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Posts Tagged ‘Happiness’

This past fall I had a fascinating conversation with a friend while at the Farmer’s Market.  Among the many interesting topics we talked about, our conversation touched on the growing inequality in the United States and the SHOCKING distribution of wealth among its citizens.  This disparity was recently publicized by a video that went viral on YouTube. (You can view the video at the end of this post)

 

(Before you get your partisan knickers in a knot, to be clear, the point I want to make has nothing to do with privilege, politics, the right to make a living . . . let alone a fortune, or the opportunity this country affords anyone who wishes to set out on that path of wealth.   So keep reading if you want to mine the real gold here.)

 

dollars 2After pointing out the inequality, my friend and I started talking about what might drive such an imbalance.  I suggested that one reason might be the generally understood “game” in this country called, “The person with the most money, wins.”  We all seem to have unwittingly enlisted in this game to accumulate money and wealth over the course of our lives.

 

To this, my friend responded by saying something I found to be bold and beautiful.  She said,“Well, that is not the game I am playing. I am playing the game called ‘Be more kind.'”

 

She then shared with me that in looking at her life, she knew she was not always as kind as she could be and she was striving to be more kind to those around her.  She then followed this amazing statement with one equally as fantastic, saying, “I chose not to play the money game.  I could have played it.  I could have chosen to be a stockbroker when I got out of school in the go-go 1980’s when the focus in this country shifted to money, but I was too lazy and had no interest in that area.”

 

Wow!

 

Such a powerful and honest declaration required two important elements, both of which are key for anyone to possess happiness in life –

 

  1. Awareness (of who she is and what she wants).
  2. Personal responsibility (acknowledgment AND ownership of the choices she made in her life).

 

All of which leads to the BIG question YOU must answer in order to find that same happiness and fulfillment –

 

What game are you playing in your life?

 

If you can’t answer that question, then you will always chase the Ghost of Contentment . . . one you will surely never catch.

 

The only games worth playing are the ones that bring you happiness.
 

– R. Largman

 

2014 just started.   Do you know what game you are playing this year?

 

It may be the money game for you. If so, go for it. But it may not. Maybe you want to play the kindness game. Or the creativity game. Or the parenthood game. Or the peace of mind game. Or the grow my business game. Or the . . .

 

Don’t get caught up in someone else’s game if it is not the one you wish to play. If you want to play a different game, be sure to know and understand what YOUR game is. Choose it powerfully, commit to it, and play it FULL OUT!!

 

Doing so will ensure that happiness is just around the corner for you.

 
 

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Here in America we are obsessed with winning. Obsessed with stories about persevering against all odds in order to finally, after great struggle, win the day. These stories are thrilling and inspiring, but they overlook the less glamorous, very un-Hollywood-like path to happiness and satisfaction – quitting to win.
 

A recent Psychology Today magazine published an article about three well-known entrepreneurs and businessmen who quit to win – Steve Jobs, Howard Schultz (Starbucks) and Henry Ford. They all quit and left behind some aspect of their life in order to focus on another more passionate avenue that called to them. The article went on to point out that when faced with “complexity and uncertainty, most people lack the mental acuity to kill pet projects or close doors on distracting opportunities.” Yet, it is this exact quality that often opens the door to greater success for people.

 

Sometimes you have to quit to win in your life.

 

It could be that you are in a bad job, a bad relationship or a bad financial situation. Whatever it is you are suffering through, the true challenge is mustering the courage to quit that path for something you think, feel or believe is more favorable.

 

Often, we feel as if we need to persevere and endure the hardships of life, as if that pain and suffering will be what earns us the reward we seek. But this suffering more likely just gives us great dissatisfaction and stress, which actually begs a much simpler question:

 

Do you want to be a hero, or do you want to be happy?

 

Personally, I like to follow The Rule of Water: When confronted with obstacles in life, water gracefully chooses the path of least resistance and flows around the obstacle, leaving the fight and struggle behind.

 

Some would say this is taking the easy way out. But to those who see the water reach its final destination, they see it as victory.

 

Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.

– Osayi Osar-Emokpae, Impossible Is Stupid

 

Too many of us wear struggle and suffering as a badge of honor. It is as if that suffering makes the end result more rewarding. In elementary school, we all learned that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Every time we engage in suffering of some kind, consider it a deviation from that straight line and a detour from the end result you truly wish to achieve in your life.

 
Today, why not take a moment to reach into your heart and find the courage to quit that one thing that is sucking the life from you. There is no doubt that in doing so, tomorrow’s sunrise will seem much brighter!

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In December 2008, Harvard University sociologist Dr. Nicholas Christakis and University of California, San Diego professor James Fowler published a study demonstrating that happiness is contagious.   
 
The study tracked almost 5,000 participants over 20 years, drawing connections between people and defining their “social networks”.  They concluded that like the flu, happiness can spread from one person to another.  In fact, they germs2found that when a good friend who lives close to you becomes happier, it increases the probability that you will be happy by 25%.  Even more surprising, the study found that this effect impacts friends of friends in diminishing amounts up to three degrees of separation.
 
In digging deeper into the data and the social networks, they concluded similar findings about obesity and smoking.  If one person became obese or stopped smoking, that person had a direct and similar impact on the connections around them in their network.
 
While they have not yet studied the network from the standpoint of success, is it that big of leap to think they might conclude the same findings for that characteristic?  Wouldn’t it make sense that as one person in a social network becomes more successful, so would those who surround that person?
 
With that possibility in mind, here are some ways one can become “infected” with success.
 
1) Just as when you want to get better at a sport coaches suggest playing with more skilled players, the same holds true here.  Immerse yourself in social networks of people who are at the level of success you wish to be.
2) Find and ask someone you admire if they would be willing to mentor you.
3) Continue to expand your mind and horizons with education and seminars.
4) Work with a coach to help you challenge your comfort zones and break from inertia and mediocrity.
5) Change any conscious or unconscious thoughts and beliefs that do not contribute to your success.

 

There is unlimited potential waiting to be unleashed in each and every one of us.  Why wait for others to infect you with success or happiness when you can be the one who is contagious and leading the way?  Now is your time to shine!

Spread the happiness!  Catch some success!

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