What do you want to be when you grow up?

“When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”

― John Lennon

A great quote shared by Stuart Anslow. Lennon had it so right even in his early years. The one thing we all desire, above all, or at the foundation of all, is to be happy. Where we get confused and off track is when we lose the meaning of what it is to be happy. We get lost in accumulating wealth, being “successful” and “doing good things” and making sure the rest of the world sees and understands how great we are. In short, we get lost in EGO.

You have, perhaps, read elsewhere in these posts that it is very useful (and important) to consider what you want the result of your action or words to be before doing or saying it. If it is to serve you by showing others how brilliant and “right” you are – that is EGO and is not destined to be a part of being happy. If it is to help and serve others in a non-selfagrandising way, that is a part of the voyage of happiness. Yes, happiness is a voyage, not a destination.

Think just a bit about some of the things we have done or are doing right now because we think that it will lead to happiness. Saving money for a trip. Working hard to gain that promotion or major sale. Writing an article to prove how right your viewpoint is. (Hmmm…) But don’t those sorts of things lead to happiness?

Sure, they probably lead to a happy moment or period of time. But we need to look a bit deeper. What is the motivation? Saving for that trip is hard and can be stressful. However, if the motivation is to go to that area and really get into the place you are voyaging through, the saving is easy and happy. If the promotion or big sale moves you further along on helping others, the effort becomes easy and it is all part of the voyage we call life. And it is part of living in a “happy” state. Writing is a whole other thing! 🙂

You have heard me say before, contentment in your everyday life is a key to being happy. In actuality, by contentment, I mean being grateful for what is in your life now. It does not mean that you cannot want to strive for “more”. Just don’t lose sight of the fact that you already have a great deal to be grateful for. Stay focused on what you have to be grateful for and absolutely do not give time thinking about what causes stress and feelings of inadequacy.

Yes, Live well, love always and laugh out loud every day!

Pause To Wonder

I have always found spring to be a favourite time of the year for me. A time of renewal that reminds me that there is so much more to come. A time to focus once more on the idea that “you can be happy anyway”! I came across this quote recently and it just spoke to me again in a warm and attentive way.

“He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” — Albert Einstein

Take the time to really stop and smell the flowers. Look around you. I mean really look and be prepared to be amazed. The buds are forming on the trees and shrubs – again! What on earth is the trigger? I hear the biologists out there getting ready to “explain” it but I stand in awe to watch the buds break open and see the leaves start to open and green up. And this happens every year!

Again I watch the wonderful birds getting “frisky” and chasing each other around my back yard. Yes, it is nature doing its thing but that is exactly what I am talking about. Nature doing its thing! Amazing!

What about the man made stuff around us? Doesn’t it amaze you just a bit to think that there are roads to just about wherever you might want to go to? I often wonder which came first, the road or the group of people that needed to be reached by road. I see a lake and imagine the people who have lived around or near that lake over the past few thousand years. It was a source of water and food. Now I see all the cottages around it and understand that the lake is still providing but people are limiting to which people it is providing. Ownership is a bit of a strange concept. We are finite beings so we are really just borrowing anything we “have”.

We are so busy these days that I think we are too busy living to take a moment once in a while to just look around and be in awe. As Einstein says above, if we don’t, we are as good as dead. Just filling time.

Stop! Take a few minutes every day to relax and metaphorically look around with a bit wonder and be awed by what you see. Be thankful. What amazes you? While you do this at least once or twice a day, remember to live well, love always and laugh out loud every single day.

Procrastinator is me!

Procrastination has become a problem for me since I have unlimited and unstructured time available. We have heard for all our lives how work expands to fill the available time. What I did not realize was that anything will expand to fill the available time. Like checking out your social network accounts, like checking out just one more news media outlet, like reading just one more chapter (or six) in that book you are reading. You get the picture. Classic procrastination!

Now you might think that it is not really a problem because you really have nothing else pressing to do. But in my case I am growing so lethargic. At the end of the day I do not feel like I have done anything. But I was having trouble figuring out just what to do to break the cycle. There really are things I want to get done if I can only …

This is where a very timely article presented itself to me. The teacher appeared just when this student was ready. I read an article about productivity shortcuts written by Derek Doepker (@ExcuseProof) In it he suggests procrastinators use these magic words: “Can I just …”. In my case it has started me one a new road (actually it has helped put me back on the road I have been on most of my life). That is the road to getting things done! And feeling accomplished at the end of the day! Happy!

Can I just write one more blog entry? Can I just spend the next 25 minutes going through the things on my desk and throwing away what is not needed, filing what needs to be filed and putting things back where they belong? Can I just do cardio workouts every second day for the next two weeks? And so on. I am back to using my self management techniques that I had let slide because I thought I did not need them. I am back to feeling accomplished and productive. Even if I am not doing work in the traditional sense, I am happy anyway.

What about you? Can’t seem to break the procrastination blocker? Try it! When you are facing some challenge, break it down to a smaller bite and ask yourself: “Can I just …”

What Are You Good At?

“Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”
— Norman Vincent Peale

An interesting quote. The first thing you need is an awareness of your own powers. What does that means? Quite simply, what are you good at? What do you like to do more than anything else? What makes you feel happy when you are doing it? We often wonder what it is that we should be doing. Fortunately, life is well designed to help us along the way if we just pay attention.

This is not the time to be humble. Think and be honest with yourself. What are you good at? Make a list. Brag to yourself!! Now make another list with the activities that make you feel happy. This list might be a bit short at first because we do not often think this way. Stick with it. What makes you feel happy.

Now, put the lists together and see which activities are on both. Those are your real powers and are where you should be focusing your attention in doing. You can make a great contribution to the world if you focus on those activities.

I said that life is well designed to help us know what to do in most situations. If we feel good, we are doing the “right” thing. If we are not, then examine what you are doing and change. Feeling good is the signal we need to be watching for all the time. We are not feeling good when we are berating a cashier for something. Rather, switch and figure out what you are really looking for. As a minimum, understand that you are venting at the wrong person and usually for the wrong thing. As your Mom said, take a deep breath, count to 10 and move on! Mom was always right.

So, have a realistic confidence in your own powers and you “Can be Happy Anyway”.

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!