Sunday, July 29, 2012

Can You Say Yes To Happiness? 11 Practical Steps You Can Take To Make It Really Happen


Think about it ... every single thing we do is intended to make us happier. 

And yet sometimes we get diverted and do things that actually move us away from this goal.

We all have the potential for genuine happiness. There is no gene or DNA marker that determines who will be happy and who will not. We make choices throughout our lives, and the result of all these choices combined, determines our level of happiness. Make the right choices and happiness can be yours.

Here is just a sampling of some of the tactics we can employ in an 11-point roadmap to help guide us toward genuine happiness: 

1. Look For The Positive In Everything: There is an old saying that nothing is inherently good or bad - what makes it one or the other, is merely your reaction to it. Find the positive and you will be happier. Those who soar against all odds, do so because they look at the positive that could come out of their situation, however bad it may seem to others.

2. Accentuate The Positive: We all grow up with a “positivity imbalance” - the result of society’s norms and rules being based on restriction and punishment more than approval and reward.  From a young age we are taught what we must not do instead of what we may do. Even in day-to-day life, there is more negative influence than positive. Luckily you can work to improve the balance. Celebrate the positive and work to get more of it. When you achieve something, congratulate yourself! Look for things you find uplifting, that make you happy. Get more of that! At the same time, reduce your exposure to negative input, whether it is the daily news, or people you don’t feel good around. You know your buttons…make sure the positive ones are pushed more than the negative.

3. Practice Good Selfishness: When we were young we were taught that putting our interests before those of others is wrong. This is particularly true for women, many of whom sacrifice their dreams and ambitions to help others achieve theirs. It is also common in the corporate world where the good of the company is considered more important than the good of the individual. It is good to help others, yet we should have boundaries to protect ourselves from being manipulated or abused by others. You are important, and if you don’t look after yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually, you cannot expect anyone else to do so.

4. Listen To Your Feelings: All feelings are good. Every feeling occurs for a reason - it is delivering a message. Sometimes that message is pleasant, other times not. Our tendency is to distract ourselves from unpleasant feelings, often through smoking, drinking or drugs of one kind or another. When you feel bad, avoid distracting yourself, and identify the reason, there is some need not being met.

5. Give Of Yourself: The more you give, the more you receive. There is probably no scientific study proving this to be so, but unconditional giving is hugely rewarding. It seems that the more of yourself you give, the greater the thrill and uplifting effect on your psyche. Help the needy. Give time if you can. Give anonymously, even if you lose the tax deduction!

6. Make It Happen: You have the ability to make things happen using your mind. Top sports stars, and business people use it, and so can you. There are many ways of doing this; one of the common methods is to use visualization, getting a picture in your mind of whatever it is that you want to happen. It does not actually have to be a visual picture; it could be a feeling, a smell, a sound, or any combination of the senses. Imagine finding the perfect parking near the entrance as you arrive at the supermarket or mall … the sky is the limit, but persevere! We are not used to utilizing this tool, so it takes practice.

7. Accept The Things You Cannot Change: We resist things we don’t like, and often expend a tremendous amount of energy on this resistance. Whilst this can be good, and has resulted in tremendous advances through history, we should work to understand those things we cannot change, and then move on. Rather use the saved energy on something more worthwhile and productive. This is not to say that you should complacently accept anything. If you truly desire change, you should work towards that change; but spending time worrying about something without actively working to change it is unproductive and damaging to your wellbeing.

8. Take Responsibility For Your Choices: Everything that you do, or don’t do, is because of choices you make (or don’t make). It is easier and convenient to blame outside causes for things that go wrong in life, but your life is the sum of all the choices you make along the way, sometimes that choice it to let somebody else make a choice on your behalf. If you tend to blame other people or things, it may be scary to take responsibility for what happens in your life, but it is really quite liberating because instead of seeing yourself as an effect of outside forces, you realize you are the cause of everything good you achieve. Don’t abdicate responsibility for your life.

9. Schedule Regular “Self Time”: Spend some time analyzing where you are in life, your strengths and weaknesses. How can you turn the latter into the former? Think about your views on everything from your job to global warming and the existence of aliens, then work out why you feel the way you do. Is your reasoning sound? The better you understand yourself, the better you understand the world.

10. Make Time To Meditate: We spend almost all our time thinking of the past or planning for the future. We seldom spend time in the present. It has reached a point where, for most of us, it seems impossible to keep our focus on what is happening right now. Your meditation could be formal meditation or prayer, but it could be as simple as merely focusing on each breath as it goes in and out for five or ten minutes, dismissing past and future thoughts as they arise—and they will!

11. Remove Your Limitations: When we fail, usually the reason is simply because we don’t believe we are able or worthy of whatever it is that we fail to achieve. Most often, this belief is actually false; the result of negative programming received since childhood. The truth is that most of us are able to do most of what we really want to do … you just have to believe. The best way to start is with small things, working your way up as you notice the limits dissolving.

The more successful you are at assimilating the concepts and processes described in these eleven points into your life, the more genuinely happy you will be, and the happiness will last!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Change Your Mind And The Rest Will Follow!


Change has a very negative connotation for most people. On a deep emotional level we are creatures of comfort and we automatically seek out that which feels good in the moment. We long for comfort and this usually comes from that which we know; that which is familiar to us. Once we can comfortably deal with and "know" all the "unknowns" we can "relax" – because your nervous system and your mind is designed to find and attach a meaning(s) to everything and therefore something new is always a confrontation between that which is and that which will be in your mind.

The unknown is always something that your mind and your nervous system has to "unravel" afresh and this very process feels uncomfortable on many levels. When something becomes comfortable you get used to it as you remove all the "unknowns" and your automatic behaviour can take over again. Our nervous system works primarily by conditioning and by repetition we notice and assume patterns that are consistent. This system is really there to serve us in helping us being more efficient and to be able to do more, more efficiently. Your mind is designed to always look for the best way. Through repetition we learn certain orders and sequences in which things happen and we learn to recognize and respond according to these sequences. Every emotion you experience, for instance, is nothing but the result of a sequence of events and reactions triggered by your unconscious awareness that generates and creates the actual feeling which is nothing but a sensation in your nervous system.

To change anything you must first of all become aware of these patterns. You must become aware of what goes on under the surface of your conscious awareness. This is not difficult and everybody can do this. You need not understand everything about the human nervous system to use it. Simply be aware of the fact that there is a part of you that responds and acts "automatically" based on your past experiences and associations. The challenge is to go from one pattern, one that does not serve you, to one which does. You quite literally would have to change your mind in that you have to change the way you perceive yourself and your life. Doing things differently will feel uncomfortable at first, but you can rest assured that the "uncomfortable" will become "comfortable" as you start to form new associations and new patterns of association.

The process of making the "uncomfortable" comfortable or making the "unknown" known is the way we grow as human beings. What you are comfortable with represents your comfort zone which includes all the experiences that you can comfortably deal with. If you don't expand this "zone" then you simply won't expand yourself as a person. The need to grow and become more as a person, is a deep emotional need that all humans have. Without growth you simply won't be happy. All growth, although it feels uncomfortable in the moment always feels immensely fulfilling in the long term and it is this feeling that we all really crave for; the feeling that we call "good". You can do something that feels comfortable and "good" in the moment by staying with what you know, but true fulfilment comes from pushing beyond your comfort zone and creating a sense of pride in yourself. Growth means change and change involves risk and risk is the process of stepping from the known to the unknown.

The truth is that all of life is constantly in a process of change. Nothing ever stays the same. It is the nature of all of life, including you. Even if you do nothing life will still change. For you to progress, you have to decide to consciously initiate and create the change. You have to consciously put yourself in the uncomfortable place where you can grow and as you do this you progress. Progress is by choice while change is automatic. To be in control of your life you have to consciously choose to change and to keep changing yourself to become the person you want to be. 

All change starts with a change of mind. You have to start by changing your thoughts about want you want to change. In changing the way you think about something you immediately change your perception and consequently the way you feel about it. When you change the way you feel you change your behaviour and that is how you progress. Constantly trying to change behaviour will rarely create long term and lasting change. Change your mind and the rest will follow! If you don't change then you simply won't grow and if you don't grow you are not really living.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Most Beautiful Flower



The park bench was deserted as I sat down to read 
Beneath the long,straggly branches of an old willow tree.

Disillusioned by life with good reason to frown, 
For the world was intent on dragging me down. 
And if that weren’t enough to ruin my day, 
A young boy out of breath approached me, all tired from play.

He stood right before me with his head tilted down 
And said with great excitement, “Look what I found!” 
In his hand was a flower, and what a pitiful sight,

With its petals all worn – not enough rain, or too little light.
Wanting him to take his dead flower and go off to play,

I faked a small smile and then shifted away. 
But instead of retreating he sat next to my side 
And placed the flower to his nose and declared with overacted surprise, 
“It sure smells pretty and it’s beautiful, too.

That’s why I picked it; here, it’s for you.” 
The weed before me was dying or dead. 
Not vibrant of colors: orange, yellow or red. 
But I knew I must take it, or he might never leave.

So I reached for the flower, and replied, “Just what I need.” 
But instead of him placing the flower in my hand, 
He held it mid-air without reason or plan. 
It was then that I noticed for the very first time 
That weed-toting boy could not see: he was blind.

I heard my voice quiver; tears shone in the sun 
As I thanked him for picking the very best one. 
“You’re welcome,” he smiled, and then ran off to play.

Unaware of the impact he’d had on my day. 
I sat there and wondered how he managed to see 
A self-pitying woman beneath an old willow tree.

How did he know of my self-indulged plight? 
Perhaps from his heart, he’d been blessed with true sight.

Through the eyes of a blind child, at last I could see.

The problem was not with the world; the problem was me.

And for all of those times I myself had been blind, 
I vowed to see the beauty in life, 
And appreciate every second that’s mine. 
And then I held that wilted flower up to my nose 
And breathed in the fragrance of a beautiful rose 
And smiled as I watched that young boy,

Another weed in his hand, 
About to change the life of an unsuspecting old man.


(Author Unknown)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Ride Of Your Life: Who's Driving?


One of the biggest challenges that most people face in the exciting times we live in, is the feeling that their lives are just spiralling out of control. They feel like the events and circumstances of their lives have lead them along a torturous route and that they have no control over all the misfortunes and wrong doings that brought them to this moment in time.

The truth is that your life will not change until and unless you assume full responsibility for it. Responsibility, or your ability to respond, is not a way of accepting some form of blame as most people think, but rather a way of accepting your ability to respond to any situation. It is absolutely critical to realize and accept that it is never the actual events of your life but only your responses to these events that will shape and create your life. You are never the creature of circumstances and you have the ultimate ability to consciously decide what things mean and how to respond to it. You are the only one that can and the only one that will take you where you want to go in your life.

Responsibility is not some skill you need to go and find outside of yourself but it is something you already possess. All you need to do is to assume this power that calls on you to stop blaming any and everything other than yourself.  Most of us have been conditioned to blame someone else for the parts of our lives that don't work. When you take full responsibility for your life you put yourself back in charge; you get back in behind the wheel of your life and now you have the ability to control and direct your life the way you choose to. Ultimately it is not the conditions of your life but rather the decisions about what things mean and what you are going to do about it that will create the real conditions of your life.

When you are fully responsible you recognize that you are the creator of your life. At some level you were responsible. If not by your conscious actions, then by the meanings and emotions you attached to the events and experiences. Only when you accept responsibility for creating everything in your life can you start to un-create and re-create it the way you truly want. If you keep blaming someone or something else you will remain bound because you will always rely on something or someone else to be responsible for the way you feel and ultimately someone else will be responsible for the state of your life. You have to consciously unfold your arms, get out of the back seat and get back behind the wheel and start directing your life towards where you want it to go, instead of just going with the flow.

See, there are only two real choices in life, the one conscious and the other unconscious: you can either choose to be directed by the events and circumstances of life and let the river of life take you wherever it's going or you can have both your hands on the steering wheel and decide that you are in full control. You get to decide where you go. Although you can't control all the events of your life, you can always decide what the events mean to you and how you are going to respond. Whenever anything happens to you, you have to respond to it in order to create the outcome. Most people have fallen into the cultural hypnosis that just passes the responsibility on to someone else. This is why their lives feel out of control, because it is. They have not taken responsibility.

You create your world. When you assume your responsibility you are in charge and this is an internal shift in your thinking and behaviour. Your psychology is not just a big part of your life but it is "everything." Winning and losing in life is an internal game. By learning to control and direct your mind you get to choose what things mean and therefore you get to choose your response, also known as your responsibility. No one can ever give you responsibility. It is an internal process and a switch that only you can turn on or off.

Being fully responsible doesn't mean you live in blame and self pity. It means that you live life from a place of power where you know that on some level you are fully responsible for what happened and you will be responsible for everything that is to come. Be careful how you utilize your past experiences. With responsibility comes a new emotional territory that reinvents your past. You want to use your past as a place to learn from and a place to pull pleasure from. Right, wrong or indifferent, there is a gift in there somewhere. You just need to find it. It's never too late to have a happy childhood – you have the ability (and response-ability) to find an empowering meaning in whatever life gives you.

Responsibility means that you are in charge. You call the shots. Nobody and nothing is in control and to blame other than you. This is how you turn problems into opportunities and how an ordinary life becomes extraordinary. Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, said that life is either a daring adventure or nothing. What is it going to be for you? You can either let the environment steer your life or you can get behind the wheel and take responsibility for every aspect of your life. Life is one amazing adventure, but only if you perceive it as that. By being responsible you can take yourself anywhere you want to go because you are the only one who gets to steer your ship and direct the course. You can't control the wind but you can most certainly direct your sails.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Optimist’s Creed from ‘The Secret’


Most of you are familiar with ‘The Secret’ movie or book by Rhonda Bryne but if you aren’t I highly recommend that you watch the movie or read the book. 

Whilst looking at inspiring stories on The Secret’s website, I came across ‘The Optimist’s Creed’ and it felt so empowering and motivating that I wanted to share it with as many people as I could.

There are 12 daily affirmations contained in The Optimist’s Creed that will help you keep empowered, motivated and inspired. 

The Optimist’s Creed is one to commit to memory so that you can keep on the right track of thinking positively and keeping focused on your goals and commitments.

It was written by Christian D. Larson 100 years ago in 1912 and he contributed so much to humanity through his inspirational teachings.  As you read and feel every line, you will experience all that Christian D. Larson intended for you – to summon ALL GOOD into your life.



To be strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet

To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them

To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true

To think only of the best, to work only for the best and to expect only the best

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet

To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble

To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud word, but in great deeds

To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me

Christian D. Larson


 Spread The Love …

©Shelly, Your Personal Growth and Development