November 4th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

A Simple Thing You Can Do Today that Will Make You Happier

A Simple Thing You Can Do Today that Will Make You Happier

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

Think about that for a moment, and ask yourself: What does my happiness feel like?

Over the years, Marc and I have asked you to join us in examining the relationship between happiness and hardship.  Hardship feels easy to define – a season of financial struggle, a time of personal loss, a period of life marked by tragedies – as the source of ongoing frustration in our lives.  But happiness?  What exactly is the emotion we call happiness and why do we crave it so badly?

When trying to define happiness, it’s tempting to adopt the “I’ll know it when I see it” mindset.  I have no doubt that you will – but Marc and I challenge you to dig a bit deeper.  Take just a moment to write down 2–3 specific action steps that you know make you feel happy.

These are what I have written down.  For me, my happiness comes from time spent with my loved ones and on the work I deem important.  Spending quality, uninterrupted time with Marc and our son Mac brings me great joy.  I also find that I am flush with happiness after I’ve conquered a long blog post or read a heartfelt email from a long-time reader.

But here’s the real secret to happiness: what makes me happy may not make you happy.  Perhaps your true happiness comes in the silence of an afternoon of meditation, or maybe you find happiness at the end of a long hike up a mountain.  Where you find joy is not as important as understanding how Keep reading →

November 2nd, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

One Question that Will Free You from Judgments and Drama

One Question that Will Free You from Judgements and Drama

If you listen closely to your intuition you will always know what is “best” for you, because what is best for you is what is true for you.

Your body has five senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.  But not to be ignored are the inner senses of your soul: intuition, foresight, and self-trust.  The most common differences between happy and unhappy people lie in their use of these inner senses.  So many people don’t know anything about them though, while others rely on their inner senses just as they rely on their physical senses, and in fact probably even more.  And this makes all the difference in the world.

The senses of your soul help you express your whole truth, and being true to yourself takes work, because it’s so easy to get sidetracked and influenced by others.  It’s easy to get caught up in the drama.  You have to put in the effort and stand strong every day to honor your own ideas, feelings, intuitions and aspirations.

When you add more of your self into your daily actions and decisions, your sense of self-worth (your TRUE self) blooms.  That is the path to a happier, truer, more wholesome YOU.

So today, I challenge you to 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 Keep reading →

October 29th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

6 Ways to Stop Jealousy from Breaking Your Heart

6 Ways to Stop Jealousy from Breaking Your Heart

“Welcome to the wonderful world of jealousy.  For the price of admission, you get a splitting headache, a nearly irresistible urge to commit murder, and an inferiority complex.  Yippee.”
―J.R. Ward

Truth be told, sometimes we have to let go of what’s killing us, even if it’s killing us to let go.  And jealousy is one of these things we must let go, no matter how hard it is.

Because jealousy is a disease; love is a healthy condition.  The immature mind often mistakes one for the other, or assumes that the greater the love, the greater the jealousy - when in fact, they are completely incompatible; one emotion hardly leaves room for the other.

Excessive jealousy doesn’t tell someone how much you love them; it tells them how much you dislike yourself.  And no amount of love, or promises, or proof from them will ever be enough to make you feel better.  For those broken pieces you carry, are pieces you must mend for yourself.  Happiness is an inside job.  Deep down you know this is true.

If you don’t address your jealousy, it can lead to all kinds of frustration and unhappiness.  It starts small and spreads like a disease.  That’s why it’s so important to address it and overcome it in your relationships ASAP, before things get worse and completely out of control. Keep reading →

October 26th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

2 Secret Tricks of Highly Productive, Self-Disciplined People

2 Secret Tricks of Highly Productive, Self-Disciplined People

Instead of complaining about your circumstances, get busy creating new ones.  You either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret.

I used to call Joe a genius – everyone did.  At school we all thought of him as an incredibly “gifted” guitarist and he’s since gone on to travel the world making a very good living at what he loves to do.

Joe and I became good friends toward the end of high school, and that’s when I learned the truth.  I stayed over at his house one night and was awakened at 6am on a Sunday morning by the harmonious strum of his acoustic guitar.  “What are you doing up?” I yawned.  “It’s six in the morning.”

“I always start the day with two hours of practice and do two more hours in the afternoon or evening.  If I didn’t I’d be hopeless,” Joe said.

At that moment it hit me: Joe was gifted, but this was a gift that had started out very small, perhaps even invisible to most people, but then he had added, built upon, and massively extended it.  Joe had developed his gift through self-discipline.

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate self-discipline as an invisible magic.  You can’t see, taste, or smell it, but its effects are unmistakable.  It can transform overweight into slim, uninformed into expert, poor into rich, and misery into happiness.  It’s the submerged part of the iceberg others don’t see when they see a person’s “genius.”

For example, celebrities have never been more visible in our culture.  Famous athletes, talented actors and actresses, and incredible musicians are all over the Keep reading →

October 19th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

18 Great Reminders When You’re Having a Bad Day

18 Great Reminders When You’re Having a Bad Day

Sometimes you have to get knocked down lower than you’ve ever been to stand up taller than you ever were before.  Sometimes your eyes need to be washed by your tears so you can see the possibilities in front of you with a clear vision again.

Last night I had a long conversation with my wise, 71-year-old dad about living and growing through adversity.  One of the last things he said before we got off the phone resonated with me so much, I wrote it down:

“It’s been my experience that most people aren’t truly happy until they’ve had many reasons to be sad.  I believe this is because it takes all of those bad days and hardships to teach us how to truly appreciate what we have.  It builds our resilience.”

Honestly, I don’t think it gets any closer to the truth than that.

Not every day is good, but there is something good about every day.  It takes a strong person to see the positive on down days.  The key, I have learned, lies in letting go.  It’s about realizing that, except for your own thoughts, there’s nothing that’s absolutely in your power.  Knowing and accepting this gives you the ability to cope effectively with life’s constant stream of little tragedies – an aptitude we call resilience.

Ultimately, you can fight life, you can do nothing but complain about what you’re missing, or you can accept everything you have and put it together to create something worth smiling about.

So with this in mind, here are some good things to keep in mind when you’re having a bad day:

  1. The right attitude is the one thing you need right now. – What you focus on changes everything.  Don’t look back when you know you shouldn’t.  Don’t worry about what you can’t control.  Don’t stress over unimportant things.  Be positive.  Seriously, the most underrated trait of all successful people I’ve ever met is positivity.  Your attitude directly determines how well you live your life.  You simply can’t live a positive life with a negative attitude.  Don’t let mental blocks control you.  Set yourself free. Confront your negativity and turn the mental blocks into building blocks. Keep reading →

October 12th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

27 Stressful Things You Tolerate Too Often

27 Stressful Things You Tolerate Too Often

Life is to be enjoyed and appreciated, not endured and tolerated.

In life, unnecessary tolerations can bleed you of energy and make it impossible for you to function effectively.  You can’t live a happy, successful, fulfilling life when you’re spending all your energy tolerating things that shouldn’t be tolerated.  Sometimes you need to put your foot down.

In our line of work, Angel and I hear from hundreds of coaching clients, book readers and blog subscribers (subscribe here) every month who have been tolerating the wrong things for far too long.  If you feel like you have been too, here are some things to stop tolerating in your life:

  1. A negative attitude – Choose to be unhappy and you will find a million reasons to complain and frown.  Choose to be happy and you will find a million reasons to smile.
  2. Drama circles – Don’t get caught up in judging and gossiping.  Don’t give in to the negativity and drama around you.  Be positive.  Give people a piece of your heart rather than a piece of your mind.  Life is too short to be spent talking about people and stirring up trouble that has no substance.  Instead, get caught up in being thankful and being way nicer than necessary. Keep reading →

October 8th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

7 Crazy Mistakes We Make in the Pursuit of Happiness

7 Crazy Mistakes We Make in the Pursuit of Happiness

by Chantalle Gerber

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of.  You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
―Albert Camus

Let’s face it.  Every time you turn around, you find new advice on being happy.  Books promising to reveal the true secret of happiness.  Blog posts telling you, “Write down three things that make you happy today.”  Friends saying, “Move on!” and, “Cheer up!” after you’ve had a bad day.

And maybe you’re wondering… what’s wrong with that?

Happiness is a good thing right?  Well, yes.  Of course it is.

But we are being taught that our lives should be a straight and narrow path toward happiness.

We are taught that we should strive for happiness, and happiness alone in everything we do.

And that if we’re not always feeling happy, then something is terribly wrong.

The truth is, happiness should not be our only focus, and continuously striving for it, to the detriment of everything else, can actually cause us to make lots of mistakes.  Here are seven such mistakes, and how to fix them:

1.  We view setbacks and growing pains as failures.

When we actively pursue happiness, anything that makes us feel unhappy can seem like a failure – such as a simple setback or challenging moment – when in reality these things are unavoidable, normal parts of personal growth.  Sometimes it’s just easier to feel depressed and trapped by these experiences and let them get the best of us.

Think about a time in your life when you faced a challenge.  Maybe you lost your Keep reading →

October 5th, 2014 - by: Angel Chernoff

11 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Stress

11 Ways to Let Go and Feel Less Stress

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars.  You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”
―C.S. Lewis

This morning, I received a long email from a reader named Evan who is struggling with letting go of a failed relationship.  In his email he explains, in rather vivid detail, the signs and symptoms of a toxic relationship that has been heading south for many years.  He admits that he needs to let go, but he struggles with it, because doing so means he must finally face reality, which requires him to let go of the idea in his head about how his life and relationship were suppose to be.

One particular line from his email really summed it up well: “I’m learning the hard way that the hardest thing in life is simply letting go of what you thought was real.”

Isn’t that the truth – for all of us, in all walks of life.  We all have an idea in our heads about how things are, or how they’re supposed to be, and sadly this is what often messes us up and stresses us out the most.  Realize this.  Sometimes life doesn’t give you what you WANT because you NEED something else.  And what you need often comes when you’re not looking for it.  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.

The key is detachment – letting go of the life you expected, so you can make the best of the life that’s waiting for you.  It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.  Here are some strategies for making this happen:

  1. Create some healthy space for yourself. – Sometimes you are just too close to the puzzle to see the big picture.  You need to take a few steps back to gain clarity on the situation.  The best way to do this is to simply take a short break – a breather – a vacation – and explore something else for a little while.  Why?  So you can return to where you started and see things with a new set of eyes.  And the people there may see you differently too.  Returning where you started is entirely different than never leaving. Keep reading →

October 1st, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

7 Important Life Lessons Everyone Learns the Hard Way

7 Important Lessons Everyone Learns the Hard Way

“People never learn anything by being told,
they have to find out for themselves.”
―Paulo Coelho

Today marks the five-year anniversary of a close friend’s unexpected passing.  This morning I caught myself reflecting on that dreary morning when I received the news, and how several colleagues and acquaintances whom I barely knew came up to me over the subsequent hours and gave me a pat on the back, a hug, or a genuine “I’m sorry.”

In the midst of my sorrow I now realize this tragic loss taught me three important things.  First, the worst things can happen to the best people for no obvious reason at all.  Second, most people, even the ones you don’t think care, are genuinely good people who do care.  And finally, just as it is difficult to see all the opportunities life gives you until you’re looking back, it is virtually impossible to fully understand certain life circumstances until they actually happen to you.

It’s a variation of this final point that I want to explore further today – seven important life lessons almost everyone learns the hard way, eventually.

1.  The people you lose remain a part of you.

Someday you will be faced with the reality of loss.  And as life goes on, days rolling into nights, it will become clear that you never really stop missing someone special who’s gone, you just learn to live around the gaping hole of their absence.

When you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open, and the bad news is you never completely get over the loss.  You will never forget them.  However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news.  They will Keep reading →

September 28th, 2014 - by: Marc Chernoff

20 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough

10 Things to Remember When You Think You’re Not Good Enough

Sometimes the hardest part of the journey is simply believing you’re worthy of the trip.

Truth be told, you can’t berate yourself into a better version of yourself.  And even though I know this, I sometimes still fall victim to my own negative thinking.  Sometimes I’m downright rude to myself.  I make a mistake, or fall short of my own expectations, and instead of treating it as a learning opportunity, I beat myself up about it.

I’m sure you can relate.  We’ve all been there.  We all have bad days and moments of self-doubt.

Sometimes the pressure coming from peers, family, work, and society in general is enough to make us feel completely broken inside.  If we don’t have the “right” job, relationship, lifestyle, and so forth, by a certain age or timeframe, we assume we’re just “not good enough.”  Angel and I hear about this kind of self-defeating mindset from our coaching clients and blog subscribers (subscribe here) on a daily basis, and like I said, we aren’t immune either.

So what can we do about it?

Here’s how I handle it: Every time I catch myself thinking I’m not good enough, I immediately write down an opposing thought that debunks my negativity.  I’ve been doing this for the past several years and it’s made a tremendous difference in my life.  I challenge you to do the same.

If you need a little extra inspiration, here are some things I’ve come up with – 20 good reminders when you’re feeling “not good enough”:

  1. Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. – YOU are walking your own path.  Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel.   Forget what everyone else is doing and achieving.  Your life is about breaking your own limits and outgrowing yourself to live YOUR best life.
  2. Where you are right now is a necessary step. – Sometimes we avoid experiencing exactly where we are because we have developed a belief, based on our ideals, that it is not where we should be or want to be.  But the truth is, where you are right now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow. Keep reading →