Rightness!

There have always ways been different opinions about almost everything. Probably from the best way to approach a mastodon in order to kill it for food for the others, to the best way to use social media to market an idea. But, as you can see from my hint about social media, these days we are absolutely bombarded with statements that purport to be the real truth.

 

Social media is all pervasive, but only if we let it be. We do have choices to make. And this takes me back to an article that I posted way back in 2009. The irony is not lost on me but GIGO is worth another read. Then we were being bombarded with all sorts of negative, violent and confrontational stuff in the news and on social media. My advice then was to unplug for a while and focus on yourself and your immediate family and friends. Pay attention to what you really want in your life.

Way back in 1956 Earl Nightingale produced an amazing record called “The Strangest Secret”. That secret was relevant then, as it has been all through history, and as it is today. It is quite simply ‘we become what we think about’. We need to take a minute out of our hectic lives and just think about that. What are YOU thinking about? What are you focused on? What is at the top of your mind? It matters. If it is always checking on the craziness of the next tweet from that person, you will be growing feelings of ridicule, resentment, anger, despair and so on. If you are hoping for more money because you do not have enough, the main thought there is that you do not have enough and that grows.

I recently realized that I was not really much engaged in life and was just treading water. I put out the thoughts that I wanted to be doing more and being more active in the community. I did not know what that would mean but wow! Within the same week I was invited to a general meeting of a Riding Association and became a Board member with a specific responsibility that will certainly broaden my knowledge, horizon and connection to my community. In addition, I was invited to be part of starting a business venture. Careful what you think about because things happen. 🙂

What I want to recommend to you is that you pull back just a bit and focus on what you can control. About the only thing you can really control is what you think about. We have heard it said that live is about 90% what happens to us and 10% of how we respond/react to the things that happen to us. Get out front and start thinking about what you really, really, really, REALLY want. We want world peace because we will be safer. We want more money because we want to help others and to provide comfort and security to our family. We want safety and security where we live. But, overall, we REALLY want to be happy! Anyway! So focus your thoughts on contentment, happiness and inner peace. My partner always says “prepare for the worst but plan for the best”. In other words, know what the worst can be, acknowledge it briefly and then let it go and focus on the best.

Happiness is connected to what we do – always!

Life is happening all around us all the time. Some good, some bad and lots of seemingly no moment at all. All of this is not what we do but what is done to and around us. So how can we be “happy anyway”?

I posit that it is all about what WE do. If we fall into a funk and think about how “bad” it is, we will feel “funky”. If we look around for blame, we will feel “blamey”. If we feel that life is just conspiring against us we will feel “conspired against”.

Let’s look at who or what is responsible for what we do. Is our boss responsible for what we do when he/she makes impossible demands or levels unfair criticism? Not really. It is our reaction that is all about what we do. We can recognize the impossibility of the assignment and make a concerted effort to show the impossibilities and, more importantly, the possibilities instead. Sometimes we need to consider the unfair criticism and just look for the lessons. Maybe how not to be like the unreasonable boss. Maybe to just file it away and move on. In other words, we are responsible for what we do. So act positively, be assertive, and act! Do not just feel put upon – act and do something.

What about circumstances? Sometimes things just happen TO you. The car doesn’t work. The basement floods. The power goes out. Someone cuts you off dangerously in traffic. It pours rain just when you are taking the family out for a picnic. Most of this sort of thing is beyond your control. So – what should we DO? Just make a choice to consider alternatives right away instead of lapsing into “poor me” feelings. Sometimes it is just a matter of looking at the situation and seeing the humour. The person who cut you off in traffic must have a wonderful assignation to get to! 🙂 Have a picnic in the rain anyway!

So what do we mean when we say that happiness is connected to what we do? Simply it is that if we do positive – we get positive. Is what we are doing contributing to our happiness? It is still always about choices. If we have a boss that really is just an impossible person you must choose to change your boss. Be grateful that you have a job and income but look for ways to change the boss. Maybe find a way to be your own boss (start a business). When circumstances happen, learn to be grateful that they are not worse (they can always be worse) and that you can see a way to make changes to better the outcomes. Then ACT. Do something to make things better.

Sometimes change is required. While looking for a new boss, alter your outside work activities to focus on activities that bring happiness and joy. Get a good work/life balance. Change how you look at things. Look for lessons, humour, thankfulness, and always find a way to move from not happy to happy. Be gentle on yourself. Deal with emotions and give yourself time to “feel”. But give yourself a deadline to move back to gratefulness and happy.

It all comes down to choice. Choose to get your mind right. Look for things to be grateful for. Choose to remain steadfast and reliable to others. Choose to be persistent and even eager. Choose to be a good colleague/boss/employee. Choose to be happier!

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

Find A Way!

I love creative thinking. I hear about a situation or problem or opportunity and I immediately want to take some time and think about it in different ways. Many call this thinking outside the box. I not only love creative thinking, I am good at it.

I don’t particularly love being dutiful or even being very thorough in the doing of things. To me, this is keeping me from doing what I love to do. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very good at doing these things – I just don’t like it as much. Even though that is the case, I DO THESE THINGS ANYWAY! And I do them as well as I can.

There is a great life lesson here. If you choose/have to do something, do it to the very best of your own ability. Not the best in the world (unless that is your goal) but the best YOU can do. Just compare yourself to yourself and do your own best. Then you need to find/make time to do what you really love to do.

I want to shift gears just a bit now. We often have a hard time knowing what the right things are for us to find time to do. All I can tell you is that it has to come from inside. You will know because you will feel “right”. How about a few tips that have helped me?

Remember that you are always a role model whether you are aware of it or not. So take a bit of time and think about what you would like to hear as the eulogy at your own funeral many, many years in the future. What would you like to hear from your family? Friends? Work colleagues? Bosses? Your life partner? And so on. Then think honestly about what you imagine they would actually say/think today. Now you have a list of things to work on. 🙂

Most of what gets us into diss-equalibrium revolves around the respect or lack of respect we have for others. I have learned that I am not always right so I try very hard to be open to learning from others (who are also not always right). So stay respectful. They just may be right if they are so insistent on their viewpoint. If you KNOW they are wrong and they do not seem open to hearing another point of view – let it go. They don’t have to tell you that you are right. Keep in mind that you just want peace and happiness. You do not need to tear down others and their ideas to stand tall. Just always be open to learn new stuff.

I have said this before. Everything is a choice. Does the choice you are about to make reconcile with your own values? Will it bring peace, joy and happiness? Or will it bring conflict, contempt and anger? All those things your Mom or Dad told you was very valuable advice. “Think before you act.” “Look before you leap.” “Take a breath and count to 10 before reacting.” “You can’t unsay anything so think about what you are about to say.”

All of the advice has to do with taking some time before doing or saying things. Why is that? I think it has to do with the reality that negative emotions are much quicker to rise to the surface. It is probably related to the flight or fight response that allowed for survival in earlier times. But if we just take a moment to let our analytical mind work we can usually see a “better” action. You will recognize a true flight or fight moment, trust me. Most of the time these days we are not faced with true flight or fight moments.

Find a way to do what you love. Find a way to choose better actions and reactions. Find a way to be the best role model you can be.

 

Use it or Loose it! Applies to Muscles and the Brain!

Growing older is not for the faint of heart!

I have run across this quote many times. It has recently got me to think about what it is all about and if it can affect our happiness. Some of the things we deal with as we age is the loss of strength and muscle tone, decreasing resilience, memory changes, cognitive changes and so on. Right? Well I do not think it is necessary to fall into the trap of accepting any of those things as inevitable and normal. I think we can do something about each. As we age, we still want the same thing as always – to be happy anyway!

I read a great article in the Globe and Mail newspaper that dispels the myth that we naturally loose muscle after the age of 40. Take a look here for yourself if you like. Essentially it says that the loss of muscle after the age of 40 is really due to life style changes. We stop doing the things we used to do and therefore stop using those muscles. That leads to muscle loss. We sit more, we walk or run less. We use modern aids instead of just lifting and moving things like we used to. We might even get the kids to do it!

When I sit and think about it, I feel about 25 or so inside. It is only when I get up and look at a mirror that I see that I am actually 64. The mind stays young, why not the body? That can lead to depression or at least sadness. So, as most of you readers know by now, I decide what to do about it to be happy anyway! I do strength training to increase my muscle tone and mass. Yes it does reverse the loss of tone and lean muscle mass. I do not continue to jiggle when I stop moving! I feel great and therefore feel happier. Do something if you are concerned about loosing fitness levels as you age.

There are lots of things you can do to keep your mind from “shrinking” as well. I have read studies that show that we do so many things each day that our brain sets up neural roads that wear deeply so that we can do lots of repetitive things without thinking about them (habits). The problem is that the areas that are not used start to deteriorate. There are many studies that show that the brain is very plastic and can adapt other pathways if required to, in order to get things done using other parts of the brain. The key is to keep as much available as we can. What sorts of brain workouts can we do?

Whatever you decide, change things up as much and as often as you can. Sure, take up Bridge or chess, do crosswords and so on. BUT, change it up. Put your pants on starting with the other leg for the next month (just try it). Brush your teeth using the other hand. Use a different route to work. Read a different genre of book for a while.

Lifetime learning is more than just taking courses. Especially in these days of electronic media. Keep up with the new media. That alone is a form of life-long learning. 🙂 When you come across something new, look at it with wonder and investigate – learn. Just like when we were kids ourselves.

I am rambling on here. I will break this off and do a specific blog about brain use. Until then, remember, you can be happy anyway – just decide and act.

Analysis or Cognitive?

I see so much about how people are spending years in psycho-analysis in order to be happier. I really do not get it. I am not saying there is no place for it, but what is it that you want?? To understand why your life sucks, or who you can blame for the way you are? Or do you just want to be happy anyway?

Then there are the folks who are in Cognitive Therapy. I sort of wonder what that is about as well. Really all it seems to be about is to decide what you really want and then make a plan to get it! I know it is a bit more than that but it is pretty practical and focuses on outcome. You only need to look at the why question to see if it can happen again. If it can, develop a means to handle or avoid it. If it can’t, ….!!

What we really, really, really, REALLY want is to just be happy anyway! What has happened is done. At worst, it is a trail that you can still see. It does need to equal the future. What might happen is in the future. If we can really control it, make plans and deal with it. If it is not in your control, just get on with today!

So, how do we be happy anyway? There are so many books and courses on this I am always surprised that we are not all just plain happy. Actually, most of us, most of the time. We instinctively know what to do to be happy. We just loose track once in a while. Here are a few focus reminders to consider:

  • Intend to be happy.
  • Look for the good, even in bad things! Lessons learned.
  • Expect good things to happen – be optimistic.
  • Hang around happy people.
  • Give yourself time to be angry, sad, to grieve. But decide when to look for the happiness again. Set a deadline! Limit the time.

There are lots of tips here at this site and around the world. Look for the good ones that make sense to you. Remember the outcome you desire – to be happy anyway!