10 Things You Do NOT Need to Be Happier in Life

10 Things We All Want that Drain Our Happiness

Saying yes to happiness means learning to say no
to the desires that drain you.

They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.  I don’t think anything could be closer to the truth, and yet all too often we find ways of complicating things for ourselves.  We look for happiness where it does not exist – in shallow goals and desires – in possessions, quick thrills, and impressing the wrong people.

Angel and I were recently reminded of this when we met a family of six staying at a hotel in Miami where we were vacationing.  We saw them hanging out in the lobby, sharing stories and laughing hysterically.  So on our way out, Angel and I said hello to them and asked where they were from.  “Oh, we’re from here,” the mother said.  “Our house burned down to the ground yesterday, but miraculously, all of us made it out safely.  And that makes today a day worth smiling about.”

Talk about a wake-up call.  Some people might say they had lost everything, and yet this family knew better – they knew they had it all.  Because there really is nothing like joyful tears and deep breaths after a long, hard laugh with the people you love – nothing in the whole world like a sore stomach for the right reasons and a grateful heart to back it up.  That’s a situation where true happiness is surely found.

And there are many other sources of true happiness as well.  But as I’ve said, there are also lots of common traps – goals and desires that we think will bring us happiness, but actually do the exact opposite.  Recognizing these traps is the key.  In fact, I believe one of the best feelings comes when you realize that you can be perfectly happy without the things you once thought you needed.

With this in mind, consider the ten goals and desires (traps) below and how they may be holding you back.  Each of them is popular in our culture, and thus common in our lives, but rather than contributing to our happiness, they rob us of it.

So say it out loud with me:

“To be happier, I do NOT need…”

  1. To please everyone – Be careful not to give so much of yourself to others that you end up completely losing yourself.  When you go around pleasing everyone but yourself, you are the one that gets hurt in the end.  The late and great Herbert Bayard Swope said it like this: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”  That is spot on advice if you ask me.  Because truthfully, you are never going to please everyone anyway.  At some point you will hold an unpopular opinion – one that gives you meaning and makes you feel alive.  And when you do, you ought to hold on tight, tune out the noise, and make it count. [Read more…]

10 Courageous Ways to Live Life Without Regrets

10 Courageous Ways to Live Life Without Regrets

by Naïby Jacques

“Life is inherently risky.  There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
―Denis Waitley

Have you ever wondered what gives some people the willingness to move without fear or hesitation?

They do things you believe you can’t do because you’re afraid of the outcome, of the unknown, of the pain.

You see people who can let go of things that might matter to them, and move on with their lives without struggling too much.  You see people who can quit or change their jobs, end difficult relationships, and travel around the world, just like that.

Sometimes you regret not trying harder to follow in the footsteps.  And you wonder…

What do these people have that I don’t?  What’s their secret?

Well, I’ve studied the lives of dozens of courageous (and also successful) people over the years, and I’m happy to share these time-tested strategies for courageously living your life without regrets:

  1. Be as weird as you are. – Don’t be afraid to provoke the status quo.  Maybe some of your ideas are crazy.  But crazy ideas are what shake the world.  Crazy ideas make revolutions.  So don’t be afraid to be different, and don’t be afraid to break traditions.  Sure, some people will be frustrated and opposed to your weirdness.  Some people might even criticize you.  But even if it takes time for them to embrace your ideas, you’re showing them a new way of thinking.  You’re planting a seed in their heads and opening their minds – and you’re opening your own mind too.  The minute you understand that you can be weird and mold life your own way, you allow yourself to shake off the erroneous notion that life is just there, and that you’re just going to exist in it, rather than embrace it, change it, improve it, and truly live it. [Read more…]

10 Damaging Lies and Excuses Your Mind Loves to Tell You

10 Damaging Lies and Excuses Your Mind Loves to Tell You

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.

The mind is a wonderful thing.  It’s also a total liar and an excuse machine that frequently tries to convince us not to take actions we know are good for us.  In the end, this prevents many positive changes from taking place in our lives.

I’ve had to learn to watch these lies and excuses very carefully in order to make the positive changes I’ve made in my life: a healthier diet, regular exercise, meditation, more sleep, daily writing, better planning, less procrastination, more focus, etc.

If I hadn’t learned about these lies and excuses, and how to suppress them, I would never have succeeded in making these positive changes.  In fact, until I knew better, I had failed countless times when I was young because my mind’s deceptive tendencies used to get the best of me.

So why does the mind lie to us and make irrational excuses?

Because the mind wants comfort – that’s why.  It’s afraid of discomfort, pressure and change.  The mind is absorbed in its comfort zone, and anytime we try to stretch that zone too far, for too long, the mind tries desperately to get back to ground zero at any cost… including sacrificing our long-term health, happiness and success.

So let’s expose 10 of the cowardly mind’s most damaging lies and excuses once and for all:

  1. I can’t do it. – It seems too difficult at first, so you think you can’t stick to the positive change you’re making.  You don’t believe in yourself enough to take another step.  This is a common lie/excuse that can be countered by looking at the fact that other people no more capable than you have done it.  For example, my 60-year-old next-door neighbor ran a marathon a little before I started training for my first marathon, and so I told myself, “If she can do it, so can I!”  And I was right.  Truth be told, the only person who can tell you “I can’t” is you.  If you hear those words echoing in the back of your mind, tune them out.  Realize that your doubts and your faith have something in common – they both ask you to believe in something you can’t see.  You simply have to decide which one you want to believe. [Read more…]

5 Simple Questions that Will Make You 5 Times More Successful

5 Simple Questions that Will Make You 5 Times More Successful

Doing your best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.

There’s nothing more disheartening than a perfectly healthy, reasonably affluent human being with the whole world in his or her hands who’s chronically unhappy and unproductive.  There’s really no excuse for it either, yet I see this phenomenon unfolding every single day – people who choose to be stuck in misery and refuse to admit it.  This mindset results from an extremely unbalanced life – one with too much expectation and not enough discipline and appreciation.

What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?  There is no point.  Without commitment for what you want most, and gratitude for what you already have, you’ll never know the true joy of success, because nothing will ever change, and even when it does, it will never be good enough in your mind.

But how do you cultivate balance in life when everything is already so far out of whack?

For a decade now, Angel and I have had the privilege of coaching thousands of people from every walk of life, with various socioeconomic backgrounds, from dozens of countries around the world, including some extremely powerful and successful businessmen and businesswomen.

Across the board, we’ve found that successful people habitually ask themselves (and work through) five key questions that dictate both the effectiveness of their decisions and the quality of their lives.

If you avoid these questions and make decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like the majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted mentally, and personally and professionally stressed out.  But if you ask yourself these questions on a regular basis, and make your daily decisions consciously, you can literally change the entire course of your life from this moment forward.

1.  Am I focusing on the right things?

At every moment, millions of little things compete for your attention.  All these things fall into one of two categories: things that are important and things that are not. [Read more…]

7 Things You Should Insist On No Matter What People Say

7 Things You Should Insist On No Matter What People Say

Do more than just exist.  We all exist.  The question is: Do you live?

About 15 years ago, I had an intervention with myself.  I sat down at the local library on a Saturday morning and read through hundreds of archived entries in my journal.  Specifically, I was looking for all the unfulfilled goals and visions for the future that I had jotted down over the years.  And it didn’t take long before I realized that the entire course my life had taken up to that point had been the product of other people’s opinions and decisions.  Every day I was just going through the motions, and doing what I was “supposed” to do, instead of what was right for ME.

Fast forward to today, and as I awoke this morning, I marveled at my life.  Where once I woke with dread at the thought of a new day, now I wake with excitement to begin – grateful to be doing what I’m doing with my life.  I’m so happy I did what I had to do, and struggled through the tough times and fears, and realigned my life with the activities and ideals that make me feel alive.

I tell you this because I know life can get pretty crazy at times.  Sometimes it gets so busy that we forget how important it is to actually listen to ourselves, instead of others.  But I’m happy to tell you that things can change if you want them to, at any age.

Just as I’ve turned things around for myself, I know hundreds of other people who have done the same.  Through a decade of life, relationship, and small business coaching, I’ve witnessed people reinventing themselves at all ages – 48-year olds starting families, 57-year-olds graduating from college for the first time, 71-year-olds starting successful businesses, and so forth.

How did we do it?  We insisted upon making changes, and we followed through.

Above all, what you need to remember is happiness is dependent upon ourselves, and there are some things in life you have to insist on doing, no matter what others say about it.  For instance, you have to…

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  1. Insist on making your life your own. – Most of us are not raised to actively seek our calling.  We may not even know that we have one.  As kids, we are seldom told we have a place in life that is uniquely ours alone.  Instead, we are encouraged to believe that our life should somehow fulfill the expectations of others – that we should find our happiness exactly as they have found theirs.  Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are trained to ask others for permission.  We are, in effect, schooled to live other people’s versions of our lives.  Every day is designed and developed as told to us by someone else!  And then one day when we break free to survey our dreams, seeking to fulfill ourselves, we see that most of our dreams have gone unfulfilled because we believed, and those around us believed, that what we wanted for ourselves was somehow beyond our reach.  It’s time to unlearn these lies and make changes.  It takes courage to grow wiser and become who you really are.  And today is the first day of the rest of your life. [Read more…]