Category Archives: Struggle

Meeting the Events of Life

I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves. – Karl Wilhelm Von Humboldt

Life is full of events, circumstances that change and new directions that force us to grow. Life is about change. How we meet those changing aspects of our lives is one of the key ingredients that determine our level of happiness.

Everyone, from birth, is trained to react to situations that arise. Sometimes we view these life events as battlegrounds where we must fight to stay the same or fight to keep from losing what we are comfortable with. Fighting though prevents us from growing, from expanding and from changing our perspective. Happiness is elusive when we are fighting for our “lives.”

The way we react and respond is always under our control. Life is a ride. We can decide whether we are in the driver’s seat or just going along for the ride. Our daily attitude and the way we react to live events determine whether we are driving or not. I don’t know about you, but driving is much more enjoyable because it means I have the choice of where to go, what to do and how to react.

Life isn’t creating us. We are creating our lives.

Have a great day!

Michael

Tackle Problems Now

It is a good rule to face difficulties at the time they arise and not allow them to increase unacknowledged. – Edward W. Ziegler

One’s objective should be to get it right, get it quick, get it out, and get it over. You see, your problem won’t improve with age. – Warren Buffett

Are you one of those people who tend to not face problems? Do you hate having to deal with problems? Do problems scare you or make you feel like your life is out of your control?

The best advice is to tackle problems as they occur. Not facing them, refusing to make a decision concerning them or leaving them alone will cause problems to fester and grow bigger. A small problem can become a really big problem in a very short amount of time.

Three keys to dealing with problems are:

  1. Believe that you have the power to solve them.
  2. Know that all problems push us to grow in understanding about ourselves and others.
  3. Problems are just one side of the coin. The other side is the solution. There is never a problem without a solution.

If you believe you can’t solve a problem, then it will never happen. Many times just coming to the realization behind the three keys mentioned above will be enough to propel your mind into a different, more creative place. When your attitude about a problem shifts away from negative and turns towards positive, your mind is freer to do what it does best; i.e. solve problems. Humans have an infinite potential if our attitude and thought process are more aligned to positive things.

Next time you are facing a problem, take a step back, think about the three keys and figure out a way to calm down. This slight shift will turn you towards not only a solution but a better solution.

Michael

Deciding to Forgive

Forgiveness is not an emotion, it’s a decision. – Randall Worley

Forgiving comes in two distinct flavors; forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others. I think, overall, we struggle more to forgive ourselves than we do to forgive others. Either way, forgiveness is vitally important for emotional health and general well-being.

Since forgiveness is a decision, we always have the choice to forgive regardless of the situation. The challenge lies in making that choice. When we are hurt, harbor feelings of guilt or feel strong emotions like anger or fear; it can be hard to even think about forgiveness.

When we don’t forgive, we tend to hold on to the past to the point of emotional constipation. We get backed up. Our emotional bucket is overflowing with past hurts, transgressions and etc. to the point of bursting. We can’t enjoy our lives as much because we have all this “baggage” that we have decided to hold on to. Not forgiving is a key factor in stopping or slowing emotional growth. We lean towards pessimism and other negative emotional states more than if we regularly forgive.

The choice to forgive, either ourselves or others, is a choice of living life to the fullest. It’s a choice of moving towards being happier. It’s a choice to experience the world with a sense of optimism and hope. It’s a choice to be responsible for our own feelings and take back our own power. It’s a choice to live in the present moment as opposed to the past.

Choice forgiveness and you will feel the freedom that choice brings.

Have a great day!

Michael

Know Yourself

You have to start knowing yourself so well that you begin to know other people. A piece of us is in every person we can ever meet. – Stephen King, Night Shift

Everyone we meet has characteristics of ourselves. The more we learn about ourselves, the better we will know others when we meet. Many times when we get angry at other people, it’s because we are seeing something about ourselves that we don’t like. It can be conscious or unconscious, but I find it is mostly unconscious. It’s almost like looking in a mirror and seeing things we don’t like about ourselves.

If we get angry at someone that is controlling, it typically means that we are a controlling person. If we react to someone being very picky, it usually means that we are picky ourselves. I find it a strange phenomenon, but most of the time I examine myself, I found that it to be true.

So, if we can hold back our reaction to people and look inside we might be surprised at what we find. Everyone can teach us something about ourselves. It requires non-reaction, self-reflection and openness to change.

The next time someone is bothering you or making you angry, ask yourself what can you learn from this person. What parts that you don’t enjoy about them can be found within you? You just might grow by leaps and bounds.

Michael

1000th Post

Today’s post is the 1000th post since I started this blog almost three years ago. This is a major milestone for me. It only seems like yesterday when I started writing on a daily basis. But, 1000 days later, here I am.

It’s hard to tell if many people read what I have to say. I know of some, but most I don’t. That’s okay, because I had two goals for this blog project. The first was to journal what I was thinking, feeling or experiencing on any given day especially on the topic of living a happier life. The second was that I wanted to share that writing with at least one other person, hopefully more. I’ve met both of those goals.

I have to say that I have had a multitude of emotions over the last 1000 days while writing down my thoughts. At times it has been easy while other days extremely difficult. I’ve had insights that I’ve enjoyed while other days I couldn’t seem to think myself out of an open box. I’ve felt exhilaration and I’ve felt frustration. The common thread has been perseverance and dedication.

Bottom line, I’ve enjoyed this project. That’s my only reason for doing anything nowadays. I don’t have the time or the inclination for anything else. I want to extract the most out of my life. Doing things that make me miserable is not my idea of a fulfilling life. So, I look for ways to be happier and many times I’ve chronicled those techniques here. Not all will work for you, but many will. We all have to find our own way. That’s okay, but we can all help each other just a little.

The number 1000 is a great number to me. It feels like the completion of something; not the end of something, more like a chapter closing.

I look forward to what the next chapter brings. I’ll be sharing some of that right here.

Michael

Pick Your Company

Join with those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and have joy in their eyes—because happiness is contagious….Join those who walk with their heads held high, even though they have tears in their eyes. Stay away from those who hold their heads high because they’ve never shed a tear. – Paulo Coelho

The people we choose to spend our time with can subtly influence our moods and state of mind. It’s a form of peer pressure but not as overt. If you hang out with people who are continually talking in a negative fashion, it can wear on you. You slowly become involved in their less than positive conversation and before you know you are not feeling well. It usually happens slowly over time, but it happens.

Diligence and being conscious of these types of people and their conversations is critical for maintaining a positive state of mind. I choose my friends carefully. I do not want to be around people who complain, moan, continually criticize and have an overall negative view of the world. I’ve worked hard to be where I am and do not want to go back to the “old” ways.

Sometimes these choices can be hard because the negative individual is a close friend or family member. That doesn’t mean you should continue to associate with them. I’ll typically drop some positive comments and see if I can re-direct a negative conversation. If I have no effect, then I move on. I don’t believe in forcing people to be something they are not. I believe in being who I am which is optimistic and positive.

My happiness does not depend on whether others are happy. Everyone has the choice. I choose those who enjoy life and want to have fun. I also don’t judge where they are in their life. I just choose to be somewhere else.

Have a great day!

Michael

Starting Your Day

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. – Norman Vincent Peale

How do you start your day?

Is it a struggle? Are you grumpy? Do you love the mornings? Are you slightly comatose (like me)? Is it the best or worst part of your day? Do you start with a great attitude or one of dread?

How you start your day can set the stage for your entire waking experience until you go to sleep. In fact, the first thoughts of the morning can help set both positive and negative expectations. I personally choose the positive thoughts. I’ve tried the other way. It’s not near as pleasant.

Before you get up in the morning, take a few moments to set the stage for a better day. Your thoughts can be as simple as enjoying the feel of your bed as you stretch your limbs. You could think of some enjoyable moments you will have later in the morning. You could begin to savor that first cup of coffee or tea before you even boil the water. The specific thoughts are not so important, but the feeling behind them are extremely vital for carrying positivity throughout your day. Whatever works for you, make sure that your thoughts right after you wake up make you smile and feel great. The effect on your day will be dramatic.

At the end of your day, before you fall asleep and as you lay in your bed, remember all the good things that happened. Think about how nice it will be to experience some good things tomorrow. Make your last thoughts be positive ones. When you wake up in the morning, you’ll be slightly ahead of the game and can get an easier start on positive thinking.

Try this out. You could be pleasantly surprised and find these two small techniques to be quite addicting.

Michael

Expect Happiness

You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness, change your expectation. – Bette Davis

The expectation you have of your own level of happiness is a powerful influence. There may be other indicators, but this one is big. If your expectation is that you will not be happy, you are starting from a place that almost completely precludes you from being happy. At the very least, with that negative expectation, you would not reach a high level of happiness nor one you deserve.

What’s interesting to me is that we hide these negative expectations in a variety of ways. Sometimes we blame others or things that happen. We also tend to look too much at what is currently going on in our lives and extrapolate that bad experience into the future. Going to work seems to bring many negative expectations. Bad relationships, lack of money and physical problems round up the other, most popular excuses used in negative expectations.

The good news is that true happiness is state of being completely within our minds. It really doesn’t have to do with anything else. We have the power to change and control what we are thinking. Therefore our expectations are directly related to what thoughts are swirling around our minds.

I have found that I get what I expect. It can be surprising at times. I expect a lot from people at my job. I expect to have good things come my way. I expect to be happy throughout the day so much so, that I spontaneously smile.

Learn to control or change your expectations and watch you level of happiness increase.

Michael

Get Interested in Something

You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind. Your mind gets bored and therefore tired of doing nothing. Get interested in something! Get absolutely enthralled in something! Get out of yourself! Be somebody! Do something! The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have. – Norman Vincent Peale

What gets you excited? What drives your curiosity? What makes you feel excited and alive? What interests you?

It’s important to keep the mind active. Boredom can have a huge negative effect on your state of mind, attitude and your emotional level.

Participating in fun activities that keep your mind involved is a great way to increase your energy level also. Sitting around all day doing nothing, watching TV, staring at the ceiling or moping around is not the best use of your time. You’ll feel tired, your attitude will be terrible and your life will not be interesting.

Find something you love to do or better yet several things that keep your interest. Find your passion. Don’t worry if you aren’t good at it. That’s not the point. Having fun and keep your mind active is the way to go.

Michael

Talking to Yourself

95% of your emotions are determined by the way you talk to yourself. – Brian Tracy

This is so true and the implications of this statement are enormous. It means that by using our mind; i.e. changing our internal dialogue, we can dramatically change the emotions we are experiencing.

In fact, we can use our emotional state to determine what our self-talk is actually telling us. In other words, if we are feeling negative emotion, then 95 out of 100 times it’s something we are telling ourselves. Obviously, this works for positive emotional states also. We don’t typically want to change those, unless of course we would like to either enhance those positive feelings or learn what we are telling ourselves so that we can repeat.

Next time you are feeling down or just not as happy as you can be, listen to what you are telling yourself. Listening is an important step and all change will happen from that point. Once you know how you talk to yourself, than you can start to slowly change what you are saying. Overtime your attitude and average emotional state will improve.

Michael