7 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Yesterday

7 Little Habits that Stole Your Happiness Yesterday

Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness and peace of mind.

Yesterday afternoon I met a friend at a local coffee shop.  She brought her laptop along so she could show me some of her latest digital art designs.  As we chatted and scrolled through her artwork, the laptop suddenly started making an unhealthy buzzing noise, then the screen flickered on and off and then cut off completely.  And as we both stared at one another in disbelief, the funky aroma of fried computer circuits filled our nostrils.

I quickly grabbed the laptop off the counter to inspect it and the problem instantly revealed itself.  The bottom of the laptop was soaking wet and an empty, spilt water cup rested against the side of her purse just behind where the laptop was sitting.  In the midst of us chatting and shifting the laptop’s 15-inch screen back and forth, we somehow spilt a cup of water the barista had inadvertently placed on the counter behind the screen, which was out of our view.

When life throws us nasty curveballs like this, it typically doesn’t make any sense to us, and our natural emotional reaction might be to get extremely upset and scream obscenities at the top of our lungs.  But how does this help our dilemma?  Obviously, it doesn’t.

My friend threw her hands up in the air and, to my surprise, cracked a half smile and said, “That’s exactly why I backed up my files this morning, and why I have insurance on my laptop!”

I was truly impressed by her sentiment.  Many people I know have had meltdowns over much smaller inconveniences.  And yet, this unfortunate situation didn’t steal her happiness in the least.

So let’s all take this as a lesson learned.  It’s time for us to let go of the needless stress weighing us down.

This is a new hour of our lives – a new beginning – and life will continue to surprise us with changes, one way or the other.  So we mine as well make positive transitions going forward.  Don’t you agree?

Aren’t you tired of dealing with the same type of headaches and heartaches over and over and over again?

Seriously, focus on purging some negative habits as you begin anew.  Focus on learning from your mistakes rather than be conquered by them, and letting your errors be of commission rather than omission.

Remember, you ultimately become what you repeatedly do.  If your daily habits aren’t helping you, they’re hurting you.  Here are seven common examples of the latter that have stolen happiness from thousands of our coaching/course students and readers over the years (and I’m betting you can relate):

1.  Letting every little problem get the best of you.

Inner peace begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions. [Read more…]

15 Reminders You Need When You Feel Like Giving Up

15 Reminders You Need When You Feel Like Giving Up

Our character is often most evident in our highs and lows.  Be humble at the mountaintops, be strong in the valleys, and be faithful in between.

Why are we feeling this way – so beaten up and worn down?

Why do we, who start out so passionate, courageous, worthy and believing, become utterly bankrupt by the youthful age of 30, 40 or 50?

Why is it that one of us drowns in material consumption and debt, another puts a bullet in his head, a third seeks oblivion in hard liquor and gambling, a fourth, in order to stifle fear and judgment, cynically tramples and berates her own individuality, intelligence, and pure, beautiful youth?

Why is it that, once fallen, we don’t attempt to rise back up, and, having lost one thing, we don’t attempt to seek another?

Why?

Because we give up on ourselves too soon.  We let that monster named negativity chew us up and spit us out into a deep gutter of self-doubt.

If you can relate in any way at all, here are some important reminders to keep in mind…

  1. When your marriage, parenting, faith, etc. gets tough, it’s not a sign that you’re doing it wrong.  These intimate, intricate aspects of life are toughest when you’re doing them right – when you’re dedicating time, having the tough conversations, and making daily sacrifices.
  2. On particularly hard days when you feel that you can’t endure, remind yourself that your track record for getting through hard days is 100% so far. [Read more…]

5 Things that Happen When You Embrace Being Alone

5 Things that Happen When You Embrace Being Alone

Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to like it.

“Last night I was all dressed up and waiting on my blind date to arrive.  He never showed up.  It made me feel ugly and unworthy and abandoned.  I thought he may have seen me from a distance and bailed.  All sorts of negative thoughts were running through my mind.  Then, as I left the restaurant alone, I heard a little girl ask her mom if I was a princess.  It made me smile and changed my mindset.  I decided to walk the long way home, and I truly took it in – the fresh air, the peaceful solitude, the moonlight glistening off the sidewalk.  And I realized being alone right now was exactly what I needed.”

Those are lines right out of an email I received this morning from Diane, a coaching/course student of ours (I’m sharing this with permission).  Her feelings of loneliness, and then her willingness to embrace being alone, is both inspiring and a wonderful reminder for all of us.  Because sometimes being alone is exactly what we need, whether we realize it or not.

The truth, however, is that an astounding number of people in this world hate being alone.  Perhaps all of us do at some point or another.

We fear being without friends, family, or a partner.  We get anxious about traveling alone to strange places, and being lost without anyone to hold our hand.  We fear taking on life without a shoulder to lean on, for fear that we’re not strong enough or good enough to stand on our own two feet.

This is natural – this resistance to being alone. We’ve all felt it deep down in our own way, though we often try desperately to ignore and deny it.  And this is one of the greatest causes of our stress…

To avoid being alone we’ll socialize endlessly, online and offline.  We’ll date, and even marry, someone who isn’t right for us, just to have someone to cling to – someone to fill up the empty space in our lives.  We’ll watch hours of TV, or stuff our faces with junk food, or buy toys we don’t need, because these things are replacements for love… especially self-love.

The secret to turning things around?  Awareness and acceptance.

We have to open our minds to the empowering nature of being alone.

We tend to see solitude as grim and imprisoning.  But in fact the exact opposite can be true.  Solitude can be seen as freeing, as an opportunity for exploration and growth – an opportunity to get to know and love yourself, deeply.

Like most of us, though, this is something I’ve learned the hard way.  For many years I feared being alone, but I gradually strengthened my emotional self-sufficiency, and now I love it.  The more I’ve experienced and explored my own feelings of loneliness and uncertainty, the more I’ve realized how necessary these feelings are.  It’s good for us to spend time exploring unknowns by ourselves.  It gives us an opportunity to discover who we really are and what life is all about.

Being alone is nothing to fear.  Solitude is beautiful.

Here are some things that happen when you embrace it:

1.  You develop strengths you need, and didn’t know you had inside you.

Whenever I tell a coaching/course student that they need to embrace being alone, they usually say something like:

“But don’t you think the thought of being alone is [Read more…]

10 Types of Friends Worth Fighting For

10 Types of Friends Worth Fighting For

“I would rather walk with a friend in the dark, than alone in the light.”
― Helen Keller

This post was inspired by three emails I received this morning, all of which share a similar theme about friendship.  Below I have shared a small excerpt from each (with permission).  I know you will appreciate them:

  • “Kayla, my 12-year-old daughter, speaks fluent sign language because her best friend, Megan, who she grew up with from the time she was an infant, is deaf.  Seeing their genuine friendship evolve and grow over the years truly warms my heart.”
  • “My younger brother, Greg, spends most of his free time at school hanging out with the football team – he’s actually been working out with the team and everything.  Greg has a mild case of autism.  About a year ago my mom was ready to pull him out of school and have him homeschooled due to excessive bullying from peers.  One of the popular football players, who had stood up for him in the past, heard about this, explained the situation to his teammates and friends, and stood by his side until the bullying stopped.  Now, a year later, he’s just ‘one of the guys.’”
  • “Yesterday my sister and I were in a pretty bad car accident.  Luckily both of us were wearing our seat belts and didn’t have any major injuries.  My sister is and always has been Mrs. Popular – she knows everyone.  I’m the complete opposite – an introvert who hangs out with the same two girls all the time.  My sister immediately posted a comment on Facebook and Instagram about our accident.  And while all her friends were commenting, my two friends showed up independently at the scene of the accident before the ambulance arrived.”

Each of these emails made me smile because they reminded me of the power of true friendship.  There’s honestly nothing more beautiful and meaningful in this world.

The author of the third email excerpt above ended her email with this line:  “I know I don’t have a lot of friends, but I’m sure grateful I have a couple worth fighting for.”

And that’s exactly what I want to reflect on in this post – 10 types of friends worth fighting for…

1.  Friends who make time for each other.

There are countless intricacies to every great friendship, but the foundation is always [Read more…]

20 Things We Should Say to Ourselves More Often

20 Things We Should Say to Ourselves More Often

What we do comes out of who we believe we are.

A good friend of mine, who graduated with honors from Cal Berkley several years ago, is now the co-founder and CEO of a successful start-up in Silicon Valley.  Throughout grade school he struggled with reading and writing disabilities.  He spent kindergarten all the way through 12th grade in English ESE classes.  During a parent-teacher conference when he was a freshman in high school, two ESE teachers collectively informed his mom that it was highly unlikely he would ever graduate.

So how did he do it?  How did he push through and overcome the odds?  “Affirmations,” he told me with a serious smile when I interviewed him yesterday for a side-project I’m working on.  “I literally told myself that they were wrong about me.  I told myself exactly what I needed to hear, every single day, to move my life forward.  It may sound like a cliché to some people, but it’s not; it’s powerful stuff!”

I love his sentiment, and I agree with him 110%.  In fact, there’s a good reason why training our minds with positive affirmations works wonders like this.

Just like every muscle in the body, the mind needs to be exercised to gain strength.  It needs to be worked consistently to grow and develop over time.  If you haven’t pushed your mind in thousands of little ways over time, of course it’ll crumble on the one day that things get really challenging.

A mind well trained with positive affirmations has the right thoughts queued up and ready for retrieval at a moment’s notice.

If you’d like to begin (or enhance) this practice in your own life, here’s a selection of affirmations I often suggest to our coaching/course students, as starting point:

  1. “I cannot control everything that happens to me; I can only control the way I respond to what happens.  In my response is my power.” [Read more…]