Choose to try

I have written in an earlier post that even making a small difference is good. Yet I still see that many are so overwhelmed by what is going on in the world that they just give up and adopt an attitude of “Well if the world is going to blazes, I might as well at least enjoy myself and take what I can.” Feelings of dispair and uselesnes abound.

Let’s look a bit closer at reality. What is that we all want? I mean really, really, really, REALLY want? Happiness. What helps us with feeling happier? I know for me, I feel happier when I do some little thing that might help another. Even a little gesture like letting someone move into my traffic lane even if there is no room or apparent advantage. There is a neat commercial on TV that shows how infectious it is to see someone do something kind for another. A person sees one person help another. Then in the next scene we see the observer do something kind and so on. Sort of like the old Acts of Random Kindness idea that was in vogue.

But what can I do you might ask. Simply do what you can. Don’t focus on what the rest of the world is doing. Just focus on what you can do where you stand with what you have! Will it make a difference? Sure it will.

Remember the story of the little boy who throws a starfish that was stranded on a beach along with hundreds of other starfish back into the ocean? He could not save them all but he made a difference for that one.

Scientists overwhelmingly agree that the climate change is happening and that at least a major contributor to this is human activity. Even if you are a business person with a vested interest in denying this, or a politician who does not want to make the changes required in legislation, we all have to admit that the world is heating up. Who cares why? It is also a given that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere acts as a greenhouse. Further, carbon has been captured in the form of trees, oil, natural gas and so on. Changing it to gaseous state will increase the greenhouse effect, therefore increasing heat, therefore increasing capacity for the atmosphere to hold water, therefore increasing the frequency and intensity of storms around the world.

Wow. What can one person do to have any sort of hope at all and therefore, some degree of happiness? Turn off a light. Turn the air conditioner up one degree. Turn the furnace down one degree. In other words, use just a little bit less energy. Don’t worry about the folks who focus on the one thing you do that you could change to use even less. Do what you can. Only after you have done what you can, then focus on doing a bit more. Just you! You cannot control others. Just take action yourself. Ignore the jibes of others who have given up already.

Apply this same approach to anything at all that you find that needs improvement. Choose one thing to do that you can do – and do it consistently. You will feel better. Even though the world around you is tough, you can be happy anyway. Just do what you can with what you have where you stand – and do it now!

I’m Back!

You won’t know I have been away for some time but I am happy to say that I am back and ready to move ahead with my project. I have a passion for helping people to be happy anyway. I do not mean that there will be no down times or problems or even disasters in our lives that should be ignored. Rather, I want to help develop a world of people who learn from and support others in how to react to events in our lives in a way to help us move forward and find contentment anyway.

I want this to be a discussion site so feel free to weigh in. The only thing I ask is that you keep comments positive and helpful. Debate is great but please, no flaming!

Look around. Check out the past entries in the Blog. There are going to be lots of changes in the next little while as I restart and modify the site a bit. Grow with me. As I have said before, all we can really control is our own attitude and how we react to events. Let us learn together how to react with love and learning.

No Happiness in Haiti – Let’s Help!

There has been a devastating earthquake in Haiti. Likely the number of dead is unknown but will surpass 100,000 easily. There is such widespread destruction, it will be years before people have any semblance of normal life. This was already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. That makes the effects of this devastation even more unimaginable! When you have nothing and even that is taken away, what do you do?

As I said, I cannot imagine what those folks are dealing with. The idea that you can be happy anyway seems so far off the mark that we have to look at the whole concept. Can the survivors be happy anyway? Certainly not right now!

Maslov, as I have reminded in an earlier post, pointed out that we move through levels into our human development during our life time. The very base level is survival. Food, clothing and shelter. Without that, we cannot consider anything else at all. We remain focused solely upon securing what is missing from the very basic needs we all have. Right now, the people affected by the earthquake in Haiti are dealing ith the very basics of life. Shelter, food, and water. Many are dealing with injuries too hard to imagine! There is absolutely no room fro happiness. And yet, some will be putting a “happy face” on in order to help others.

I think that it is only when we get to the second level of Maslov’s hierarchy of needs that we can be happy anyway. We see and hear of stories from the quake zone that show us that people are resilient and are just looking to find peace and happiness. First they need to secure their shelter, food and water supplies.

I want to encourage each and every person to look into their hearts and consider what we can do to help put these folks on a road that will eventually let them look around to see what road they want to take to reach where we all want to be, and that is a state of being happy anyway. In this first week, give money to reliable agencies that already have a presence in Haiti. In the coming weeks, clothing and the like will be needed, but wait until the agencies say they can handle the shipping and distribution logistics. There really is no infrastructure right now in the stricken zones.

We can be happy anyway, but first we need to meet our basic needs. Let’s help Haiti. It will help to make you feel better.

“A life unexamined is a life wasted.” – Socrates.

“A life unexamined is a life wasted.” – Socrates.

It is the first day of a new year and the first day of a new decade! That makes this quote very timely. Let’s look at it a bit more closely.

When I first heard this quote I paid little attention because I thought it meant that my life should be examined near its end to take the lessons and record them for future generations so they can learn and not make the same mistakes that I made. That is such a narrow interpretation.

What Socrates was really telling us was that we can apply this to our whole life. Rather than just setting out lessons learned for future generations to move on from, we can do the same for ourselves. What does that mean?

Just look back at the past year. How did it go? Did you get everything done that you wanted to? What exactly did you achieve that you actually set out to achieve? Actually take the time to write these down and feel grateful for these achievements. Now, what did you set out to achieve that did not get done? List them down on a separate sheet. Before you do anything else, consider for each one if it is still important and you still want to achieve that particular goal. If the answer is no, cross it off and simply forget about it altogether. If the answer is yes, copy it onto another sheet that will outline the goals and achievements that you want for the coming year. When you do that, think about what occurred that got in the way of this being achieved as planned. Are they things that were in your control? Can you identify answers to the blocks?

See? You have just examined your life and will make adjustments that will lead to greater movement towards the overall objectives and mission of your life. You cand learn and move forward yourself. You will not be doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. Rather, you will find new ways to do things and the results will be different.

Do this same sort of exercise monthly, weekly and daily. Live a “life examined” and adjust as you discover you must. If you are going to make a mistake (and we all do) at least make it a different one each time.

Yin-Yang. Up-Down. Happy-Sad.

Many say that it is not possible to be happy all the time. Of course we cannot be happy all the time. That is not what I am saying at all. Rather, when we feel badly, when we feel pained, when we feel sad, when we feel angry or dissapointed – we can be happy anyway! Happiness is just around the corner.

Many say to me that it is not possible to be happy all the time. What I am trying to say and do is wrong and impossible. This actually heartens me greatly because we are getting somewhere. Of course we cannot be happy all the time. That is not what I am saying at all. Rather, when we feel badly, when we feel pained, when we feel sad, when we feel angry or disappointed – we can be happy anyway!

Think about it. We could not really understand the idea of light if there were no darkness. If it were always the same level of light, we could not wonder at the brilliance of a clear day with bright sunshine glinting off the water. It wouldn’t mean anything of interest to us. It is only because we have darkness or storms that darken the skies that we understand that we enjoy light.

Can you imagine living in a world with no gravity? How about living in weightless space a few light years from earth? Because we are weightless, we have no reference points that indicate up from down. Down is generally where gravity attempts to pull us. Up is the other way. Because we are in a weighted environment, we enjoy the feelings of being “up”. Whether that is flying or just jumping in the air, it feels good. We are happy usually when we are “up”.

Similarly, we can not really experience happiness if we do not know what unhappiness is. We cannot know real joy if we have not experienced real and deep sadness. Do you see the pattern? There can be no ups without downs. There can be no light without darkness.

When you are feeling sad, angry, upset or any of the unhappy emotions, feel them and learn to feel relief also. Soon you will feel the opposite. Look for the lesson of the experience or loss. Remember the good. Focus on the good memories and/or the opportunities that can be before you. Change your focus to the “up”. Take the next step that will be the first on the journey of being happy. That is what it means to “be happy anyway”. Embrace the bad stuff as a sign that the good stuff is just around the corner. You just have to get up and go around the corner to meet it. Act! You can be happy anyway!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

This is a season for me when my thoughts especially turn to hope and peace. It fills me with a sense of wonder to think that during the World Wars, fighters facing each other across open fields where they have been shooting at each other often took a break for 24 hours in honor of the season. That amazes me.

What I wonder about mostly though, is how does one go from there to taking the first shot after the time out? Peace is what every single person on earth craves. And yet we war. Hmmm.

It is my most fervent hope that others will take up this call to “Be Happy Anyway”. Sure things happen. Lots of them are pretty rotten. But they are just happenings in our lives. It is how we respond over time that is under out control.

I urge us all to grieve when we must, regret when we should, make ammends when we should and then look for the good. Move on as soon as possible. Set a date to move on if it helps. But move on to peace, happiness, joy and hope. Don’t forget to laugh out loud every day.

I send love always.

What is self-actualization?

I was thinking about this recently. Don’t ask why. I don’t know. But it is interesting because it is where we all want to be actually. We want to be calm, secure and happily pursuing the things that we find important and interesting with no regard to outside concerns.

Maslov has taught that those who are self-actualizing are independent of the good opinion of others; disconnected from outcome; and have an absence of the need to have and exert power over others. Have you ever actually looked at what those things mean?

“Independent of the good opinion of others.” That speaks to our motivation for doing the things we do. If we can take our ego out of the equation, we will do things because they are right, not just to impress or garner the praise of others. Let us try to think of the things that we would like to do that are right, and do them with abandon! Don’t be concerned about what others think. As they say, dance like nobody’s watching!

“Disconnect from outcome.” We make a decision, we act on it and then we must just let it go and wait for the outcome. When we get a result (outcome) look at it and decide what needs to be done next. There are no failures. There are no successes. There are just results that lead us to decide what to do next. Take the ego out again. It is not your brilliance or your dimness that is at play. It is just a result. Look at it, evaluate it, adjust and move on!

“Absence of the need to have and exert power over others.” This is likely to be the hardest. We seem to like having people “follow” us and do what we want them to do. Again, we need to take our ego out of the picture. We are not more or less important as measured by the people who do what we tell them to do. Power is one of those corupting things that we have to be very careful about. Some will defer to others and “give over” power to them. Our role, is to not abuse it if it is given over. We need to be respectful and careful not to abuse the power that may be given over to us. Be very careful NOT to need the power! But if it is given, use it carefully and with respect for all.

I would love to hear from you on this one. Especially the power issue. What do you think?

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.

Positive Affirmations or Action?

It’s a trick question! As many of you know, I am a vigorous proponent of positive thinking and affirmations that inspire one to focus on what is really important to ones’ happiness. Many of us who have been following along the path of self-sustaining success applied the teachings of the 80’s and 90’s that said that we needed to be sure to have positive affirmations as part of your daily life.

I know I had many affirmations written down and referred to them daily for years. This had the very positive effect of keeping me positive and with a happy outlook on life. It also had the effect of revealing that things do not simply happen because we have a positive affirmation written in current terms as though it already exists. I realized fairly early on that an essential element that was not spoken about was missing. The gurus of the day were intent on giving us what was wanted by all baby-boomers. A very easy and simple “pill” that would take no effort and would get us what we wanted NOW!

I know that most of the writers and speakers of the day knew that simply having affirmations was not enough. Most assumed that we would not be so simple-minded and would naturally take actions based on the affirmations. Well most did not really understand the action part so a disillusionment set in. People became cynical and tended to turn away from “positive thinking”.

Taking the time to set down your positive affirmations is a very good step to get focused on what is important to you in your life and for your happiness. It has the effect of setting worthwhile goals for your brain to work on. However, you must also set in place plans for action to put these affirmations into effect. You simply cannot achieve goals with no action steps.

Have your affirmations. They are very important o a positive outlook and approach to life. Then be sure to figure out what actions need to be taken or are congruent with your affirmations. Then, DO STUFF!

Are we there yet?

Anyone with kids knows this expression! It usually starts coming from the kiddies after about a minute on the way to some place. “Are we there yet?” “Are we almost there?” And no matter what you say, the same question will come again in a short time. They are anxious to arrive at the destination they were told about as they started out. They know where they are going and they want to be there now!

Don’t we all do this? We want to be there right now. I happen to think this is great. It sets us up to be sure we do what needs to be done to get to where we are going. Here is the however that you have been waiting for. However, if you do not know where you are going, it really does not matter how fast you go because you most likely won’t get there. In fact, if you do not know where you are going, the faster you go, the “loster” you get.

Remember, success is the incremental achievement of a worthwhile goal or objective. That means that you must first decide what you want to achieve (where you want to go). True happiness can only exist if we are living our lives on purpose with some purpose in mind. The purpose will shift in accord with your stage of life and needs/wants along the way. I want you also to remember that it is OK to want to be, have, do, earn whatever you decide. Understand your own values and mission in life and set goals that are congruent with those values and your life mission.

In other words, get your “life map” out and figure out where you want to go right now. Put that destination into your own GPS system and start going. Set your goals, focus on the outcome you want, develop your plan of action, and start out towards your destination right now. Your internal GPS will make adjustments along the way to help you keep on track. As you get close to your destination, look ahead to the next one and set new goals and keep moving. It is the voyage that is happiness.

Are we there yet? Not yet but we are on the right route. Enjoy.

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