12 Things Happy People Do Differently

12 Things Happy People Do Differently

by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed.  I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.”
-Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness.  These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives.  (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

I want to honor and discuss each of these 12 points, because no matter what part of life’s path we’re currently traveling on, these ‘happiness habits’ will always be applicable.

  1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.  Kinda cool right?  So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.  And that’s without having to go out and buy anything.  It makes sense.  We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.
  2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it.  She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
  3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If we’re somehow ‘better’ than the person that we’re comparing ourselves to, it gives us an unhealthy sense of [Read more…]

12 Ways To Make Talking To Strangers Less Awkward

Rules for Talking to Strangers

Let’s face it, fewer moments are more awkward than trying to strike up a casual conversation with someone you don’t know very well.  Here are some quick tips to lighten up the situation:

  1. Talk about who you know and what you have in common.  Mutual friends, bosses, hometowns, etc.
  2. Ask relevant questions about life, work, hobbies, and pop-culture.  Keeping abreast of current events will provide you with great conversation builders.  Lead with “What do you think of…?”, “Have you heard…?”, “What is your take on…?”, etc.  Stay away from negative or controversial topics, and refrain from long-winded stories.
  3. If you notice yourself getting bored with what you’re saying, stop talking, acknowledge the situation, and move on to the next topic.
  4. Listen more than you talk.
  5. With people you have never met before, limit stories to the last few moments of your life.  Bring up casual points about your current surroundings, like the funny music playing in the background or the tasty martinis the bar is serving.
  6. Know a few interesting historical facts, like this one:  As a child, Albert Einstein seldom spoke.  When he did, he spoke very slowly – indeed, he tried out entire sentences in his head until he got them right before he spoke aloud.  Einstein did this until he was nine years old.  His parents were worried about his lack of talking.  But at last, at the supper table one [Read more…]

50 Ways to Waste a Life

50 Ways to Waste a Life

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never get it.  If you don’t ask the right questions, you’ll always get the wrong answers.  If you don’t take a step forward, you’re always going to be in the same place.  Life is a journey full of choices.  Here are 50 wasteful choices to avoid.

  1. Spend time regretting the past and feeling sorry for yourself.
  2. Complain about problems and do nothing to solve them.
  3. Follow the path of least resistance and quit when the going gets tough.
  4. Ignore your passion and follow the money.
  5. Setup your lifestyle so it’s dependant on your next paycheck.
  6. Spend more than you earn and rack up lots of financial debt.
  7. Try to control everything and then worry about the things you can’t control.
  8. Focus on what you don’t want to happen.
  9. Fear the things you don’t fully understand.
  10. Let everyone else make decisions for you.  Don’t decide on anything, ever.
  11. Let small issues snowball into big problems.
  12. Be jealous of everyone else.
  13. Hold onto anger.  Never forgive anyone.
  14. Always be right.  Never let anyone be more right than you.
  15. Seek external validation before you consider yourself good enough.
  16. Make sure everything you do impresses someone else.
  17. Lie to yourself and those around you and put up with others who lie to you.
  18. Keep doing the same thing over and over again until the day you die.
  19. Never finish what you start.
  20. Stay in the same place forever.  Never travel.
  21. Compare yourself unfavorably to those who you feel are more successful. [Read more…]

Why We Must Forgive Ourselves

Why We Must Forgive Ourselves

To forgive is to set a prisoner free
and discover the prisoner was you.


Once upon a time there lived a woman who had a bad temper.  She screamed at and scolded everyone around her.  For most of her life she believed the fiery rage inside her was everyone else’s fault.  But one morning she woke up and realized she had isolated herself from all the people in her life who she cared about.  She had no friends, and even her family wanted nothing to do with her.  She knew in that moment that she needed to make a change.

She went to see a well respected Buddhist monk to ask for advice.  The monk told her to take a large clay jug from his kitchen, fill it with water, and stand outside on the sidewalk in front of his house.  “It’s hot outside, and that’s a busy sidewalk with lots of pedestrians,” the monk told her as he pointed out the front window of his house.  “When a pedestrian passes, you must offer them a glass of water.  Do this until there is no rage left inside you.”

The woman with the bad temper was confused – she didn’t understand how this would help her.  But she had heard that this monk was known for his unconventional wisdom and avant-garde methods of healing, and she was willing to do anything to heal herself and rebuild her relationships with those she cared about.

The Rage

So she stood outside with a water jug and served water to pedestrians every day for the next several weeks.  And every morning she asked herself if rage still pulsed through her veins.  And every morning the answer was, “yes.”  So she continued serving water.  Until this afternoon when a burly man walked up, snatched the water jug out of her hand, drank directly out of it, and then tossed the jug on the ground as he continued on his way.

The rage within the woman skyrocketed into an irrepressible fit.  Unable to contain herself, she picked-up the clay jug off the ground and, with all her might, [Read more…]

30 Good Karma Things To Do With Your Free Time

30 Good Karma Things To Do With Your Free Time

by Barrie Davenport of Live Bold and Bloom.

If you cut to the chase of the meaning of life, it’s the ‘meaning’ part that we all long for.  Beyond all of the stuff, excitement, and happiness we chase on any given day, all of us want to feel like we’ve made an impact on the world in some way.  We need to know that we’ve made a difference.

Does the idea of making an impact on the world cause you to hyperventilate a bit – like you might have to join the Peace Corps or adopt an orphan from Indonesia?

Those are great things for sure, and there are many bold and courageous people whose lives are dedicated to making a huge difference in the world.  But most of us aren’t those people.  We have our jobs and families and lives that need our time and attention.  We don’t have the time, or perhaps even the desire, to save the world or even volunteer at the soup kitchen.  If that makes you feel guilty or frustrated, here’s a redeeming thought:

You can make a difference in the world and create some good karma for yourself in the short, often forgotten, free moments of your day or week.  There are many small, simple actions you can take to profoundly impact your family, your community, and the world.

Lost time is never found again.
-Benjamin Franklin

Think about those times when you are in an elevator, sitting in traffic, surfing the Internet.  Or the Saturday when rain interrupts your plans for the day.  These unallocated, free gaps of time could be spent creating small ripples of positive thought and action that add up to huge waves of good karma.

Here are some ideas for spending these time gaps in purpose-filled ways:

1–5 Minute Gaps of Free Time

1.  Visualize someone you know who is suffering in some way and send them thoughts of loving kindness and peace.

2.  Say something kind or complementary to the person who is serving you or waiting on you in a store or restaurant.

3.  Help someone with their groceries or some other small service to assist them.

4.  Pick up and throw away trash that you see on the street or in a park.

5.  Send an email to someone to let them know you are thinking of them or to compliment something.

6.  Find something in your house that you no longer need to give away to someone who can use it.

7.  Forgive someone or ask for forgiveness.

8.  Read something inspirational to create positive energy for yourself.

9.  Take a minute to grab your own shopping bags to take to the grocery store. [Read more…]