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We get so caught up in doing the easy thing that we lose sight of how important the challenge is and how good it feels to force ourselves to work harder for something; to fight harder for something; to dream bigger and to will ourselves to do the thing we’re scared to do.
But we should be challenging ourselves. When we do the easy things, the things that are comfortable and simple and don’t take much thought because we’ve rehearsed them in our heads so often that we could do them in our sleep, we’re not learning anything.
We’re not trying anything new. We’re not jumping out of our comfort zones and letting the fresh, rare air hit our faces and taking in the new smells and tastes and touches.
When we’re doing the easy things, we’re just doing them. The challenging things are the things, the moments, the memories, the experiences that we smell and touch and taste. They linger. They change us. And we are never the same because we are suddenly and instantaneously better. We are made braver.
Challenging ourselves makes things happen. Sometimes they’re things that we don’t want to happen and other times, when we get it right, the things that come from challenging ourselves are more satisfying and amazing and fulfilling than we’d ever even dreamed.
So while it’s easy to run in the opposite direction and to keep what’s easy and simple and safe near and dear to your heart, you should run toward and challenge. It will feed you, satisfy your soul, lift you up and make you stronger. You’ll be braver, more powerful, more self-assured and self-aware.
You’ll be a doer, not a dreamer.
It’s the term thrown around more often than any other term when people are asked what they are looking for in life. A loving partner, a fun high-paying job and endless world travel are also amongst some of the most common answers, however all of these are preference-based means to the one ultimate end, which is happiness.
Below list of common traits that seem to be found in happy people – genuinely happy people, and not just those who appear to be so on the surface. Not suggesting that these are the only keys to happiness, simply some common characteristics.
1. Love Themselves For Who They Are
True comfort in their own shoes. They accept and embrace themselves physically, they maintain their true character traits regardless of whether or not they receive approval and they work to make the best of the human experience they are living.
2. See Relationships As An Extension To, Rather Than The Basis Of The Human Experience
Relationships, whether friendly, familial or romantic, are certainly one of the greatest parts of the human experience. However, far too many of us let their presence or absence, and even more so the value we attribute to them dictate our overall happiness in life. Genuinely happy people tend to find complete contentment within themselves, and see all relationships as the awesome extension to their self-content. It’s often when we are not looking for others to fill a particular void, or to make us feel a certain way, that most of the truest and most-valuable relationships are formed.
3. Embrace Change
Life is a constant lesson and happy people tend to be well-aware of that. Not only are they always open to change, but they truly listen to suggestions, respect and consider all opinions and take criticism constructively rather than offensively.
4. Celebrate Rather Than Compare Themselves To The Accomplishments Of Others
Jealousy is a killer, and as Gary Allan once said, “You can be the moon and still be jealous of the stars.” We are all capable of accomplishing anything in this life and are the only ones that are going to find the drive within ourselves to do it. Rather than observe and compare to those who have accomplished, the truly happy tend to celebrate it and use it as motivation to accomplish things within their own lives.
5. Never Dwell In Being A Victim
We’ve all been the so-called ‘victim’ to several things in life. Truly happy people tend to be those who choose not to dwell in it. They choose to let the victimization strengthen them, rather than wear it as a badge of weakness or as the thing that makes them consistently worthy of receiving sympathy.
6. They Live In The Present
As fun as reminiscing about the past or fantasizing about the future can be, nothing will ever be done in anything but the present and happy people tend to realize that. Not only do they realize it, but they tend to use it as motivation to make the most of it. In addition to being motivating, presence can also come in handy for truly appreciating those moments of relaxation, allowing yourself to be truly in them, rather than projecting future concerns into them.
7. Trust That Everything Happens For A Reason
This can very easily be paired with the choice to not be a victim, but happy people tend to trust the process and existence of everything in their life. They know that nothing is ever too big to handle and choose to embrace what life is currently throwing at them rather than cowering at the sight of it.
8. They Don’t Let Money Dictate Their Lives
Nobody is denying that in this world right now we all need money to exist, and as a result many of us spend the bulk of our lives doing things that help us earn it. Happy people don’t let money be the ultimate dictator in their life. They still make sensible choices within their means, but they never let money: A) prevent them from pursuing a so-called “risky” passion, B) be the factor that is blamed for why their life is so miserable, C) complain about how little they have. There are creative ways to do everything in this world, and seeing money as only being possible to make in the standard ways is the most crippling thing to that creativity.
9. Look Within For Solutions
One of the most powerful realizations a genuinely happy person will often operate based on is “change starts within.” The empowerment that comes as a result of not only realizing this but even more so in using it as the backbone to everything in life can be quite remarkable. There are thousands of books, mantras, techniques and practices out there that can all help us to find solutions to so many things in life, but they all require one thing to truly be serviceable: the consciousness to support them.
Let’s wind the clock back twenty, fifty, a thousand years.
Historically, an individual’s successes have been measured by what he/she could claim as their own.
Caveman A has big shiny rock, and is now more important than Caveman B who has no rock. Nobleman A has a farm and a silver mine, who is a better suitor than Nobleman B, who has neither. Man A is more successful than Man B because he has a big house in the suburbs and two automobiles parked in his drive-way.
The trend still continues today, some are still obsessed with their own success and the subjective factors that just don’t matter:
have the best phone, the sharpest clothes, the coolest car, the biggest house.
There are some things evolution just can’t weed out, but sit a depression era individual in the same room as a millennial and the differences in the cultural perceptions on what makes a successfully person are palpable.
The Great Recession put a lot of overly ambitious people in check. Many people who had taken out loans on houses they couldn’t afford to begin with lost them, and as usual the middle and lower classes suffered direly.
People began to see the dangers of wanting more than we actually needed. We started paying attention to our food, our buying habits, our commodities, our way of life, and how wrong we may have been to want a life that we were always taught to believe was “successful”.
I’m happy that everyday new articles, and documentaries are being written and made about the shifting cultural values of what measures a successful person.
A successful person can be the simple organic farmer. It can be the person living in a 200sqft house on the back of a trailer. It can the person saving money by livingly cheaply instead of spending it on things he/she doesn’t need anyway.
Man is quickly discovering that they needs to be living smarter, not larger.
The “Great American Dream” is no longer a game of quantity, but of quality and sustainability, and for the contemporary individual that distinction will make all the difference in terms of his/her success.
So stop working your ass off for the life you really don’t want anyway, and start living for the life you really need!
We all have habits. We create habits to make life and decisions easier. We tie our shoes a certain way. We have a morning routine that is the same almost every day. Most people even brush their teeth a particular way. We program our life and put it on autopilot in so many ways so that we aren’t so overwhelmed by every little decision and task, but sometimes we program reactions without our own rational consent.
Some habits are positive and promote healthy patterns of happiness and growth. Some are for utility only and don’t really matter that much.
Finally, we have negative habits that are destructive and undermine our best judgment and success.
Phrases like, “I just can’t help it” or “it’s automatic” or “I just lost it” are a good indication that a habit has formed.
The Parts of a habit
Any habit has 3 basic parts; trigger (Antecedent), Behavior and reward (Consequence).
These are the ABC’s of habit formation and habit correction. The cool thing about humans is that we have this great reasoning capability that other animals don’t have. This gives us the ability to choose what we will do or how we will respond to triggers in our environment. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have the same primal reactions to stress and threatening situations, it simply means that we can inhibit our instinctual reactions for long enough to select a better course of action. It may not feel that way sometimes, but it is true. The question is how do we train ourselves to change something that is so automatic?
3 Steps to Stop a Bad Habit (BH) in 21 Days
1. Week 1: Make a check in a pocket journal anytime you get the urge to repeat your BH. Carry a little notebook and pencil or pen that will fit in your pocket everywhere you go. Don’t put it in a purse or bag. Wear it somewhere on your body so you will not forget about it. Any time you start to feel the urge to do/repeat the BH, make a tally mark. Just focus on recognizing when the trigger/urge arises. If you have time, you could write down what it was that triggered the urge, but if not, a tally will suffice. At first this will be difficult for many. If you find yourself having a hard time recognizing the urge to do/repeat the BH before it happens at first, try to recognize it as soon as possible. If you start your BH make a tally and think of what triggered it. Make an honest record. The objective is not perfection, just recognition and incremental improvement. By doing this, you will get better at recognizing your triggers earlier over time. Awareness is the first key to any positive change.
2. Week 2: Identify and implement a positive alternative and implement it. Before you start your second week, take 15-20 minutes to evaluate what the triggers of your BH was the previous week and what a positive alternative behavior would be to replace the BH. Write your alternative response down in your pocket notebook. Your responses could be anything from include, singing, taking ten deep breathes, reciting a poem or verse of scripture, or designating a positive, calm sentence to recite to your yourself when the urge arises. Continue to use your pocket notebook to mark your urges and following your marking, use your alternative response instead of repeating your BH.
3. Week 3: Write the benefits of not doing/repeating your BH in your pocket journal.
During the next seven days start to recognize and write down the benefits you see when you stop doing your BH before you start. You could note the differences you see in yourself or the way you feel. If you need to continue marking your urges for more practice, feel free to do so. Make sure you continue to apply your positive alternatives. If you cannot always write down the benefits you see during the day, take a few minutes each night before bed to write them down.
The APP procedure can be a powerful tool in correcting our programming, but does not necessarily alter our attitudes and perspectives that greatly influence ourselves and those around us. These can have an enormous impact on the longevity of our new habits. The 21 days procedure above can be a powerful step in the right direction and can help you take the edge off any relationship enough to do some of the other internal work to not only stop a behavior but change the entire cycle, replacing it with healthier cycles.
Give up control and trade it for influence, give up perfection for improvement and give up the right way for A GREAT way. Remember that the urge to do/repeat a BH was born out of something deeper inside you. There are reasons why things that trigger you, set you off. There are reasons that it is hard for you to let go of the control, perfection and “right way” of dealing with those triggers.
Remember that each individual has his/her own perspective and the more that you grow to understand and work with instead of against that perspective, the more effective you will be in teaching and building lasting supportive relationships. All of these things grow out of your desire and application to first upgrade yourself.
[Adaptation of information by A. Smithson]
A. Checking your email every time it pops into your inbox.
B. Cleaning everything all day.
C. Worrying about things you cannot control.
D. Reading your Facebook feed when bored or tired.
E. Not getting enough sleep.
Waking up too late.
F. Filling your calendar with too much to-dos.
G. Expecting too much from a single day.
H. Juggling multiple things at once.
I. Forgetting to do the important things first.
J. Waking up and checking email first.
K. Going to bed with your phone or other device.
L. Sitting all day at the computer.
M. Looking at a device more than those you love.
N. Putting off little things for so long they add up to become big things.
O. Forget to schedule time for relaxing and fun.
P. Rushing through every single moment.
Q. Not really listening to those around you.
R. Saying yes to everyone but yourself.
S. Not knowing how to say no with grace.
When I was little, my parents advised me not to date the cutest or most popular ones, as looks fade and nobody cares about one’s social standing in youth after high school ends. They wanted me to appreciate those who were warm, intelligent and loyal, and though we spend a chunk of college and post-graduation years doing the exact opposite, we eventually realize our parents were right all along.
We all want to find partners with wonderful qualities, but some attributes — i.e. physical appearance and professional standing — seem to be more valued than others. Here are a couple underrated traits that make for amazing significant others.
10. Desire to share food
8. Willingness to watch shows you love
7. Similar sense of humor
6. Calling you out when necessary
5. Being even-tempered
4. Being great with children
3. Not getting irked by the talk
1. Telling you that you look amazing
If you’ve ever washed your hands with anti-bacterial soap, there’s a good chance you were rubbing yourself down with a chemical called triclosan—a chemical that’s been proven to be harmful in humans in recent years.
There’s no evidence that triclosan soap is any more effective at washing away germs than non-antibacterial soap and water. What’s more, according to recent studies, triclosan can “disrupt hormones critical for reproduction and development, at least in lab animals, and contribute to the development of resistant bacteria.” So not only is this chemical not doing you any real good, it could actually be harming you, too.
Perfection is the world’s most appealing impossibility. It’s both incredibly enticing and logically improbable – in every case and scenario. When considering our ideal life partners, we should be wary looking for such perfection. We are all flawed animals, striving to grasp an ideal that is out of our reach.
So if we aren’t looking for perfect, then what exactly are we looking for? Surely, we all have certain characteristics that we find especially appealing in a potential partner, but what’s most important isn’t so much the individual.
What’s most important is how that person interacts with you, how that person treats you. In the end, we’re not looking for perfect. We’re looking for perfect for us. You want, no, you deserve a partner who treats you perfectly.
You deserve someone who cares about you. Finding someone who cares about what you can do for him or her is easy, but finding a person who cares about you because he or she believes you to be one of, if not the most important, aspect of his or her life is much more difficult.
You deserve someone who cares about your safety and well-being, who cares about the way you feel, who cares about the things you do and the things that occur in your life. You deserve someone who doesn’t have to tell you that he or she cares because you already know that he or she does.
You deserve someone who brings happiness to your life. Most of the people we interact with in our lives manage to do little more than annoy us or try to use us as means to their own ends. Most people will make your life more difficult, more complicated, more stressful and more miserable.
You deserve better. You deserve a person in your life who brings a smile to your face the second he or she walks into the room. You deserve someone who makes you laugh, fills you with energy and joy. You deserve someone who makes you feel more alive than you have ever felt before.
You deserve a partner – a real partner. Not only a partner on paper, but a partner in crime, a partner in joy, a partner in sadness, a partner in all the difficult situations you will find yourself in throughout your lifetime.
You deserve a partner who will be there for you, who will always have your back, always take your side, always catch you when you fall, a partner who will never give up on you or walk out on you. Most importantly, you deserve a partner who’s there for you because he or she wants to be there for you, not because it feels like it’s his or her responsibility to do so. You deserve someone who loves you.
You deserve someone who will take care of you when you’re sick, who will bring you chicken soup, who will hold your hair back when you’re throwing up in the toilet and then clean up after you without a single hint of protest. You deserve someone who will care for you better than he or she cares for him or herself because, to this person, you are more important.
You deserve someone willing to lose an argument. Someone who will only tell you lies when it’s lies that you want to hear. Someone who will hold your hand, lie with you in bed for hours, look into your eyes because that’s where this person feels most comfortable.
You deserve someone willing to make a fool out of him or herself for you, someone willing to sacrifice for you, work for you, fight for you, cry for you, die for you.
You deserve someone who makes you want to be a better person. Someone who shows you your true potential and believes in you. You deserve someone who’s willing to run alongside you as you fight your battles, encouraging you to keep running, keep pushing, keep reaching for your goals. You deserve a person in your life who will never allow you to stop dreaming, to stop believing that anything in life is possible.
You deserve to have a person in your life who is beautifully flawed, who doesn’t have all the answers, but is willing to search for them with you. You deserve someone who truly knows how to live life and – more importantly – someone who wants to share that life with you. You deserve someone to care for, to hold, to love. You deserve such an individual because you’re a good person and good people deserve good people in their lives.