Lucky or Grateful? Yes!

Virtually all of the teachers in the field of achievement, happiness and abundance teach us that we need to “Be Grateful”. We need to develop and cultivate an attitude of gratitude. No matter what is going on around us we need to find something to be grateful for.

I have known and understood this virtually my entire life. However, it is only recently that the light came on for me that I have indeed been grateful virtually my entire life. You see, I used to think that it was very hard to maintain an attitude of gratitude. I thought it meant that I had to constantly focus on being grateful and being specific about what it was that I was grateful for. Sort of like taking time out and concentrating.

Certainly we need to do that sort of thing. We need to pay attention to what we are feeling about what is happening. We need to focus on what we would like to feel grateful for in order to attract that into our lives. In the present tense. But how do we do that? That is where the light has finally come on for me. I have been doing this for my entire life. Maybe you have also.

People who know me will recognize this sort of phrase from me. “I am so lucky to have chosen to be born in the right place at the right time in history to the right parents.” I use the “lucky” word a lot. You will usually hear it shortly after something “bad” has happened. I have intuitively always looked for the silver lining and expressed it out loud. I now finally realize that what I have been exercising is my attitude of gratitude! And I have had lots of occasions to exercise it!

I do not really recall being taught this along the way in my early years but it does not mean that I was not being exposed to it. I read voraciously in the achievement fields and goals fields. The concept was likely there and I probably picked it up by osmosis. But I have had this my whole life, even as a child.

So what? Has it made a difference? Do I enjoy abundance? Am I happy? Do I have great relationships? Can I do what I want, when I want to and with whom I want? Simply, yes. In my 20’s I decided that I wanted to be able to retire by the age of 50 and I did. Along the way, I helped others in ways that allowed them to do and get what they wanted out of life. Great relationships! My family life has had the occasional hick-up as all families do but it is fabulous. I have the freedom to do what I want, when I want and with whom I want. I am so “lucky”.

There is that word again. Always look for the luck/gratitude views on what is happening to you. Take the silver lining and run with it as your flag. When it is the toughest that you have ever faced, feel lucky because it is getting you ready for something greater than you could have believed in earlier times. You can be happy anyway!

Awe and Wonder!

We all know that it is important to be following a “continuos learning” trajectory through life but what does it mean? Obviously in work settings it means keeping up and even looking ahead to move ahead. In every day settings it used to mean that we should be taking courses to stretch our minds and broaden our interests. These days it probably means staying in touch with the continuos changes in our electronic world and the apps that drive it along. Whenever we update our software, it often means a learning curve to adjust to the changes. Get the latest technology once in a while to experience continuous learning!

A note of caution: continuous learning must not end with retirement! It is not a work thing. It is a life thing.

But really, nothing has changed. If you are not interested you are withering. If you are not living with a bit of wondering you are coasting and not engaged in your life. You are dying! Remember, our life is a short time in the whole of eternity so we had best make full use of it.

We live in a world of amazing wonders that must surely inspire enthusiasm for inquiring into the whys and hows of things. Continuous learning is not about formal training or education. It is about looking around and wondering about the things that we see all the time. Live like you are on a vacation. Rush to the next thing and learn as much as you can about it. I love the concept that we have learned more in science in the last 100 years than we have learned in all the previous years of history. We know stuff now that we did not even know that we should be wondering about just 100 years ago.

We don’t know everything. We do not have all the answers – yet. Actually, we won’t ever have all the answers. Before Galileo we thought that everything revolved around earth. Then we thought that our solar system was the centre of the universe. And then, … well you get the point. We don’t know what we don’t know. Stay inquisitive. Look at things with the wonder and enthusiasms of a kid. Go discover! Learn! Wonder! LIVE!

I want to continue to be inquisitive. I want to stay interested in seeing and experiencing stuff that I have not yet come across. I want to keep learning. In short, I want to keep living fully. THAT is the way to staying Happy Anyway! :-)

Hope – Happiness

Ah the start of a new year! A time when we have reflected on the happenings of the past year, considered various shortcomings in our life, and made a number of promises to ourselves (resolutions – the infamous resolutions!) to do in the coming year. Of course we will lose a bit of weight; get more fit; plan my weeks more diligently; be more patient with family, friends and colleagues; get that promotion; visit …… well you get the idea.

Our reflections typically seem to focus on what went wrong in the past year. Those sorts of memories often stick in our mind because they are linked to strong emotions. It is normal and natural but I urge you to keep the perspective of “that was then, this is now, now what”.

Make sure you focus on the great times and victories of the past year. Get those positive memories firmly to the front of the brain as you get ready to contemplate the coming year. Now you are ready to address the all-important “now what”.

Three grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Joseph Addison – 1672–1719 writer.

How great is that as a guide to get ready for the coming year! What are you going to do? Who will you extend your love to? And, underpinning everything, what are your hopes? Hope is a key to “Being Happy Anyway“.

Hope keeps your spirits up through the tough times we all have. We hope for an end to the problem. We hope for better health or the strength to handle whatever it is that we have been handling. We sometimes hope others will change. Rather we need to focus on managing our own reactions and being happy anyway. It is a choice.

So Happy New Year. Choose hope and happiness. Enjoy the good, learn from the not so good, and look forward with great hope for”now what“.

Above all, remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!



Simple Pleasures

We are so intent on finding the magic formula for happiness that we miss the obvious. I have said else where here that it is really all about choices. We just have to choose to be happy. Not always easy. Sometimes life is just too hard at the moment to make that choice.

What to do? Simplify. Find some little pleasures that bring peace and indulge yourself, even just for a few minutes. If you can do this, you get a little respite, perhaps gain a bit more perspective and maybe even start to see the lessons and a road to being able to choose to be happy anyway.

So, turn off the lights, light a couple of candles, get some of your favorite “soft and peaceful” music and just sit back and listen carefully for  while. Take a short detour and stop at that park and just go for a walk and SEE nature around you as you walk along. The birds busily getting food. The trees and shrubs doing their thing in the midst of everything else that is happening around them. The flowers. The snow on the shrubs. Squirrels jumping along a snow edged fence.

What are some of your “little pleasures”? A warm bath. Reading an historical mystery novel, stopping at a pub for wings and beer, sitting with your life partner and enjoying memories, day dreaming about what might be ahead, a glass of good wine, thinking about who to check in on – and doing it, looking at photos of great memories and so on. I guess you know a few of mine. What are some of yours? It is ok to not live in the moment for a short moment.

Don’t think about the big things when your going through a tough time. It might be too hard to keep a good perspective. Just move outside of life for a few minutes, unplug from your phone or tablet or computer and enjoy one or two of the simple little pleasures. While you are, look for the perspective. It is there.

Yes and – live well, love always and laugh out loud Now!



What’s the Point?

It’s a question we find we ask ourselves at difficult times in our lives. We know intellectually that we will die at some point and all that we know will be no more for us. So, what is the point?!

Incredible opening for my blog that focuses on being Happy Anyway isn’t it? But really, it is the issue at its very basic level. Can we really be Happy Anyway? Why not? What is happiness all about? It is about now. It is about enjoying the very moment we are in, not the past which cannot be changed and not the future which has not happened yet. Now.

But wait a minute. This feeling of “what’s the point” is very real and all consuming at times. Especially when the news you just got is not very good at all. Bad news focuses our attention enormously. As I have said elsewhere in this blog, you need to acknowledge and experience the feelings that are happening with no guilt. BUT, you also need to set up a deadline for when you will move on and return to the state of happiness. Sounds weird but I mean that you need to set a time when you will look at your new reality and develop some plans to put you back on the journey that you have been on.

What is it that we all really really really really REALLY want? When you start to answer you need to put the question why in at each stage. Money? Why? So that I can have a nice place to live, drive a nice car, dress well, eat out at fine dining places and so on. Why? So I can help others to experience these same things. Why? It makes me feel good. Why? I like to help others and live a good life. Why? It gives me a purpose and a reason to get up each day. That is what makes me happy, having a purpose – a reason to be.

So, back to that tough question – what is the point? It is different for each of us and it is even different for us at different stages of our lives. But it boils down to; “What is my (current) purpose”? It can be to get that promotion and earn more money. It can be to give my children all the help and experience that I can so that they can have a good adult life. It can be to retire with comfort and security. It can be to see grandchildren graduate. It can Never stop doing your thingbe to make sure the house is cleaned and organized from top to bottom before I die. (That is a story I recall about a person who was told that she had about a month to live. So she decided to make sure her home was spic and span for the wake. It took her some 10 years to get it just right!)

We simply cannot be happy if we are not actively living on purpose. We need a reason to get up each day that means something to us. Please don’t get caught in the trap of “should“. I am not talking about what you and/or others think you should have as a reason to get up. Rather, what is it that YOU feel is right for you? And then take steps along that road. It is your journey after all. Enjoy it.

Be Happy, Live Well and Laugh Out Loud Every Day!