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!

 

 

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.

 

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? 🙂