Category Archives: Imagination

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?

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!”

Behavior Modification: Temptation, Reward Substitution & Self Control Contracts– Oh My

“In the future, we are all wonderful people.” ~Dan Ariely

This short TEDx video 17 mins – will give you some insight into why people (YOU) behave certain ways regarding certain things— even things that are very important to you. Do you wish you ate less of that? Do you wish you worked out more last week? Didn’t you plan to run this morning?

This elaborates on the basic idea that PAIN and PLEASURE are the guiding principle forces behind our decisions and actions. Entertaining and enlightening delivery. 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.

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.”

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“I Like Myself, I Like Myself, I Like Myself” Try the “I like Myself” Challenge for Just One Week. (If You Dare) ; )

“Your self-image is either your life-handicap or your auto-pilot for winning!” ~Dr. Dennis Waitley

I recently heard Brian Tracy, a living legend in the personal development space, give a talk to a group of entrepreneurs and out of his mouth came this statement, “All of your achievement ultimately, will be directly related to your self-confidence—directly related to how much you “LIKE YOURSELF”.

At first I’ll admit, I thought that was fairly obvious. However, (as I write in the The 3 C’s of Succcess) I’ve learned that a critical trait of all successful people is to remain OPEN and examine ALL new ideas and possibilities. For some strange reason I couldn’t shake this idea so I decided it was time to test is myself. Time for me to practice what I preach and write about, right?

The shocking truth is Continue reading

Expectations or Reality?

Great lesson from Stephen Covey (7 Habits of Highly Successful People) about self-fulfilling prophecy and human potential. If you are a PARENT, COACH, TEACHER – basically, ANYONE who deals with kids, you can NOT afford to miss this message. I’ve personally witnessed so many teachers and parents unfortunately limit their kids’ with unintended and believed to be innocent statements.

Notice in this video the deep significance and impact of OUR/YOUR “FRAMING” present “REALITY” whether it’s social or even personal, (You talking to yourself).

The gist is really this; ANYONE’S POTENTIAL is as much their “REALITY” as their past behavior. To put this another way, when you belittle another (OR, more likely yourself) you not only inhibit that potential for growth you dangerously shift/alter and change your present reality by altering your FUTURE expectations.

Since NOW is the only moment YOU, Continue reading

Steve Jobs, Synchronicity, Connecting the Dots & Trust


UPDATE!!!

This post was originally written in early 2008 and was updated after he had his liver transplant in 2009. In light of Mr. Jobs passing, this YouTube video of his commencement address has gone viral – (10Million hits later). We originally shared this video when it was in the low 6 figures. I felt it was important to bring this back to the TOP of the POST pile.

If you haven’t seen this video, it’s extremely worthwhile and the words below are designed to challenge your personal reflection.

Recall Aristotle’s famous quote: “Wisdom is an equal measure of Experience plus Reflection.

E + R = W

ENJOY!

Stanford Commencement Address 2005.
Mr. Steven Jobs; Monster-Entrepreneur, Apple & Pixar CEO, Super-Hero Extraordinaire

“Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.” ~Kierkegaard

Every time I see this speech I’m awed by the number of gems Steve shares. I find it interesting to overlay these anecdotes against the backdrop of my personal experiences. His tales of opportunity, following his heart, continuous learning, failure, humility, and of course, mortality are both profound and inspiring.

However, I ask you, “How unique are they?” Just how rare are these “coincidences?”

The question I encourage you to ask is, “where are the parallels?” Surely you recognize you don’t have to be CEO of a couple fortune 500 companies to notice that, ultimately, the song remains the same; that these synchronistic events happen daily for everyone. The real question is not, “how rare is this?” But rather, “How aware am I to the events and all the possibilities?”

Think about it. One day Jobs is walking eight miles to eat at a Hare Krishna Temple – the next, he’s revolutionizing the computing industry. A slight exaggeration perhaps. However, the point is not to be lost, those were two very real “stations” in his life separated only by awareness, purity of intent and of course time.

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A Goal Setting Best Practice (Counter-Intuitive) Keep your goals QUIET!

If you’ve read The 3 C’s of Succcess (and i’m sure you have : ) thank you…) you know one of the more controversial statements I make about achieving your goals is to KEEP YOUR GOALS (particularly your BIGGEST, HAIRIEST, SCARIEST, FREAKIEST goal, TO YOURSELF!)

I can’t tell you how many comments I received telling me that was “INCORRECT”. Continue reading