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!

I know you can, but will you?

I know you can be happy anyway, but will you? I know you can give love, but will you? I know you can help that person, but will you? I know you can forgive that, but will you?

Yes, it really is all about choices we make. It is not just the circumstances around us that lead to happiness or not. It really is about how we choose to look at things and to act. I am always reminded of the whole concept of reaping what we sow. Becoming what we think about. Receiving what we give out. Whenever we are faced with a decision on how we are going to react to something, we are getting one more chance to choose happiness. What is the outcome we want from the choice we are facing? Really, really, really, really want?

It might be easy to say that we want that person to know how angry we are with him/her. We want the person to feel the pain that action caused. We want to teach that person a lesson. Those are all superficial and are not what we really want in our life. We want happiness, joy and love. Look further than the moment. Break free from our programming and choose peace, love, understanding and happiness.

I have just read that in the average home the ratio of negative to positive messages is 14 to 1! For every positive comment we make to a person in the family, we make almost 14 critical comments. A similar study apparently showed that in long-term happy marriages there was a ratio of 7 to 1 positive communications. Which model are you following? It is a choice and is solely in your hands to choose. I know you can choose the latter, but will you?

The cashier at the checkout is not the one who entered the price wrong in the computer, yet they are the ones that take the brunt of the blame and anger. Slow down. What is really important in the big picture of our life? That we chastised someone or that we accepted that an error was made and is being corrected? What you are putting out into the universe is rebounding back to you, usually 7-fold. Put out good vibes.

I have taught for years that we should always start out a venture with the end in mind. In other words, start taking action with the outcome that you desire in mind. That is important in life. The earlier we understand this and take a couple of steps, the earlier we can be walking the path of happiness. Picture yourself at age 80. People are gathering around for your birthday party. Now do two different exercises.

First of all, what would you like people to be saying about you? Your immediate family, your extended family, your friends, your work colleagues, your staff, your bosses, others in your life that you came across (the homeless person on the street years ago, the student, the person who was lost and broke). Remember, this is what you want them to be able to say about you. Be honest. Don’t write what you think others might think you would want. This is for you and your eyes only.

Next, write down what each of those people would actually say about you today. Again, be brutally honest. What would they say that you might not want the to say but is probably true from their perspective?

Now, look at the gaps. Choose to work on closing the gaps so that folks can be saying what you really want them to be able to say about you earlier.

I know you can, but will you? 🙂

GIGO – Remember that?

In the early days of computers and computer programming, there was a popular expression – Garbage in – Garbage out – GIGO. I recall this being particularly appropriate when building data bases that needed to be able to generate useful reports.

GIGO is a term that very much applies to our everyday lives as well. Imagine all the stuff we see and hear each day as input to our brains, and therefore, to our feelings of happiness. It is not much of a leap to see that if you are constantly focusing on bad stuff, negative news, violent games or shows, fear and the like, you will feel those emotions. Why not shift focus?

We are reflections of what we experience and put into our minds. If we follow good mental nutrition, we will be healthier and happier. We will be able to weather downturns and keep a good perspective. The downturn will also pass!

Just for a week or two, turn off the news. Don’t read the headline news reports in the papers. Unplug. Play with the kiddies. Go for long walks in parks. Smile for no reason at all. Concentrate on how you are feeling. Enjoy it.

Yes, I know that you have lots of problems that will not go away or get better if you don’t pay attention to them. Of course, you need to work on those at the same time! But, work on them with an outlook that it is going to get better. You can and will make the necessary changes and adjustments that will move you to where you want to be. You can develop a plan of action much better when you block out the noise of the world out there and just focus on what it is going to take to improve your own life. Smile!!

One more time, I am going to remind you that a goal with no action plan is just a dream or wish. An action plan with no real action on your part is just delusional. Develop you plan and act! Now!

Block out the noise of the frantic and apocalyptic world for a while. With the 24/7 news channels around generating panic on every little thing, you don’t need to worry. There will still be lots to panic about when you look at the news again in a couple of weeks. However, you will have a better perspective and will see it as the industry generating interest to capture viewers so the advertisers will pay them to air more panic-inducing items – and the circle continues. Stop putting garbage into the brain for a while. Give it a chance to clear out the garbage.

Feed yourself good things and pay attention to what makes you feel happy. That is your own personal happiness GPS at work. You KNOW what makes you feel happy and at peace. Go there.

Organise and Choose

I hope you have a huge dreams list by now. I also hope you did not edit or limit the list in any way. Did you enjoy the process? If you study the list a bit I know you will see some common themes in the items on your list. So let’s organise the list a bit before we do much else.

Look for items that have commonalities. Group together those items that relate to family, social, material, finance, spirituality and any other main heading that you may want to group together. We are not limiting the list here at all. We are just putting items in an organised system. OK?

Now is where we start to really get excited and put a plan together for a life that has happiness as its central theme. Looking at the main groupings that you have identified and filled with dreams, which is the most important to you right now, at this very point in your life? This will change through the journey you take in life but one of the main headings will be the highest priority right now. Do not think about what others think it should be or what you think they expect. Focus! What do YOU think?!

Great. Now, what is number two for you right now? Three? And so on ….

I bet you can guess what comes next. Right. Do the same exercise in each heading to prioritise each dream in each heading. You have now done something that most people never do. You have built a true dreams list, organised it and made decisions about which are more important TODAY. What will you spend spare time on now?

Next time we will actually focus even more and develop plans that will very naturally lead to a happier life.

Music Makes You Happier

us feel great. If Brahms makes you feel great, listen to it (if it makes you feel bored or restless or fidgety, don’t listen to it for relaxation and diversion). If head-banging music makes you feel great, go for it! Music, apparently is like art. The beauty is in the ear of the beholder.

I will add a personal caution that just makes sense though. Always keep in mind that what we are putting into ourselves is what will come out in time of stress and challenge. If we are filling ourselves with messages of hate or violence, that is what becomes our response to situations and it will certainly not lead to happiness. Violent Rap music is weakening. Uplifting and positive Rap music is strengthening. Yes the words are important. Pay attention and listen to uplifting music and songs.

Another thing that just makes good sense to me is that the music you listen to will have an impact on your mood and relaxation levels. If you are going to be retiring to bed soon and you are listening to heavy duty rock and roll, you will likely be a bit wound up with enthusiasm and be less able to get to sleep. Rather, as you get ready to think about going to sleep, and you want to listen to some music (or even read or watch a TV show) think about making choices that will calm the spirit and put you in a better frame of mind to drift into a restorative and deep sleep. More about getting ready to sleep another time.

Music is great. Don’t inflict your choices on others unless it is desired by the others. Keep the volume within reason so you do not damage your hearing (watch the volume on your personal headphones and ear-buds!). But, by all means, plug in and listen to more music. Whatever kind you enjoy and makes you feel great and/or relaxed.