4 Action Steps to a Happier Life

We have no problem buying a giant drink or a large portion of food when we’re hungry.

So could the menu for life be ordering up more of what we like the best?

Educators say, education is one of the few things in life where we want as little as possible for the money.  How many classes can I miss? 

Try that when you buy a car:  “Do I have to take the air conditioning that was included for the price of this vehicle”?  That’s never going to happen.  We’ll take as much as we can get for the money.

Life is no different.

Time to supersize life by doing more of the things that we want to do – the things that bring us pleasure, make us feel worthwhile, connect us to more people.

  1. If you don’t like your work, do something about it.  Work consumes the largest amount of our time so if we hate it, no wonder we’re not loving life.  Accept no excuses.  Don’t make any.  Pursue a new path.
  2. Spend more time with people you like and less time with people you don’t like.  I know, we can’t choose our relatives and sometimes we like our jobs but hate our bosses.  Think of it like this, if we increased the amount of time we spend with the people who make us happier, we’ve taken a second positive step toward supersizing our life.
  3. Always have something to look forward to.  My office is on a golf course and I often see the same people playing the same course over and over again.  They look miserable (Ha! They probably look up at me at my desk and say the same thing).  Never live a moment without something to aspire to – a new place to go, a new friend to make, something you’ve never experienced before.
  4. Finally, see how many accomplishments you can have each day.  A new recipe, solving a problem that has been plaguing you, breaking a sales record.  Accomplishments – not just big ones but little ones – all feel the same.  Good.

Four steps to a happier, more fulfilling life that is possible right now.

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  • Jerry
    Great bit of advice! Something I have always practiced…change the scenery, take a different route to work…mix it up. See what is out there in this great world to explore. Dream, imagine and live life to its fullest potential!!! 
    Have a great day!!!

Dealing With Criticism

Few respond positively to criticism.

That’s why Dale Carnegie’s most famous human relations principle is “don’t criticize, condemn or complain”.

Yet we all do it.

And it still doesn’t work.

What about constructive criticism?

It’s like being a good teacher.  The message will not be heard until the person on the receiving end wants to hear it.

According to Gregg Walker, Department of Speech Communication at Oregon State University, here are some guidelines for the critic:

  • Understand why you are offering the criticism
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes
  • Direct your criticism to the present not the past
  • Criticize the deed not the person

Guidelines for those on the receiving end of criticism:

  • Acknowledge criticism that focuses on your behavior
  • Work hard to avoid becoming defensive
  • Seek ownership of solutions
  • Use “I” messages to clearly communicate how you feel about the criticism

For more helpful guidelines, click here.

“He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help” – Abraham Lincoln

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The Power of a Name

Dale Carnegie always said a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

And yet, we hardly use a person’s name.

Not in email.

Not in person.

Not in a restaurant when dealing with a waiter or waitress.

Not even with employees, associates and families.

If you’re up for it, go out of your way to use the person’s name you are addressing or communicating with.  They will like it – no, they will love it.  And just by being thoughtful, you will win their attention.

The world is becoming a massive collection of “friends’ on Facebook, followers and trendsetters.

In digital, in print or face-to-face, use a person’s name and you’ll get their attention without screaming.

Try it.

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Waiting To Succeed

When we think of patience, we often think of that fallibility lots of us have where we become impulsive and distracted.

There’s that and there’s the kind of patience that is required to succeed.

Perhaps it can be called resolve.

And almost everyone has some degree of resolve that was acquired through life’s experience.  It’s just a matter of digging down deep inside on-demand for more of it.

In baseball, great hitters wait for the “right” pitch – the one they can hit on their terms.  That’s why it is not unusual for a patient batter to foul off pitch after pitch to remain “alive” long enough to see the one pitch that they are looking for to hit out of the ballpark.

White Sox player Luke Appling fouled off 15 Bob Feller pitches during Feller’s 1940 opening day no-hitter.

The Phillies Richie Ashburn fouled off 14 straight pitches from Cincinnati hurler Corky Valentine in 1954 before drawing a walk.

Patience is not just waiting.

It is waiting to succeed.

“The two most powerful warriors are time and patience” — Tolstoy

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How To Improve Personal Relationships

I once saw a demonstration of two people “attempting” to communicate with each other with the help of a psychologist.

Picture this.

The man on one side, the women on the other and the headshrinker in the middle.

He started first.

“What one thing do you really want to tell your wife about what makes you angry?” the psychologist asked.

He babbled on for a few minutes when the psychologist interrupted and said to his wife, “What is your husband trying to say to you?”

And she could not do it.  In fact, her inability to hear what he was trying to say inflamed the discussion.  And yes, the exact same thing happened when his wife tried to communicate what irked her with her husband. 

Communicating doesn’t just mean talking.

It also means, making sure the message is delivered and understood by the other party.

The “Sender” can help by capsulizing in one sentence the gist of his or her comments upon conclusion.

The “Receiver” can help by hearing the comments without prejudice – in other words, from the perspective of the “Sender” first and then give a response.

Our lives are full of communication tools and yet we often hear of broken relationships due to an inability to communicate.

A few hints:

  1. Begin with something positive – nothing opens ears more than positivity.
  2. Do not attack.
  3. Be careful not to exaggerate because even a slight exaggeration gives the other person a reason to reject everything you’re saying.
  4. Provide evidence of what makes you feel this way.
  5. Focus on one topic – not everything including the kitchen sink.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”  – George Bernard Shaw

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