March 10th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

30 Must-Do’s While You’re Young Enough to Read This

30 Must-Do’s While You’re Young Enough to Read This

“Yesterday is gone.  Tomorrow has not yet come.
We have only today.  Let us begin.”
―Mother Teresa

This morning I received a new thank you email from a reader named Claire.  She said our blog and book helped motivate her while she was fighting cancer over the past 18 months.  Although her entire email was both heartbreaking and inspiring, this one paragraph made me pause and reflect on my own life:

“When I found out that I may had breast cancer, the strangest thing happened…  It seemed as though I was given a new set of eyes.  Suddenly I looked around at my life in the face of possible death, and my life seemed so full of color and happiness.  And I began to pray that I would beat my cancer and have more time to enjoy it.”

I think this is such a bold reminder that far too many of us wait too long to live our best lives.  We keep putting everything off until tomorrow.  Then, before we know it, we find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late so soon?”

Thankfully, for Claire, the final line of her email read, “I’m happy to report that my Oncologist just gave me a clean bill of health this morning.  Right now I’m cancer-free!  I’m just so grateful I get to implement the positive principles you’ve taught me, as I dive headfirst into my second chance at life.”

So let’s wake up!  ALL OF US!  If you can read this, it’s not too late.  Like Claire, make today the beginning of your second chance at life.  Take time to figure yourself out.  Take time to realize what you want and need.  Take time to take risks.  Take time to love, laugh, cry, and learn.  Life is shorter than it often seems.  Here are 30 must-do’s you can start working on today:

  1. Accept every unique piece of yourself. – The secret to happiness and success is the acceptance of yourself.  You will never become who you want to be if you rely on everyone else to qualify you.  Own yourself completely, just the way you are, flaws and all.  Once you love and accept even the worst possible version of yourself, you are free.  So always go with yourself, never against yourself.  Be who you were created to be and you will set the world on fire.
  2. Make yourself a priority. – Truth be told, 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. Keep reading →

March 5th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

28 Ways to Uncomplicate Your Relationships

28 Ways to Uncomplicate Your Relationships

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
―Confucius

Almost two decades ago, when I asked my grandfather for some relationship advice, he said, “Honestly, the moment I stopped trying to find the right woman, and started trying to become the right man, your grandmother walked up to me and said, ‘Hello.’”

This small tip immediately changed the way I treated myself and others.  In fact, it set the foundation for all the healthy relationships I’ve nurtured over the years, including my relationship with Angel.

The bottom line is that every single one of our relationships starts within us.  When we uncomplicate ourselves, we uncomplicate our interactions with others.  When we stop doing the wrong things and start doing the right things, our relationships get a lot easier.

Which means it’s time to…

  1. Stop looking to others for the love and respect only you can give yourself. – Self-respect, self-worth, and self-love.  There’s a reason they all start with “self.”  You can’t receive them from anyone else.
  2. Start accepting and embracing your flaws. – Once you’ve accepted your flaws, no one can use them against you.  Love yourself!  Forgive yourself!  Accept yourself!  You are YOU and that’s the beginning and the end… no apologies, no regrets.
  3. Stop comparing and competing every second. – Take one step at a time and don’t compare your progress with that of others.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  Remember this, and give others the space to do the same.
  4. Start letting others be exactly who they are. – Remember, a great relationship is about two things: First, appreciating the similarities, and second, respecting the differences. Keep reading →

March 2nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

40 Regrets You Don’t Want to Have in 40 Years

40 Regrets You Don't Want to Have in 40 Years

Stop wasting time regretting what you did a year ago.  Start doing what you have to do now, so that in a year’s time you won’t regret what you did today.

This morning, like he has every morning for the last decade, my 86-year-old grandfather picked a fresh wild flower on his morning walk and took it to my grandmother.  This morning I decided to go with him to see her.  And as he placed the flower on her gravestone, he looked at me and said, “I just wish I had picked her a fresh flower every morning when she was alive.  She would have loved that.”

As you can imagine, his words touched a nerve in me.  I almost immediately started thinking about everything and everyone I care about, and what I don’t want to regret in 40 years when I’m on the cusp of my 80’s.  It almost felt like every aspect of my life was flashing before my eyes.  And as soon as I got home, I started jotting down everything that had come to mind.  When I was done, I read the list to Angel.  She nodded her head all the way through to the end, and then said, “I couldn’t agree more.  I don’t think anyone wants to regret any of those things when they’re older.”  Perhaps you will also agree…

  1. Spending too little time with the right people. – Sooner or later, you just want to be around the people who make you smile.  So today, spend time with those who help you love yourself more.  And remember, the people you take for granted today may be the only ones you need tomorrow.  Never be too busy to make time for those who matter most.
  2. Not making your loved ones smile more often. – The most beautiful thing is to see a person you love smile, and even more beautiful is knowing that you are the reason behind it.
  3. Not saying what you need to say. – Speak up.  Don’t hide your thoughts and feelings, especially when you can make a difference.  Be brave.  Say what needs to be said.  If you care about someone, tell them.  Hearts are sometimes broken by the words we leave unspoken.
  4. Constantly comparing yourself to everyone else. – Don’t compare your progress in life with that of others.  We all need our own time to travel our own distance.  It’s perfectly OK to be different.  Today, the only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday.  Prove yourself to yourself, not others. Keep reading →

February 26th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

4 Ways to LIVE Today, and Not Merely Exist

4 Ways to LIVE Today, and Not Merely Exist

Throughout your life, there will be times when the world gets real quiet and the only thing left is the beat of your own heart.  So you’d better learn the sound of it, otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s telling you.

The wisest and happiest among us are those who are respectful of their time, and who use it productively to grow as they age.  Sadly though, far too many of us age much faster than we grow.  We spend so much of our lives going through the external motions of what society tells us “maturity” is – getting married, buying a house, working our way up the corporate ladder, etc. – that we fail to concentrate on our own inner growth and goals.  We never allocate enough time just for us.

Part of the problem is that we’re always waiting for some condition to resolve itself at some point in the future.  We believe that the right time to take the next step with our own personal development is somehow going to magically happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, and so on.  But one day we wake up and realize we’re no closer than we were long ago.  We find ourselves asking, “How did it get so late, and why haven’t I moved?”  In other words, we’ve aged, but we never grew to our true potential.  We never fulfilled ourselves.

Let this be your wake-up call.  Right now is LIFE.  Indulge in it!  Make it count.  Because it’s happening…

And that’s precisely why we recorded today’s video for you – to help you make the most of it.

Video Blog Post:

4 Ways to LIVE Today (video transcript):

Reminder:  Have you checked out our book?  We just released a limited time bundle for “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently” which includes our eBook, audio book and bonus material on sale for a big discount.  Click here to check it out!

1.  Invest the present in what matters most to you.

You are the customer of a bank called Time.  Every morning it credits you with eighty-six thousand, four hundred seconds.  Every night it writes off, as a loss, whatever remainder you have failed to invest to good purpose.  It carries over no balance.  It allows no overdraft. Keep reading →

February 23rd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Powerful Beliefs that Will Free You from Negativity

15 Powerful Beliefs that Will Free You from Negativity

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.  The little difference is attitude.  The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.
―W. Clement Stone

When I was a teenager I was the primary target of an extremely persistent bully at my high school.  One day I came home in tears and wrote this on the whiteboard hanging on my bedroom wall:  “I hate bullies.  They make me feel like a loser.”

The next day, while I was at school, my grandmother erased what I wrote on the whiteboard and replaced it with this:  “An entire body of water the size of the Pacific Ocean can’t sink a ship unless it gets inside the ship.  Similarly, all the negativity in the world can’t bring you down unless you allow it to get inside your head.”

And from that day forward I felt better.  I made a conscious decision to stop letting the bully get inside my head.  I changed my beliefs about his level of importance in my life.

It isn’t easy to remain positive when negativity surrounds you, but remember that you have full control over what you choose to believe.  You can effectively defend yourself against all kinds of negativity by adopting simple, yet powerful, beliefs that support a positive outlook in the face of seemingly negative circumstances.

Below you will find 15 such beliefs that have helped free me from the grips of negativity.  I have these beliefs written down in my journal, and I review them on a regular basis, as needed, just to keep them fresh in my mind.  I hope you will join me by adopting them into your own belief system as well…

  1. What other people say about me is their problem, not mine. – Don’t take other people’s negativity personally.  Most negative people behave negatively not just to you, but to everyone they interact with.  What they say and do is a projection of their own reality.  Even when a situation seems personal – even if someone insults you directly – it oftentimes has nothing to do with you.  What others say and do, and the opinions they have, are based entirely on their own self-reflection.
  2. I am free to be ME. – Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?  Happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to everyone else and what they want.  Stop living for other people and their opinions.  Be true to yourself.  You are the only person in charge of your life.  The only question is: What do you want to do with the rest of it? Keep reading →

February 19th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Things that Belong On Everyone’s TO-DON’T List

20 Things that Deserve to Be On Everyone’s TO-DON’T List

Your greatest fear should not be of failure,
but of succeeding in life at all the wrong things.

This morning as Angel and I were driving to meet a coaching client, another driver a few cars in front of us tossed a large disposable cup out the window.  Suddenly, a motorcycle directly in front of us pulled over near the litter as we passed.  When traffic stopped at the next red light, the motorcycle driver pulled up to the driver that littered and handed him his trash back.

The motorcycle driver then shouted, “Being too lazy to put trash in a trash can… put that on your TO-DON’T list!”  And then we all drove off.

Wow!

Besides the fact that this motorcycle driver is my new hero, he also reminded me to check and update my own TO-DON’T list.  Angel and I have discussed the TO-DON’T list concept on our blog before, and most recently we focused on it in the Productivity chapter of our book.  As you may have guessed, a TO-DON’T list’ is a list of things NOT to do.  It might seem a bit amusing, but it’s an incredibly useful tool for keeping track of unproductive habits and thought patterns.

The bottom line:  If you get decent value from making TO-DO lists, you’ll also get significant returns – in productivity, in improved relationships, in emotional stability, and in heightened levels of happiness – from adding certain things to a TO-DON’T list.

And since I just updated my TO-DON’T list, which is in essence a universally applicable list, I figured I’d share it with you today…

  1. Don’t be lazy. – The world doesn’t owe you anything; you owe the world something.  So stop daydreaming and start DOING.  Develop a backbone, not a wishbone.  Replace laziness with determination.  Laziness is being unable to find the time you have.  Determination is being able to find the time you don’t have.
  2. Don’t cower from life’s necessary challenges. – We work hard to discard the parts of our lives that were painful, difficult, or sad.  But just as we can’t rip chapters out of a book and expect the story to still make sense, we cannot rip past chapters out of our lives and expect our lives to still make sense.  Keep every chapter of your life intact, and keep on turning the pages one at a time.  Sooner or later you’ll get to a page that brings it all together, and you’ll suddenly understand why every page and chapter before it was needed. Keep reading →

February 16th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

15 Things You Must Give Up to Be Happy Again

15 Things You Must Give Up to Be Happy Again

Giving up doesn’t always mean you’re weak; sometimes it simply means you are strong enough and smart enough to let go.

Last week Angel and I received a new thank you email from a reader named Kevin.  He said our blog and book helped him and his wife Laura maintain a positive, intentional mindset as they struggled and grew through one of the most difficult periods of their lives.  Certain sections of his email made my jaw drop:

“After injuring my back, losing my job because of it, being evicted from our apartment, moving in with Laura’s parents, nursing my five-year-old through a nearly fatal bout of strep throat, I was sitting on the front porch feeling sorry for myself when my old college buddy called me crying and said, ‘Mel-Mel-Mellisa, my baby girl, just died in a car wreck.’  And suddenly I felt like the lucky one.”

Kevin then went on to say, “It was the shock of my friend’s tragic loss combined with the near simultaneous discovery of your blog and book that changed my entire outlook from negative to positive.  I suddenly realized there were people who needed me to get back up, and infinite reasons and ways to do my very best with what I had.  So I started giving up all the negative things I was thinking and doing that had been holding me back; and then I took a bold step forward, and another, and another.  And I’m happy to say you were right!”

If you can relate to Kevin’s situation in any way, and you’re ready to move forward, today is the day to start giving up the things that have been holding you back and draining your happiness.

Truth be told, it happens to all of us as we grow.  We discover more about who we are and the way life really is, and then we realize there are changes we need to make.  The lifestyle we’ve been living no longer fits.  The environments and relationships we’ve known forever no longer exist, or no longer serve our best interests.  So we cherish all the great memories, but find ourselves at a crossroads, giving up the old to make way for a new beginning.

And it’s not easy.  It’s painful to give up what’s familiar.  Angel and I have struggled through this process many times.  In the past decade we’ve had to deal with several major, unexpected life changes/challenges, including:

  1. The loss of our home after a breadwinning employment layoff.
  2. Breaking ties with a close friend who repeatedly betrayed us.
  3. Closing down our first family business when the profits didn’t follow the work.
  4. Reconfiguring our lives after losing two loved ones to death.

These experiences were brutal.  Each of them, unsurprisingly, knocked us down and off course for a period of time.  But once we accepted these harsh realities, by giving up our expired ideals and letting go of the way things used to be, we pressed forward, stronger, and with a greater understanding and respect for life.

Which is why I want to remind you that TODAY is the first day of the rest of your life.  The road ahead is wide open.  You CAN be happy again!

But first, you have to give up…

  1. Choosing to do nothing. – You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when.  You can only decide how you are going to live, right now.  Every day is a new chance to choose.  Choose to change your perspective.  Choose to flip the switch in your mind from negative to positive.  Choose to turn on the light and stop fretting about with insecurity and doubt.  Choose to do work that you are proud of.  Choose to see the best in others, and to show your best to others.  Choose to truly LIVE your life, right now. Keep reading →

February 12th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

9 Good Signs You’re in the Right Relationship

9 Good Signs You’re in the Right Relationship

It’s not always where you are in life,
but who you have by your side that matters.

“How do I know if I’m in the right relationship or not?”

This is one of the most common questions our coaching clients ask us.  And after Angel and I listen to the specifics of their situation, we often toss a question back at them to further clarify their thoughts and expectations.  For instance:

“What do you think a “right relationship” should provide for the people in it?”

Although the answer here is obviously subjective, in all relationships, romantic and platonic alike, there are some clear signs that things are going well.  So today, let’s take a look at some signs you’re in the “right relationship,” and corresponding tips that could potentially help you make a “wrong relationship” right:

1.  No games are being played.

Far too often, we make our relationships harder than they have to be.  The difficulties started when… conversations became texting, feelings became subliminal, sex became a game, the word “love” fell out of context, trust faded as honesty waned, insecurities became a way of living, jealously became a habit, being hurt started to feel natural, and running away from it all became our solution.  Stop running!  Face these issues, fix the problems, communicate, appreciate, forgive and LOVE the people in your life who deserve it.

And of course, if you feel like someone is playing games with you, speak up.

2.  Everyone is on the same page.

If a woman starts out all casual with a man and she doesn’t tell him that she wants a committed relationship, it will likely never become a committed relationship.  If you give someone the impression that casual, or whatever, is okay with you, that’s what will be assumed going forward.  The bottom line is Keep reading →

February 9th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

7 Little Mistakes that Steal Your Happiness

7 Little Mistakes that Steal Your Happiness

by Peter Shallard

As the Shrink for Entrepreneurs I work with people who are notorious seekers of freedom and happiness.  They march to the beat of their own drum and have figured out ingenious strategies for being the masters of their own destinies.

The poem Invictus, by William Ernest Henley, best sums up the tenacious spirit and unquenchable thirst for freedom and happiness that inspires humans to reach for self mastery:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Even if you don’t run your own business (yet), you can adopt an entrepreneurial mindset to help you become more intentional, more focused, and ultimately happier and free of unwanted constraints.  Yes, you can be “the captain of your soul.”

The first step, though, is to fix the little mistakes that have been holding you back and stealing your energy and happiness for far too long.  Let’s take a look at seven such mistakes and some ways to get back on track…

1.  Ignoring what you CAN control.

Enormous freedom and power will be yours the minute you start seeing yourself Keep reading →

February 5th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

25 Things You Need to Stop Wasting Time On

25 Things You Need to Stop Wasting Time On

“Dost thou love life?  Then do not squander time,
for that’s the stuff life is made of.”
―Benjamin Franklin

This morning I received a thank you email from a reader named Hope.  She said our blog and book helped motivate her through an arduous recovery process following a serious car accident last year.  Although her entire story was both heartbreaking and inspiring, this one line made me pause and think:

“The happiest moment of my life is still that split-second a year ago when, as I laid crushed under a 2000 pound car, I realized my husband and 9-year-old boy were out of the vehicle and absolutely OK.”

Dire moments like this force us to acknowledge what’s truly important to us.  In Hope’s case, it was her husband and son.  And in the remainder of her email, she talks about how her family spends significantly more time together now, simply sharing stories, telling jokes, and appreciating each other’s company.  “The accident made us realize how much time we had been wasting every day on things that weren’t important, which prevented us from spending quality time with each other,” she said.

It’s hard to think about a story like Hope’s and not ask yourself:  “What do I need to stop wasting time on?”

Here are some things to consider, that I’ve been examining in my own life:

  1. Distractions that keep you from special moments with special people. – Pay attention to the little things, because when you really miss someone you miss the little things the most, like just laughing together.  Go for long walks.  Indulge in great conversations.  Count your mutual blessings.  Let go for a little while and just BE together.
  2. Compulsive busyness. – Schedule time every day to not be busy.  Have dedicated downtime – clear points in the day to reflect, rest, and recharge.  Don’t fool yourself; you’re not so busy that you can’t afford a few minutes of sanity.
  3. Negative thinking about your current situation. – Life is like a mirror; we get the best results when we smile.  So talk about your blessings more than you talk about your problems.  Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing.  Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Keep reading →