Category Archives: Character

Begin (and End) With Happiness!

There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way.
~ Buddha

Sounds a little like a Zen riddle, doesn’t it?

And while it may sound to some like some trite slogan, these two sentences carry a world of profound truth in them. One of the saddest things I’ve seen in my life is the amount of depression that people carry with them. And I would know: I suffered from depression throughout my early twenties.

If everyone wants to be happy, then why are so many people depressed?

Well, for starters “happiness” becomes a place or destination that is sought out “somewhere else”. People literally and figuratively seek out happiness throughout their lives. They are searching for it – the next lover, job, house, car, etc and are hopeful that such external pleasures will imbibe them with happiness. Can a new car make you happy? Sure. Such happiness might last a week or it might last a year – but it’ll be temporary. Often there will be such external influences or events in your life that can bring about momentary happiness–but those are likely to leave you – seeking the next happiness “event”. Sadly, in the meantime – you’ll be left feeling empty or lost.

Happiness is an emotion and, therefore, just like any other emotion, is controlled only by you! All such emotions are derived from your thoughts, and there is only one person who is in control or your thoughts!

YOU control of your own happiness! This was very hard for me to wrap my head around, because of its absurd simplicity: Happiness must then be my responsibility and, ultimately, my obligation!
In fact happiness is so essential to a fulfilling life that Aristotle once proclaimed, happiness “as man’s chief aim” in life – “the highest good”.. I was stunned when I read that. Aristotle! I believed great philosophers sat around disgruntled with it all–bored with the minions and upset with mankind for all its continued blunders. Well, that was two thousand years ago so, I’m sure he’d be pleased to see how much progress there has been.

So, let’s just run with our buddy Aristotle and his concept that happiness ought to become your chief aim in life— let’s allow him do our homework (after all he is one of the greatest philosophers of all time). Why not agree with that statement?

Who desires unhappiness? Seriously, nobody I know. Could it be that simple? Could this be yet another “simple, profound truth”?

Let’s dissect it further – Do you not enjoy being with happy people? Aren’t happy people more productive, supportive, generous and loving? And, here is the kicker – as it relates to the 3 Cs of Success … how can any successful person realize his “ideal future” that is, be successful without being happy?

Are your Habits Aligned with your Dreams for Tomorrow?

Happy Easter!

SUCCESS IS NO ACCIDENT.

This applies to whatever you are interested in becoming great at!

And, speaking of great— this is a short video that beautifully illustrates the power of habit (that seemingly magical force that has the ability to take what was, at first, difficult (driving, shooting a basketball, playing piano, tying your shoes) and, over time, through diligent practice and repetition, make it easier… seemingly effortless.

“Habit is, as it were, a second nature.” ~Cicero.

The highest form of competence is a state of natural mastery (in developmental circles it is called unconscious competence), where once there have been many thousands of hours of practice, it’s actually harder for a person to err than performing the skill/task correctly. In fact, I believe Tony Robbins cites a story about Larry Bird who was once filming a commercial and was asked to miss a basketball shot badly— unfortunately, he kept making his shots.

THE REAL TAKE-AWAY
The ultimate take-away is actually far more compelling than “success is no accident” — the real gem here is everyone (YOU) has this built-in, all powerful achievement device, a gift really — and that is the ability to develop any habit necessary to help them achieve any goal or to help them realize their vision of success.

Ask Stephen Curry. ; )

And, it’s worth asking yourself, what habit you are trying to develop? How are you developing it?

Sam Says: My Philosophy for a Happy Life, Sam Berns (10/23/96 – 1/1014)

What a guy!

Sam, YOU are the man… Thank you! What an inspiring young man!

You are/were the perfect example of how anyone can overcome ANY obstacle. You taught us where to put our attention, energy and focus. You understood the importance of setting goals, not letting circumstances dictate your attitude and the value of positive relationships.

The thing you (the reader) should know is this, Sam insisted that above all, he was HAPPY! Yet, here was a guy suffering from an incurable, debilitating disease.

HAPPY.

“I’m HAPPY!” He would say again and again – and that he wants to change the world. The funny thing about changing the world (as I’m sure you recognize) is you first have to change yourself, then influence another– and, another and so on. The process is rather slow to start but catches steam pretty quickly. With 2 Million plus views – his message isn’t going unnoticed.

Sam’s Secrets to a HAPPY LIFE:

#1) Focus on things he CAN DO vs. the things he can’t do
He might not be able to ride a roller coaster but he could read comic books
He might not be running a marathon but he could watch his favorite sports teams
He couldn’t carry a snare drum but they found a way to work around the obstacle!

Q: What do you want to accomplish and think you can’t because of a “real” or made up obstacle?

#2) Surround yourself with people you want to be around
Sam recognized and appreciated his supportive family and friends.
He loved his great friends and called themsleves “band geeks”
He would insist that the music they created together was bigger than any disease and allowed him to transcend his condition
this happened BECAUSE of other people – great relationships!
MUSIC served as an escape and made him feel good.

Q: What are you doing to appreciate and express love for your family and closest friends? How are you acknowledging and appreciate your mentors and community?

#3) Keep moving forward.
Sam shared a Walt Disney quote “we keep moving forward opening new doors and doing new things.” Sam believed keeping your eyes on the horizon helped to keep his spirits up. Perhaps it was an upcoming family trip or ball game.

Now, there may be some “confused” people who might judge this mindset and accuse it of not being present or in the “now” (not zenlike perhaps) if he’s constantly looking forward. However, they would be a bit off base since one of the great values in setting goals is it helps to bring your present into focus and alignment. For instance, if I have a marathon I’m looking forward to my present will be more focused on good choices. And, there is another terrific benefit. With any future event, the seed of “HOPE” is always planted and this helps us through those moments of great challenge. As Sam said, “A bright future ahead may get me through some difficult times.”

Always remember, where there is hope in the future, there is power in the present.

Sam’s words again, “I always try to have something to look forward to.”

Q: “what are you looking forward to?”

Finally, Sam insists that YOU shouldn’t waste energy feeling bad about yourself… accept it /acknowledge it and then move past it. “Being brave isn’t supposed to be easy.”

“I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself.
I surround myself with people i want to be with.
and i keep moving forward!”

Finally, Sam ends it with this little gem and you get a sense just how he looks forward to events and leave’s us with,
“Never miss a party if you can make it!”

The REAL “F” Word

Failure-success-streetsign

It’s pretty funny if you consider that out of all the possible words in the English language starting with “F” only one word, (that word) is known as the “F” word. (noted in below audio!) However, I’d like propose a NEW “F” word– the NEW “F” word. It may not be as fun to shout —- but it holds far more value.

We FAIL far more than we might ever hope to do the other F word anyway… On average, I’d venture to guess that we fail at least ten times a day. Some of YOU much, much more.
; )

We turn on the wrong street. Purchase the wrong product. Pronounce a word incorrectly. Say something we shouldn’t have said or do something we wish we wouldn’t have done. #FAIL!

So, what’s the point?

I came across a brilliant quote from former General and Secretary of State, Colin Powell and, I absolutely love it. First because he dispels rather quickly this garbage about “SECRETS to success”. Then, he gets to the meat of it…

“There are no secrets to success. Success is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from our failures.
~Colin Powell

Learning from our failures…. Brilliant.

My friend, you and I have (already) and will learn far more from our failures than we will ever learn from our successes.

Another notable personality (and brain) to back up that statement.

“Success is a horrible teacher.” ~Bill Gates

Simply put, we NEED THE INFO.

When you take ACTION and FAIL– you’re getting information (energy) back and redirecting you in new directions, thoughts, actions. You must have the feedback. Did you know that a guided missile is really NEVER on perfect target UNTIL it hits the target. Throughout the entire distance it travels it’s making adjustments, correcting itself until the last second!

You are no different! You have to take action — to fail. To be reidrected and you must conntinue making adjustments and ultimately believe you’ll hit your target. YOU MUST TAKE ACTION!

This is what Napoleon Hill meant when he said, “Action is the real measure of intelligence.” Then, there is our buddy Tony Robbins who put it brilliantly when he said, “You haven’t really made a decision until you’ve taken ACTION!”

Take the shot, miss the shot (celebrate if you want) just know that another attempt will get you that much closer! “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~Wayne Gretzky

This is how you hit your target! This is how you achieve your goals! This is why failure exists! Enjoy the new “F” word.

#failfaster

~mws

(ADULT CONTENT WARNING!!!) this is an old audioclip I’ve run across… it’s about the original/other “F” word and is both educational and entertaining. However, if you are adverse to profane language please avoid.

 

Procrastination and the Monkey Brain

This should help you understand the forces at play that both control and direct your behavior and subconscious thinking as it relates to getting things done and procrastination. While the presentation itself could use a little improvement, the message is great. Notice how many times he mentions “HABIT” toward the end.

A few key points, the importance of visualizing the outcome and even the steps being completed! The idea of thinking about thinking (meta-cognition). Planning for resources and the process not just the goals. Recognizing and anticipating setbacks and roadblocks – actually, planning for failure and knowing how you are going to respond!

Finally, the ability to recognize there is no perfect time to BEGIN! To get STARTED! Whether it’s giving money to charity or writing your book or planning your goals for the upcoming year or quarter. NOW is always the best time and he shares a Napoleon Hill quote to underscore that.

Enjoy!

It’s ALL a RISK, Stand Guard at the Door of Your Mind, Better Thought Habits + (Read More!)

Jim Rohn is flat out brilliant… some people don’t dig the guys delivery but it works for me. You could watch this video ten times and not get the full value. Again, brilliant. Take the time — remember, the time to get smarter is when you don’t have the time. : )
Enjoy!
~mws

The most important SKILL you can learn? SELF CONFIDENCE and Why you’ll want to write yourself a letter

Self confidence is a skill.

How do you develop it? Check this out — the answer is a bit of a no-brainer but bears repeating. Here’s a clue – how do you develop any HABIT? Plus, why writing yourself a letter is a good idea and how you process feedback is essential. All good messages shared by Dr. Ivan Joseph in his Tedx talk, The Skill of Confidence.

Remember, if you aren’t going to believe in you… who is?

Enjoy!

One Day To Live, The Immaterrial and an Exercise of a Lifetime

It’s great to hear that you have your “dream” list of goals and material “toys”. It’s pretty exciting to think about the big house you will own and the 4 high performance or luxury cars, maybe even that ridiculous 135 ft yacht, etc. And, there is no reason you shouldn’t have that list. But, there is a different list…

Do me (and you) a FAVOR right now. Consider for a moment, what you would do if you found out you had only ONE day to live. Do you have any idea how you’d spend it? And, here’s the kicker, with WHO would you spend those last precious hours and minutes?

You see, as unfortunate a scenario as that might be, it takes the often muddied waters of our priorities and values and bring them to the fore with pristine clarity. The fact is, your dream mansion would be worthless, your luxury cars or yacht would all have no redeeming value as you said your final goodbyes.

My guess is this; upon finding out you had only A SINGLE DAY TO LIVE, you’d be immediately reaching out to the one’s you love the most. You’d be sharing your deepest feelings of gratitude for their love and friendship and support over the years.

In short you’d dive into LOVE and GRATITUDE. Love for all those who’ve supported you throughout the years and gratitude for the opportunities and relationships that enriched your life.

One day to live would mean
No BullSh*t….  No wasted time
No fake gestures… little to no concern about what other people think

One day to live would mean:
Focusing on the people you love. Sharing your most meaningful thoughts and ideas.
You’d probably identify some regrets and missed opportunities for time squandered—for losing focus on what was truly important in your life. You’d probably even do some last minute mending of fences and going out of your way to reconcile— to leave this world in peace.

The Reward?
If you have truly processed this mental exercise for all that it’s worth you will have a great idea of WHO and WHAT is most important to you and WHY

Create that list now. Who are the people? What are they experiences and why are they meaningful. Have there been opportunities lost? What are they, can you re-write the outcome. It all begins with clarity.

12 Lessons in Character – from a Puppy

puppiesphoto courtesy Terry Bain, Flickr

“I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.” ~Mark Twain

Perhaps one of the very best way I know to simultaneous test and develop your CHARACTER is to adopt a puppy.

I’ve now had two dogs and I can attest to the powerful impact dog ownership has had on the development of my character. My first dog, Hercules was a mini-Lab I adopted when I was 22. He was about eight weeks old at the time. That was perhaps the scariest and greatest commitment of my life to that point. He passed away 15 years later and thanks to him so many great fortunes crossed my path – starting with my wife.

When I adopted ‘Herc’ I was still in college, no job, no real responsibility. Continue reading

So you think you are too busy to watch this video? What a joke!

I know, you’re a VERY BUSY person…. Really, I know, you are “super busy” and don’t have enough time to watch a video that is almost an hour long yet has the information and insight that is very likely to transform your life.

I get it… sort of.

Guess what my friend, BUSY is just another form of LAZY.

I just heard you say, “WHAT!?” “Did he just call me lazy?”

Listen, if you’re too busy then what you’re really saying is your just too LAZY to identify the most important things in your life. There is a great “Law” of efficiency that Brian Tracy talks about (he’s funny that way because so many things are “Laws” and he has what seems to be about 100 different laws). Having said that, the man is spot on.

The Law of Forced Efficiency states, “You never have enough time to do everything, but you ALWAYS have enough time to accomplish the most important things.”

Continue reading