Being Happy Is Your Choice

We hear it over and over – life is hard. Life has some hard spots. True. But most days, there is more right than wrong, good than bad, amazing than average, building than diminishing, possible than impossible, wonder than sameness. But in a world where the bad is seemingly magnified, it requires a mindset shift to see the positive more than the negative.

Here’s the truth: life is about perspective. We have been trained to focus on the challenges and dangers in our world. We are trained to tune in to things that can harm us, hurt us and create problems. There’s little wonder that, with this perspective, most everything we notice is a problem we are just finishing, just starting or one that is on our future. Most people live life like they’re moving from problem to problem to problem. Who wouldn’t get worn out, angry and bitter with that view?

The consequence of this negative perspective is self-perpetuating. The more you notice problems and get yourself down because of them, the more problems you notice – and on it goes. You spin faster and faster making it more difficult to notice any of the amazing, wonderful, awesome and spectacular things that go on every day, right in front of you, able to make you see that you have a great life.

So how do you learn to see the bright side and not always focus on the dark side? Tune out, tune in and readjust your view.

Tune Out
With the magnitude of negative news and fear-based reporting in our world, it is important to disconnect from this input to allow yourself to consider the positive, not just the negative. If you receive a constant feed of negative, it will become the lead influence in your thinking. You will spend your time being pessimistic, and here is what is alarming: you will justify that you are right to be so negative.

You need to disconnect from the continual negativity to be able to see and develop the positive.

Tune In
Tune in means pay attention to what is good, right and working well about you and your world. What are your greatest abilities that help you excel? What are you passionate about and interested in that helps you feel engaged, activated and happy in your day? What in your world or workplace is working well?

If you don’t look for it, you will not find it. But as soon as you learn to tune in to what is great in you and in your world and workplace, you will see that there is always more right than wrong, more beauty, greatness and goodness than the other side. It takes new eyes to see it.

Readjust Your View
FUD – fear, uncertainty, death. Drama and difficulties. This is the stuff that seemingly sells best. But when you shift from fear to love, and from worry to happiness, you take control as the owner of your life. Making an intentional mindset shift to adjust your view, combined with tuning out the noise and tuning in to yourself, lessens the impact on you. You are a victim to this until you choose not to be.

Consider all of the metaphors here – you drive, you paint your canvas, you run your race, you build your dream. From a more positive, energized and engaged perspective, the results in each of these situations will be remarkably better. Seeing it is the first step.

Take Action
Develop a practice to tune out with regularity to be able to tune in to see things clearly, to then readjust your view. Start each day with a focus on gratitude in the silence of the moment. Allow that silence to create a clearer view of you and your world, and how you want to see yourself doing work and life. Happy is a choice. It can be yours, but you have to want it and be willing to work to achieve it.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading To Change a Habit, Try Something Different

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The Waiting Game

When you find yourself waiting, what are you doing? Checking your phone? Tapping your foot? Pacing? Getting irritated?

What could you be doing instead?

I recently had a conversation with a friend who took her young daughter to the pediatrician. While in the waiting room, she handed her daughter a coloring book and some crayons. The receptionist said, “I think you’re the first parent I’ve seen in weeks not just hand a phone or tablet to their kid while they waited.”

Though we both celebrated the fact that we must be doing something right if others are noticing our actions, we also both admittedly became pretty judgmental: “what are these other parents even doing with their kids?” We listed out things that parents and kids could be doing together while waiting, like coloring, playing a game, telling a story, sharing a memory, inventing something or just talking about life, to name a few.

And that’s when it hit me. Though I may be good at inventing opportunities to keep my kids engaged, I’m the first to pull out my phone when I’m in a waiting room alone (pot, meet kettle). Whether it’s at a doctor’s office, waiting for my car getting serviced or something else, I’m quick to fill the void with something to distract me.

But choosing to zone out with my phone means I’m missing the opportunity to tune in to what’s going on around me. I could miss the opportunity to speak with the woman sitting next to me who has so much wisdom to share. I could miss the opportunity to learn about a deal or discount available if I opt in for a short, extra service while I’m already there with the car. I could miss the opportunity to share what I do as a life coach with someone who is looking for some guidance to figure out their next step in life.

Instead of thinking, “this is going to be such a waste of time,” consider asking yourself, “how can I use this opportunity to connect to those, and the world, around me?” Or even, “what am I not seeing that would be worth seeing?”

Take Action
Consider this quote from our Power Within email on September 23, 2019: Today, I will be humble enough to know I am not better than anyone else, and confident to know that I am just as good. We all have great value.

Instead of tuning out when you find yourself waiting, imagine what life could present to you if you choose to tune in. Try it. You never know who you could meet, what you may learn, or what opportunity awaits you. We all have great value if you use the waiting game as an opportunity to discover yourself and your world.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading The Post-It Note as a Mindfulness Tool

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Eyes are Everywhere

There’s a saying, “Dance like no one is watching.” And I love the positive message behind it – that you should be able to do what makes you happy without caring what others think. Beautiful.

But take a step back for a moment. Ask yourself: what is it I love to do that I don’t care if people see? And a follow up question: why would it matter if they see?

These are important questions for a two main reasons.

  1. Someone always sees. Think about the number of surveillance videos that are regularly shared on the news catching someone in the act of doing something. Think about the unintended audience of children who see what you do and often try to mimic it or do it themselves later.
  2. You’re not being true to you. If you’re ashamed to let others see you enjoying something you love to do, there is more work for you to do as it relates to living your true self. Are you hiding something you love to do for fear of criticism? For fear of being cast out? For fear of being made fun of? Or are you hiding something that you love to do because it’s so different from how people know you?

Consider for a moment what life would be like if you were free to be who you really are, the person who loves art, dance, rap or theatre. The person who lives for fitness, sports and competition. The person who loves to make money, share ideas or help others. What if you could know yourself and be yourself. What could your life look like?

Oftentimes, the hardest part to gaining greater clarity of oneself is making the time and the effort to tune in to oneself to see who you really are and what you really want from this one great and amazing life.

Take Action
Take a moment to tune out the world and tune in to yourself. Are you living honestly and authentically? Are you taking advantage of the strengths and talents you have to make your life exactly as you want it to be?

Consider the expectations people have for you. Are these expectations aligned to your values, goals and strengths? Or, do you find yourself making decisions to please others more than to align to who you are and how you can live your best life?

By gaining greater self-awareness, you may find that some expectations just don’t fit you any longer based on your evolution as a person; as you’ve grown, your values have changed. Be open to being who you are at this moment, and go live and be the best version of that person. In doing so, you will be happier, more confident and more capable to live who you are, with or without and audience.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading I Don’t Believe in an Identity Crisis

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Moving in Autopilot

By Kristin Allaben, Executive Assistant & Strategic Communications Specialist

I remember the first time someone told me to “be aware.”

I was 16, sitting in my driver’s education class. My instructor played a short video, showing a driver’s view as they drove a car down several side streets and took a few turns before parking. My instructor shut off the short 15 or 20 second video and asked the class to identify the first road sign the driver passed.

I had no idea. I remember feeling stunned into awareness. I was watching the road but certainly wasn’t paying attention to the things within view of the drive, like the road signs.

This alarmed me to the things going on around me that I may be missing by moving through life in autopilot. If you are in autopilot, you will miss what’s happening around you – all the information and opportunities your world has to offer.

The next major awareness wake-up call happened for me the year after I graduated from college. Working full time and going to graduate school online at night, I had a routine. Get up, go to work, come home, go for a run, eat, go to class, go to bed. Repeat.

I vividly remember working on an assignment for one of my courses when I realized the content being taught went against what I was being taught on the job. Awareness. Enlightenment. My wake-up call. I had a moment of clarity that pointed to the fact that the program was not for me. I chose to leave the program and focus on my career instead.

If I had been moving in autopilot, focused on just getting the work done vs. being tuned in to the information I was reading, I may have missed this critical moment to decide if the degree was worth the investment (both time and money).

Moral of the story: catch yourself when you’re moving in autopilot, but don’t confuse it with routine. Routine can be healthy and help you stay focused. Though you are in routine, you are still aware and still making choices on purpose. But when you’re in autopilot, you tune out much of what’s happening around you. You do things out of habit and risk the chance of missing some of the greatest opportunities life can present to you.

Be mindful of what’s happening around you. Tune in to be aware of the opportunities that come out of every situation. Life has a funny way of surprising you. Get out of habit and autopilot. Get into being mindful, aware and ready for life’s opportunities.

 

Read Tune Out to Tune In

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