How to be a better person
Information, suggestions, and inspiration compiled and edited by Jim Watson
One of the keys to a happy life is finding the balance between making a positive impact on our society and having a good time.
Possessions, titles, and salaries seem to have little to do with how satisfied we are with our lives - our happiness. Feeling loved, useful, and that we are making an impact in the lives of others provides a stronger sense of happiness. We strive to improve and minimize the negative influences in order to live more fulfilled, satisfying, happy, impactful, and fun lives.
Some things one can do to feel more satisfied, be happier, and be a better person:
Set goals and objectives
You don't have to be the person you were last year, last month, or last night. You don't owe anyone anything that makes you miserable or fills you with dread. You are the architect of your life. Every instant holds in it the potential for you to radically change whatever no longer serves your purpose for being here. Infinite dreams have been actualized by nothing more than persistence and a belief in possibilities. From Dale Carnegie: Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours.
Follow your purpose. A purpose is what you enjoy doing that you never get tired of. Write a list of purposes and choose the one that speaks to you the most.
List some meaningful goals that you want for your life. Figure out your strengths and exploit them. Break each goal up into smaller sub-goals and then break those sub-goals into individual tasks and action steps. Every night, plan the next day in advance. Create a daily "to-do list" with those tasks that you need to do to accomplish your goal.
Find meaning or passion. Happy people usually have a sense of purpose or something they love to do. It could be some type of volunteering, gardening, or art. For some people, it might be their work; it has a lot of meaning to them and can be an outlet. For others, it may be helping those less fortunate, learning a new skill, or embracing creativity.
Strive to make things better - improve what you can. But, stop trying to make things perfect. The world doesn't reward perfectionists, it rewards people who get things done. Sometimes it's better to accept and appreciate the world as it is, and people as they are, rather than to trying to make everything and everyone conform to an impossible ideal. Learn to like and value things when they are less than perfect.
Put money low on the list. Happiness is about respect, not riches. Research has confirmed: money doesn't buy happiness.
Let go or avoid that which you can't control.
But, based on research, feeling happy can make us less creative and, in some cases, less able to connect with other people. Adversity (not very happy times) may have a positive influence on creative thoughts.
You are immensely powerful. Even if it doesn't feel like it, even if nothing up to this point in your life seems to affirm it - this is a fact. You can become your own hero and rescue yourself. You can rise above any situation and create a life that exceeds your best dreams. No matter what has happened before this moment, there are still infinite possibilities for a life of joy, connection, adventure, and meaning. When you have your own approval you won't crave anyone else's applause. The ones who love you may not always agree with you, but they will always accept you freely. The ones who don't shouldn't be main characters in your story anyway. As the astronomer Albert Durant Watson explained in 1918, “our bodies are made of star-stuff." You are no less extraordinary than the galaxies. You are the singular opportunity for the world to see the way the divine light of God shines through you alone. When you acknowledge your magnificence you will gain courage and confidence about who you are and who you were created to be.
Be your own best friend, you two will be together for your entire life. You're all you've got - you're the only one you can count on.
Believe in yourself. Stop being scared to make a mistake. Doing something and getting it wrong is more productive than doing nothing. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did. Take risks, stumble, fall, and then get up and try again. Appreciate that you are pushing yourself, learning, growing and improving. Significant achievements are almost invariably realized at the end of a long road of failures.
Be authentic, honest with yourself about what's right, what needs to be changed, what you want to achieve, and who you want to become.
Believe that you're ready for the next step. You have everything you need right now to take the next small, realistic step forward. Embrace the opportunities that come your way, and accept the challenges - they will help you grow.
Surround yourself with what you love, whether it's pets, music, keepsakes,
Don't get hung up on nonessential
numbers: age, weight, and height - let the doctor worry about them, not you.
You can't be everything to everyone. You can only be yourself. That means letting yourself off the hook a little. Don't beat yourself up for not meeting everyone's expectations. Sometimes your boss, your parents and your spouse expect too much. Don't blame yourself for not being perfect; just emphasize what you can accomplish.
Set boundaries. "No, I can't fit in that one extra meeting." "I can't volunteer this time with the PTA." Reserve some time to take a nap or a bubble bath or read a book. Give yourself time for good eating habits and exercise. People feel better about themselves when they're taking care of themselves in those ways, too.
Expand your comfort zone (what you feel comfortable doing). The more you get out in the world and do what you feel uncomfortable doing, the less inhibited you become, thereby allowing you to live a richer and fuller life.
Start concentrating on the things you can control. Wasting time, talent and emotional energy on things that are beyond your control is a recipe for frustration, misery and stagnation. Invest energy in the things you can control, and act on them now.
Toughen up, be less sensitive and less easily insulted. Offense is taken not given. If you feel offended, that's your own problem. If you're allowing someone else's words to dictate your own emotions, you seriously need to grow up and start taking responsibility for yourself, your emotions, and your behavior.
The world is going crazy with political correctness and extreme censorship, all to avoid people from being exposed to something they don't like. There will a!ways be something that offends someone; so where does it end? When people stop choosing to be offended by things (and it is a choice) then 'offensive' words, phrases, opinions, etc will lose all power.
Avoid making comparisons to others. Someone will always be prettier, smarter, and younger; but they will never be you; stop trying to compete; don't worry about what others are doing better than you.
Stop holding grudges. Don't live your life with hate. You will end up hurting yourself more than the people you hate. "I'm not going to let what you did to me ruin my happiness." Forgive, let go, find peace, liberate yourself! Forgive yourself, move on and try to do better next time.
Don't take guilt
trips. Take a trip to the mall, the museum, or another city, but not to where the guilt is. Guilt is self-imposed (as is embarrassment and offense) and it has no positive value. Learn, let go, and move on.
Take care of yourself
You don't merely deserve your attention, you require it. Your wellbeing demands your consideration and kindness. Be gentle with yourself. Silence every self-defeatist thought with an affirmation of your own magic and wonder. Give yourself the gift of your own relentless love. Let there be grace!
Cherish your health. Take care of your body with smart eating habits, exercise, no smoking, and adequate sleep. If it is good, preserve it. If its unstable, improve it. If its beyond what you can improve, get help.
Stay active - get outside and do stuff
Read a book you love
Live simple: buy less, use less, keep less. Purge all the closets, drawers, and the garage. Get rid of the stuff that is seldom used.
Find ways to cope with
stress and hardships. Sometimes life's a bitch. Things will come our way that we have not prepared for - death of loved ones, accidents, illnesses, financial loss. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with you your entire life - is yourself. Believe that 'this too shall pass'.
Let go of anger and resentment. Free your mind from hatred. Learn to forgive. Address the root causes, learn from them, and then move forward.
Practice empathy for others
Empathize with the joys and sorrows of others. Be kind, civil, and considerate
- think of the other person more often. Everyone is struggling with some issues; we are each trying our best to cope. Being kind to others helps us feel
generous, capable, connected, and more satisfied. Program your car key fob to not beep when you lock your car.
Respect the environment and the future of the planet: Encourage the use of reusable shopping bags and non-plastic water bottles.
Remain alert while driving, allow fewer distractions to intrude on your focus.
Consider other drivers while driving - let in the guy with his blinker on.
Keep a gratitude journal and regularly write down what you are glad about - from minor (nice weather) to major (events, promotions).
List all the people and things that make you glad. Thank the people that have been good to you or have helped you.
Make a gratitude visit to a friend
Every morning before you start your day, appreciate what you have.
Build positive surroundings
Be around happy people. Nurture relationships and spend time with the right people - the people you enjoy, who love and appreciate you, and who encourage you to improve in healthy ways. They are the ones who make you feel more alive. Choose friends who show love and respect - who reciprocate kindness and commitment.
Cherish your family and friends. Tell the people you love that you love them. Spend time with them - develop relationships - much enjoyment comes from other people, not just with those we love, but those we work with, play with, and even stand next to in line with.
Stop spending time with people who suck the happiness out of you, who bring you down to their level. It may better to be alone than to be in bad company. If you only spend time with people who are sad and miserable, don't expect your world view to improve. Don't write off your unhappy friends, but broaden your horizons. If you're having a bad day, sometimes a funny, cheerful friend can help you smile. Negative thinking begets negative thinking.
Learn from the pros: find the successful people in your field and ask them what they do to be successful. Most successful people are more that willing to share their knowledge if you just ask them.
Live in the present
From Dalai Lama's Rules for Living: Live in the moment. This could be the single most important piece of advice you ever heed to. Do not forget nor dwell on the past, but do forgive it. Be aware of the future but do no fear or worry about it. Focus on the present moment, and that moment alone. Living in any other moment will only bring you anguish. The past cannot be changed and the future cannot be controlled. If you live in the now, you will be much happier since the past and future cannot weigh down on you.
Unhappy often stare into the past, thinking about regrets and failures and the things they've lost, or they try to look into the future, anticipating potential problems and expecting the worst.
Dwelling on failures and regrets serve no healthy purpose. If you learned from your mistakes, then they had value - but now its time to say goodbye, let them go. They have no further benefit. Regret and shame come from dwelling in the past. You can't start the next chapter of your life if you keep re-reading the last one.
Stop berating yourself for old mistakes. We all make mistakes and regret things in our past. But you am not your mistakes; you are here NOW with the power to shape your day and your future. Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
Think less about how great things will be in the future.
Learn to be in the here and now and experience life as it's happening. The more you become aware of being in the present, the more it becomes a part of your daily life.
Happier people manage to tune out the background noise and focus on what's going on right now, whether it's a boardroom meeting or an evening out with friends. If the moment is bad, it passes soon enough, replaced by another and another.
Each day, try to meet a goal of helping at least one person that day. It can be giving directions, letting someone move ahead of you in line, holding open the door, or numerous other acts - the opportunities are boundless.
Children appeared happier when they gave away a treat than when they received a treat. Performing acts that involve some kind of personal sacrifice made the kids happier.
Other studies have suggested adults are happier giving to others than to themselves.
Volunteer and spend some of your time only serving others. The value of the time invested will be repaid.
Forgive: We relive pain over and over and have a hard time letting go. Forgiveness is the remedy. It doesn't mean erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with life.
Work at it
Your talents, relationships, and aspirations all require your attention and gratitude. Just like a charming urban garden or a great contour, it takes time to build beautiful things. Your worthiness is intrinsic and irrevocable. You don't have to earn it or work for it. A worthy life, on the other hand, will not happen without your effort. From Elizabeth Gilbert: Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. Taking ownership for your life includes taking responsibility for your joy. Happiness starts with a decision to honor your sacred right to a joyful life. If you want to have a life full of delight and exhilaration, you will have to build it.
Consciously choose happiness. Bad things happen to everyone. Some events - a death in the family, financial difficulties - are genuinely terrible. It's hard to find any good in them. Not every worrisome event is so devastating, though. You can choose to dwell on the negatives or seek out the positives.
Avoid catastrophic thinking, in which one negative thought leads to another and another, setting off a chain reaction of negativity that can send you spiraling into helplessness and fear.
Watch your own self-talk, the thoughts you feed yourself inside your head. Become your own internal coach. How can I look at this in a more positive light? What are the good things I can take from this situation?
Keep a "happy journal" and fill it each day with things that make you smile or feel good about yourself.
We can cultivate positive emotions and behaviors; traits like empathy and happiness are skills we can consciously develop over time.
You create your own life. You are not a victim. You are 100% responsible for the life you have right now. If you are unhappy, you have the power to change your attitude and actions to begin making your life better. Remember, whether you think life sucks or you think life is great, either way, you're probly right.
You make yourself feel the way you feel. Nobody can "make" you feel anything. You are the one that "chooses" to feel good or bad about a particular event or action that occurs.
Fake it until you make it. If you want to be more confident, happy, or positive, then "pretend" that you already are this way. Eventually, after practicing this long enough, you'll realize that you're no longer "pretending". Smile (even when you aren't happy).
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. If there is something in the world you want, ask for it - or at least ask how to get it.
Evaluate situations and take decisive action. Making progress involves risk. Stop thinking you're not ready. Nobody ever feels 100% ready when an opportunity arises. Because most great opportunities in life force us to grow beyond our comfort zones, which means we won't feel totally comfortable at first.
Savor the everyday moments
Keep learning. Read, visit museums, work puzzles, take classes on things you find interesting (painting, drawing, photography); anything to exercise the neurons.
Cherish life's joys. Savor everyday moments. Enjoy the simple things, momentary pleasures (the night sky, music, sunsets).
Lighten up. When appropriate, be a bit less serious. Smile, even if you're not in the mood.
Laugh often, long, and loud. Laugh until you grasp for breath.
Its a relatively long journey, slow down and enjoy it.
Its a relatively short journey, embrace and enjoy it.
Bill Nye's Life Advice
"Everybody you ever meet knows something you don't." A cab driver told me that, 30 years ago, and I'm reminded of it every single day.
My father and mother emphasized two things: Every person is responsible for his or her own actions, and, to the best of your ability, leave the world better than you found it. That's why I say that sometimes you've got to pick up other people's trash. Just because somebody else filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide is no reason not to address the problem. We're all in this together.
You know that religious guy is not going to change his mind no matter what happens. Evidence is not that compelling for him. A key question that was posed to us was, "What, if anything, would change your mind?" And I went on about "well, if the speed of light is not the speed of light; if you can show that the microwave radiation from the big bang was from something else." My opponent said nothing would change his mind. Nothing. Evidence doesn't matter to that guy or his followers.
I read the Bible twice when I was in my twenties. Then I realized the people who wrote it knew nothing of people in China. They knew nothing of first Americans. They were just playing the hand they were dealt. Also, women are not treated very well in the Bible. It made me skeptical of the whole thing. I gave it a shot, I really did. I'm pretty confident that humans made the whole thing up. Seriously. But when it comes to "is there a God or not?" I'm the first to point out you can't know. I'm agnostic. You can't prove there's a God or not. I accept that. Some people find that very troubling. I find it empowering and cool.
A few conclusions from numerous scientific research and survey studies.
The components of happiness
1. Pleasure (but least important)
2. Engagement (and anticipation)
Happy people are
• More helpful
• Less hostile
• More productive
• In better physical health
• Surrounded by more friends
• More successful
• Able to
live longer and healthier lives
What doesn't make us happy (even if we think it does)
• Minor and major life events
Things that can make us happy
• Bright colors
• High self-esteem
• Outgoing, social, extrovert
• Remembering peak events
• Nature: trees, water, mountains
• Being around happy people
• Having close friends and family
• Having meaningful conversations
• Significant connections with people
Just for today only
A few resolutions from Dear Abby, Pauline Phillips
Just for today: I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow.
Just for today: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away.
Just for today: I will be agreeable, kind, and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others.
Just for today: I will face reality. I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot. I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.
Just for today: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.
Just for today: I will improve my health. I will eat healthy - if only just for today. I will take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.
Just for today: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.
How to be more Confident
Truly confident people always have the upper hand over the doubtful and the skittish because they inspire others and they make things happen. Confident people earn higher wages and get promoted more quickly. Confident people have a profound impact on everyone they encounter - they achieve this because they exert so much influence on themselves.
Speak with certainty.
It's rare to hear the truly confident utter phrases such as “Um," “I'm not sure," and “I think." Confident people speak assertively because they know that it's difficult to get people to listen to you if you can't deliver your ideas with conviction.
Seek out small victories.
Confident people like to challenge themselves and compete, even when their efforts yield small victories. Small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation. The increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases their confidence and eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.
A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher. Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference.
Don't seek attention.
People are turned off by those who are desperate for attention. Confident people know that being yourself is much more effective than trying to prove that you're important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what, or how many, people you know. Confident people always seem to bring the right attitude.
Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they're receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don't crave approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.
Don't pass judgment.
Confident people don't pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don't need to take other people down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Confident people don't waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.
Get your happiness from within.
Happiness is a critical element of confidence, because in order to be confident in what you do, you have to be happy with who you are. People who brim with confidence derive their sense of pleasure and satisfaction from their own accomplishments, as opposed to what other people think of their accomplishments.
Listen more than you speak.
People with confidence listen more than they speak because they don't feel as though they have anything to prove. Confident people know that by actively listening and paying attention to others, they are much more likely to learn and grow. Instead of seeing interactions as opportunities to prove themselves to others, they focus on the interaction itself, because they know that this is a far more enjoyable and productive approach to people.
Being brave, compassionate, and authentic in ways that count rarely exist inside your comfort zone. Even with a clear destination in front of you, the path to a changed life is not an easy one. The journey will more than likely be terribly lonely, full of uncertainty, and more difficult than your wildest expectation. You can choose to be stagnant and safe or you can offer yourself as tribute and run toward the challenge. When you risk it all to gain it all the reward you find is that the view is worth the climb.
When confident people see an opportunity, they take it. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, they ask themselves, “What's stopping me? Why can't I do that?" and they go for it. Fear doesn't hold them back because they know that if they never try, they will never succeed.
Don't afraid to be wrong.
Confident people aren't afraid to be proven wrong. They like putting their opinions out there to see if they hold up because they learn a lot from the times they are wrong and other people learn from them when they're right. Self-assured people know what they are capable of and don't treat being wrong as a personal slight.
Celebrate other people's successes.
Insecure people constantly doubt their relevance, and because of this, they try to steal the spotlight and criticize others in order to prove their worth. Confident people, on the other hand, aren't worried about their relevance because they draw their self-worth from within. Instead of insecurely focusing inward, confident people focus outward, which allows them to see all the wonderful things that other people bring to the table. Praising people for their contributions is a natural result of this.
How to be happier
Possessions, titles, and salaries seem to have little to do with how satisfied we are with our lives - our happiness. Feeling loved, useful, and that we are making an impact in the lives of others provides a stronger sense of happiness. Here are a few things, in no particular order, that we can do to feel more satisfied:
Surround yourself with what you love.
Whether its pets, music, keepsakes, hobbies, whatever.
Cherish your health.
Take care of your body with good eating habits, exercise, and sleep. If it is good, preserve it. If its unstable, improve it. If its beyond what you can improve, get help.
Throw out nonessential numbers.
This includes age, weight, and height. Don't get hung up on them - let the doctor worry about them, not you.
Put money low on the list.
Set meaningful goals.
Take initiative at work.
Keep only cheerful friends.
The grouches pull you down, the poopy people just get in the way. Move around them.
Never let the brain idle. Read, visit museums, work puzzles, anything to exercise the neurons.
Laugh often, long, and loud.
Laugh until you grasp for breath. Lighten
up. When appropriate, be a bit less serious. Laugh out loud. Smile, even if you're not in the mood.
Invest time and energy in friends and family.
Tell the people you love that you love them. Make an effort to spend time with them. Develop relationships - much enjoyment comes from other people, not just with those we love, but those we work with, play with, and even stand next to in line with.
Live in the moment.
Free your mind from anxiety about the future and worry about the past. Dwelling on failures and regrets serve no healthy purpose. If you learned from your mistakes, then they had value - but now its time to say goodbye, let them go. They have no further benefit.
Don't take guilt trips.
Take a trip to the mall, the museum, or another city, but not to where the guilt is. Guilt is self-imposed (as is embarrassment and offense) and it has no positive value. Learn, let go, and move on.
Keep a gratitude journal.
Develop an attitude of gratitude. Regularly write down what you are glad about - from minor (weather) to major (events, promotions).
Thank people that have been good to you or have helped you. List all the people and things that you are grateful for, those things that make you glad.
Practice acts of kindness.
Help, donate, give, or volunteer. Get in the habit of becoming more civil and considerate - think of the other person more often. Acts can be random (let someone in front of you in line) to planned (volunteer work). Being kind to others helps us fell generous, capable, connected, and more satisfied.
Savor life's joys.
Savor everyday moments. Enjoy the simple things, momentary pleasures (the night sky, music, sunsets). Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
Let go of anger and resentment.
Free your heart from hatred. Learn to forgive. Address causes, learn from them, and then move forward.
Find ways to cope with stress and hardships.
Sometimes life's a bitch. Things will come our way that we have not prepared for - death of loved ones, accidents, illnesses, financial loss. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person who is with you your entire life - is yourself. Be alive while you are alive. Believe that 'this too shall pass'.
Make some alterations
Alter allowing fear to dictate your life.
If there's something you're afraid to do chances are that's what you should be doing. That feeling inside you, you think is fear is really a guide to what choice would be the best to make.
Alter the people who are around you.
The people you surround yourself with will dictate your success, your failure and your happiness. If someone is toxic in your life remove them and cut ties because you have to. Think about your own well being and think are these relationships helping me to progress?
Alter the risks you aren't taking in life.
Take more risks. Do things that scare you. Live a life that you don't even care to make others jealous but one you're proud of.
Alter the fact you are so guarded.
You think it's better to keep your walls up and push people away but vulnerability is what forms connections. And those connections are so important.
Alter the standards you are failing to live up to.
Stop beating yourself up for not living up to these unrealistic expectations. It's one thing to have goals and be ambitious, it's another thing to set yourself up for failure then fall apart because of it.
Alter the fact you've been selfless you're whole life and now it's your turn to be a little selfish.
Think about yourself for once and don't feel bad about it. You deserve a little more than what you give yourself.
Alter your perception of the life you are leading.
Negativity will drain you. Instead of looking at the glass half empty, try looking at things a little differently and see how it affects your life.
Alter the credit you don't give yourself enough of.
Pat yourself on the back every once in awhile. It's okay to be proud of who you are and the choices you've made. It doesn't make you pompous or arrogant.
Alter your life by trying to make yourself happy and not everyone else.
It's important to make yourself happy and not just try and please everyone around you. When you do that what you'll find is you've lost yourself trying to be what everyone else wanted and needed you to be.
Alter the way you think about the past.
Stop being so bitter about the past. You can't change it. You can only learn from it.
Alter your surroundings.
Sometimes it's scary to admit a place doesn't work for you. When a plant doesn't thrive, a gardener doesn't look at the plant and blame it, instead, they alter the surrounding in which it'll thrive and grow. People are the same way.
Brielle Daraja, Thought Catalog
Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky, Marc and Angel: Practical Tips for Productive Living
Dalai Lama: Rules for Living
Dr. Renee Orcutt, an Oklahoma City psychologist
Catherine A. Sanderson: The Science of Happiness
Jason Marsh, Lauren Klein, Jeremy Adam Smith
Dr. Travis Bradberry, October 2016: More confident
An exercise to help become a better person
Great designers (and great people) are in touch with who they are and how they fit into the grand scheme of this connected universe of humanoids. It is beneficial and healthy for us to constantly assess who we are and what we are about. As the saying goes, "A life unexamined is a life not worth living." An examined life can help one feel more centered, gain self respect and self confidence, and help survive, compete, and tolerate a sometimes ruthless environment.
Setting goals can help you grow in the direction that is most efficient for your growth and happiness. Self assessment goals should be:
• Attainable (but just barely)
• Very specific
• Doable on a time schedule.
Address the items below honestly and thoroughly (you should add additional assessment criteria and evaluation). This is not really about right or wrong, its about your honest, thorough, and deeply probing assessment of some of your beliefs and values. Do whatever you do when you check your inner thoughts: take a walk, fantasize, reread your journal, meditate, etc. Consider skills at which you excel, how you enjoy spending your spare time, where you would like to be five years from now, etc. Jot notes and clarify your thoughts. Dig deep. Try to figure out what really makes you you: why you think, act, and believe the way you do. Here are some jump-starters and thought-provokers
• My most cherished childhood memories.
• How I enjoy spending my free time.
• What objects I would save if my house was on fire.
• My role models.
• When I knew for sure that I was talented.
• Heroes who have had a major influence on me.
• People I must impress in order to feel good about myself.
• The attributes that make me unique and special.
• The major goals I want to accomplish in my life.
• Behind my back, people say that I am . . .
• Some things that prevent me from focusing on a task or project.
• What I want to say on my deathbed.
• My three best assets.
• Why I do or do not feel very confident about myself or my ideas.
• I am happiest when I am . . .
• My ultimate fantasy dream job.
• Things I would change about myself.
• Some of my pet peeves.
• I want to break out of these ruts or habits.
• Guests at my fantasy dinner party.
• The things that prevent me from thinking more open-mindedly.
• Ways I can become more intelligent.
• What I am most afraid of.
Some ways of dealing with the burdens of life
• Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
• Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
• If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
• It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
• Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
• Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
• Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
• A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
The two wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret , greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace , love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
The donkey in the well
One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.
He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.
A few shovel loads later, the farmer looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw - with each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey would shake it off and take a step up.
As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off.
Moral: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up. Shake it off and take a step up.
Two glasses of wine
A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
He next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous 'yes.'
The professor then produced two glasses of wine from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.
As the laughter subsided, he said, 'This jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things: your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions; things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter: your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else: the small stuff.'
'If you put the sand into the jar first', he continued, 'there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.'
'Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Do one more run down the ski slope. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first; the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.'
One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the wine represented. The professor smiled, 'It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple of glasses of wine with a friend.'
When explaining stress management to an audience, a lecturer raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 8 - 20oz. The lecturer replied,
The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.
If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm.
If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.
In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.
And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on. As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested.
Life is short. Enjoy!
The farmer and his son
By Jeff Herring, Tallahassee, Florida
Just before the Civil War, there was a farmer who had one son. Having only one horse, the farmer and son worked long, hard days, from sunup to sundown, just to get by, with nothing left to spare. One day
as the father and son plowed the fields, their horse got spooked and ran off. The son was devastated. "What bad luck. Now what will we do?" The father replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell."
They continued to work the farm. One day, their horse came running back with six other horses. The son said, "What great luck. Now, we have all the horses we'll ever need." The farmer replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell." The next day, one of the horses threw the son off and he broke his leg. The son cried, "Father, I am so sorry. Now you have to work the farm all by yourself. What bad luck." Once again,his father replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell."
Several days later, the Civil War broke out and all the able-bodied young men were sent off to war. The farmer's son, having a broken leg, was forced to stay at home. After the leg had healed, the father had the only farm around with a son to help and seven horses. They worked the farm and prospered.
replied, "Good luck, bad luck, too soon to tell. Its all in how you look at it. It depends on which one you choose and what you make of it.
The story has three principles that allowed the farmer and his son to prosper:
1. Responding vs reacting. At each turn of events, the son reacted. Reacting usually involves not thinking things through - operating without enough information to make a good decision. The farmer, on the other hand, responded to each event using his brain and the power of perspective. This allowed him to respond to events - good or bad - that came his way.
2. Attitude. The son's attitude was, things happen to us. The farmer's attitude was, things do happen, and what we do with what happens makes the difference.
3. Filters. The son filtered events into two categories: this is either good for us or bad for us. He had 'problem filters', seeing only the bad in events and how he was affected. The father had different filters - 'solution filters'. Whatever the events, he knew that a solution could be found in both good luck and bad luck. We all have filters in our thinking that determine how we see the world.
When one solution doesn't work, another one can be discovered. We face events in our lives that can make us or break us. When we bring the tools of responding, attitude, and solution filters to these events, we have a much better chance of making them work in our favor.
Don't give up. People just might be wrong.
Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy.
Drillers who Edwin Drake tried to enlist in 1859
This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.
Western Union internal memo, 1876
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
President, Royal Society, 1895
Everything that can be invented has been invented.
Commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899
Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?
HM Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927
The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued to a screen: the average American family hasn't time for it.
New York Times, 1939
I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943
You ain't goin' nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin' a truck.
Manager of the Grand Ole Opry, firing Elvis Presley, 1954
We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.
Decca Records, rejecting the Beatles, 1962
The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C', the idea must be feasible.
Yale professor commenting on a paper by Fred Smith (founder of FedEx) proposing overnight delivery service
There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.
President, Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977