The $100 Million Lottery Test

The author and physician Amit Sood in his Handbook for Happiness poses the most intriguing question:

“Imagine you won $100 million in a lottery. Think about the people who would fulfill these two criteria”:

  1. They will be truly happy for you
  2. The won’t expect a dime

Dr. Sood reminds us that these are the people who are members of our inner circle. They wish the best for you with no selfish motives.

Do you know people like this?

Maybe there is one or two but these are the most important people in the world.

Seek them out.

Love them.

Hold them near.

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What Would You Do If You Had One Minute To Live?

Go to the bank?  Call 9-11?  Tell your spouse or friend goodbye?

Those who have come close to losing their lives are changed forever when they get a second chance.

An Australian hospice nurse polled people in the last 12 weeks of their life and asked them to tell their top regrets.

Here they are:

  • Wishing they hadn’t worked so hard and missed their children growing up or spending quality time with their partner.
  • That they would have had the courage to express their feelings.
  • Wishing they had stayed in touch with their friends.

Another key wish was “I wish I had let myself be happier”.

Why wait until the time is up to do these four critical things.

Not money.

Not power.

Not fame is more important than the best use of time in loving and enjoying the people who matter most around us.

We can do this.

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Erasing Self-Doubt

Self-doubt is that quiet little voice that pops up in our ears to make us question whether we can succeed.

I once addressed the Country Radio seminar in Nashville to speak on the topic of music radio.

But what I didn’t know is that the Governor of Tennessee was to introduce the late Dick Clark to talk about television, music and American Bandstand.

And the likeable Clark showed up with video, stories and funny lines.

I am a professional and have no shortage of confidence (usually but not always) and I would lying if I didn’t share with you that little voice of self-doubt that said, “Are you sure you should be speaking here?”.

I was backstage and walked out into the meeting room to watch the master at work and when it came close to my introduction – that, by the way, was done by Dick Clark – I said to myself – “You were asked to speak because you are knowledgeable about radio”.

Then, when I stood at the podium looking out onto about 800 happy faces who enjoyed my predecessor, I fell silent for about 15 seconds, gathered in the room and said to myself “I’ve got this”.

The two things to erase self doubt, then, is to focus on the fact that you have earned the right to be doing whatever it is you are doing and the verbal affirmation is – “I’ve got this”.

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Fear of Being Fired

In the sports world, this is the time of year for coaches to be fired.  You know the drill – coaches are hired to be fired.

Most of us if we’re honest with ourselves harbor a fear or at least deep concern of what will happen if we lose our jobs.  After all, most people who are happy in their work, identify themselves with their careers.  Our self-esteem is attached to our work.

Great people have been fired only to go on and return to greatness.

Those who had their careers interrupted – fairly or unfairly by employers – almost always go on to succeed in spite of that bump in the road.

Losing income is a real concern but the elephant in the room is losing self-esteem.

Not too long ago a morning radio personality who had worked on the same station waking up local audiences for 36 years was unceremoniously fired.  Imagine the hurt.  Not being able to say goodbye.  Disappearing without notice.  One day you’re on top, the next day you’re not.  And to add insult to injury, he was escorted out of the station with his personal effects in a box.

Yes, we fear not having enough money to live.

But we also worry about the loss of self-esteem that comes when we’re suddenly not needed and left without an immediate future.

There is no cure for this kind of life’s disruption.

But there is a powerful thought to get through it – everyone rises again to achieve success and fulfillment.  Ironically, it is the adversity of being fired that fuels the rebound to success.

Fearing being fired is as psychologically damaging as actually being fired so it is more productive to work hard with the confidence that even a disruption in your career path will only make you stronger.

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Blaming Yourself

If you’re like most people, you don’t have to blame yourself when things go wrong.  There is no shortage of people who will be glad to do this for us.

But blame is a dangerous game.

It does not have a positive outcome.

Dale Carnegie famously started his human relations rules with “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”.  If we could do only these three things in life, we would be so much happier.

But accepting the blame of others must be stopped and we’re the only ones who can stop it.

It isn’t their right to do it and it’s not our obligation to accept blame.

The number one way to run down self-esteem is to be the target of blaming comments – often emotional — from others.

A trick that I use is to think of my ears attached to my brain as a digital recorder.

When blame is leveled, I re-record over the blaming statements as soon as I can.

Example of a blaming statement:

“If only you would have listened to me, blah-blah-blah”  (you know the drill).

My –re-recording:

“I always make an attempt to listen to others”.

The brain is the most powerful ally we have to prevent the dysfunction of others from being destructive toward us.

One more thing.

Not being willing to be the target of blame does not mean that we cannot be better, but as Dale Carnegie said criticism never, ever works.

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