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Saturday, September 21, 2013

10 Ways Happy People Prioritize Their To-Do Lists

Very useful tips! Thanks once again Marc and Angel


“What can I start doing today to make my life happier and more fulfilling?”
This is one of the most common questions readers ask us via email, blog comments, and social media.  So today I want to share some simple, actionable ways to improve your happiness and wellbeing on a daily basis.
In the seven years of this blog’s existence, Angel and I have had the pleasure of meeting, coaching and interacting with hundreds of truly inspiring, happy, prolific people.  And the more we have interacted with people like this, the more we realize the similarities in how they prioritize their lives, and how their priorities align with our own.
What becomes evident is that, to sustain happiness, we must focus our attention on the right things, in the right ways.  Every growing human being (that means all of us) has resource constraints: limited time and energy.  It is critical that we spend our resources effectively.
Here are 10 ways to prioritize your life and your to-do lists for increased happiness and fulfillment:

1.  One thing at a time, with full presence.

In other words, make the thing you have chosen to do the number one priority while you’re doing it.  Focus with your full attention.  See the value in where you are, while you’re there.  Enjoy what’s happening, while it’s happening.
In the end, you will come to realize that the best days are the days when you don’t need anything extreme or special to happen to make you smile.  You simply appreciate the moments and feel gratitude, seeking nothing else, nothing more.  That is what true happiness is all about.

2.  Family and close friends are at the top.

Nurture your important relationships in such a way that when you tell the people you care about that you care about them, you’re simply reinforcing what they already know based on how you have prioritized them into your life.
Give them your full attention.  Let them see their own beauty in your eyes.  Let them find their own voice through your listening ears.  Help them discover their own greatness in your presence.
Make the people you love a top priority, always.

3.  Focus on importance, not urgency.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
Truthfully, the most important thing in life is knowing what the most important things in life are, and prioritizing them accordingly.  Sadly, most of us spend too much time on urgent things and not enough time on important things.
So do yourself a favor and implement these three action steps every time you’re building or sorting your to-do list:
  1. Think about the difference between what is urgent and what is important.
  2. Review all the obligations on your list.
  3. Do what’s important first.
Sometimes everything on your list will look important, which might be true to an extent.  But as you practice prioritizing, you will get better and better at it.  And eventually you will know, without question, when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones, like spending quality time with loved ones.  (Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.)

4.  Keep your efforts aligned with your purpose.

Getting anything worthwhile done is a matter of connecting with why you have chosen to do this thing in the first place.
Don’t allow others to confuse you.  Don’t let them convince your heart what is right for you.  Your heart already knows.  Listen to it.  Don’t let anyone else dilute the power of your inner voice.  You’ve got to stand up for something specific, on your own two legs, or you will achieve nothing worthwhile in your own mind’s eye.
Within you there is a formidable and undeniable sense of purpose.  Happiness comes from making a solid and persistent connection to that purpose.  When your intentions are supported by a “why” that has meaning, you will find the “how” to bring them to life.

5.  Play to your strengths and delegate when it makes sense.

When it comes to tackling big projects, you can try to do everything yourself, or you can reach out and find the right people to help you.  The first choice will raise your stress and blood pressure; the second choice will raise your consciousness and effectiveness.
Choosing the right perspective is so important; you CAN see life’s challenges as opportunities.  When an unexpected obstacle is suddenly standing in your way, don’t get overwhelmed.  Take a breather and regroup.  Someone else nearby knows how to get around it.  Find and engage them.
For example, if your website is suddenly having glitches with a new web browser, don’t read a giant book on web design.  Hire a professional web designer.  See the problem as an opportunity to delegate.  Life is trying to teach you that most long-term, worthy endeavors are team efforts, and so much more palatable when shared with others.  Every unexpected obstacle in life is a lesson on teamwork in disguise, solvable with the right team of people.

6.  Socialize and share with peers.

Regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish, it’s always easier if you have a group of people who understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and what challenges you’re facing.  Staying in touch with these people and sharing ideas with them will accelerate your effectiveness and happiness.  Best selling author, Seth Godin, refers to these people as your tribe members.
A tribe is a group of people connected to one another via an idea, movement or common goal.  For millions of years, human beings have been part of one tribe or another.  Godin says, “A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate.”
Every single one of us craves the feeling of being part of something bigger than ourselves.  By nature, we are tribal, but oftentimes we become disconnected from our tribe.  We know our people are out there – somewhere – but we feel lost and disconnected from them.  If you’re feeling disconnected, open up to your peers and initiate a conversation.  Tap into your tribe.

7.  Give what you can, as you seek what you desire.

In many ways, life is a circle – what you put in to it comes back around.  When you make a positive impact in the world, the world will have a positive impact on you.
If you want to be rich, be generous.  If you want to make friends, be friendly.  If you want to be heard, listen.  If you want to be understood by others, take the time to truly understand them.  If you want to live an interesting life, be interested in the happenings around you.
You won’t always get back exactly what you wanted or expected, but when you give what you can you almost always receive what you need.  (Read The Secret.)

8.  Leave the past behind as you plan ahead.

Let old problems remain where they belong – in the past.  No matter how many times you revisit the past, there’s nothing new to see.  Don’t let what once happened get in the way of what is happening.  Just because you’ve made mistakes doesn’t mean your mistakes get to make you.  If something important didn’t work yesterday, figure out what changes can be made today.
Tame your inner critic; let go and move on productively.  You must make a conscious effort to do this, it won’t happen automatically.  You will have to rise up and say, “I don’t care how hard this is.  I don’t care how disappointed I am.  I’m not going to let yesterday’s problems get the best of me.  I’m taking the lessons and moving on with my life.”

9.  Commit to self-respect, regardless of the issue at hand.

Whenever you catch yourself in a rambling bout of negative self-talk, stop and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who spoke to me in the same way that I sometimes speak to myself, how long would I allow this person to be my friend?”
Remember, the way you treat yourself sets the standard for others, and the world at large, to follow.  Above everyone else, YOU deserve YOUR respect.  So make sure your decisions, behaviors and actions reflect your self-respect as you carry out your plans.  (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)

10.  Leave room to breathe.

Things don’t always go as planned.  Good things can’t always be planned.  Be flexible and open to life’s twists and turns.
Organize, but don’t agonize.  Keep your space and time ordered, but your schedule underbooked.  Create a foundation with a soft place to land, a wide margin of error, and room to think and breathe…
Freeing yourself from an overbooked schedule lets you experience more of life’s good surprises, and also provides you with flexibility when the unforeseen disrupts your foresight.

Afterthoughts

So, in summary…
Focus on your priorities, but take things in stride.  Make decisions, not excuses.  Live one moment at a time.  Count your blessings, not your troubles.  Let the wrong things go.  Look for lessons in unforeseen obstacles.  Ask for help.  Give as much as you take.  Make time for those who matter.  Laugh when you can.  Cry when you need to.  And always stay true to your values.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Organic

Hmm, just a ponder

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On

How I love marc and Angel!

POST WRITTEN BY: ANGEL CHERNOFF

5 Core Skills Your Life Depends On


5 Life Skills You Should Exercise Until You Die
I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think
I have ended up where I needed to be.
―Douglas Adams
Life has no purpose; you have a purpose and you bring it to life.  There isn’t one big cosmic purpose for everyone either; there is only the one you give to yourself – a personal purpose, an individual meaning, a distinct plot to the story that is your life.  Often this plot is difficult to follow; yet it is never impossible to follow and it is worth every bit of effort you can muster.
Each moment, each situation, each turn of events presents you with an opportunity to build the self you are capable of being.  It’s just a matter of accepting opportunities, implementing ideas, taking action, and actively expressing the purpose that is uniquely YOU.
You are stronger than any barrier standing in your way, because you have a purpose that cannot be denied.  You can be adaptable, innovative, hard working and tenacious.  You can imagine the possibilities and then work to make them real.
Here are five life skills that will help you do just that – the real fundamentals of being an empowered, self-directed human being:

1.  Curiosity

Joy comes easy to us in our youth because we haven’t become set too firmly in our ways.  Our willingness to curiously assess new things and varying perspectives allows us to experience flashes of insight and beauty wherever we go.  Those of us who fight the draw of our comfort zones as we age, who sustain our curiosity into our later years, learn a lot more and see far more beauty throughout our lifetime.
Curiosity, after all, is the foundation of lifelong growth.  It allows us to retain a beginner’s mind even as our wisdom expands.  In this way, an enduring curiositypermits our hearts and minds to grow younger, not older every day.
Always remain curious and teachable.  Keep an open mind and do not stop questioning and learning.  Look forward, open new doors and experience new things.  Do so because you’re curious, and because you know that today’s journey is always just beginning.

2.  Creativity

When it comes to human growth, if curiosity is the engine, creativity is the steering wheel.  Creativity is the most powerful instrument of progress – a mindset that endows resources with a new capacity to create possibility and growth.
The world is moving so fast these days that those who say something can’t be done are often interrupted by those who are doing it.  This is precisely why it’s important to exercise your creative mind on a regular basis.  Ultimately, the creative learners inherit the world while the doubters and complacent minds find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.  (Read The War of Art.)

3.  Resilience

Except for your own thoughts, there’s nothing that’s absolutely in your power.  Knowing and accepting this gives you the ability to cope proficiently with life’s constant little inconveniences – a vital life skill we called resilience.
Resilience is accepting reality, even if it’s less than the fantasy you had in your mind or the reality that was once yours.  You can fight it, you can do nothing but complain about what you’re missing, or you can accept what you have and try to put it together to create something good.
As you progress, life will inevitably challenge you on a regular basis.  No matter how much falls on you, keep your head up and plow ahead.  That’s the only way to keep the road to your dreams clear.  It won’t get any more forgiving, but it will get easier and easier to deal with, because over time you will grow stronger and more resilient.  (Read The Road Less Traveled.)

4.  Patience

In the sweetest little voice Winnie-the-Pooh once said, “Rivers know this: there is no hurry.  We shall get there some day.”  This is the power of patience.
Patience is not sitting still.  Rather, it’s mastering your time by applying the right principles in the right way to attain a long-term desired result.  It’s moving forward steadily for as long as it takes to get where you want to go.  Enduring the time between your departure and arrival requires a great deal of will.  But no matter how tedious these moments of waiting are, you have to get used to the feeling, knowing that what you’re working toward is coming your way, even though it’s not with you at the moment.
Ultimately the two hardest tests on the road to personal growth are the patience to wait for what you want and the courage not to be disappointed when it doesn’t arrive as soon as you had expected.  Patience can be bitter, but the seeds you plant now will bear sweet fruit.  These fruits are worth waiting for.  There’s no advantage to hurrying through life and never tasting their sweetness.

5.  Self-reliance

Self-reliance is the most important of all life skills, because without it you can’t practice any other life skill consistently.  It’s honestly a virtue that brings all the rest together.
Quite simply, self-reliance is the unswerving willingness to take responsibility for your life from this moment forward, regardless of who had a hand in making it the way it is now.  It’s taking control of your life, finding your true self by thinking for yourself, and making a firm choice to live your way.  It’s being the hero of your life, not the victim.
Life constantly invites you to be who you are capable of being.  Choosing to be self-reliant is accepting life’s invitation.  (Marc and I discuss this in detail in the Growth and Success chapters of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)