July 13th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Habits Happy People Have (But Never Talk About)

20 Habits Happy People Have (But Never Talk About)

Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions.
―Dalai Lama

Over the past decade, between the two of us, Angel and I have read 1,000+ books on happiness, coached 10,000+ people who were struggling to find happiness, and interacted with 100,000+ subscribers (subscribe here) who continue to ask us questions about happiness every single day.

All of this has given us keen insight into the specific behaviors that make human beings happy.  We’ve literally watched people go from feeling down in the dumps to being on top of the world in a matter of weeks, simply by making subtle, effective changes to their daily habits.

Not surprisingly though, once these people get it figured out, their “happiness habits” become second nature to them, and thus, they never talk about them.  Bystanders may witness their public displays of contentment, but remain clueless as to the source of their happiness.  So that’s precisely what I want to discuss today – the habits happy people have, but never talk about.

  1. They don’t get caught up in other people’s drama. – Never, ever create unnecessary drama, and don’t put up with those who spew drama your way.  The happiest people I’ve ever met care less about what random people say about them, especially if their remarks are rude.  In fact, happy people are often thankful for all the rude, obnoxious, and difficult people they meet in life, because these people serve as important reminders of how NOT to be.  They simply smile and walk the other way.  I challenge you to follow in their footsteps.
  2. They give to others whenever they are able. – While giving is considered an unselfish act (and it is), giving can also be more beneficial for the giver than the receiver.  In many cases, providing social support is actually more beneficial to our happiness than receiving it.  Happy people know this, which is precisely why they are always looking for ways to help others, while unhappy people stand around asking, “What’s in it for me?” Keep reading →

July 9th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

11 Old-Fashioned Relationship Habits We Should Bring Back

11 Old Fashioned Habits that Will Save Your Relationships

Love is great when spoken, but greatest when shown.  Do little things daily to show your loved ones you care.

Yesterday afternoon I was sitting on a park bench eating a sandwich for lunch when an elderly couple pulled their car up under a nearby oak tree.  They rolled down the windows and turned up some funky jazz music on the car stereo.  Then the man got out of the car, walked around to the passenger side, opened the door for the woman, took her hand and helped her out of her seat, guided her about ten feet away from the car, and they slow danced to a song under the oak tree.

It was such a beautiful moment to witness.

This morning when I opened my laptop to write, the elderly couple immediately came to mind, and I spent a few minutes daydreaming about them, wondering how long they had been together and what their best relationship advice would be.  And just as I caught my mind wandering even farther off, a new email from a reader named Cory popped up.  The subject of the email was a question:  “Any good, old-fashioned advice for a struggling relationship?”

The synchronicity of my daydreaming and Cory’s question made me smile.

So in honor of that beautiful elderly couple, and in service of Cory’s present relationship situation, here are eleven old fashioned habits we need to bring back into our relationships:

1.  Spend quality time together with no major agenda and no technology.

Put down the smart phone, close the laptop and enjoy each other’s company, face to face, the old fashioned way.

There are few joys in life that equal a good conversation, a genuine laugh, a long walk, a friendly dance, or a big hug shared by two people who care about each other.  Sometimes the most ordinary things can be made extraordinary just by doing them with the right people.  So choose to be around these people, and choose to make the most of your time together.

Don’t wait to make big plans.  Make your time together the plan.  Communicate openly on a regular basis.  Get together in the flesh as often as possible.  Not because it’s convenient to do so, but because you know each other are worth the extra effort. Keep reading →

July 6th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

12 Quiet Rituals of Enormously Successful Humans

May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.

The result of enormous success is often pretty noisy – lots of people talking, writing and sharing stories about it.  The actual process of achieving enormous success, on the other hand, is far more discreet.  But it’s this process that happens quietly, behind-the-scenes, that makes all the difference in the world.

Marc and I are fortunate enough to know a number of enormously successful human beings.  Regardless of lifestyle, industry or profession, they all share many of the same quiet rituals.  And that’s precisely what I want to discuss with you today.

Building upon our recent video blog post on success, here are twelve things the most successful people we know do quietly and diligently:

1.  They have calm, consistent morning routines.

Too many books and courses on personal success act like we’re robots, and completely overlook the enormous power of our emotions.  The less frenzied emotions we have at the start of the day, the less we will have all day.  Because when we start the day in a calm, mindful state, it’s easy to focus and get the right things done.

But when we wake up and stress is already upon us – phones ringing, emails and texts dinging, fire alarms going off – you spend the whole day reacting, instead of being proactive.  This means you’re not in the driver’s seat working on your priorities – the things that drive success – you’re simply responding to what gets thrown at you, whether it’s important or not.

Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible.  A trusted routine can be extremely effective in helping you feel in control and non-reactive, which reduces anxiety and stress, and therefore makes you more mindful and competent.  The bottom line is that how you start the day has an enormous effect on your overall effectiveness. Keep reading →

July 2nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently

23 Things People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently

You know you’re on the right track in life when you become uninterested in looking back, and eager to take the next step.

Angel and I have worked with thousands of coaching clients over the years.  Together, they have given us incredible insight into what the average human being needs to do to go from “loathing” to “loving” their life.  And, of course, we’ve successfully helped the vast majority of them gradually get from point A to point B.

What most of these people never suspected is that they would have to learn how to do lots of little things differently.  Because the truth is, there are specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world that we all have to master before we can awaken to a simpler, happier, more fulfilling life – a life worth loving.  And that’s precisely what this post is all about.

No matter what part of life’s path you’re traveling on, the list below will always be applicable.  These are simple, positive habits that thousands of people who have learned to love their lives, now live by.  Here’s what they do differently…

  1. They flow with life, not against it. – When everything in life seems to be going wrong, mostly it’s meant to go wrong so that you may outgrow the things you need to outgrow.  Keep this in mind.  Life may wreck your plans when your plans are about to wreck you.  For everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else.  You don’t have to accept it; it’s just easier if you do.  When you try to control too much, you enjoy too little.  Sometimes you simply need to take a deep breath and appreciate what is.
  2. They let go of self-defeating thoughts. – Breath by breath, let go of fear, expectation, anger, regret and frustration.  Let go of the need for approval too.  You don’t need any of it.  The world is as we are inside.  What we think, we see, and we ultimately become.  So choose your thoughts wisely.  Think how you want to live. Keep reading →

June 29th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

16 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Justify to Anyone Else

16 Things You Shouldn’t Have to Justify to Anyone Else

Don’t change so someone will like you.  Be yourself and the right ones will love the real you.

Will the people in your life always support your decisions?  No, they won’t.  But you need to remember that life is not about justifying yourself; it’s about creating yourself.   Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to walk alone and pave your own path when you know it’s the right thing to do.

Make this your lifelong motto: “I respectfully do not care.”  Say it to anyone who passes judgment on something you strongly believe in or something that makes you who you are.  People will inevitable judge you at some point anyway, and that’s OK.  You affected their life; don’t let them affect yours.

And when you need a quick reminder or a dose of encouragement, refer to this list of things you shouldn’t have to justify to anyone else:

  1. Why you’re putting yourself first. – During a 2011 television interview, Michelle Obama was asked if she thought it was at all selfish that she has openly admitted to making herself her first priority, to which the First Lady replied, “No, not at all.  It’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else.  And one of the things that I want to model for my children is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”  Spot on advice if you ask me!  There are only a few people in this world who will stay 100% true to you, and YOU should be one of them.  Prioritize your own needs into your daily to-do’s.
  2. The need to express your emotions. – Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional.  There’s no reason to be ashamed for feeling something or acting out on it if it’s real to you.  It’s a sign that you have a big heart, and that you aren’t afraid to let others know it.  Showing your emotions is a sign of human strength.  The people who judge you for being human, and not being modest, emotionless, and “in line,” are the ones who need to apologize. Keep reading →

June 25th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do

25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do

Healthy relationships don’t just happen; they take time, patience and two people who truly want to work together to create something meaningful.

What does it take to create and nurture a healthy relationship?  That’s a question Angel and I get asked by readers and coaching clients on a daily basis.  After a decade of coaching individuals and couples and researching how people build healthy, lasting relationships, we have learned a lot about what it takes.

Whether you’re working to improve your marriage, a dating relationship, or a friendship, there are lots of little things you can do to keep your relationship on track.  And since we’ve recently covered some of these healthy relationship strategies here and here, today I want to take a look at the flipside – what people in healthy relationships don’t do:

  1. They don’t rush the present state of their relationships to get to better times ahead. – The thing about obsessing about a happy ending is that you forget to enjoy the journey along the way.  Right now is life… don’t miss it!  You need to enjoy the company you care to keep, today, while you’re still guaranteed a chance to do so.
  2. They don’t expect their relationships to solve all their problems. – While a healthy relationship can certainly bring joy, it’s not anyone else’s job to fill in your empty inner space.  That’s your job and yours alone; and until you accept responsibility for your emptiness, pain, or boredom, problems will inevitably ensue and persist in the relationship. Keep reading →

June 22nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

12 Common Lies Mentally Strong People Don’t Believe

12 Lies Mentally Strong People Don’t Believe

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”
―Albert Camus

We live in turbulent times.  There are fewer guarantees and more uncertainties these days.  Thankfully this also means there are lots of opportunities to be had.  And if you and I are to overcome the obstacles in our way and seize the opportunities, we’re going to need strong minds.

Mental strength means you understand how to manage your emotions, adjust your thinking, and choose to take positive action, despite your circumstances.  It’s knowing deep down that every little struggle is progress.  And if you really want it, you’ll do it, despite failure and rejection and the odds.  Every step forward will be tough, but will feel better than anything else you can imagine.  You will ultimately come to realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path.  And it’s worth your while.

Being willing to walk this path of resistance is what mental strength is all about.  And it’s something Angel and I cover extensively here on our blog, in our book, and with our coaching clients on a daily basis.  Why?  Because 90% of our problems as rational human beings are the byproduct of learned mental weakness.  In other words, over time we’ve heard a succession of lies from other people about what we need and what we don’t need – about what we can and can’t do – about what is and isn’t possible for us – and we subconsciously believed every word.

What’s worse?  We now tell some of these lies to ourselves and we live by them every day.

Which means it’s time for us to unlearn these lies for the sake of our own mental strength:

  1. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. – We all have an idea in our heads about how things are supposed to be, and sadly this is what often messes us up the most.  Realize this.  Expect less and learn more.  Let go and let life grow you – let it test you.  You won’t always understand it and that’s OK.  Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.  And then just when you think it can’t get any better, it does.  Mentally strong people are appreciative of the obstacles in their path because they know the obstacles are necessary stepping-stones.  So keep going, keep growing, and someday you will be able to describe your entire life in just one sentence: “It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK.” Keep reading →

June 18th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Toxic Thoughts You Need to Drop For a Better Life

15 Things to Stop Saying to Yourself

It is ultimately only our own thoughts that hurt us.

Wait, what did you just say to yourself?

Were they the empowering, encouraging words you would speak to a friend?  Or were they the belittling remarks you would shout to an enemy if you had no heart?  Or the negative remarks about life you might utter if you had no faith?

All day long you speak silently to yourself, and a part of you believes every word.  So stay mindful, and meditate on this question:

“What do I need to stop thinking and saying to myself?”

Here are fifteen toxic thoughts to ban from your self-talk:

  1. “It’s too late.” – No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change and become an improved version of yourself.  Peace, strength and understanding will come to you when you manage to tune out the noisy judgments of others, in an effort to better hear the soft and steady hum of your own inner strength.  And once you hear it, you will realize that it’s not too late to be what you might have been.
  2. “If only I was stronger, smarter, more attractive, etc.” – The absolute worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.  It’s always better to be true to yourself, and risk incurring the ridicule of others, rather than trying to live a lie, only to incur your own self-contempt.  Remember, almost everything that happens to you is a direct reflection of what you believe about yourself.  You can’t possibly outperform your level of self-esteem.  You can’t draw from yourself more than you think you are worth. Keep reading →

June 15th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

16 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and twice as capable as you have ever imagined.

When you add up nearly a decade worth of online conversations with our community of readers, the live events we’ve hosted in support of our book, and thousands of one-on-one coaching sessions with clients, Marc and I have a lot of experience when it comes to helping people find and resolve the pain points that have been holding them back.  But I am still frequently surprised by the interesting ways people frame questions about their challenges.

Last night a reader named Karla sent me an email that caught my attention, simply because the subject of her email was: “Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do” (An interesting title for an article, I thought.)

Part of Karla’s email read:  “I love your book.  It has helped me get through some seriously tough times.  But even though I’ve made progress, I often struggle with emotional weakness.  I persistently resist what I know I need to do for myself.  So I was wondering, what do emotionally strong people NOT do?  The reason I ask is that I’ve spent a lot of time implementing positive habits in my life, but I haven’t really focused on removing any (parallel) bad habits.”

There are a million ways to answer this question (especially as it relates to Karla’s unique life situation), but since emotional weakness is something all of us struggle with at times, I figured I’d take a stab at answering Karla’s question in a general sense, for all of us.

Here are some things emotionally strong people don’t do:

  1. They don’t let negativity and drama get the best of them. – Your brain is a radio transmitter.  It broadcasts thoughts, directions and vibrations into your life – you get to choose the station it’s tuned to.  Emotionally strong people understand this and tune out negativity to make room for positivity.  Be wise enough to follow in their footsteps.  Walk away from the nonsense around you.  Focus on the positives, and soon the negatives will be harder to see.
  2. They don’t waste time feeling sorry for themselves. – Emotionally strong people don’t sit around feeling sorry about their circumstances or how others have treated them.  Instead, they take responsibility for their role in life, work on changing what can be changed, and keep in mind that life isn’t always easy or fair.  In the end, happiness is not the absence of problems, but simply the ability to deal well with them.  So look at what you have, instead of what you have lost.  Because it’s not what the world takes away from you that counts; it’s what you do with what you have left. Keep reading →

June 11th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

20 Hard Things You Need to Do to Be Happy

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.

You have to do hard things to be happy in life.  The things no one else is doing.  The things that frighten you.  The things others can’t do for you.  The things that make you question how much longer you can hold on and push forward.

Why?

Because those are the things that define you.  Those are the things that make the difference between existing and living – between knowing the path and walking the path – between a life of mediocrity and a life filled with happiness and success.

Of course, the hard things are often the easiest things to avoid.  To procrastinate.  To make excuses.  To pretend like they somehow don’t apply to you and your life situation.

But reality always rears its head in the end.  And the truth about how ordinary people achieve immense happiness and incredible feats of success is that they step out of their comfort zones and do the hard things that their more educated, affluent and qualified counterparts don’t have the courage, drive or determination to do.

So for your own sake, start doing the hard things TODAY.  I guarantee, you will be blown away at just how remarkable you really are and just how amazing life can be.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. You need to take small chances every day. – It’s the best way to face any problem, crush every fear and overcome life’s greatest challenges.  And you get just about as many chances in life as you’re willing to take.  So never let your fear decide your future.  Take small chances every day, one step at a time.  Some will work out and some won’t.  But good choices or bad, if you never take these chances, someone else will build your life for you.  And you don’t want that.
  2. You need to worry less about what other people think of you. – A beautiful life is about spending your time passionately, being happy with who you are inside, and not worrying about everyone’s petty judgments.  If you want to achieve greatness, stop asking for everyone’s approval.  You don’t need anyone’s approval to be happy or to follow your heart. Keep reading →