Posts Tagged ‘happiness’



Is Your Critical Nature Holding You Back?

In our pursuit of improvement, of becoming our very best, we can find ourselves always looking for the negative in every situation.  As a consultant, I’m paid to figure out how to improve communication, technology, and create new and better systems. Being critical is part of the skill set that forces me to see what could be and not just what it is. But recently I ran into a statement from Shawn Achor in his book “The Happiness Advantage” that has forced me to think deeper about my consulting skills. He writes, “Constantly scanning the world for the negative comes with a great cost. It undercuts our creativity, raises our stress levels, and lowers our motivation and ability to accomplish goals.” Achor goes on to support this statement with case studies and illustrations. Even if he didn’t, the truth in it resonates with me. How can I be an effective…

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The Happiness Advantage

Some believe happiness comes from finding themselves in the right places, relationships, job, or income level.  I don’t believe that, and in recent years there is enough evidence from the field of psychology in what I have believed all along: happiness is not a byproduct of success. The opposite is actually true: happy people become successful. After finishing reading Shawn Achor’s book, “The Happiness Advantage,” I bought a copy for everyone on my team.  Shawn’s work is well researched without being didactic. It offers practical steps even for those who are not naturally prone to be happy.  I highly recommend it. One of the points that resonated with me the most came from a 40-year-old study directed by psychologist George Vaillant. He summed up his findings in one word “love—full stop.”  In his words, there are “70 years of evidence that our relationships with other people matter and matter more…

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A Reminder that Happiness is a Choice

We often cannot choose our circumstances, but we can always choose our attitude. I was reminded of this maxim recently as I sat down to eat at The Coffee Shop, a small breakfast and lunch restaurant in Marathon, (pronounced Mer-thon) Texas, population 450. The place looked like something out of a 1950 movie set: an old corner building with a few tables outside and a few more inside. A couple of local men in cowboy hats mingling inside and a few visitors to the area having their breakfast outside. As it turns out a lot of people come from all over the world to visit Marathon, a town in the middle of nowhere in west Texas. The vastness and the “lost-in-time” feel of the area attract people who want to experience the grandeur of the American West. Francine waited on me and had a notebook filled with names of people…

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We All Need a Perspective Folder

In business, as in life, things don’t always go the way we plan. Some days are disappointing: the account you have worked so long and hard to land decides at the last minute to go with your competitor;  the relationship you have worked so diligently to preserve goes south anyway; the promotion you know you deserve falls to someone else; someone you thought was a friend turns out to be a foe. You get the picture. In those moments, it’s easy for us to “lose it,” to fall apart. In these times, more than ever, we need a radical change of perspective or else negative thoughts and disappointment find a way to cloud our thinking and drag us into a dark place. Decades ago IBM sales executives were trained in what the company used to call “gratitude course.” These were the brightest and most tenacious recruits selling multimillion dollar systems…

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We Should Age But Never Grow Old

Aging is a matter of the mind. And yet I tell my body everyday that and it still aches and hurts every time I go out on a run. The truth is that, for the most part, aging stinks. But you can live a long time and never get “old” a.k.a crabby, bitter and demanding. Well, by those standards there are days that I could be considered old, very, very old. We can’t stop gravity and time from slowing us down,but we can stop aging from robbing us of a full life. If you don’t think so, just take a look a this video. Question: How do you stay young?

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You Can Buy Happiness

Money can buy happiness. It’s not a typo. Unlike popular belief, money does buy happiness. Studies have proven it.  And that’s a great vindication for power shoppers just in time for black Friday (for those who read my blog from other countries, black Friday is the busiest shopping day in America.).  After all people are already sleeping in tents outside Best Buy stores so they can get their new flat screen TV for a bargain. While some of us chase the deal, others chase the emotional high they get out of a purchase, we all ultimately seek the happiness that owning stuff brings. Hold on. Not so fast That’s not how money buy happiness, however. According to author Robert Frank, in his book Luxury Fever, the positive feelings we get from material objects are frustratingly fleeting. Spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people, produces positive emotions that are…

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Find Happiness in Any Circumstance

So your life is not necessarily where you wanted it to be right now. Happiness is an elusive feeling that comes and goes with circumstances, and you can’t seem to hold on to it long enough to enjoy it. I hear those sentiments quite often. Many of my conversations give me a glimpse of how difficult to achieve happiness is for most of us. But I think we’re getting it wrong. Circumstantial happiness is by any standard, a fleeting and fickle feeling (sorry about the alliteration and don’t try to say it tree times fast). There has to be a better way to live. Whether you verbalize it or not, how many times have you thought: I would be happy if I had a job more money a wife a better job a house a boyfriend a slimmer figure a newer car six-pack abs better friends a better looking boyfriend…

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