If you know me well, you know that I like to research, read, learn and better understand happiness and positivity – what drives happiness, why some people are happy when others aren’t and is there a relationship between being happy and being positive.  Recently, I started reflecting on the “why” of my focus on happiness and the underlying influence in my life…

Most studies show that there are three primary areas where happiness comes from – our genes, our circumstances and ourselves.  The percentages across each of these varies slightly from report to report; however, I am safe in generally saying that 50% comes from genes, 10% is due to our circumstances – leaving 40% that is within our control.  This is why they say that much of your happiness is your choice.

Looking at these percentages, understanding that a percentage of a person’s happiness is genetic and based on their surroundings, I looked to understand where my positivity and happiness came from in my developmental years and beyond.

Growing up I was generally happy and positive; however, I didn’t understand the drivers behind my perspectives.  We had a great neighborhood, one of those that we’d be out with friends playing kick the can or some other activity that involved $0 investment “until the street lights came on”.  The good news is that due to the power of technology and social media, I am still connected to many of those that ran the streets around Livonia.

While never really being a person who reflected on the past, it was a challenge for me to be open minded to discover these influences.  I did have a number of good teachers, but at the time, I wasn’t really the studious type (shocker) to have one that I could say was an influence.  I also had a number of good mentors in my career, but by that time, I believe my perspectives were already ingrained.  The one thing that kept coming to me was my Dad.  Again, I haven’t been one, previously, to say that my Dad was one of the bigger influences on my life, but this time of reflection allowed me to see a variety of different things.

My Dad generally saw the positive in things, so much to a point that there is actually a joke in the family about him saying that every meal he had was the best he had ever had – no matter what his meal was, it was the best he’d had… that was the best steak, that was the best burger and so on.  I can’t remember a time when he said that his meal was “bad”.

This doesn’t mean that my Dad saw everything as sunshine and rainbows, he was realistic, but generally saw things from a positive perspective.

As I continued to think through this process and remembering back to the key areas where happiness comes from (genes, environment, ourselves), I can align myself with the fact that 50% of my perspective on life and happiness comes from my Dad’s genes.  As he was an only child, I am unable to compare his perspectives with his siblings and his father died at an early age so I never knew him.  While I knew his mother, my grandmother, I can’t say I knew her well, but I do know that she wasn’t the most positive.

Reflecting on my memories, I think my Dad was simply grateful for what he had and wasn’t trying to compete with others.  He set an example of his gratitude by working to give back to the community.  We weren’t wealthy, so I can’t say he was a philanthropist, but more of a servant to the community.  I don’t remember a time that he wasn’t engaged with the church – St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church – Livonia, Michigan.  Then after he retired, he expanded his volunteer work with the Open Door program at Fort Street Presbyterian Church in Detroit.  He’d be at Fort Street every Thursday morning supporting those in need with not only food, but other basic necessities of life – hygiene kits, access to medical facilities, clothing, etc.

Another example that stands out for me around his focus and gratitude, was the day my daughter was born.  While he’d been planning his retirement from Chrysler, the day I called to say that my wife was in labor, he handed in his papers, retired and headed to Indianapolis to welcome his first Grandchild.

So, if the studies are accurate and 50% of one’s happiness comes from genes and another 40% comes from within themselves, I believe my Dad’s genes and his overall perspective had a significant influence on why I generally have a more positive perspective and try to be happy.  It really took me a while to dig through my memories to determine that it was my Dad that influenced me in this way.  I am not sure how much this influenced my professional life and career; however, I do believe that positive psychology in a professional environment does tend to drive success.

11 Things That Decide The Future Of Your Love Relationship

By Rachel Pace

Relationships are a key indicator of both your happiness and your success.

Whether you’ve been in a relationship for a few years or you’ve just had those first few slightly awkward but really sweet first dates and you’re hoping they’ll call again soon, there’s one question that most people ask about their relationship at some point.

Where is this going?

If you’re in the first flush of relationship fun, you’re wondering if this could turn into something long term. If you’ve been together for a few months or a couple of years, you’re wondering whether you’re going to be settling down and maybe even having a family together. And even if you’re married, there’s a good chance that at some point you’ve wondered what the future of your relationship looks like.

So, does your relationship have a bright future? Well, we don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have a handy list of things you can look at to give you a sneak peek at the future of your relationship.

Here are 11 things that decide the future of your love relationship.


  1. Whether You Share Values

Shared values are the foundation of a strong relationship. You don’t have to agree on everything – different opinions are absolutely ok! – but having core values in common   is vital for long term relationship success. If you both value the same things in life, you’re more likely to stay the course.


  1. Whether You Can Have Healthy Fights

Every couple fights sometimes. It’s just human nature. However, whether or not you can have healthy fights has a direct impact on the future of your relationship. You need to know going forward that whenever you and your boo don’t see eye to eye, you can resolve it amicably.


  1. The Way You Measure Intimacy

Intimacy is about so much more than sex, gifts, or romantic gestures. Sometimes life will throw challenges your way that put sex on the back burner or drain your bank account so gifts are out of the question. But true intimacy is measured in being there for each other and being able to trust and talk to one another. Couples who know this  could well have a bright future ahead.


  1. Being Able To Work As A Team

Being in a relationship means being part of a team. Your partner is not your opponent, and there’s no room in healthy relationships for holding grudges or scoring points off each other. Couples who tackle life as a team are setting themselves up for a happy life together.


  1. Having Good Communication Skills

Good communication is so important in relationships. Good communication means you can weather life’s storms together without getting caught up in misunderstandings. No matter what life throws your way or what each of you is going through, you can meet each other in a place of honesty and openness.


  1. Your Levels Of Commitment

Relationships with strong futures are ones where both parties are committed to staying the course. If one of you isn’t all in, you’ve got much less chance in the long term. After all, why stay with someone who isn’t as committed to staying with you? Make sure you’re both on the same page.


  1. Whether You Make Each Other Laugh

Life will get rough sometimes. Jobs will fall through, someone’s health might suffer, families will bring stress and heartache. It sounds gloomy but these challenges are just part of life! If you can make each other laugh no matter what is going on, your relationship will be an oasis for both of you.


  1. The Ability To Make Compromises

Compromises are just part of being in a relationship. Of course you don’t have to give up yourself and your dreams – your needs and goals matter – but when you share your life with another person, you need to compromise at times. Learn the art of compromise and your relationship will have much better odds.


  1. How Much You Trust Each Other

Trust is key to long term happiness. It’s hard to build a future with a partner that you don’t trust. If you find yourself questioning what they say or where they’ve been, it’s time for a serious talk and perhaps a look at your attitude to them.


  1. Your Attitudes

Talking of attitude, it makes a massive difference. If you both approach your relationship with an attitude of positivity, appreciation, gratefulness and commitment, it will be much easier to keep it strong in the long term.


  1. Being Friends As Well As Partners

Look for a partner who is also your friend. Someone you can share anything with, confide in, talk to and laugh with. Someone you look forward to catching up with and sharing all your news at the end of the day. Those relationships are special, and likely to last.

There are many things that can decide the future of your love relationship – and several of them are in your hands.


 Author bio:- Rachel Pace is a relationship expert with years of experience in training and helping couples. She has helped countless individuals and organizations around the world, offering effective and efficient solutions for healthy and successful relationships. Her mission is to provide inspiration, support and empowerment to everyone on their journey to a great marriage. She is a featured writer for, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.


Happiness Hack #72 – Talk About Your Feelings of Shame and Rejection



We evolved to be social.  In groups we were able to find more food and protect ourselves from threats much more successfully than we could do alone.  Survival was based on our ability to remain a part of a group. If we did not fit in or were not a contributing member and were kicked out of the group, then we literally might not survive alone.  That now plays out in our modern brains as a need to fit in and be liked. When we feel like someone might not like us or might not see us as valuable, our survival instincts kick in and we literally feel fears and emotions that are usually reserved for life-threatening situations. We are able to intellectually understand that being rejected shouldn’t be a big deal, but our subconscious is screaming at us that we are in danger of not being able to survive.  Those two competing forces cause us to have feelings and take actions that don’t always make sense to us and can often derail our calm façade.

The good news is there is a solution. By just becoming aware of what is causing this conflict, we can become better at managing it.  If we understand and admit that we are feeling rejected and fearful, we can start to deal with the real feelings we are experiencing, even if we intellectually believe it shouldn’t be that big of deal.  Recognize the panic and the shame you feel when you are left out or not appreciated. Admitting those feelings is not a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of strength and your ability to deal with the deep seeded emotions we all feel.

Be vulnerable. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings of shame and rejection.  Share and work through these feelings that are real and impactful in your life. Be your true self and admit your true feelings, and you will be happier and more successful.



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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #70 – Today is Your Day



Happiness is right now.  There may be better or worse things in your past, but those things don’t matter now.  You may have big plans, hopes, and dreams for your future, but there is no reason you have to wait for those to be happy. Your happiness is dependent on what you do with what you have today. You can choose to appreciate and build on what you have or you can choose to lament what you don’t have. You can mourn the unfair things that have occurred in your past or you can focus on what you can make happen today.  Make today your day.  Be happy today.


“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So… get on your way!”  Dr. Suess


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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Should You Ask Your Employees if they are Happy?

Research shows that happier people are more productive, more creative, work better on teams, have stronger relationships, and make better managers. Who would you rather have talking to your clients, grumpy people or happy people? Given that the research shows that happier people are more successful and help companies become more successful, why don’t more companies measure and influence employee happiness?

The answer is in the question.  Companies know they can’t manage or control employee happiness, they can only influence it.

  1. People have varying levels of happiness that is influenced by a multitude of scenarios going on in their lives so a company can’t provide a one size fits all or one correct solution.
  2. Measuring happiness is imprecise at best and companies have been taught to look for clear objective measurements.
  3. Most scarily, when companies ask employees if they are happy or why they are not happy, what do they do with that information? It will require hard work from creative authentic leaders to address the real issues people and companies face, but have so far ignored.


 Happiness is the Next Step in Well-Being Management

Happiness is known more scientifically as Emotional Well-being and the measurements and challenges are very similar to the corporate push for influencing physical well-being. In the early 2000’s a proliferation of scientific studies began to convince corporations that blood pressure, cholesterol levels, weight, and habits like smoking were indicators that their employees were not physically healthy.  Additionally, these studies showed that unhealthy employees were expensive because of insurance costs, productivity lost to sick days and hospital visits. To be fair, the leaders in most of the organizations also cared about their employees’ well-being and put programs in place to help improve well-being.  Happiness is the next natural step in this well-being process.

Manage Their Minds, not Butts in Seats

Our current day management practices were created in the 40’s for manufacturing businesses. Companies were focused on whether employees showed up, held their position on the line, and how many nuts they attached to the bolts. Today we are managing knowledgeable workers in a totally different environment and our management practices have to evolve.  We can no longer focus on butts in seats. We have to focus on managing the psychology of our people. Positive, excited, and motivated minds are going to be significantly more productive than depressed negatives ones.

Today’s technology enables our teams to work from anywhere. Instead of focusing on where they are working or when they are working, we should focus on whether they are in the best mindset to produce for their teams and the company.  Manage positive minds rather than butts in seats.

 Happiness Measurement is Proliferating

Happiness is being recognized by more and more people, organizations, and even governments.  In 2011 the United Nations created Resolution 65/309 and placed happiness on the global development agenda and they released a World Happiness Report. The National Institute of Management created the GNH – or Gross National Happiness Index.  The UK, India, Canada, Bhutan, and many other countries, as well as US cities have already made happiness measurement a part of their infrastructure. Since 2009, Gallup has been conducting an annual happiness survey. There is a push to measure happiness and engagement on a daily and weekly basis now, instead of an annual basis and companies are springing up all over the world to fill that void. Happiness measurement is here.  It is not a matter of if your company will adopt it but when.

A recent report by Deloitte, titled Trends in Global Human Capital identified culture and engagement as top issues that need to be addressed by organizations. An organization’s ability to create an atmosphere that highlights opportunities for happiness is quickly becoming a differentiator in their ability to attract top talent so they can win in the marketplace rather than falling behind.

Q: Should you ask your employees if they are happy?

A: Only if you care about them and the future success of your organization.


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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Why You Shouldn’t Procrastinate Happiness

Guest Blog by Stephanie Landrum

“I procrastinate my happiness.”  There, I said it.

It’s been sitting on my to-do list for over a month now: WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT HAPPINESS

Some weeks I prioritize it to the top of the list…other weeks, it gets shifted down with the internal understanding that I will of course get to it soon…but for now there are other more pressing issues to attend to…such as grocery shopping…filling the car with gas…catching up on the latest TV shows….

The problem with my procrastination is that I’m pushing off so much more than a simple blog post.

What I’m pushing off is an opportunity to do the one thing I’ve always felt I’m somewhat good at…the thing that brings me personal pride and happiness…which is writing.

I have in my head this idea that writing will make me happy…but only if it’s “good” writing…and nothing good can come from 30 minutes here and 30 minutes there. No…I need a full weekend…spent alone in a hotel room with just me and my computer and a bottomless cup of coffee. But it’s not realistic…and thus, my happiness continues to be pushed to the back burner.

In an effort to work through my tendency to procrastinate….my goal is to begin implementing the Success Concept: Implement with Discipline.

Steps to Implement with Discipline
• Just start
• Schedule time each day
• Take baby steps
• Create habits
• There will be obstacles – plan for them.
• If you fail, start again!

My goal is to begin this process today, Wednesday 11/25, and report back within a month (here’s lookin at you Christmas Day ).

Let the battle against procrastination begin….


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The Phases of Raising Kids – Guinea Pig, Dog, Cat, and hopefully Eagle

Guest blog by Lindsey White

Our kids are teenagers now and I have begun to notice the different phases they have gone through in growing up. Thinking through it, their growth stages seem similar to pets we have owned or seen.

The kids started out like Guinea pigs. They ate, peed, pooped and squealed whenever they needed anything. It seemed that my only job was to feed, clean, and of course love. That was a wonderful stage in the growth, but I was glad and proud see them become more independent.

So in the next stage they became more like dogs. I still had to feed them, make sure they made it to the bathroom, and clean up after them every now and then, but they were mostly independent. Like dogs, they always showed love and affection and followed me around everywhere I went. They got excited about walks, and were always eager to go play. They always wanted to sleep next to me and they loved to cuddle and be stroked. Those were wonderful years and it was with some hesitancy I watched them become teenagers.

As teenagers they turned from dogs to cats. Not overnight but over time. They now make their own decisions and often turn up their noses at the things that used to make them giggle. They don’t get nearly as excited about wanting to play and everything is subject to their judgment. They appreciate being fed, but feel just as confident they can get whatever food they need. Every now and then they will need a cuddle or a pat, but then they will go on their way, pretending they don’t have a care in the world. I love them and I love their growth and maturity, but I dread their next evolution.

The next step is for them to become eagles and soar on their own; to leave the nest and only return periodically for the obligatory family gathering. As my oldest starts college and they all talk about their future careers, I can see them testing their wings and learning to fly. I will feel so excited, so proud, and so accomplished when I finally see them soar from the nest. We will watch them with awe and marvel at their accomplishments. But I will be sad and disappointed and I will miss my soaring eagles as I have missed the stages that were like Guinea Pigs, dogs, and cats.

So what do you think? Have you seen your kids go through similar stages?




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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Happiness Hack #29 Focus on the Now




How to be Happier by Appreciating Now Instead of Worrying About the Past or the Future

Oppenheim said “the foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise man grows it under his feet.”

Mindfulness is about looking at what is around us and under our feet rather than missing the “now” because we are worrying about the future.


One of our biggest challenges in life is focusing on what is right in front of us. We are either chasing the happiness that will come if all the stars align, or regretting the past where we made mistakes and didn’t do things we should have done.

Practicing Mindfulness is one way to experience the gift of the present. Observing and appreciating what we have and what is around us today helps us find peace. Having gratitude that we have made it where we are, sets us up for a better future by giving us hope and confidence.

Mindfulness has been shown to improve immune function as well as reduce muscle tension, headache, stress, anxiety, and depression.

To be more mindful, wear a rubber band around your wrist and pop it or move it to your other wrist every time you catch yourself worrying about something you did in the past or what might happen in the future. Stop and appreciate your surroundings. Give people your full attention when you are with them. Slow down and enjoy your food. Think about the smell, taste, and texture of every bite. Schedule electronics free zones and times so you can absorb your surroundings or just think without distraction.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.” Alice Morse Earle


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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

New Found Gratitude & Happiness

Last weekend, I spent a day touring different areas of Mumbai and most importantly the Dharavi Slum.  The Dharavi Slum is one of the largest slums in the world and sits on a 500+ acre site in the heart of this thriving city.  The slum is home to approximately 1M people.  And, yes, Dharavi was the location of the movie SlumDog Millionaire.

To set the stage, Mumbai, as much of India appears to be, is a place of truly “haves” and “have nots”.  In a city of approximately 23M people, over 50% (11M+) of the local residents living in some level of slums or street dwelling.  Other parts of the city are booming with construction of office towers and multi-million dollar residences.  The streets are bustling with traffic of cars, taxis, motor bikes and pedestrians, which while something inconceivable to me, seems to be a form of organized chaos with everyone simply going about their day.

Going into my tour, I had a strong impression of what I believed I was about to experience – poverty, filth, and sadness.  Yes, many of my beliefs were there.  The living & sanitation conditions were indescribable with families living in spaces of less than 10 square meters and open flowing sewage running through the narrow alleys.

What I didn’t see was the sadness that I thought I would experience.  It was amazing to see the little children running through these alleys smiling, giggling and playing just as any small child would be doing on a sunny afternoon.  The adults were simply going about their day and very proud to show me what they were doing.  Everyone was very friendly and wanted to say “hi” at every opportunity.

Everyone seemed to be simply enjoying their day.

A remarkable thing that I learned about the Dharavi Slum was the pure ecosystem that this community has developed to support themselves and each other.  There were a number of “industries” in the slum that produce over $650M of annual revenues for the community.  Seeing how the people worked and how they had an entire process for their industry was amazing and unforgettable.

Although it is difficult to do justice to the systems I experienced, one industrial ecosystem that I walked through was Recycling.  They had a process for recycling virtually everything from plastics to aluminum and metals.  They brought in the initial “garbage” and hand sorted it into different pieces of the process.  Then they went through a full recycle process were the output was truly reusable product – aluminum ingots and plastic pellets.  This finished product was then distributed to third parties that would sell to the world to produce products that you and I use on a daily basis.  This process is so efficient, that recyclables from around the world are shipped into the Dharavi Slum to go through the system.

What I experienced was that people were truly grateful for what they had.  They were extremely proud of their lives, their community, and their support of each other.  It had nothing to do with the amount of material things they had or the amount of money they made.  They were simply happy living in the moment and enjoying their contributions to the overall well being of their community.

Leaving the slums, I much better understand the meaning of being grateful for all that I have and not stressing over things that seem to be huge at the time, but are really minimal in the overall scheme of life.  I also learned the challenge with pre-judging as we may not have critical information or fully understand the situation.  It was a great experience.

Enjoy your day.  Be grateful for all that you have.  Be happy.

Happiness Hack #28 Find Your Higher Purpose


We all need something bigger than ourselves to focus on. If we focus internally we tend to become critical and think negatively about ourselves. When we find something bigger than ourselves it adds purpose and meaning to our lives. Your Higher Purpose could be your religion, contributing to your family, or helping your team members reach a difficult goal. It might include a charity, a social movement, or sharing your music or other talents with the world.

Find something other than yourself to focus your thoughts and efforts on and you will be happier and more content.

You can learn more about how to find your Higher Purpose here.



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My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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