Your goal is to grow so strong on the inside that nothing on the outside can affect your inner peace of mind without your conscious permission.
The ultimate measure of your wisdom and strength? How calm you are when facing any given situation. Yes, calmness is a human superpower. The ability to not overreact or take things personally keeps your thoughts clean and your heart at peace, which instantly gives you an upper hand regardless of your circumstances.
Thus, the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your own mind. If you can overcome that, you can overcome almost anything. And by “overcoming,” I’m referring to the skill of mindfulness, and learning to effectively control your emotional responses to life’s unexpected tests. Because most of your deepest pain and frustration on a daily basis will come from the way you respond, not the way life is.
Of course, being calm and mindful is easier said than done, especially when we’re under pressure in this day and age. High stress, relentless worry over work and life, and various forms of social anxiety are all a part of the modern way of being. Most of us just don’t feel any sense of peace or calm throughout the day, and are therefore depleted of energy and effectiveness in almost everything we do. I have to admit that Marc and I used to be exactly this way.
The good news is, we have since learned to focus our minds more resourcefully, and so can YOU. Our biggest breakthrough came about a decade ago when we started leveraging five-second daily reminders to keep ourselves thinking better and living better. The reminders simply reinforce the core daily actions and rituals we know we need to engage in to remain calm and in control from the inside out. Although Marc and I have shared many of these five-second reminders with readers in the past, the reminders are scattered throughout various blog posts, subscriber emails, and chapters of our three books. So, today I’m putting 31 of my personal favorites in one convenient place for you to reflect on.
Challenge yourself to pick the one new reminder every morning for the next month (roughly 31 days), write it down someplace you can easily see it (perhaps write it on a post-it note), and then consciously recite it (at least three times) as needed throughout the day. See how doing so prompts you to respond to life with a calmer and more effective mindset.
- Calmness begins the moment you take a deep breath and choose not to allow another person or event to control your thoughts. You are not what happened to you. You are what you choose to become in this moment. Let go, and begin again.
- Happiness is letting go of what you assume your life is supposed to be like right now, and sincerely appreciating it for everything it is. So, RELAX. You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Inhale, exhale… let go, and just live right now in the moment.
- Be here. Just right here. No matter what, you can always fight the battles of just today. It’s only when you add the infinite battles of yesterday and tomorrow that life gets overly complicated.
- Calmness does not mean to be in a place where there is no chaos, trouble, or hard realities to deal with. Calmness means to be in the midst of all those things and still remain mentally, emotionally, and physically centered.
- Be selective with your energy. If you can fix a problem, fix it. If you can’t, then accept it and change your thoughts about it. Whatever you do, don’t invest more energy than you need, tripping over something behind you… or something that only exists inside your head.
- When you are lost in worry, it is easy to mistake your worries for reality, instead of recognizing that they are just thoughts.
- Remember, you alone get to choose what matters and what doesn’t. The meaning of everything in your life has precisely the meaning you give it.
- Most of the time the problem is not the problem—the problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking and over-analyzing you’re doing with the problem. Pause, and breathe, again.
- Life humbles us gradually as we age. We realize how much nonsense we’ve wasted time on. So, just do your best right now to feel the peace that flows from your decision to rise above the petty drama that doesn’t really matter.
- What you focus on grows. Stop managing your time. Start managing your focus.
- Positivity is a choice. The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts. And remember, being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative, it means overcoming the negative. There’s a big difference between the two.
- Life is too short to argue and fight. Count your blessings, value the people you love, and move on from the drama with your head held high. Calmness among chaos is a human superpower. Give yourself that power. Focus mindfully on what truly matters.
- If you don’t like someone’s behavior, stay away, but don’t hurt them. Don’t be abusive and disrespectful. That’s a sign of weakness. In fact, the real test always comes when you don’t get what you expect from people. Will you react in anger? Or will calmness continue to be your superpower? (NOTE: Marc and I build mindful communication rituals with our students in the “Love & Relationships” module of the Getting Back to Happy Course.)
- People are much nicer when they’re at peace with themselves, which says a lot about people who aren’t very nice to you. Wish them well, and be on your way.
- Don’t lower your standards, but do remember that removing your expectations of others is the best way to avoid being disappointed by them. You will end up sadly disappointed if you expect people will always do for you as you do for them. Not everyone has the same heart as you.
- You won’t always be a priority to others, and that’s why you need to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become your own support system. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Don’t wait on others to choose you. Choose yourself, today! START making your happiness a priority. START making your happiness a priority.
- Give yourself the space to listen to your own voice—your own soul. Too many people listen to the noise of the world and get lost in the crowd.
- Just breathe, be, and pay attention to what it’s like to be YOU. Nothing to fix. Nothing to change. Nowhere else to go. Just you, breathing, being, with presence, without judgment. You are welcome here. You belong here. Here, you are enough. Close your eyes. Breathe…
- Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like you aren’t. What we do in life ultimately comes out of who we believe we are.
- Don’t compare your progress with that of others. We all need our own time to travel our own distance. Just focus on the step you are presently taking.
- It’s OK to be low-key about the step you’re taking today. You don’t need to put everything on social media. Silently progress and let your actions speak for themselves.
- A decade from now it won’t really matter what shoes you wore today, how your hair looked, or what brand of clothes you wore. What will matter is how you lived, how you loved, and what you learned along the way.
- Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to accomplish something big, that we fail to notice all the little things that give life its magic. Keep your eyes open for blessings in disguise. They are everywhere. And they are worth gathering into your awareness.
- Take life day by day and be grateful for the little things. Don’t get caught up in what you can’t control. Accept it and make the best of it. When you stop worrying about what you can’t control, you have more time to change the things you can control. And that changes everything in the long run.
- It’s not too late. You aren’t behind. You’re exactly where you need to be. Every step and experience is necessary.
- Think of all the hundreds and hundreds of little steps and missteps and chances and coincidences that have brought you here. In a way it feels like the biggest miracle in the world, doesn’t it? Keep this in mind, and meditate on the fact that you are a work in progress, and every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.
- Forgive yourself for the bad decisions you made, for the times you lacked understanding, for the choices that hurt others and yourself. Forgive yourself, for being young and reckless. These are all vital lessons. And what matters most right now is your willingness to grow from them.
- Life changes every single second, and so can you. Every moment gives us a new beginning and a new ending. You literally get a second chance every second.
- Nothing is permanent. When you understand this, you can do almost anything you wish because you’re not trying to hold onto anything anymore. Let it sink in. It’s all about accepting what is, letting go of what was, and having faith in your journey. (NOTE: Marc and I guide our readers through this process in the Letting Go chapter of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently“.)
- It’s funny how we outgrow what we once thought we couldn’t live without, and then we fall in love with what we didn’t even know we wanted. Life keeps leading us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us. Don’t be afraid. Have faith. Find the lessons. Trust the journey.
- Head up, heart open. To more peaceful and productive moments approaching!
Calmness is ultimately your choice…
Yes, it’s your choice.
You are choosing right now.
And if you’re choosing…
to be stuck in the past…
to act like a victim…
to feel doubtful…
to feel anger…
to feel hate…
to be worried…
to ignore your own good judgment…
to ignore good advice…
to give up…
…then it’s time to choose differently.
But, let me also remind you that you are not alone. Generations of human beings in your family tree have chosen before you. Human beings around the world have chosen, too. We all have chosen at one time or another. And we stand behind you now whispering:
Choose to let go.
Choose to be present.
Choose to be positive.
Choose to forgive yourself.
Choose to forgive others.
Choose to see your value.
Choose to see the possibilities.
Choose to prove you’re not a victim.
Choose to breathe deeply.
Choose to find calmness within yourself, and make it your superpower today.
If you’re feeling up to it, we would love to hear from YOU.
Which reminder mentioned above resonates with you the most today, and why?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign-up for our free newsletter to receive new quotes & articles like this in your inbox each week.
Five-second reminders! Love it! These do help.
Even when times are stressful, my top strategy is to stop myself from complaining, to reflect for a moment and calm myself down. I just do the absolute best I can in the moment, one tiny breath or step at a time, just as you mentioned in #20. This is probably the most important strategy for living I’ve picked up from your course and coaching (although there are several others) — it is indeed a strategy — a daily habit — I use every single day of my life.
Thanks as always. And I’m looking forward to re-watching your recent 2022 conference recordings from in Orlando. I was there live and I see you just emailed me about the recordings being available soon. Blessings.
Sasha J. says
Angel & Marc,
I resonate deeply with the reminders you’ve shared here and I will use them as morning affirmations starting tomorrow when I first awake. But I also want you to know how much I deeply connected with the way you ended this write-up–specifically the challenge to choose a different response to life. Too often I find myself fighting against situations, relationships, and realities in my life that aren’t in line with my expectations. I spew negativity far more often then I even realize, and quite honestly I think lots of people I know do the same exact thing. We get offended and upset rather than opening ourselves to the possibility of making the very best of things.
Anyhow, I’ve been a long-time reader of your work, and my husband and I sit down together every weekend and use your articles, emails and excerpts from your books to reflect on our lives. Thank you, again, for all that you two do.
Cheryl L. says
I have just found your site and plan to spend a lot of time reading here. I desperately need CALMNESS, more POSITIVITY, more JOY, and less STRESS in my life! So many past experiences (plus the way I was raised) have taught me to look at the cup as half empty but I desperately want to see it as half full. Thank you for the work that you do. Now I’m off to read more.
Mike Foster says
I love what you said about being here now with presence and acceptance, and the notion of looking at what you have rather than what you do not. And I also like how you frame the idea of calmness being the foundation to making progress. Honestly, this is what your Getting Back to Happy modules and coaching have helped me with most. In the past I’ve been a victim of my own negativity. I’ve literally held myself back simply by telling myself it’s not going to work, or that it’s too late, or that I’m not good enough because of some past situation. Thus, I appreciate these reminders. They are calming and centering for my thinking. And truly, I’ve come a long way recently, but reminders always help me stay on track. And Marc and Angel, your work is often the source I turn to most frequently when I meed an extra push in the right direction. Thank you.
Wonderful thoughts to start my week ..bless you.
One of your points reminded me of something I heard before during an NBA basketball game…the microphone zero in on the coach as he was giving the Warriors a timeout talk..they were down by 10 or 12 ..but the game was not over and he was telling them “we’re exactly where we need to be”. Sometimes we just need to remember to be calm and follow through…
Victor Rosel says
Truly, the ability to stay calm in tense situations is the real super power.
I loved the part of “stop managing your time, and start managing your focus.” I am going to apply this to my life.
Thank you so much, M&A. This article arrived in my email just on time. I really needed it and as if I called you concerning my situation right now. Honestly, you’ve contributed a lot in making my day. It’s always a pleasure to read your words.
Your article is so timely, thank you! We broke up last month with my boyfriend after 3 years and we are still living together while I find a new place, which, needless to say, is very stressful. Amazingly, I have remained very calm and focused which seems to make his anger worse. I feel like his anger is his end, not mine…. I remain respectful while he rants, lies, manipulates…. I feel like I am made out of granit, his negativity cannot affect me. I realize how much I have grown, in part thanks to you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Morina ketron says
Thank you Marc&Angel,
It seems that your emails come right when I need them the most as though you’re right here with me and know the situation I am going through. Your words bring me so much support and encouragement especially when I’m at a spot where lately it feels as though it’s me against the world and like I’m completely alone, you remind me that I’m not and that someone out there really cares
I feel as though we all know each other though we’ve never actually met. Thank you again. As soon as I’m able I am going to get your new book and hopefully be able to participate in a course or a one on one with you guys.
Mary Jane Coleman says
I have been reading your posts for years and I will say I always learn something- thank you very much!
This lesson in calmness clicked with me today.
You won’t always be a priority to others, and that’s why you need to be a priority to yourself. Learn to respect yourself, take care of yourself, and become your own support system. Your needs matter. Start meeting them. Don’t wait on others to choose you. Choose yourself, today! START making your happiness a priority. START making your happiness a priority.
Thank you Marc and Angel. This is the first time I have posted but I suddenly felt the need to leave a reply. I read from 31 upwards (just to be contrary) and had to stop at number 30…because it resonated with me and will help me refocus/repurpose my current mental fight to be positive. I have moved several thousand miles in the last month and have left my comfortable surroundings/life/friends/support behind. And now I am struggling to see why I did that to feel this miserable. But as you say life keeps leading us on journeys we would never go on if it were up to us. I will have faith.I am grateful that I have your words in my inbox. Warmest thoughts to the whole community here.
Recently started reading your posts, bought one of your books on Kindle, and am doing my best to live up to all of this. For me, it’s not so much getting back to happy as it is getting to happy, for reasons that would take too long to get into.
I just have to remember that I AM making progress on myself, even if it doesn’t feel that way day to day.
Deborah Nishizaki says
Yummy for THE MINDS TUMMY…
Well done, every single number and word placement. Thank you for 31 concise right-minded thinking choices for good health. Waves of love’s peace and good vibrations.
Emmanuel Worthwhile says
Wow! I can’t thank marc and Angela enough for the great job you guys are doing here, I have been following your blog for over 8 years now and I must say that I have gained a lot here. Especially via email notification. keep up the good work. I am a true fan.
The entire list came at just the right time! But especially #’s 15, 16 and 19. I’ve just been forced to resign from my job because of what I truly feel was age discrimination. I’ve been up and down with my emotions, thinking how could they treat me so unfairly and hostile after how nice I’ve always been toward them. I have to drive pass the worksite every day because it’s on my normal route; with this list, I have a new strategy to deal with the emotions I feel when I go by. Thanks for your time and concern for the well-being of others. Blessings to you.