We ended last week by discussing stories. The stories we tell ourselves to prevent us from trying new ideas and concepts. I shared some of the stories from my life and how they have affected me. We even looked at stories that others tell us about ourselves. We looked at how we view stories, events and people from our past and how that can have an effect on our future. All of these examples can show how important stories are to our development and overall well-being.
Today we are going to look at your story. In the last few years I have learned so much from listening to the stories of others. Whether it is the stories from my friends Cari and Kelly who show me that even people coming from some of the most challenging circumstances can grow into some of the most loving people with wonderful souls. Listening to the stories about my lovely Margie helped me to better understand the woman I love and the people in her life that helped form her into the divine lady that she is today.
I know I could learn a lot from your story as well. That may sound like a bold claim considering the people who read this span the entire globe. You may be asking what can I learn from the individual from Tunisia who read this on Sunday? I can’t say exactly, but I can tell you for sure something. The examples may not be something I can relate to, for example I have friends who were abused, in foster care, divorced, lost children and a host of other challenges I have not faced. In them I can learn the principles of hope, faith, determination and love. I am eternally grateful to each and every person who shares their story with me.
You may think that your life does not offer any inspiration, but I am here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. I have heard stories from a friend in Romania about listening to certain music on the way to work. I have heard stories from my friend in Australia about the way she discovers indigenous medicine by visiting local markets. My friend from Mexico shares challenges that the local economy and health care cause him to face in his country. These are but a few of the countless stories I hear each and every day. Even those who share stories about their love, good fortune or healing give me a joyous feeling in my heart.
Perhaps you still think your story is nothing special? “I am just a person who wakes up and works to pay the bills.” Let me tell you that your story, and your life may be just what someone else needs to hear. It may be the challenges or amusing stories you have to offer about your chosen line of work. It may be amusing stories and episodes you have had raising your children. Maybe it is even the way you have approached a health challenge you have. After more then 20 years in the self-improvement field, I can tell you without a doubt, one of the most common feelings people deal with is feeling alone. Knowing that there is somebody else in the world who is facing the same challenge or has even made it through that challenge, can give their heart a little peace.
Please share your story. It may not seem like much to you and you may not understand how it will help anyone else, but it will. Whether you wish to start a blog like this one, write your own book or start a YouTube channel, please get your story out there. Someone is needing to hear just what you have to say. They may be in Armenia, Brazil or Zaire but they are out there. If you need any advice or suggestions on how to get started you can ask yours truly or make good use of Google which has many helpful tutorials.
Recently, I had the honor of being part of an inspiring publication. See Beyond is a wonderful magazine that tackles the gritty issues facing our youth and does so while encouraging and inspiring them.
In this issue, I had the great pleasure of joining other authors while sharing the challenges I face in my career as a writer. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such a unique and thought-provoking publication. I am already looking forward to contributing more.
CLICK ON THIS LINK TO READ MY ARTICLE ON PAGE 32 OF THIS MONTH’S ISSUE
In yesterday’s post I told you that most happy people I have interviewed both at the bar, the post office, Starbucks…really any place you can find me on a regular basis, had many things in common. Well, one line at the end of that post is what we are going to discuss today. I also told you that the unhappy people I ‘interviewed’ had a common thread as well. I will give you an example. There is a lady I have worked with the last 15 plus years at the post office. She is one of those people who are determined to remain unhappy. I think she is so unhappy she doesn’t even realize it herself. I’m sure nobody else knows anyone like this, but in the off-chance you do let us proceed shall we? When I decided I would ask negative people what made them happy she was the first person that came to mind. For the fist time in countless years I was excited to have a conversation with her. So I asked her, “What makes you happy?” her answer, though not terribly surprising, was enlightening. she said “It will make me happy when I know longer have to work here” Now we have all had days that we certainly would rather be somewhere else than our jobs. Why I know I felt that way…ummm…yesterday I believe. The point here was the question was not “What would make you happy, or what makes you unhappy” In answering what made her happy she inferred the removal of something that makes her unhappy. In this case, her job. So that is point one. Unhappy people, or even happy people who are feeling less than happy are focusing on an issue that makes them unhappy. Now, we all have to tackle tough issues in our life. Focusing your emotion, time and energy on them only makes them seem larger and destroys your happiness. At the bare minimum just figure “this sucks, let’s tackle it” The other answer she gave, which was also not a huge surprise was the following “I’ll be happy when I have enough money that I don’t have to come here anymore” This point is really easy. You want to be unhappy, focus on what you are lacking. not only does it make you feel unhappy, but it gives you a feeling of loss of control, rejection, poverty and lots of other fun emotions. The sad part here is a lot of the other unhappy people I asked shared the same answer. There was one more interesting thread that did not show up in all of the unhappy people, but enough that it is worth noting. a lot of them gave me a simple three word answer “I don’t know”. The sad point here is if you never took the time to figure out what makes you happy, how on earth can you hope to be happy? By chance? There is also a chance a bar of gold might fall out of the sky and land at my feet and make me rich. Not likely though. Which is why a lot of unhappy people feel they have no control over their own lives. They ‘wake up in neutral’ as I like to say. Waiting for the world to tell them if they should be happy or not. I hope you all are sitting down when I tell you this. If you wait for the world to tell you to be happy, or decide what mood you should be in, you are going to be unhappy a very long time. So my suggestion here, review the common traits of unhappy people, check your own life for where these may pop up. Tomorrow we will look at the answers the happy people gave.
Here is an interesting metaphor I learned recently that I would like to share with you. I am always on the lookout for symbols that can serve to remind me of my goal of living the most amazing life I can. I like coffee. Ok that last statement could be a slight understatement. Frequently I find myself at Starbucks either working on my book or even composing some of these posts. Now before I get to my next point I have to address the voice of my good friend Kim in the back of my head saying “I don’t drink coffee”. Trust me this could work just as well with a diet Coke. Next time you get a cup of coffee, or whatever it is you care to consume, think of it as your mind. Now while waiting in line at the coffee shop I have heard some VERY specific things people like, and do not like in their coffee. Funny thing is these same people are not nearly as careful as to what they put in their minds. We must be diligent as to what we let in and keep out of our thoughts on a daily basis. If we happen to leave this up to chance what will we be greeted with? I can only share this with you. I watched the news to try to catch the weather a few nights ago. What I saw will seem like an exaggeration, but it was the honest truth. In the first 5 minutes of the news I heard of 3 homicides and 2 house fires, one that took the life of a young woman. Never did make it to the weather. It is not only the media we have to look out for, even some of our closest friends and family. Sounds pretty mean at first blush, but let me explain it using the coffee method. If a complete stranger walks up and puts some poison in your coffee what will happen? Answer, you will die. Now let’s say your closest friend, even on accident spills some of that same poison in your coffee what will happen? Same result, you will die. Now this may sound extreme, but that is exactly what negative thoughts are to a healthy mind, poison. How many times have you had lunch with a friend who happened to be having a bad day and proceeded to tell you how bad the government is, how the economy is on the verge of collapse and other such inspiring thoughts. You may very well end up leaving lunch at the very least a little less inspired. The flip side of this is we must not poison anyone else’s coffee. Before you start venting all of your negative beliefs on your friends, family or co-workers, look them in the eye and ask yourself “would I want to poison this person?” because that is what you are doing to their mind. So when you get your next latte from Starbucks, or your next diet Coke from the vending machine, stop and think about what you would let somebody put in there. Let it serve as a great reminder to watch your own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Watch your own coffee.
For those of you who have read this blog for any amount of time, or happen to know me in person, are aware one of my many jobs is a bartender. Here I have the great fortune of meeting all different kinds of people and hearing all different kinds of opinions and ideas. The other day it was brought to my attention that I would be the perfect bartender for “Happy hour” since I am the one who does a blog and is writing a book all about happiness. After a good round of laughter I got to thinking. Why is ‘Happy Hour’ strictly a bar idea? I think we each deserve to come up with our own happy hour. If you can’t do a full hour, perhaps fifteen to thirty minutes? Make even more fun, find a group of like-minded friends and all meet for different happy hours. Ladies, maybe all meet at the salon for a manicure. Gentlemen, maybe meet in the park and throw a football around. Either way, decide that time should be devoted to being happy. Not complaining about work or our spouses, but just discussing fun and exciting topics that all enjoy. If you would prefer a quite moment of solitude enjoying your coffee beverage do that! While I certainly do not wish to take people away from the bars (and be sure to treat your bartender great while you are there) Why limit our happy hour to that schedule and that location. Let’s take a chapter from their book and create our own fun and unique happy hours!