Instant Courage

It’s good when we consider both the pros and cons of our decisions rather than just dive in and wantonly take chances hoping for the best.

But for many, this seesaw process relegates them to inaction.

They miss the train, miss the trend, miss the relationship, and let the opportunity get away.

Some gamblers don’t have this problem because they expect to win and they are surprised when they lose.

I like that thought but not when the deck could be stacked against me.

I’d like to share something that offers the right dose of caution with the balancing dose of positive expectation.

It’s from Apple founder Steve Jobs who adds two important elements to the decision making process.

Your heart and the inevitability of death.

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

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Voice Mailing in a Texting World

Millennials hate voicemail.

Then again, older people do, too but they tolerate it more easily.

Voicemail wastes time when the alternative is a text message or email.

Millennials figure it usually isn’t important unless they get a message by text.  That’s a significant generational change considering that there are 95 million Millennials and it might be helpful to consider to whom you are communicating.

And we’re getting so time conscious that “swiping” the text message keyboard instead of punching the letters in makes it lightning fast to send messages back and forth.

We’re getting a little too tied up in efficiency and not concerned enough with effectiveness.

Voicemail is almost useless unless you can do something on the phone that you can’t do by text and of course that is nothing because we can also text our voice.

Email is often burdensome because we run on and on – a short, well thought out email with an accurate title will almost always get results.  A long one, not so much.

Texting can also be irritating when the back and forth keeps going beyond the point of usefulness.

Choose your weapon and then go to work but for every moment you save in efficiency spend that time thinking about the actual message itself.

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Tolerating Impossible People

The Dalai Lama has a suggestion that really works.

Think of everyone as a young child.

Doing that allows you to be more patient and understanding with the people in your lives and dealing with their issues that may be affecting you.

Imagine the compassion that most of us automatically have for young children that we do not have for adults who make us miserable.

Once we think about the things that compel other people to cause unhappiness we can’t help but to be more compassionate.

Use the patience we have with children to understand the motivation of those who are seemingly impossible.

This approach is far superior to trying to change people (which never works) or calling them out for their shortcomings.

By seeing impossible people as a young child, they seem less threatening and allow us to understand the behavior that often upsets us.

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Avoiding Holiday Family Disasters

The upcoming holidays are supposed to be happy days.

After all we see media fantasies about a level of happiness that is simply not possible where human beings come together at a time of great stress.

Add family to that and we often have the recipe for unhappy holidays and worse yet relationship disasters that we pay for well into the next year.

Let’s change some of that this year.

  1. These are your holidays, too.  You are not required to make yourself miserable and unhappy to make others happy.
  2. Give for the sake of giving and don’t expect or even accept a report card for your efforts.  You have Thanksgiving dinner because it makes you feel good to do it.  You pick up a dinner check because you want to.  Keep expectations low and motivation high – giving is your personal reward.
  3. With humans, expect ingratitude and when you get appreciation accept it as a special gift you were not expecting.
  4. Troublemakers – sometimes in our own families – should not be encouraged.  Walk away and avoid fights because you will never win them and tolerating such behavior almost always encourages more bad behavior. And the holidays bring the crazies out of lots of families.
  5. The best suggestion I ever heard to get around all the mayhem from holiday family gathers comes from the Mayo Clinic Physician Amit Sood who says take a moment to count the number of holidays you have left with family members – moms, dads, children, relatives and friends and just knowing there is only a finite number left will change the way you experience your time together.

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8 Ways To Buy More Happiness For Your Money

I came across a paper by Elizabeth Dunn titled “If money doesn’t make you happy, then you probably aren’t spending it right”.

Previously, I shared research that indicated that on average in the United States, the sweet spot for being happy on what you earn is $70,000 a year.  That may not sound like a lot of money but researchers found that making more than $70,000 on average did not increase happiness in the opinion of those who participated.  Obviously, the number to be happy in Hawaii is higher.

Dunn proposes 8 principles to help get more happiness for the buck.

  1. Buy more experiences and fewer material goods.
  2. Use your money to benefit others rather than yourself.
  3. Buy many small pleasures rather than fewer large ones.
  4. Eschew extended warranties and other forms of overpriced insurance.
  5. Delay consumption.
  6. Consider how peripheral features of your purchases may affect your day-to-day life.
  7. Beware of comparison shopping.
  8. Pay close attention to the happiness of others.

So we know that making above a certain amount doesn’t make us any happier, but that there are at least 8 ways to get more bang for our buck on what we earn.

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