Finding the Good in What You Have

Why does happiness seem so elusive?

Sometimes looking at the big picture distracts from observing the things you already have.

Health, family, friends, a job – all of which we seem to appreciate more when we lose them.

So the drill is – look for the good in what you have and you’ll have more good days and the challenging ones will be more bearable.

You Owe Everybody and Everybody Owes You

This is the mindset of a person not looking for paybacks and not expecting them.

Doing good is enough.

Good karma comes back as good and bad as bad.

While you’re not always rewarded immediately after doing good things for others, the payoff always arrives.

Don’t Wait for Happiness

Total happiness can be a long wait.

If you’ve ever known anyone driven to achieve their biggest dream, you have witnessed the painful life of a person who puts everything else on hold while they plow forward.

Big dreams are fine.

It’s the little things that also inspire happiness along the way – things that may be ignored in your quest for the dream and may happen when you’re busy doing something else.

As the author Harold Kushner says, “Happiness is a butterfly – the more you chase it, the more it flies away from you and hides.  But, stop chasing it, put away your net and busy yourself with other, more productive things than the pursuit of personal happiness, and it will sneak up on you from behind and perch on your shoulder”.

Better Communication

Do you know what I mean?

Does that make sense? 

We need to have a conversation.

When people don’t listen, they make it impossible to communicate.

Asking if the message got through is no guarantee.

Inviting two-way talk when both are not paying attention is the opposite of communication.

Until you can hear it and say back to the other person accurately there has been no communication.

Ironically, working on listening skills is the secret to effective communication and it has little to do with talking.

Less Stressful, More Successful

Hard driving people are not assured of success and happiness.

Ever work for someone like that (or maybe you are the hard driving kind)?

It’s easy to confuse go-getter with “go, get her”.

Confidence over pep talks. 

Reliability over risk taking.

Consensus over dissention.

Look at it like this:  what kind of person would you like to work for (live with, be friends with).

A hyperactive dynamo might not be your choice.

Once you’ve described that person, be that person.

Not Fearing Change

Change is a funny thing.

Most of us say we want it, maybe even expect it but change is upsetting and we often wind up fearing it.

But “better” is more compelling than “change”.  Who doesn’t want better?

If we see our daily lives as evolving instead of changing, we will become more open to the disruptions that even positive change can bring.

Change is scary.

Remaining the same is dangerous.

Striving for better is how we evolve into the fascinating people we really are.

A Confidence Boost

One of my NYU students who is also seeking to master skills of human relations borrowed one from Dale Carnegie the other day – “Begin with praise and honest appreciation” of others.

That’s a good one for ourselves as well.

We are exposed to criticism all day long – some blatant, some subtle.

It’s also not a bad thing to be able to praise and appreciate yourself as an instant confidence boost.

It’s nice to have someone else point out your good points, but sometimes that can be a long wait.

Be proud to recognize the good in you when you see it.

Hurry Up and Calm Down

The one thing about anxiety is that it creates more anxiety.

It’s almost as if what you’re worried about is not as important as how it speeds up the worry process.

Anxious people are obsessed with their worries.  Any worries.  All worries.

Slow is the friend of stressed out people.  They just don’t realize it.

Become aware of what happens when you change the pace of how you look at things.

Even little irritations can’t drive us crazy.

The secret is you can’t hurry up and calm down.

Slow down and get immediate relief.

More Face Time

Parents now spend only 5 hours communicating face-to-face with their children per week.

TV, too much time in their rooms and their phones are among the reasons for the worsening disconnect.

This is forcing concerned parents to change.

Learning to play the popular video game Fortnite (yes, 20% in the Cadbury Hereos survey admitted to it).

39% are becoming more involved in their children’s hobbies.

33% have taken an interest in their child’s music – listening to their favorite bands and artists.

But mobile devices are a bad excuse for absentee parenting because many of these parents are setting a bad example by outsourcing their relationships to digital devices.

To reconnect, it’s not necessary to disconnect.

Simply connect with lots of face time and person-centered interest.

The phone is a tool, making it your life is for fools.

Owning Our Happiness

When something goes wrong, most of us have no problem quickly assigning the blame to who (other than us) is responsible.

When something goes right, it is often welcomed with surprise.

You don’t play sports by being surprised if you win because you won’t win unless you believe it first.

If you can quickly name who ruined your dream then you likely gave that person too much control over your life.

Why is it that blame comes easily and success comes surprisingly?

To be happy, expect to win and when you lose, expect to win the next time.