Be happy with what you have…

November 18, 2019

As we approach the Christmas season (which some stores started before Halloween), some focus upon what they don’t have and makes lists of things that they want, in hopes of getting someone to give those things to them. Many of those people  believe that they won’t  be happy until they get all of the things that they want. Back in 2015, I wrote the post below, inspired by a quote from my favorite blog. It still applies, today.

“Just remember there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have.”  (Unknown) From the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sadly, we live in a society that conditions us to be unhappy with what we have and to always be striving for more. Whatever we have is not enough to make us happy because someone else has more or different things.  Now there is certainly nothing wrong with striving to get ahead, but one has to stop every now and then and ask, “Ahead of what?” Very few of us live in survival mode, scraping along for our next meal or a place to sleep tonight; but there are those people among us. In general we are able to provide at least food and shelter for our family and for most a good deal beyond just those necessities. But, are we happy with what we have; or, do we constantly want more, in the belief that having more will make us happier?

One of the most unhappy men in the Bible was the man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to get into heaven. When Jesus replied that he should sell everything that he had and give the money to the poor and follow him; the man wandered off unhappily muttering to himself, for we are told that he was very wealthy and obviously did not want to give up that wealth. Are we the same way today? Do we reach and reach and reach for what we don’t have, instead of being happy with what we do have and what would we do if Jesus asked us to sell everything that we have, give the money to the poor and follow him? Jesus might be a pretty lonely guy in today’s world.

The key to being happy with what you have, it seems to me, is to change your focus from things to people, from possessions to relationships, from those that you’d love to be like to those who love you as you are. Learn to express your love for them without holding out a gift of some sort or buying a new possession to share with them. If you ever get to an honest state with them, they’d probably tell you that they could care less about your car or your house or your boat or any other of your possessions. What they value is your time and attention; your love and affection; you sharing of yourself and not your possessions.

What happens when you get to that state of understanding and happiness with your loved ones is that you grant yourself permission to be happy with what you have. That doesn’t mean that you just quit your job or don’t accept the next promotion or even stop looking for a bigger house someday. Giving yourself permission to be happy with what you’ve got just means that you will no longer use the pursuit of possessions as the measure of your life and your happiness. You stop keeping score on that scorecard, because you’ve started keeping score based upon the smiles on the faces of the one that you love; and those smiles come because you were there sharing your love and not because of what you brought with you. Once you change to that focus getting the next possession will be much less important to than attending the next little league game or the father daughter dance or maybe going out to dinner with your significant other.

Dale Carnegie  put it well when he said – “Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

May you find happiness in what you have. Then, it will be a merry Christmas indeed.


Are you happy with what you get?

April 15, 2019

“Success is getting what you want.  Happiness is wanting what you get.”  (Dale Carnegie) – as seen in today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

Sometimes I think back to the simpler times of my childhood – ancient times, before smartphones or the Internet or even television. Wow. That is ancient. Yet, we were happy female soccer playeras children running around the neighborhood playing cowboys and Indians or cops and robbers or just hide and go seek. We were happy with what we got and did not spend our time wanting things that we didn’t have. Perhaps ignorance was bliss, since we didn’t have the ubiquitous Internet and Google to show us all of the things that we didn’t have. We just had fun and that was enough for us. We couldn’t wait for the next day, so be able to get out and play again. Nobody sat around with their head down, staring at a tiny screen.

It is harder these days for kids to just be kids and have fun. Even babies are often parked in their Bubble seats in front of TV screens, which serve as electronic babysitters and provide visual distraction. Young children, sometimes not even old enough for pre-school, are handed electronic tablets with simple, cute games on them to occupy their selfie 2time and keep them quiet. It’s no wonder that by the time they are old enough to go to school they have become completely hooked on electronics for their entertainment and as their source of information. It’s somewhat sad to think that there are only 1-2 generations alive today that did not grow up in the electronic age and who remember what we did to entertain ourselves before all of the electronics came along.

Getting back to the quote of the day, are you constantly chasing the things that you think you want; or, are you happy with the things that you have? In his post today, Jack went on to write about Loretta Lynn’s title song in the movie Coal Miner’s Daughter, in which she sings “We were poor but we had love  That’s the one thing that daddy made sure of.” That song makes the point that it is in our relationships with others that we find true mother with childhappiness. After all, you can’t have a relationship with a thing that you might want. Hugging your new car will never satisfy like hugging your wife and kids – they hug back.

Perhaps, it is that insight into what is important in life that allows some to be happy with what they get. They focus upon the relationships in their life – the love that they receive from and give to others –rather than upon material things. The happiness that they can recall is usually centered around events and activities with others and not about the car that they were in or the house that they happened to own at the time. Good times are almost always about sharing things with others – activities, events, milestones or whatever.

So, one can be successful and attain lots of material things that they may have wanted; but to be happy usually has less to do with those things than with the people around us with whom we share life’s events. If you focus upon those people, instead of things; you will find that you are happy with what you get, because you had them there to share it with you.

Start by putting down that phone and looking to see who is around you. Instead of couple-looking-at-phonestexting “WYD?” to someone that you can’t see; start a conversation with someone that you can see. It may be hard at first, actually talking to someone; but you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll probably find it to be a lot more rewarding than staring at a screen and waiting for a reply to your text.  Who knows, maybe that person that you are talking to may become your new BFF.

You can be happy with what you get in life, if you are first happy with those around you when you get it.

Hello. How are you today? Did you have a good weekend? OMG, we’re talking!

 


Be happy. Let your light shine today…

November 30, 2018

In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack shared this saying from Buddha –

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” 

If you start each day by getting yourself in the right frame of mind – a happy frame of mind, why nor share that with those that you meet. You can be the candle from single candlewhich a thousand other people light their candle and it will not diminish you own happiness one bit. In fact, if you pay attention to the happiness that you might bring to others that will make you even happier.

I have a friend who bills himself as a “Happiness Coach”. Who knew that you needed a coach for happiness? Like many other things in our busy, high-tech, day to day lives; I guess happiness can get lost in the rush towards whatever it is that we think we are pursuing. For most that involves their job and success at work. The focus and intensity that many put on their job and being successful through hard work there definitely can detract from family and other elements of their life, often to the detriment of their happiness.

this-is-meIt is important to realize that happiness in life is not obtained by success at work or the accumulation of money and possessions. Happiness starts with being happy with being you and then extends outward to the joys of sharing that happiness with others. If you cannot get comfortable and happy with who you are as a person, you will be unable to interact with others in a way that makes you and them happier. You must first be able to say, “I like me” before you can say “I like you” to someone else.

Perhaps that is what my friend the Happiness Coach does with the people that he works with. He must first get them to light their own candle of happiness with themselves, before they can go out in the world to share that light and make others happy, too. I’m sure that he also advises them on how to share their happiness with those around them, especially their spruces and families.

A key component of becoming happy with yourself is to stop beating yourself up, to forgive yourself for any past failures or faults. The best way that I know to accomplish that is to get right with God first. If you establish a strong belief in God then you accept that God forgives you all of your sins and faults, and accepts you the way that you are. Once you accept His forgiveness it is easier to forgive yourself and move on. You can tell the coach to put you in the game. You will have lit your candle woman-prayingand now you can focus on sharing your light with others.

Perhaps you could get yourself in that happy state of mind by starting each day with a little prayer time, to reestablish your link to God. There’s a cute little song that you might have learned in Sunday School that starts the words “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine.” Be the candle from which others draw their light.

Don’t worry…be happy! Get right with God. Get right with yourself. Let your light shine today.


Make the world a happier place…

July 12, 2018

Today’s post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog is so good that I have to repost the whole thing…

“Happiness starts with a smile.”  (Sent by Carol Stanonik)  When you’re on a bus or subway laughter isn’t what you expect.  A Belgian ad agency, working for Coca-Cola, hired an actor to start laughing on a crowded train, with today’s quote as the tagline.  The result showed how happiness can be contagious.  Even a simple smile at someone will often result with one in return.  This world, at times, can be unkind.  Let’s help to make it a happier place.    😉  Jack    Coca-Cola: Happiness starts with a smile – YouTube

You’ve got to play the video.

I recommend that you save that link to the video and play it back every morning before smiling-sunyou start out on your day. It may help put a smile on your face and that will start the process of making the world a happier place.

Be a contagious carrier of happiness today…put a smile on your face.


Happiness is…

February 28, 2018

What is happiness for you? In a recent post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Jack used this quote from Rousseau – “Happiness is a good bank account, a good cook and a good digestion.” Jack went on to explain that Rousseau was not happy with many things of his day and died at age 66 of what might have been a stress induced stroke. Too many of us are on the same path as Rousseau.

There has been tons of stuff written about happiness – what it is and how to achieve it. There are T-shirts with happiness designs on them, many featuring Snoopy from the smiling-sunCharlie Brown comics. Snoopy is often used as the epitome of carefree happiness and a large emoji industry has grown up built upon creating variations of the well-known happy face emoji.

Happiness is a very personal thing. It is different for each of us and largely self-defined. It might be defined as being the absence of fears or concerns or other distractions in our minds. One has only to watch a young child playing contentedly by themselves to “see” happiness. Contentment is a synonym for happiness and a part of the definition of the root word happy.

Many of us seem to know more about being unhappy than we do about being happy. We don’t allow ourselves to feel happy because we focus too much on the things that we don’t have, which we imagine would make us happy. The entire advertising industry was built to play upon those feelings and to encourage us to continue to strive for that happiness by buying the products that they are selling. We tell ourselves, “I’d really be bored2happy if only I had this new car or that bigger house or whatever shiny thing we see on TV”.  Maybe we think that happiness awaits us at that next promotion level at work. Whatever it is; it nags at us and keeps us unhappy. For some there is unhappiness in their personal relationships because they have a nagging feeling that they would be happier with someone else.

So, how do we achieve contentment and happiness? First, we must strip away the concerns of the world for a moment and re-establish the foundation upon which we stand. We may find that we have wandered away from the solid foundation of our faith in Jesus and God out onto the shifting sands of human desires and concerns. Once we stop believing that God is always with us, knows what we need and will provide for our needs; we begin to let human thoughts about what we need and how to get those things drive our lives. We become unhappy with our lot in life and that unhappiness drives woman-prayingus further and further away from God. We must stop and re-center ourselves back on our faith in God.

If you re-center yourself on your faith, you will immediately find that you also have time to enjoy the relationships that you have with your family and friends. You will not be driven away from them by the unhappy pursuit of more stuff, but rather will re-discover the pleasures that you find in the love of others. You will find contentment with your life, rather than being driven to constantly strive for the next thing that seems to always just out of reach. Your faith will allow you to let go of the unhappy thoughts about what you don’t have and find joy and happiness in what you already have.

So, perhaps happiness is a good relationship with God; rather than a good bank account, a good cook and good digestion. At least that definition of happiness makes more sense and it is so easy to achieve, if you will just let God back into your life. You will find peace, rediscover that child-like feeling of contentment, and be happy again. What’s not to like about that?

So, take that pause. Stick your head up for a minute and think about what is driving you. Re-asses your current relationship with God. Is He off somewhere in the distance, somewhere in a church that you visit every so often; or, is he right here with you each and every day. Do you start each day with that little prayer that I like to use, “Not my will mebut thy will be done” or do you set your jaw and head out determined to face the world and its problems on your own? No matter what level of unhappiness you have sunken to, God is that beacon of light that you can still see off in the distance. Head towards His light. Happiness lives there.

Have a great and happy rest of the week.


Get headed in the right direction…

February 18, 2018

On a recent visit to Lei Ting – our local Chinese restaurant – my fortune cookie was full of philosophy, rather than predicting my future. Inside my little cookie was a slip that read – “happiness is a direction, not a destination.”

On the surface that seems to be just a cute little throw-way line, sort of like the line form the movie that said “love is never having to say you‘re sorry.” Both lines actually have a depth to them that bears thoughtful exploring.

When one says that they are not happy, they are heading in the wrong direction, a depression3direction that can lead to anxiety, loneliness and depression. That, too, is a direction and not a destination.  You really don’t want to get to the way stations in that direction. There may also be stops at frustration, anger, remorse and other nasty places in that direction.

So, how does one get turned around and headed in the happiness direction? I have a friend who is a self-proclaimed “Happiness Coach”. He claims that he gets people headed in the happiness direction by sharing his life experiences and learning. I have another friend who is dedicated to “making positive changes in otherbeing kind 1 people’s lives.” She doesn’t call herself a “coach”, but that is what she is doing through her writings and personal sessions with people.

I looked up the word coach and the most fitting definition is “a private teacher who trains someone on a particular topic or skill.” I have always tended to think of sports when I use the term coach, but lately there are any number of things in which people become “coaches”. There are business coaches and life coaches, skills coaches and career coaches, and many others. Most coaches are self-proclaimed, since, unlike therapists or degreed and certified medical specialists, there is no formal training or certification for most of the people who call themselves coaches.

I suppose that it really doesn’t matter that much, so long as the “coach” isn’t dispensing helping-2medicines or trying to play the role of a psychologist or psychiatrist. Using a coach is like having a good talk with your mom or dad when you were a kid; only now you’re grown up and maybe you don’t really want to share your problems with mom or dad. Your coach takes on the role of parent or good buddy, but without the embarrassment factor. That allows them to talk straight to you about things that you may need to change, things that you are doing wrong that are screwing up your life and have you headed in the wrong direction.

Can a coach “make you happy”? No. But, maybe he/she can get your thinking turned around and headed in a new direction, in the direction of happiness. The stops along the way in that direction are much better – peace, clam, and contentment. You’ll be headed prayingtowards a much better place.

If the stops along the happiness trail sound like something that you’ve heard before, maybe it was in church. The direction dictated by a religious faith also promises to take one to peace, calm and contentment. You could seek out and consult your pastor or priest for more on that.  I’m sure that they would like to be your coach for that journey.

So, stop and take a look at where you are currently headed.  If you feel that you are headed in the wrong direction – the direction of unhappiness – send me an email and I’ll smiling-sunforward it to one of my coach friends or maybe you can find a happiness coach in your area. Don’t continue down the path of unhappiness. You really don’t want to go there.


Don’t waste your time…Run to the next window

September 23, 2017

There are quotes that I happen upon that, thought totally unrelated, just seem to naturally go together. Here are two that I have collected over time from the Jack’s Winning Words blog:

“Don’t waste a minute not being happy.  If one window closes, run to the next.”  (Brooke Shields)

“You have to be able to laugh at yourself and to take it with a grain of salt.”  (Khloe Kardashian)

While life is obviously serious business, we all tend to take things too seriously, especially when we get down on ourselves. Sometimes we try things and fail. Sometimes we do bored2stupid things that we should have known better not to do. Sometimes life throws a curve ball at us and we react badly. Most of those times result in some amount of our time being spent in an unhappy state of mind. We may be sad or angry or frustrated or disappointed, but we are not happy.

Perhaps we are angry at ourselves, which can be the hardest thing to forgive; just because there is no one else to blame. In any event, we waste time not being happy. Why? Does it really do any good to be angry? Does being disappointed make anything different? Does wallowing in self-pity make you feel any better? Perhaps a good cry depression4relieves some of the pain of the sadness of a lost or a disappointment, but does it change anything? Let the moment pass. Let go of the thing that is effecting you and move on. Step back and laugh at yourself…run to the next window.

I recently got to see this philosophy in action. I good friend had her business literally snatched out from under her, due to circumstances over which she had no control. A big, direct competitor in her line of business bought the building that her business was housed in and basically shut it down by canceling her lease. There was nowhere else to go in the area and the only choice that she had was to shut down her business.

calm personThese events could have been personally devastating for her; but, she has a great attitude and is viewing it as an opportunity to do something new and different. Was she initially bummed? Yes, who wouldn’t be. But, rather than wallow in self-pity and walking around complaining about how unfair life can be; she has decided to see this as an opportunity. She has accepted it better, and probably has a better attitude about it, than the people who were her clients in the old business. She is running to the next window and is actually excited about the new adventure. What a great attitude and reaction to the things that life has thrown her way. I’m sure that everyone who knows her will support her in her new career.

I read a story not too long ago about a man who was diagnosed with a terminal condition and given less than a year to live. Rather than wallow in self-pity, he decided to live to the fullest in the time that he has and to throw a party for his family and friends so that they could all celebrate his life together, rather than waiting for some sort of wake after his death. What a great idea. It is a lot easier to deal with the inevitability of death if you have a firm belief in your faith that this is just a transition point into the next life. You need not fear death as a great the unknown, when you know God and believe in whathelping hands comes next…you can run to the next window of happiness.

So, the choice is yours. You can get down and stay down on yourself, because of what life has handed you; or, you can run to the next window of happiness. Knowing that God is with you makes the journey to that next window a lot less scary. I’ll see you at the next window.