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Reflection

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 Marriage.com, a reliable resource to support healthy happy marriages.

 

Happiness Hack #69 Strengthen Positive Relationships with Creative Gratitude

happiness_creative #69

 

Two of the strongest recurring themes in happiness research are showing gratitude and positive relationships. You can engage both themes at once by improving your relationships through creative expressions of your gratitude.

 

5 Ideas for Creative Gratitude:

 

  1. Send a picture or video. With today’s smart phones, taking a quick photo or video with you showing your appreciation can be done in less than a minute. The recipient will be excited and will most likely share their joy with someone else nearby.
  2. Write a personal note on the nearest writing surface you can find. For example; a napkin in a restaurant, a whiteboard in their office, or a post-it note. They will appreciate the spontaneity and especially like the idea that you are thinking of them as you go through your busy day.
  3. Share your talents. We all have a hobby or something we are good at or known for.  Share some of your famous brownies or help them fix something around their house or office.  Use your special skills to show appreciation.
  4. Share your story. Explain to them why you appreciate them with a personal story of how their presence has impacted you. Knowing specifically how they were able to make your day a little better will create a special kind of confidence and happiness.
  5. Pay it forward. Tell them how they inspired you to share your gratitude with a 3rd Let them know that their good deeds are spreading into the world and helping others be happy.

 

Showing gratitude in even the smallest ways improves happiness and builds stronger relationships for everyone involved.  Find ways to creatively express your gratitude and you will have stronger relationships that help you become happier and more successful.

 

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About 

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 #61 – Relationships are as Important as Food and Water

Although it takes longer to see the effects, depriving yourself of social connections can take a physical toll just like not eating. Your brain responds both positively and negatively to the presence and quality of relationships in your life. Scientists are beginning to find that the loss or lack of social relationships creates actual physical pain and not just the emotional pain we are familiar with.

More importantly, positive social relationships activate pleasure centers in the brain that make us feel content and fulfilled much like having enough food makes us feel. Those pleasure centers are activated when we create charitable relationships like giving money to people in need rather than spending it on ourselves or when we nurture close personal relationships like helping someone close to us who is in distress. When scientists tested trade-offs of money for happiness, they found working with charities, visiting with friends, and maintaining a close relationship with your significant other were worth tens of thousands of dollars in annual income. All three levels of relationships; charitable, friendly, and close personal relationships, contribute more to your happiness than significant amounts of money.

To be happier, focus on maintaining strong social connections. Work with charities, spend time with friends, and nurture your close personal relationships. They are as important as eating and will have a positive physical impact on your well-being.

 

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About 

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.

Leadership, Hugs, and Success

To be successful as leaders we have to connect with other human beings.  People want to follow other humans they can relate to and aspire to be, not untouchable royalty they have nothing in common with and who care nothing about them. They want to follow people who have a vested stake in their success and who they feel comfortable being around. Hugging and touching helps leaders communicate that connection in an instant. Hugs help us feel closer, build trust, and improve communication with the other person. A touch on the shoulder, a warm handshake, or a quick hug communicates appreciation and recognition much more effectively than just words. Hugs have also been shown to improve memory, reduce stress, and provide a feeling of safety. This is not just an emotional reaction; it is also a physical one. Hugs release oxytocin which is like a relationship hormone. It is found in increased levels in people with positive relationships. Hugging also increases serotonin levels, which helps people feel happier and more relaxed. Hugs help improve the immune system and the production of white blood cells and help us release tension. A hug can serve as a warm welcome, or a thank you at the end of a tough project. Hugs also show people you understand when they are working through a tough time personally or at work. Hugs open us up when we are feeling constrained and up-tight. A hug gives us permission to start a dialogue about what is bothering us and opens up channels of communication. Hugs are another way of communicating the importance of people in our lives. Hugging sends the message that they are important to us and they matter.
There is a false assumption that hugging and touching are not allowed in the workplace. People are more scared of the legal ramifications than interested in connecting with people on their team. The rule is simple; don’t hug someone that doesn’t want to be hugged.  Offer the hugs, don’t force them.

 

Give hugs freely and people will be attracted to your warmth and will work to support you as a leader and help you succeed.

 

The World Needs More Hugs!

 

“I have learned that there is more power in a good strong hug than in a thousand meaningful words.”    Ann Hood

 

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MyHappiness App

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About 

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.

Someday Isle (I’ll)

 

There is an island fantasy

A “Someday I’ll” we’ll never see,

When recession stops, inflation ceases,

Our mortgage is paid, our pay increases.

That Someday Isle where problems end,

Where every piece of mail is from a friend,

Where the children are sweet, already grown,

Where all the nations can go it alone,

Where we all retire at forty-one,

Playing Football in the island sun.

Most unhappy people look to tomorrow,

To erase this day’s hardship and sorrow.

They put happiness on lay-away,

And struggle through a blue today.

But happiness cannot be sought,

It can’t be earned, it can’t be bought.

Life’s most important revelation,

It’s the journey that means as much as the

destination.

Happiness is where you are right now,

Pushing a pencil or pushing a plow.

It’s knocking on doors and making your calls,

It’s getting back up after your falls.

It’s going to school or standing in line,

Tasting defeat, tasting the wine.

If you live in the past you become senile,

If you live in the future you’re on “Someday I’ll.”

The fear of results is procrastination,

The joy of today is a celebration.

You can save, you can slave, trudging mile after mile,

But you’ll never set foot on your “Someday I’ll.”

When you’ve paid all your dues and put in your time,

Out of nowhere comes another Mt. Everest to climb.

I have decided Today to make it my Vow,

To take Someday Illand make it NOW.

Shared/Recited by Ken Purcell, Written By Dennis Waitley

 

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About 

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.

Alexia’s Legacy: Create Time for Family and Friends, Even in the Middle of Chaos

She was tragically taken from us, but her legacy lives on.  Every few weeks we will share excerpts from the book.

 

Ray,        

So today I got a lot of little things done for my classes. It was A LOT of reading! I also had some time to get some little household type chores done, take some me time, and get some exercising in.

This evening for me was overtaken by RA things. I spent two hours working through a harassment situation for one of the residents and finished that up just in time to run to get ready for our fire drill. Those events pushed back my plans to go see a movie with friends. Although later than planned, we did still go which was a nice change of pace after the heavy topics that filled this evening! I’m now exhausted and heading off to bed! Talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today I drove home to Houston, spent some time with friends, and now am writing in my journals and headed to bed!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today mom and I had a relaxing girls day bumming around town. I also ran around playing with my dog for quite a while today for some exercise! I have written in my journals and mom and I are now watching a movie while we lay in bed to fall asleep.

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today I relaxed and spent more time with my mom and got some exercise in, and I am now getting ready to do my journals and head to bed!

Alexia

 

Ray,

Today was, over all, a pretty good day! I played volleyball intramurals tonight and it was so much fun! I just finished a quiz and packing for this weekend’s trip! I can’t wait to catch you up on all of the PLP recent events as well as RA! See you Monday!

Alexia

 

Hi Ray!

This long weekend was much needed! I spent some time with family/friends, catching up on my rest, and being productive. It was a good mix and I feel a lot better going into this week!

Thanks and talk to you soon!

Alexia

 

Ray,

I had some fun play time after a department meeting with McKesson and I had some great friends time tonight to help vent a bit and help mentally relieve some stress which was awesome! I did my journals and am now headed to bed!  Talk to you soon,

Alexia

 

Lesson: Create time for family and friends, even in the middle of chaos.

Make time for family and friends. Don’t let the chaos of life derail those plans. The people in your best relationships are understanding and supportive, and therefore easier to blow off. But those relationships are also the most important things in your life and a key to your success and happiness. Every now and then, the chaos of life will interfere with your time with those important people. But don’t let it postpone those visits indefinitely. Make sure they happen on a regular basis and you get your needed energy boost and support from your best relationships. More importantly, you need your opportunity to give back to those relationships, as it will make both you and the relationship stronger. As a leader you need confidence, energy, and diverse opinions you can count on. Those all come from your positive relationships. Make time to nurture your important relationships, especially in the middle of chaos.

Opportunity: Make a list of your most important relationships. Reach out and schedule time with them today.

 

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About 

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.

Importance of Social Connection at Work

While it may sound counter intuitive, today’s always connected world requires leaders to focus more on connectivity – social connectivity.  Today’s technology allows workers to be “connected” at all times, however, it is important that you focus on a level of social connection strategy for you and your organization.  Through this “always connected world”, business is becoming more and more flexible with how employees work – working from home, working remote and virtual offices are all concepts that are being adopted in today’s world.  In reality, some successful companies are 100% virtual.  This is great in providing employees autonomy and an ability to set their own hours (as long as they produce results and achieve objectives).  However, it is important to understand that in order to sustain a strong level of productivity, employees need a level of social connection.

Research shows that people need social connections to be productive – actually to survive.  This is important in our work lives as much as it is in our social lives.  In a 2012 article in Psychology Today, Dr. Emma Seppola summarized her studies by saying that social connections “create individuals who have higher self-esteem, are more emphatic to others, and, as a consequence, others are more trusting and cooperating with them.”   While Dr. Seppola’s study wasn’t focused on remote or virtual employees, it does provide a linkage between social connections and positive performance.

In today’s environment, leadership can become too remote from their teams allowing the employees to lose connection.  Not only do they lose the social connection with the organization, they also lose connection to the purpose, strategy and vision of the organization.  Without the ability to have casual conversations at the water cooler or routinely take lunch breaks with different members of the team, employees can quickly become distant.  This distance causes less engagement and therefore, less productivity.

Leaders need to learn to operate differently with a remote organization.  There is a different level of effort that is needed to ensure continued engagement and stimulation.  You can’t simply follow the old rule of “Management by Walking Around” anymore, you need to change the game.

Here are a few ideas to ensure your employees maintain a level of social connection –

  • One on One calls – set a regular cadence of one on one calls with each team member. The purpose of this connection isn’t for the employees to feel like they are being grilled on performance and providing updates, although that can be a part of the conversation.  The purpose of these calls is to simply engage – talk about whatever she wants to discuss.  Ensure they are not structured meetings and are allowed to flow naturally.
  • Call – Don’t Email – it is all too easy to send a quick email to ask a question or provide some guidance to others. However, it is important that you resist this urge for the “simple” and talk to your employees.  Pick up the phone and call.  It is sad to say, but these types of conversations often happen so infrequently, that employees “fear” calls from their management.
  • Encourage employees to directly engage – the social connection doesn’t always mean that leaders need to be a part of the engagement. Leaders should encourage their teams to interact with each other and people from other organizations – in person or over the phone.
  • Video Calls – there is a multitude of free technology on the market that allows for video calls. Take advantage of this technology to have video calls with your team.  The simple addition of seeing the other person leads to even stronger connectivity.
  • Face to Face meetings – if at all possible, make it a point to allocate a budget for face to face meetings.  The problem if you don’t set aside a budget in advance and commit to holding the meetings, it doesn’t happen. This can be difficult due to travel costs and logistics, but if possible, a good face to face conversation is helpful.

It is important for leaders and organizations to change and adapt to the new connected world.  Understand that connected (by technology) doesn’t always mean being connected to the organization and engaged with its success.

Happiness Hack #40 – Stop Taking the Poison

“Anger (or hatred) is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.” Alcoholics Anonymous

Close your eyes and imagine you could feel better about all of your bad relationships. Imagine you could stop being angry and upset and could get past whatever event or memory is preventing you from getting along with that person. The good news is you can. You choose to be angry and upset. You choose to let that past wrong interfere with your relationship. You decide that what they have done is so horrendous that you have to keep them out of your life. So make a different decision. As hard as it may seem, forgive them. Understand that whatever they did was an insult, inappropriate, and unforgiveable; but your relationship with them is more important.

Stop taking the poison and your relationships will survive and become stronger. Stop taking the poison and you will be happier.

 

 

 

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About 

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.

Keep Christmas Happy

For many of us, Christmas can be a very stressful time of year. The office party and other holiday commitments, finding the right gifts, managing expenses, and spending time with friends and family we don’t normally see. We get caught up in the overwhelming list of what we are obligated to do and often miss the joy and fulfillment those activities can bring.

To keep Christmas happy, start by knowing and being clear about your “Why”. Why are you going to the office holiday party? Is it to spend time with your friends and co-workers or because you feel like you just have to go? Know your “Why” before you go. If you don’t have a good “Why” then don’t go.

Are you rushing around stressed out about getting gifts for everyone, or are you enjoying the adventure of finding a gift you will be excited to see them open. Don’t buy gifts because it is a social requirement, find gifts make you think about the excitement you will get to see on their faces when they open them. Make your “Why” about the reward of giving instead of the guilt of not giving.

Are you worried about spending time with the uncle or cousin who drives you crazy? Is your “Why” all about obligation or is your “Why” about the warmth and fulfillment you will get seeing your parents, siblings, or other energy givers in your family circle?

Remember that Christmas is about Faith, Family, and Friends. It is a time of celebration, joy, and fulfillment. Don’t get lost in your obligations. Focus on your “Why” and keep your Christmas Happy!

 

 

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About 

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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