Tag Archives: Happiness

stress

Two Gifts To Help With Stress Right Now

Two things that will make your life a little bit (or a lot bit) easier right now:

1.) Things are generally nowhere near as important or urgent as we think they are in the moment.

2.) Stop worrying about bad things that MIGHT HAPPEN, because most of them WILL NOT HAPPEN.

An example of #2: How often have you stressed about getting somewhere late, only to arrive on time?

Continuation with #1: How often have you not only stressed about arriving late, and actually DID arrive late, only to find that the timing was perfect?

Now a bonus #3, a fundamental fact that supports #2:

ALL THINGS CHANGE

Often when we are going through a particular time in our lives that is very difficult, something that challenges everything we are and all we have become, we feel as though the challenging situation may have no end.

One thing is certain – things will change. All things change, and that includes the challenging times that you may be going through at this moment.

Dealing with the situation itself is challenging enough without you adding anything to it, so let go of the worry that your situation will never change – worrying about something bad that might happen, but won’t – because ALL THINGS CHANGE.

In my life, it has been these challenging events…these very events which in the moment are the most difficult time of our lives, that have forged me into the person that I am today.

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On Striving for Success…

For a large portion of my life, I felt that I had to do something BIG to be “successful” – to have “made it”. I think this stems from watching my parents succeed at business (then lose it all, then come back again, but that’s another story). I’ve come a long way since then, and thankfully that success didn’t land in my lap at a point in my life where it would have been more destructive than good.

I’ve been around the ultra wealthy, many of whom show significant signs of unhappiness and dis-ease. This is not to say that one cannot be financially wealthy and be happy – but it’s clear proof to me that money cannot make a person happy when that person does not have a foundation of happiness to build upon.

The reason for writing this today…is that I recently read a post from someone that felt as though it was coming from a place of sheer desperation. The desperation was caused by the striving for “success”, why they haven’t yet attained it… They’re trying everything, doing everything they’re supposed to do, but it still not there… Still not happening yet. Why have so many others ‘made it’ and they haven’t yet.

I could FEEL the desperation. I was able to understand where the author was coming from – I’ve felt aspects of that in my own life at times.

When you’re in that place, it’s hard to be a happy person. You are often filled with a certain amount of jealousy. You absolutely cannot be happy when someone else is successful while you’re still struggling.

In the startup space, there is a LOT of striving for success going on.

In the ‘coaching’ space, there is this sense that if you’re not STRIVING and WORKING toward your dreams, then something is broken in your life.. that you NEED something more. That your dreams have to be HUGE or they’re not worth going after.

Here’s the real issue with all the perspectives above…and this is the TRUTH:

SUCCESS IS A MINDSET, NOT A DESTINATION

YOU are successful because of the person you are, because of how you choose to show up in the world, both how you handle the most difficult situations of your life, as well as how you handle the greatest times…Success is the embodiment of your deepest values, made real in this world through you.

As a coach, I don’t easily classify myself into the typical categories that you hear about…life, business, lifestyle design, performance… maybe personal success is the closest match.

Still, one could at times call what I do ‘business’ coaching, in the sense that a.) it is what the client ‘needed’, but, more importantly, b.) the deeper inner transformation of the person inherently overcomes fear, while manifesting motivation, drive, creative vision, optimism, passion, hope… PURPOSE, which then makes success that much easier.

When you do the inner work on yourself, the outer world – your status, possessions, material things, all that… becomes irrelevant. Your inner work is what makes you whole.

There is a sense of BECOMING, a sense of BEING, right NOW…not STRIVING, but embodying…

The irony is that the less you STRIVE for the status, possessions, material things, all that… the more it seems to be ‘attracted’ to you. This is a very logical result, if you ask me. You simply become a happier person, which becomes attractive. You are able to truly appreciate the success of others, which others can appreciate. Your sincerity and authenticity draws cooperation from others…in person-to-person businesses, for example, this results in strong relationships, repeat clients, referrals… it’s easy to see the impact.

SUCCESS is not trying to get THERE, but is instead BEING THERE NOW

So no matter what your status, where you are in life, what you have or what you don’t have…your SUCCESS is defined by the person you choose to be, right now, at this moment. Work hard when it’s called for, when you are pulled to go after your dreams, go after them.

Some of you will feel the truth in this. Others, possibly in challenging times in their lives, may find it hard to really connect with this message. For others, this may stir a reserved curiosity, possibly of wanting to experience this higher level sense of SUCCESS in your life.

What does imagining yourself as an embodiment of SUCCESS, of BEING THERE NOW, stir in you???

Boy with world in his hands.

3 Lessons For Finding A Meaningful Life…

I recently gave a talk to a class at FIU, Florida International University, in Miami, Florida. The class was “Discovering Your Major”, and was a very interesting topic to me. I had no idea such a class even existed, but I loved the concept because of the intent to teach “meta” information about learning and life.

“Meta Teaching”…Meta-anything is something about something else… just above or outside of it. For example, “meta learning” could be used to describe learning about learning.. or how to learn, how to study.

There is a LOT to growing up that is no longer taught to us by default. Just the basics of what it means to be happy, how to live a happy life, what’s truly important – those lessons are often lacking. We have to try and figure that out for ourselves, but often only once we realize that something is missing.

This is the WISDOM we need in this world. This is the KNOWLEDGE that leads to Happiness.

These life lessons have to do, in many ways, with growing up… coming of age… becoming a meaningful person in life with one’s own identity, a meaningful, positive identity in the world.

BEING COMFORTABLE in your own skin.

These thoughts came to mind as I was reflecting on things after the talk.

Before the talk, I purposefully did not plan out what I was going to say. I wanted to see their faces, read their expressions to see what they were feeling, connect with them where they are in life and let that PULL the message from me.

And what came out were these 3 thought points, and they are just as applicable to all of us at any age as they are to the college students looking for direction…

  1. The image of whom you are striving to be – is it your own?
  2. You can change your life at any time.
  3. When in doubt, find a way to be of service to others.

The Image Of Whom You Are Striving To Be – Is It Your Own?

We all have a vision of whom we’re supposed to be, the person we believe we should be, but who’s vision is it? From birth, we strive to make our parents happy and proud. We learn throughs social interactions and observation of the world around us – whom does everyone else admire and respect, whom do we admire and respect. We might compare ourselves to friends, to siblings, classmates, people we see in the news, movies, marketing, everything… literally everything around is is constantly pumping information into our heads about what we need to do with our lives, whom we need to be, what we should study, what it means to be successful.

I used to wonder what it meant when someone said “I need to find myself,” a common theme during the transitional period of life where some young people travel to “find themselves”. It’s only natural to yearn for independence and respect, to be seen as an individual, an adult, and no longer as a child. I can see the challenge in finding your own path in life when being bombarded by input from outside sources. But…

REMEMBER: You are the one that has to live your life

The advice of the others in our lives is almost always well meaning. It comes from their own experiences in their lives, where they may foresee see pitfalls we can’t because they’ve been there and we haven’t yet. Some of the advice is valid – it may save us from making a catastrophic mistake in life. But also, some of the advice is fear-based, a result of their own personal life experiences melding with their character traits, desire for adventure or stability, following their dreams to the fullest or playing it safe to survive.

The “college” age is that very time where we start to build a NEW self-image, a self-image as an adult, not as a child… a self-image that would ideally be our own, but often is not.

When we build a life based on someone else’s (parents, society’s, etc.) image of whom we should be, our inner desire for our own identity does not go away. That’s why there are so many stories, books, and speakers that all describe something similar – a kind of metamorphosis as they find ‘their purpose’, something that resonates with them on a deeper level, even late in life.

You Can Change Your Life At Any Time

This is a huge concept for ALL aspects of life, not just related to what we choose to study, but also with respect to our friends, relationships, where we live, anything.

This does not mean that we throw in the towel at the first hint of resistance.

But it does mean that when we are able to see clearly that something is not right for us, that we have the power to change. If, as a student, you pick a major and you come to find that it absolutely is NOT what you want to do, it’s OK! Change!

If it takes another semester, or even another year to graduate, that can seem like an eternity at a young age. But what of a life where the entire path is in the wrong direction?

The majority of people stay in unhappy situations, feeling as though there are no options, for years to decades. Most of the ‘barriers’ seen are not barriers, just concepts in our own minds. We stay in bad relationships, we continue working at that unfulfilling job, we are afraid of ‘risk’, or when things are kind of ‘complex’, or when things might impact others, when they might incur the judgement of others. These barriers can be very real.

One of my favorite things to do with people is DESTROY THOSE BARRIERS, literally like a wrecking ball (please no photoshopped images of me like Miley Cyrus). But that’s what I love – questioning everything… Is it REALLY true that you “can’t”?

So this lesson that you can change your life at any time is one of the most important lessons a young person can learn.

Once you see things clearly, and you realize what IS and what IS NOT a barrier to change, that is when you gain control of your life. That is when it is a conscious choice to stay and try to improve your current situation, or when you choose to do something different.

THEN: Knowing that you can change things at any time, fearlessly explore your life

When In Doubt, Find A Way To Be Of Service To Others

  1. When we’re searching for a purpose and coming up with nothing, we can feel disconnected, empty, floating. We may not be able to ‘find’ a purpose, but we can always find a way of helping someone. Helping someone inherently means we’re useful, valuable, and shows that there IS a way that we can contribute to the world in some way – big or small. We literally do get back more than we give. Here’s a great post from Berkeley on how giving is good for you.
  2. When we are ‘helping’, there is a different feel to the arrangement. Somehow, we are not as afraid of failure; there’s nothing to lose. Even if what we do isn’t perfect, it’s almost always well received, rewarded with appreciation. Even the tiniest bit of positive reinforcement is all the spark that some of us need to ignite something deeper inside of us.
  3. When we search for ways to help and choose to show up in a positive way in this world, opportunities seem to arise in unexpected ways. We may be asked to ‘help’ with something that we NEVER would have considered doing. This gives us a change to fearlessly experiment, almost unknowingly wandering out of our comfort zone and into a space of self discovery.
  4. What do you think happens when you combine a fearless exploration, positive reinforcement, appreciation, and repeatedly create space for creative sparks to ignite something inside of us? We may just stumble, almost literally, across our calling… is it serendipity?
  5. You will have made the world that much better for at least one person, maybe many. You may never know how that small act may have changed their day, or even their lives, for the better.
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Life’s Purpose…

Are you searching for a more meaningful life, or do you already know Life’s Purpose for you?

When you feel connected to a larger purpose, connected to your authentic self, there is no need for motivation. Instead of dragging yourself to show up and pushing yourself to get things done, you feel pulled toward your work.

So why this talk about Life’s Purpose now? Well, it’s the start of a new year, and if one is open to it, it can also be a time for introspection, a time when there is a very strong energy of renewal, a reinvigoration of Life’s Purpose. Don’t confuse the intent of this with New Year’s resolutions simply because of the timing. This is NOT about making a list of all the things you put on a list at the beginning of every year, only to forget them all by Jan 4th.

Note that I said “Reinvigoration of Life’s Purpose,” not ”Your Purpose In Life.” The difference is subtle. Life is bigger than you, than me, and being part of something bigger than yourself, something connected to Life, brings with it a very profound sense of meaning.

Here are the four Levels of Life’s Purpose that we may progress through.

  1. Existing. We are not searching for our Life’s Purpose. We are floating through life, not connected with anything very meaningful or purposeful. We are often in this state in our youth, though certain experiences can free us from this (sometimes encounters with enlightened individuals, sometime tragedies that knock our world upside down and force us into contemplation for answers). For many, it is simply the passage of time and unfulfilled dreams that can wake us up to contemplate a question like “Do I matter?”
  2. Searching. We feel that there must be something more to life, something to give our life meaning. We want to matter, to make a difference. We don’t know how, we don’t know what, but we are searching for something.
  3. Connected. We have discovered Life’s Purpose for ourselves, and we feel a connection to it – pulling us closer to fulfilling our purpose.
  4. Fulfilled. We are living Life’s Purpose fully and completely. We are strongly connected to Life’s Purpose, and this connection allows us to flow in new directions as Life presents new paths. Every day of our lives, good and bad, is still an amazing, interesting, and wonderful experience.

It is a very sad thing that many, if not most, go through their entire lives simply Existing, unaware, unconnected, and feeling as though their life does not and has not really mattered.

So don’t simply make a list of resolutions for this New Year. This year do something deeper, something more lasting and meaningful for your life. Examine the Level of your life… If you’re simply Existing, perhaps it’s time to as yourself the big questions…Why are we here? Is there something more to life than what I’ve been living so far?

If you have been feeling that there must be something more, if you are Searching, focus on your inner work. It doesn’t matter what you call it… God, Infinity, Intention, Life… open yourself up to the possibility that there is a higher purpose and meaning for your life, a place meant for you – where you can matter most. When you are open, your teachers (sometimes life itself) will find you. Life will help show you your Life’s Purpose.

When you feel Connected to Life’s Purpose, you are invigorated with the knowledge that there is something more. You may not know how to fulfill Life’s Purpose, but you know it’s there. It’s as though you know there is gold in a mountain, but you don’t know exactly where it is. It doesn’t matter, the knowledge that it is there is all you need to make you experiment with ways of reaching it. Some days are filled with excitement as you have some success, other days may be fraught with challenges and you may feel discouraged and have doubts. This Level of Life’s Purpose is where the work truly begins. Just as when searching for gold, the work may be the most difficult, but the rewards can be just as great in proportion.

So begin this New Year with an awareness of your current level, and a clear intention to progress to the next Level of Life’s Purpose. You may not know how… or what… be open… fearlessly explore. Don’t be afraid of failure – there is no failure, there is only Life, and the wonderful adventure, full of challenges, excitement, drama, and success.

It’s time to search for, find, and begin to live fulfilled… to live Life’s Purpose… to live Your Higher Level Life.

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One Important Lesson To Kick Off 2016

Careful How You Compare Yourself…

We compare ourselves to others, often automatically and somewhat subconsciously. We compare looks, our happiness, financial success, professional success, accomplishments, social status, material goods, physical abilities, family, friends, children, and their accomplishments… and 1000 other aspects of our lives – anything that can be associated or attributed to something considered ‘part’ of us, or ‘related’ to us in some way.

This sizing up of ourselves has a very useful purpose. In the business world, knowing one’s competition allows for strategic marketing, and possibly creating a solution that is not provided by your competition. In a physical conflict, it allows one to avoid violent encounters that would otherwise prove likely to be deadly or injurious if we are clearly outmatched by our rival (while seeming irrelevant for many, unfortunately this is a very real subject for many youths, and adults, all around the world – sometimes on a daily basis).

This somewhat automatic act of comparing ourselves to others has evolved from a very real need for survival… much like fear (something I wrote similarly of in Stop Living by Fear.

However, much like fear being useful as well as limiting, self-comparison can also be limiting and harmful when out of balance. In today’s world it is more difficult than ever to see things clearly. Social media, marketing, cosmetic surgery, airbrushing and editing of photography, movies and television shows…our perception of reality is very skewed. Comparing ourselves can sometimes lead to negative patterns of thinking, behavioral disorders, and a severely limited life (entirely self-imposed).

Much has been written similar topics – so I want to focus on two very clear points:

  1. Our knowledge of someone else’s full life experience is always incomplete
  2. We judge our full selves against someone else’s incomplete external image

Our knowledge of someone else’s full life experience is always incomplete

Think about the fact that we often compare aspects of our lives in isolation. We compare our weight or fitness to that of others, yet we don’t compare our full lives. The other person may be dedicating so much of their life to fitness that they have sacrificed their personal relationships, time with their children, and success in their career (and these may be things that for you are amazing). Or, perhaps someone else has an amazing career, but doesn’t have the wonderful kids you have… or vice versa (notice neither is better or worse, but is simply the results of your choices in life and each has their merits).
With social media, our images of others are primarily based on what they want to represent as their lives. We inherently share and celebrate our victories and successes, and quietly hide or move past our defeats and challenges – usually not wanting anyone else to know. So when others see us, and when we see others, the picture is NEVER complete.

We judge our full selves against someone else’s incomplete external image

This is where our ‘automatic’ act of comparing of ourselves to others can lead to problems if we are not present and aware that what we ‘know’ about someone else is grossly incomplete. If we are attempting to start a new business, and we’re comparing ourselves to someone else that has an immensely successful business, we may feel that we can never be as good / successful / famous / respected (insert any adjective you like here). But what we don’t see is the 10 failures they had while creating their success. We don’t see the way they were when they were just starting out – when they had the same insecurities that you have now. We don’t see all their flaws, mistakes, misjudgments, insecurities. We only see where they are now – not how they got there.

There is a VERY different feeling of possibility when one can see that they too can do what someone else has done. Sometimes it’s not all about self-confidence, or self-esteem, but simply knowing that you and they are truly much more alike than you realize…That they too were once just like you, with the same dreams, doubts, and a very unique set of talents, thoughts, and abilities.

The truth is we all have something amazing to offer this world. We are all human, we all have unique talents, as well as doubts and insecurities. Everyone gets tired sometimes. Everyone feels doubts, fears, and sometimes needs a helping hand, and maybe a kind word or gentle guidance from someone that has been there and done that.

So as you go through this coming year in 2016, set your goals high, and don’t limit yourself. You don’t have to know how you’re going to get there, just know that you will and start moving in the right direction. When you see someone whom you may put on some form of a pedestal, try to imagine them when they were just starting out…try to view their whole person. Then learn from what others have done, but don’t worry about who’s in front or behind you… just keep moving forward toward your dreams and you’ll be amazed with what begins to happen in your life :)

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meditatingatthebeach

Be Happy…Now! :D

Almost everyone is waiting for something to happen… Waiting to reach some goal to be happy.  Waiting to find the right person, save enough money for a house, pay down debt… Too often happiness is always around the corner… or, a more accurate metaphor, at the end of the rainbow.

Happiness is a simple conscious choice – and does not depend on your current situation or circumstances.  As soon as you base your happiness on anything outside of your own self, it slips through your fingers and is gone.  If you reminisce on happy events from the past, you’ve lost the happiness of the moment.  You only feel the “missing” of the happy moments of the past that are gone.  If you are waiting for some state of life (graduate, new job, pay down debt, waiting to “get” something or “have” someone in your life), then you are in a position of wanting something to happen…waiting for it to happen…putting your happiness on hold.  You are again feeling things from a position of lack – living without happiness because it lies in the future.  What’s more, the moment you had been waiting for, should it arrive, will at some point be gone.  The happiness that was once coming in the future will be gone in the past…again leaving you empty.  The answer is that happiness is already within you… here…now.

Happiness is an emotional feeling that comes from within yourself, and is not dependent on anyone else’s opinion of you, does not need anyone else’s approval, and does not depend on luck or current circumstances in any way… Happiness is an enjoyment of life – feeling in the moment… feeling connected, feeling alive… There are wonderful experiences and there are terrible experiences, and everything in between…but you are alive and there is an immense and wonderful appreciation that can be had for all things you experience in life… experiences that make you into the person you have become, that have given you the energy to be and do and create… to live and enjoy life.

A very simple metaphor that I like to use is to think of what makes a great movie great….There is no movie that I’ve ever seen where everything happens perfectly…goes exactly as planned…Where everything works out and nothing bad ever happens.  Nobody on this planet would sit through the first 10 minutes.  But cliffhangers… drama… action… excitement…love…loss…everything from tragedies to tearjerking romances…. THAT is what grabs us.  THAT is what makes for an interesting experience that keeps us on the edge of our seats.  Seeing the main character work through the lulls and depressed states, cope with inevitable losses, face challenges, overcome the odds….If that is what makes for a great movie, why would we want anything less for our lives?