A Happier Day

Bad days happen to everyone but the goal should be to end the bad things as soon as you realize they are hurting you.

  1. Immediately focus on someone else.  It’s hard to be miserable when your attention is not focused on your problems.
  1.  Declare gratitude.  That your spouse is healthy.  That you are hanging in there. That your children are growing up happy.  That a parent or two is still on this earth to be a part of your life.  Talk to a cancer survivor to learn how to be happy even with a disease.
  1. Come up with a plan.  People who achieve things and are happier tend to be planners.  If your job continues to make you miserable, don’t ignore the signs, make a plan to find a new job.  Let the irritation drive you to success and happiness.
  1. Do something you like to do. Exercise.  Binge on Netflix.  Read.  Be with a friend not to bring them down but to lift them up (see #1 above).

No matter how badly you feel.  No matter how bad things are, there is always hope.

Focus on hope.

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Reclaiming Life From Smartphones

Phones are supposed to be tools that help us with our lives, but they are increasingly becoming our lives.

When you are spending an hour a day on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or SnapChat, your phone isn’t working for you.

When you can’t put it down without checking it, you are the tool and the phone is your master.

When you clean up email, scan websites and visit social media rather than start a conversation with another person, your life has been hijacked.

When your phone over a family member, friend or associate is so important that it can rivet your attention, you are being robbed of happiness.  Studies prove it if you don’t already know it.

  1. Never keep talking when another person turns their attention to their phone instead of what you are saying.  Stop and wait.  If they insist they’re still listening, continue to wait until they can give you the attention you deserve.  Same applies to you.
  1. Before cellphones, dinner was uninterrupted by calls and distractions.  Put that same rule back into effect today.  No texting, peeking, chatting or talking on cellphones while eating with the family.
  1. Same is true of business lunches.  I sat with a media exec who put not one but two phones on the table while I tried to ask him to support my student labs at USC.  It was so maddening I almost didn’t care anymore.  I just wanted to leave.  He knew I was irked and said “What can I do for you?” and I said “$15,000 for my students”.  He said, “of course”.  And I got the money but never had lunch with him again.
  1. Phones are breeding places for anxiety.  When you feel stressed, don’t just put the phone away, turn it off.

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Pursuing the Life You Deserve

What do you live for?

What is your passion?

What is the special gift you have – we all have one – that makes the world a better place?

It’s easy to live someone else’s life but to live the life you deserve, it takes recognizing what may be obvious to others but not to ourselves.

  1. What is the gift you have been given in life?  Your voice?  Your heart?  Your compassion?  Your ability to organize?  To lead?  To help others?  To teach?  This is worth thinking about for more than a few minutes because once you can identify your gift, you can get on with giving it to others and receiving the benefit yourself.
  1. Stuck in a rut?  This is what I do.  Put aside what you are doing with your life now and ask, “What one thing would I like to do forgetting whether I have the schooling or skills to do it”.   For me, my entire life has been consumed with television, radio and communications.  Putting that aside, long deliberations have shown me that I like to build things.  (Confession:  I once contemplated leaving broadcasting to join the company that built the new city of Columbia, MD).
  1. People who recover from health scares are often hyper-focused on finding the life they deserve.  They see it as a second chance to do the things that really matter.

What is your gift and how can it lead you to the life that only you deserve?

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How to be More Content in Just One Hour a Day

A new British report published by IZA Institute of Labor Economics found that children between 10 and 15 who spend a minimum of one hour a day with social media are less content overall compared to those who do not.

Just one hour a day chatting on social media reduces the chance of being totally satisfied with life by about 14 percentage points.

The average teen spends an average of nine hours a day using electronic devices mostly on social media.

This is a parenting issue.

Parents have been too willing to let their kids entertain themselves on devices and watch movies over and over again from the backseat of a car.

  1. It won’t work to try to take social media away from a teen.  It must be replaced with something else.  If you find that a difficult thought to grasp, think about increasing the happiness of your child by 15% right off the bat.
  1. Have your teens keep a diary of how much time they spend on social media and how they felt afterward as an aid to self-discovery.  If children are younger, keep them away from social media madness.
  1. Help teens build lives with more structured events that involve in-person social interaction such as sports, music lessons, after-school activities.

And all us moms and dads would also be wise to cut back on screen time that we can replace with human interaction because the happiness benefit likely applies to adults, too.

A happy person in the future will have a more balanced life both in the now and with the advantages that screens and mobile devices can bring.

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Empowering Yourself

  1. Deeds not words empower us. If we want to fight the glass ceiling, do something don’t just talk about it.  Want to fight for a cause? Take action first.
  2. Empowering others empowers us. Two for the price of one.
  3. Self-doubt is the enemy within. Never let self-doubt interfere with the awesome person that is you.
  4. Empowerment begins with the phrase “you can do it”. We cannot expect anyone to hand us our dreams until we are willing to take a stand and fight for them.

Lots of women were hoping to see a woman president elected in 2016 but empowerment means going forward and running for something – anything, local office, school board.

Empower is an action verb to give the authority to do something.

Give yourself the power.

Do don’t stew.

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