it doesn’t matter what others think of them.  (Read The Alchemist.)

Take a close look at the following quotes and see how some of the most influential and talented people made incredibly strong statements that turned out to be totally false:

  • “Everything that can be invented has already been invented.”
    – Director of the U.S. Patent Office, 1899
  • “A rocket will never be able to leave the earth’s atmosphere.”
    – The New York Times, 1936
  • “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
    – IBM Chairman 1943
  • “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”
    – H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927”

Upgrade Your Reality

Again, as Pablo Picasso once said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

Therefore, you can upgrade your current reality to a vision of what you want.  The way you perceive your reality to be is the way that your reality becomes.  Let me explain:

You don’t need to be unhappy about the condition of your social life, your finances, your fitness or anything else that you’ve accepted as your reality just because ‘it’s always been like that.’

There are countless examples of people who have come from nothing and built up some of the biggest companies in the world.  (Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah).

I know many of you reading this article will agree with me that change is possible and have areas in your life that you want to change.  But I also know that many of you who conceptually agree with this will not take action and persist long enough to see the change you want.

Hard Work + Persistence = Guaranteed Success

You should not accept a frustrating, unhappy lifestyle.  As long as there is the slightest possibility of improvement through hard work and taking action, that’s exactly what you should do.

With smart work, faith, commitment and persistence, you will become successful!  Whether it takes you a month or ten years, as long as you never give up and execute a strategy, you will succeed.

Don’t expect a quick fix though.  Don’t expect to put in a little bit of effort for a small period of time and see your dreams come true.

Transformation can take years.  Many successful people have failed multiple times before they get the big results.  But even though your situation won’t change drastically overnight it can change noticeably in a short time frame.  You can see a gradual improvement within days or weeks if you were to start today.

The biggest obstacle to overcome in seeking improvement is the problem of, “Where do I start?”

Even if you are motivated enough to research a solution or method for changing your situation, you’ll likely find many conflicting opinions and advice from all sorts of sources and gurus.

The most sure-fire way of finding your strategy to success is to use a proven method.

Find someone (or multiple people) who have already accomplished goals aligned with yours, and research their methods.  Don’t try to re-invent the wheel.  Just copy the masters and tweak their methods for you own circumstances.  This eliminates the guess-work and trial and error that you would encounter if you were to blaze your own trail.  (Read The Success Principles.)

You Must Believe You Deserve It

Achieving success is only one part of the equation.  Keeping the success you achieved is an entirely different thing.

You need to feel and believe that you are deserving of the success achieved.  Otherwise your subconscious will sabotage your process and put you back in a lesser situation that you feel you deserve.

It may sound crazy, but it’s a fact of life.  Take the following quote as an example:

“A shockingly large number of lottery winners end up in financial ruined.  National statistics show that about one-third of lottery winners ultimately file for bankruptcy.” -Milwaukee Magazine

“The reality is nearly 70 percent of all lottery winners will squander away their winnings in a few years,” the Connecticut financial advisers said in a news release.  “In the process, they will see family and friendships destroyed and the financial security they hoped for disappear.”

Even though people who win the lottery have suddenly received more money than they ever dreamed of, most of them will feel like it’s too good to be true.  Their mindset limits a financial transformation.  In their hearts they are still the same low-wage earning workers that they were before winning, which is why they end up losing all their money.  They feel stuck in their old situation, because that is what they feel they deserve.

You may think the lottery example does not apply to you.  Just wait until I win the lottery!  The main point is that if you spend months or years working towards a final goal and achieve success, you need to feel like you deserve it completely.

Be The Change you Want To See

You deserve to wake up in the morning and be happy.  You should feel good about yourself and excited about the life you’re living.  You should do work you love, be in the relationship that you’ve always wanted to be in and be healthy enough to enjoy it all.

  • Start today.
  • Be the change that you want to see.
  • Make sure you feel it in every fiber of your being.
  • Work hard, follow a proven strategy for success and never give up.
  • Don’t just think about goals, take action and make good things happen!

Diggy writes about personal development and has created a 122-page ebook under the same name at his blog: Upgrade Reality. You can subscribe to his blog via email to receive weekly articles just like this one.

Photo by: Miguel Angel

111 Lessons Life Taught Us

Everyday Life Lessons

Sometimes thinking about your life and sorting out what you have learned is just as important as tackling a new venture.  That’s what our new sister site, Everyday Life Lessons, is all about.  It’s an online community where people share, rank and discuss life’s greatest lessons.

The site challenges you to reflect on your past, dig deep within yourself and answer one simple question:

What has life taught you?

Think about all the things you would love to tell yourself if you could travel back in time to give your younger self some advice about life.

Here’s a sample of 111 life lessons that were recently submitted to the site:

  1. Spend more time with those who make you smile and less time with those who you feel pressured to impress.
  2. Never tell someone their dreams are impossible. You’ll feel like a fool when they prove you wrong.
  3. No matter how many mistakes you make or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.
  4. Pursuing happiness by acquiring material things (fancy cars, expensive jewelry, designer clothing) is like jogging to the grocery store on your treadmill: it won’t get you anywhere.
  5. Laugh at stupid jokes. Apologize. Tell someone how much they mean to you. It’s the small moments that make life grand.
  6. At 79, I regret the things I didn’t do far more than the things I did.
  7. Life is way more enjoyable when you stop trying to be cool and simply focus on being yourself.
  8. Start by asking yourself whether each of your relationships drags you down or lifts you up. Surrounding yourself with positive, loving people is half the battle of living a happy, successful life.
  9. When the ‘want’ gets stronger, the ‘how’ gets easier.
  10. Too often we judge people on too little information. Instead of judging someone for what they do or where they are in their life, figure out why they do what they do and how they got to where they are.
  11. If you want to feel rich, just count all the great things you have that money can’t buy.
  12. I have taken noticed that the deeper I know about myself, the clearer I understand others.
  13. You can’t change who you are. You can only change what you know and how you apply this knowledge.
  14. I don’t need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of.
  15. People who are meant to be together will find their way back to each other. They may take detours, but they’re never lost.
  16. The older I get, and the more I learn, the more I realize I know so little. At 72, life still teaches me new lessons every day.
  17. You can press forward long after you can’t. It’s just a matter of wanting it bad enough.
  18. Complaining is like slapping yourself for slapping yourself. It doesn’t solve the problem, it just hurts you more.
  19. Embrace change. As uncomfortable as it is sometimes, change allows us to stretch and grow. New things feel awkward and scary at first, but those feelings go away, and you are left with something bigger and bolder in your life.
  20. Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel totally comfortable at first. And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)
  21. No matter how bad your heart has been broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief. The sun comes right back up the next day.
  22. Supporting, guiding, and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards. In order to get, you have to give.
  23. Learn to adjust the sails of your life to unpredictable winds, while keeping your focus clear on your destination. And keep sailing until you get there.
  24. As you strive to achieve your goals and dreams you can count on there being some fairly substantial disappointments along the way. Don’t get discouraged, the road to your dreams may not be an easy one. Think of these disappointments as challenges – tests of persistence and courage – that life throws at you during your journey. They are necessary and are meant to help you grow as a person.
  25. Spend less than you earn, go without until you have the money in hand.
  26. Freedom is the greatest gift. Self-sufficiency is the greatest freedom.
  27. Even when you feel like you have nothing, someone else likely has far less. Find them and help them. You’ll see why.
  28. Marriages evolve and change. The feelings you had for the man or woman you married will mutate and evolve several times over the life of a marriage. Hopefully you will evolve in the same direction or at least embrace and accept the changes in the other person. It takes work, and sometimes it takes counseling. Don’t gloss over those changes or you may wake up next to a stranger one day.
  29. Negativity breeds more negativity. When you focus only on the negative, obviously that’s all you will see. You will not seek out positivity, and even when positivity comes into your life, you’ll look for the negative side of things.
  30. If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done.
  31. As a child, I always thought the expression “it’s better to give than to receive” was trite and silly. As an adult, I recognize the expression’s value. Having the capacity to give means you possess a mindset of abundance. Having the will to give means you want to make a difference in the world. Having the desire to give means you care.
  32. It’s not so much what you say that counts, it’ how you make people feel.
  33. Figure out what you want. Set real goals and make a logical plan to achieve them. It’s like the old saying, “A goal that is never written down is nothing more than a New Year’s resolution.” And we all know what happens to New Year’s resolutions.
  34. Being open-minded is the key to more knowledge. If you want to know more about the world you have to keep an open mind. You have to give people and things a chance.
  35. If you want love, give love. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want money, provide value. It really is this simple.
  36. If something won’t be significant to you 3 days/3 months/3 years from now, don’t waste all your time worrying about it now.
  37. Manage aging, but why fight it? You can spend a fortune on face creams, plastic surgery, hair growth formulas, and Botox, but eventually you realize you are fighting an uphill battle. Groom yourself nicely. Stay fit. Have unsightly things removed. But accept the beauty of aging. A striking mature man or woman is much more attractive than someone who looks overly taunt, tanned or top-heavy.
  38. Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.
  39. Being busy and being productive are two different things.
  40. Life is unbelievably brief. When you’re young, you might feel like there’s a huge mass of time ahead of you. But trust me, it passes much faster than you think. You get gray hairs before you feel like a real adult. And then you have kids, and suddenly they’re leaving for college. Stop long enough to appreciate it all.
  41. Mistakes teach you important lessons. Every time you make one, you’re one step closer to your goal. The only mistake that can truly hurt you is choosing to do nothing simply because you’re too scared to make a mistake.
  42. Your health is your life, keep up with it. Get an annual physical check-up. [Read more…]

88 Ways To Make A Stranger Smile

Make a Stranger Smile Today

Don’t wait for people to smile.  Show them how.

Let your guard down.  Talk to someone you don’t know straight from your heart.  Compliment them.  Don’t anticipate awkwardness.  Just be you in that beautiful way only you know and give them the chance to smile and connect with you.

Remember, your best friend was once a stranger too.

Love whoever is around to be loved.
-Kurt Vonnegut

  1. Smile often.
  2. Hold a door open for someone.
  3. Pay for the person in line behind you.
  4. Send a hand-written thank you card to someone who assisted you with something.
  5. Clean out all your old clothes and donate them to someone in need.
  6. Give a compliment about a waiter, waitress, sales clerk, etc. to his or her manager.
  7. Compliment a stranger’s appearance.  Flatter them.
  8. Leave encouraging post-it notes in a library books and other random places.  (Read Operation Beautiful.)
  9. Help an elderly person carry something.
  10. Send flowers to someone anonymously.
  11. Be a courteous driver.  Let people merge in front of you.
  12. Volunteer at a children’s hospital or nursing home.
  13. Donate blood.
  14. Buy house warming gifts for new neighbors.
  15. Introduce yourself.  Make new colleagues, classmates, etc. feel welcome.
  16. Inspire others online.  (Check out Makes Me Think.)
  17. Send letters of appreciation to business owners/managers and other people who support you.
  18. Treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d give to your grandfather.
  19. Give everyone the same level of patience you’d have with your baby sister.
  20. Appreciate people the way they are.
  21. Share your lunch or a snack with someone who doesn’t have one.
  22. Put some change in an expired parking meter.
  23. Check up on someone who looks lonely.
  24. Tell your boss, teacher or professor that he or she is doing a great job and that you appreciate what they’ve taught you.
  25. Create places and things for others to enjoy.  Like decorating your house for the holidays or creating a piece of art.
  26. If you overhear that it’s someone’s birthday, go out of your way to wish them a happy one.
  27. Ask someone for their opinion or advice.
  28. Bring cookies or bagels to work for everyone.
  29. Tip waiters and waitresses well when they deserve it.
  30. Be a part of something you believe in.  Those around you will notice your enthusiasm.  (Read The Alchemist.)
  31. Leave a thank-you note for the office janitors.
  32. Help bag your own groceries at the checkout counter.
  33. Offer your seat to someone when there aren’t any left.
  34. Let someone with only a few items cut you in line at the grocery store.
  35. Wave to a kid in the car next to you.
  36. Spread good news.
  37. Repeat something nice you heard about someone else.
  38. Remember people’s names and address them accordingly.
  39. When you make eye contact with someone, smile.
  40. Replace what you’ve used.  For example, fill up the copier or printer with paper after you’re done using it.
  41. Share your umbrella on a rainy day.
  42. Listen intently to people’s stories without trying to fix everything.
  43. Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
  44. Call a stranger’s attention to a beautiful sunset or full moon.  (Check out What Money Cannot Buy.)
  45. Give words of encouragement toward someone’s dream, no matter how big or small it is.
  46. Ask someone who enjoys cooking for a recipe.
  47. Let someone else eat the last slice of pizza or cake.
  48. Stop and buy a drink from a kid’s lemonade stand.
  49. Help someone get your parking space in a crowded parking lot when you’re leaving.
  50. Ask someone you see every now and then if they’ve lost weight.
  51. Do a little something extra to make someone else’s life easier.
  52. Use all the manners you learned in Kindergarten.
  53. Listen to someone’s pain and help them find a path through it.
  54. Give without expecting to get back.
  55. Encourage others to do one unanticipated kind or helpful act at least once a week.
  56. Observe everyone without judging.
  57. Say “Please” and “Thank you.”
  58. Forgive and let go of anger.  For instance, if somebody accidentally cuts you off in traffic, just let it go.
  59. Believe in yourself with all of your heart.  People will notice.
  60. Don’t be so serious all the time.  (Read The Happiness Project.)
  61. Treat every small interaction with another person as an opportunity to make a positive impact in both your lives.
  62. Greed, anger and ignorance.  Avoid all three.
  63. Speak the truth.
  64. Teach others how to make a difference by setting an example.
  65. Help others be independent.
  66. Give people the space they need.
  67. Lend your shoulder to cry on.
  68. Offer encouragement after a failure.
  69. Acknowledge people for a job well done.
  70. Tell a good joke.
  71. Clean up after yourself.
  72. Excel at what you do.  People appreciate professionals.
  73. Create a care package and send it to an active duty military unit.
  74. Redirect gifts.  Instead of having people give you birthday and holiday gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a good cause.
  75. Stop to help.  The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or in need of assistance, stop and ask how you can help.
  76. Put a small personal touch on everything you do.  People notice and appreciate individuality.
  77. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know.
  78. Help someone get active.  There’s a coworker or acquaintance in your life who wants to get healthy, but needs a helping hand.  Offer to go walking or running together, to join a gym together.
  79. Send a nice email to a tech support representative who has assisted you.
  80. Donate food to a charity.
  81. Stand up for someone.  Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them.
  82. If you see a couple taking a self-pic, offer to take the picture for them.
  83. Help the weary shopper in front of you who needs that extra two or three cents to avoid breaking a 20-dollar bill.
  84. Come to the rescue.  If you realize someone is sick, bring them some hot tea, etc.
  85. Stand up for your beliefs without flaunting them.
  86. Make yourself available and approachable.
  87. Over-deliver on all of your promises and obligations.
  88. Be positive and focus on what’s right.

And above all, live proudly.  Inspire people with who you are and how you live your life.

Photo by: Thomas Hawk

20 Things Life Is Too Short To Tolerate

Life Is Too Short

You don’t have to settle, it’s simply a choice you make every day.  If you feel like you’re running in place there’s a good chance you’re tolerating things you shouldn’t be.  It’s time to reclaim your life.

Starting now, stop tolerating…

  1. People who bring you down. – Relationships should help you, not hurt you.  Spend time with nice people who are smart, driven and likeminded.
  2. A work environment or career field you hate. – Don’t settle on the first or second career field you dabble in.  Keep searching.  Eventually you will find work you love to do.  If you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, don’t stop.  You’re on to something big.  Because hard work ain’t hard when you concentrate on your passions.
  3. Your own negativity. – Be aware of your mental self-talk.  We all talk silently to ourselves in our heads, but we aren’t always conscious of what we’re saying or how it’s affecting us.  Start listening to your thoughts.  If you hear negative thoughts, stop and replace them with positive thoughts.
  4. Unnecessary miscommunication. – Say what you mean.  Mean what you say.  Speak clearly.  Ask questions.  Clarify things until you understand them.
  5. A disorganized living and working space. – Clear the clutter.  Get rid of stuff you don’t use.  Read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done for some practical organizational guidance.
  6. Your own tardiness. – Get up 30 minutes earlier so you don’t have to rush around like a mad man.  That 30 minutes will help you avoid speeding tickets, tardiness and other unnecessary headaches.
  7. Pressure to fit in with the crowd. – Oftentimes, the only reason others want you to fit in is that once you do they can ignore you and go about their business.  Don’t conform.  Be you, because that’s the only person you can be.
  8. An unhealthy body. – Your health is your life.  Don’t let it go.  Eat right, exercise and get an annual physical check-up.  The 4-Hour Body is an insightful and entertaining read on this topic.
  9. Fear of change. – Life is change.  Every day is different.  Every day is a new beginning and a new ending.  Embrace it and make the best of it.
  10. All work and no play. – Enjoy yourself and have a little fun while you can.  If you’re smiling, you’re doing something right.
  11. People or beauty ads that make you feel inadequate. – Good looks attracts the eyes.  Personality attracts the heart.  Be proud to be you.  You are already beautiful.
  12. Not getting enough sleep. – A tired mind is rarely productive.
  13. Doing the same exact thing over and over again. – You are the sum of your life experiences.  The more you experience, the more interesting your life story gets.
  14. Personal greed. – Don’t let greed and deceit get the best of you.  Greed will bury even the lucky eventually.
  15. A mounting pile of debt. – Always live well below your means.  Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.  Always sleep on big purchases.  Create a budget and savings plan and stick to them.  Read I Will Teach You To Be Rich.
  16. Dishonesty. – Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.  Period.  Don’t be dishonest and don’t put up with people who are.
  17. Infidelity. – Intimate relationships are a sacred bond – a circle of trust.  If both parties aren’t 100% onboard the relationship isn’t worth fighting for.
  18. An unsafe home. – If you don’t feel safe at home you’ll never feel safe anywhere.  Build a loving household in a safe area that you are proud to call ‘home.’
  19. Being unprepared. – Life is unpredictable.  And there’s a big difference between being scared and being prepared.  Always be prepared.
  20. Inaction. – Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities or someone else will.  You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it.

And remember, you only live once, but if you live it right once is enough.

Photo by: Anna Gay