10 Secrets To Being Happy, Healthy & Wealthy

[ Comments Off ]Posted on October 16, 2010 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Or: “If You Really Know All The Secrets Of Success & Happiness Why Are You Writing About Them On Some Crappy Blog?”

Why is this woman smiling, in spite of her hideous
appearance and trivially self-involved thoughts?
Because just by being born, she has everything
you spend you whole life only praying you had.

I’ve been both a victim and a beneficiary of the self-help movement since the 1980′s. You couldn’t swing a dead cat without hittin’ a self-help guru in those days; I even had a band manager/mentor (Hi Jim!) who simultaneously inspired my band with forward thinking, and tortured us with pleas to become his est podlings. While there’s a lot of self-improvement tripe out there, there’s also a lot of great stuff. Laugh if you like, but I can shamelessly say that I’ve found something useful in books by all the big names, from old school stuff like Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, and Norman Vincent Peale to the next generation biggies like Stephen Covey, John Gray, Eckhart Tolle, David Allen, and even Timothy Ferriss. But you know what I don’t derive any benefit from? Everyone with internet access who either read or skimmed these books and whose only resulting inspiration was to regurgitate everything they consumed in fragmented and ineffectual form on their blog as a list of “great tips” or “essential secrets”. The saddest part of what these self-improvement bloggers are doing is that they probably heard from some twit like Ann Sieg that you could make money that way. Ah well. It makes them no less annoying. I feel obligated to set the record straight though, with an authentic “10 Secrets” list. Enjoy.
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Cool To Be Kind

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on August 31, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, August 31st, 2009

I’m making a little investment in the Kindness Economy today.

You don’t know me, but if you did, you’d pretty quickly realize that I’m one of the more laid back people you’ll ever meet. The other day though, I caught myself being the kind of person I sometimes laugh at: the person who almost runs over pedestrians to get to the next red light, that visibly snorts when a register clerk takes longer than they’d like, that avoids eye contact when they cut you off slightly to be the next in line. I don’t remember exactly how it happened that I got in that frame of mind, but I pretty quickly decided to do something about it. Coincidentally, a friend had just loaned me a copy of The Power of Nice. I decided to breeze through it; it’s a pretty light read. I’m glad I did. It was a great set of inspiring reminders of something I’m always working on anyway, something I call the “Kindness Economy™”. Kindness is a powerful currency. There’s an almost limitless supply of it, and you find that when you spend it, you end up with more of it than before you started. It’s like every purchase you make is a winning lotto ticket. So with a little nudge from my own grumpiness and the book, I decided it was time to re-invest. I want to share my profits with you, so let’s see if in the next several days we can’t create a little Kindness Stimulus Package out there. Here are some ideas, feel free to share if you have any of your own. Read the rest of this entry »

Feeling Down? Think Positive!

[ 2 Comments ]Posted on August 3, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

But research suggests you may be wasting your time. Maybe you should just go shopping.

Probably one of the dumbest things you can say to someone when they’re unhappy is “Cheer Up!”. So why would we think it would work on ourselves? It only takes a little common sense to realize that the reason Al Franken’s Stuart Smalley character was so funny, or that Demotivator posters became so popular, is that we instinctively know that telling ourselves to feel good isn’t necessarily going to make it so. In spite of millions of copies of books like The Power of Positive Thinking and The Secret being sold, science suggests that telling yourself to feel better might not make it happen. By the way: on the same note, reading cigarette warnings makes you want to smoke. So what’s a despondent soul to do? Heck if I know, I’m too happy to worry about this kind of crap. Why don’t you just cheer up? Jeez. The rest of the world is happy, according to this University of Michigan Study. Maybe you should just go shopping or something. Apparently, science has found that money can indeed buy you happiness. I think the rich people knew this all along and were just holding out on us.

Just Who The Heck Do You Think You Are?

[ 1 Comment ]Posted on July 27, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Whatever your answer is, I hope you’re happy with yourself. Find out who you are with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. And then get happy!

I am absolutely fascinated with people’s fascination with personality quizzes, which is why I’ve written about the topic before. I don’t need a multimillion dollar study to tell me that clearly, people take them because they either truly want to understand themselves better, or they simply want to reaffirm whatever they already believe about themselves (or in the case of Facebook quizzes like “Which Old-School Obscure Seasame Street character are you?“, do neither, while entertaining their friends). If you answer a well-designed test honestly and with self-awareness, they can be very helpful, but obviously a poorly-designed test leaves a lot of room for “Self-Report Bias”. So. If you really do want to to get to know yourself better, there are only a few credible methods on line to do so. And you can trust me, because according to this simple Jungian word pair test, I’m an ENFJ. Which means I’m a “Persuader. An outstanding leader of groups. Aggressive at helping others to be the best that they can be, and represent only 2.5% of the total population“. Hmm. I always suspected I was an outsider somehow. But my low self-intelligence result on this Multiple Intelligence Quiz prevented me from figuring it out. But now that I know, and since I do want to help you be the best you can be, here’s a whole page of these tests. After you’ve spent most of the day coming to a better understanding of yourself, ask yourself: are Read the rest of this entry »

I Hope You’re Happy Now

[ Comments Off ]Posted on May 6, 2009 by admin in Lifestyle & Culture

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Because it may be fleeting. Science is proving that giving makes you happy, and that real happiness is temporary, but sustainable.

Are you happy? I occasionally ask people this, and the ones who most emphatically say “yes” often strike me more as pleased, rather than what I’d call “happy”. Pleased with their accomplishments, pleased with their possessions, pleased with their social standing. Is that happiness?  I’ve spent much of my life trying to be happy. I don’t know why it’s been such a struggle. I mean, it’s an “Inalienable Right” written into our constitution (“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”), isn’t it? Sometimes I feel the country I live in should actually be called Anhedonia. We talk about happiness all the time, but rarely seem to be experiencing it. Which is why I’m glad that science finally has it figured out. There’s even a How To Be Happy Wiki. I jest a bit (because I’m happy!) but I was recently inspired (ironically, while I was feeling a bit down) by an interview in the Sun Magazine with Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist in the relatively new field of  Positive Psychology. Fredrickson’s research suggests that, as she puts it, “…positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting; the secret is not to deny their transience but to find ways to increase their quantity…”, adding that one of the challenges of being happy is to understand that it simply is not a stable, long-lasting state of being. I’m somehow not surprised that science is also proving that giving makes you happy (someone should tell JournalWatch about this, then they’d let us read this article for free!), and I personally try to remember this when I’m in a rut. It works. Which is why I’m also including the little “donate” button below. Trust me, it’ll make you feel better. By the way, are you happy? I’d love to know, and I’d love to know why. Read the rest of this entry »