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What if they are not doing what you want them to do?

What You Can Control vs. What You Can’t Control

 

The world is full of things we can’t control. Something like the weather seems obvious. Yet how often are we unhappy because the rain ruins our plans?

It may be less obvious that we can’t control the actions of another person, even someone close to us. Our ability to influence them makes us believe we can control their actions, but eventually we are disappointed when they make decisions and take actions different from what we would have preferred.

When we start listing the things we can control and the things we can’t, the things we can control are centered on us and our actions while the things we can’t control are external to us–people, nature, and the stock market, to name a few.

Start with the list of things you can control. Now list the decisions you are making. For example, you can control what you wear in the morning, what you eat, and how you get to work. You can even control which job you have. This is important; if you say “I have to work, I don’t have a choice,” you are still making a choice. You could choose at any moment to be homeless and hungry. It may not feel like a good choice, but it is still a choice you’re making that many others have made differently. Recognizing your power to choose is important to feeling autonomy. Your choice may be to work at a place you don’t like or risk not having enough money to live where you want to live or eat what you want to eat, but all of those are choices you are making. Appreciating the opportunity to make those choices is an important part of improving your happiness.

What you can control:  Who you hang out with

What you can’t control: How they behave or react

 

What you can control:  Where you work
What you can’t control: How nice your co-workers are

 

What you can control:  What time you wake up
What you can’t control: Physically, your body requires sleep

 

What you can control:  What clothes you wear
What you can’t control: What people think about the clothes you wear

 

What you can control:  What time you leave for work
What you can’t control: Whether or not there is construction or an accident that creates heavy traffic

 

Add Your Own:

What you can control:
What you can’t control:

 

What you can control:
What you can’t control:

 

What you can control:
What you can’t control:

 

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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.

Help Others

Happiness Hack #19 – Help Others

Helping Others Makes You Happier

Being kind to others and volunteering makes you happier. Practicing acts of kindness releases serotonin into your brain, which makes you feel happier. People who observe an act of kindness also have serotonin released into their brain. So doing something nice not only makes you happier, it also brings happiness to anyone that happens to be watching. The key is actually wanting to help. Your motivation has to be an intrinsic desire to help someone rather than being focused on what you are going to get out it.

Caring does not have to be connected to an organized charity. Reaching out to a friend or someone at work or school also makes you happier. Giving to others releases endorphins, which provide us with a “helper’s high” similar to a “runner’s high”. The even better news is that even after the chemicals dissipate from our bodies, we still have a long term sense of well-being that can last for several months.

 The Master has no possessions. The more he does for others, the happier he is. The more he gives to others, the wealthier he is.”   Lao Tzu

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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.

4 Fingers with Smiley Faces

4 Steps to Find Happiness and Success

Step 1 – Clarify your destination – Define Success for you. It is important that it is your definition and not one you borrowed from your parents or society. What does success look like? What are the symbols and feelings? Who are the people you have helped or connected with? Write down your definition of success.

Step 2 – Prioritize 3 Steps Necessary to Reach Your Destination – What are the 3 most important steps you need to take reach success as you have defined it? Write them down and review them and your definition of success every morning.

Step 3 – Create Happiness – You can create a life filled with moments of happiness. Recognize them and appreciate them. You are surrounded by opportunities for happiness, reach out and grab them.

a) Identify the Moments –Pause and think about what you have to be happy about. Focus on what is good in your life. Remember the best moments from the day before, what you have to be grateful for, and why today will be a good day.
b) Take Control – don’t be a victim of the driver that cut you off or the rude person at the supermarket. You choose how you will react to the life’s challenges. You can smile and ignore them or let them determine your mood for the rest of the day.
c) Nurture Positive Relationships – Positive relationships fulfill us and highly influence our happiness. Give your heart and soul to these relationships and expect nothing in return. Our happiness comes from what we give to relationships not from what we get.

Step 4 – Take Daily Action – Every day work on at least one of the steps that will lead to your definition of success. Every day take time to seize a moment of happiness.

Happiness and Success happen daily, not eventually. Work on them each day and you will build a happy and successful life.

 

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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 #18 – Hug

Build Happier Relationships with Hugs

In our personal relationships, hugs help us feel closer, build trust, and improve communication with the other person. 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 between moms and their newborn babies and in people with positive romantic relationships. Hugging also increases serotonin levels, which helps us feel happier and more relaxed. Hugs help improve the immune system and the production of white blood cells and help us release tension.

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. Hugs open us up when we are feeling constrained and up tight. It gives us permission to start a dialogue about what is bothering us and opens up channels of communication.

Try to give 8 hugs per day to feel happier and more connected.

 

 

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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.

 

Positive Company Culture Reduces Workplace Stress

Guest Blog from Michael Rose author of ROE Powers ROI

There are so many stresses when it comes to work: co-workers, bosses, salary, and even commute. How can employers take some of the burden off of their employees and limit some of the common stresses? Workplace culture is the key. The culture of an organization is the “why” of the organization, and if the culture is a positive one, many workplace stresses are minimized or can even disappear.

Below are some workplace thoughts for employers to keep in mind:

Provide purpose in the workplace: Let all of your employees know exactly what they mean to your company, and how they provide value to you. If employees not only like the work culture, but know where they fit in that culture and how to add to the overall culture, employees will look forward to work and feel less stress.

Give your employees a voice: Put your leaders in direct contact with the front line of your business, and encourage them to do more listening and less talking. Doing so will allow them to understand all of the inter-workings of your company, and will empower your workers to weigh in on out-dated processes and what isn’t working.

Hire the right people: There are always those people who hate where they are and are just an overall negative influence on fellow employees. Make sure you avoid hiring these people in the first place. Take the time to find the right people to fill the roles you need. Find employees that have personal values that align with your company values. Individuals like this will be a good fit, and not find it difficult to live out and contribute to your company’s purpose.

Invest in your employees’ development: Don’t just micromanage your employees, set up mentorships and micromentor. Doing so will show your investment in your employees, give you a level of control in how their skills are developed, and will empower your employees to better do their jobs with confidence.

 

Michael Rose is the Founder & CEO of Mojo Media Labs (http://mojomedialabs.com), an inbound marketingagency in Las Colinas, TX. Michael is also a speaker and author. His book; ROE® Powers ROI (http://rmichaelrose.com/roe-why-does-it-matter/buy-the-book/) – The ultimate Way to think and communicate for ridiculous results is centered around professional development and employee engagement.

Practice Autonomy

How to be Happier and Feel in Control of Your Life

Many of us feel like life is a whirlwind that is filled with a constant stream of activities and that we are trapped with a never ending “To do” list that is thrust upon us by other people and life in general. We are overwhelmed by our lack of control and the feeling that this is the life we are stuck with.

The solution is to re-establish our autonomy. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology defines autonomy as the feeling that your life, its activities and habits are self-chosen and self-endorsed. In other words having autonomy means you feel like you have control of your life.

Having a strong sense of controlling ones life is a more dependable predictor of positive feelings of well-being than any of the objective conditions of life we have considered…” Angus Campbell

 According to research done at the University of Michigan, the 15% of Americans who felt in control of their lives also had extraordinarily positive feelings of happiness.

Autonomy at its core is the freedom to make choices. If you have a choice, you are in control. To cultivate a feeling of autonomy, then, requires you to focus on the choices you have instead of the choices you don’t have. What is within your control vs. what is not within your control?

In the 1970s, EllenLanger and Judith Rodin did a study with seniors in a Senior Care Center. One floor was given autonomy–the seniors on that floor could choose when and where they received visitors and what movies they’d watch. They were also each given a houseplant, which they could place anywhere and care for in any manner they chose. Seniors on the floor below were given plants, but weren’t allowed to make any of other choices, including how to care for the plants. Unsurprisingly, the seniors with choices were overall happier and healthier. What is surprising and very interesting is that the group with autonomy lived 50% longer on average. Feeling like you have control over your life, like you get to make decisions that will have an impact on your life, can help you be healthier, feel happier, and possibly even live longer.

Studies with students have found that they get higher grades, more rigorously pursue their preferred careers, and are happier if they feel they are in control of their own lives. Workers are also happier at work and at home, are less stressed out, and stay in their jobs longer when they feel they have autonomy.

Focusing on what we can control and the decisions we can make can help us re-claim some of those feelings of autonomy. Feelings of autonomy arise out of clearly differentiating between what we can control and what other people control. We change what we can, and accept what we cannot change.

Autonomy also plays a big role in our jobs and careers. In most cases, losing a job feels much worse than quitting a job. If you are unhappy with your job, it’s probably related to being required to do things you would choose not to do if you had the autonomy to make those decisions. Lepper and Greene studied what they called the“Sawyer Effect”with pre-school children. The Sawyer Effect is based on a scene in Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer, in which young Tom cleverly made the chore of painting a fence sound so interesting that his friends volunteered to paint the fence for him. In studying the Sawyer Effect, Lepper and Greene found that pre-school children who were offered a reward for drawing actually liked drawing and painting less when they were presented with future opportunities to do so. Getting the reward turned their intrinsic motivation into an extrinsic motivation. It took away their feeling of autonomy, because they were no longer choosing to paint for fun. By being rewarded they were no longer controlling their choices, and their motivation declined. We are more motivated by an ability to choose then by extrinsic rewards. In our jobs we want to focus on the outcomes or results rather than being told how to do something. Most of us want to understand why we are doing something and how it fits into the big picture, rather than simply being given a task with no additional information. We want our leaders to provide a vision of where to go, but we want to decide how we will get there.

Now that we understand how Autonomy connects to happiness, here are a few activities to help you gain a feeling of autonomy.

Activity

  1.  Build an autonomy list – What things in your life do you get to choose?
  2. Paint your calendar green – color all times on your calendar where you have some form of autonomy green.
  3. Choose what gets done – Pick three small things you can accomplish today.

Accomplishment of even the smallest things will help you feel in control and happier about yourself.

 

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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 Smile More

Happiness Hack #17 Smile More

Build Your Happiness by Smiling More

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.” Victor Borge

Smiles are viral. When you smile, other people catch it and they spread it to more people. We instinctually mimic another person’s smile to help us determine if their smile is authentic. Smiling is like our internal radar. We send out a smile and they send a smile back. We mimic that smile and automatically interpret the results. The results enable us to intuitively know whether this person is friend or foe and what kind of mood they are in. Research also has shown that by measuring the smiles of people in their yearbook photos, scientists could predict how long-lasting and fulfilling their lives would be, how they would score on measures of well-being, and how inspiring they would be to others.

Faking a smile still makes us happy. Using our smile muscles sends positive messages to the emotional centers in the brain. So by forcing our faces to smile, we can activate the areas of our brain that make us feel better. In other words, we don’t just smile as a result of being happy; smiling actually makes us happier. Smiling also increases mood-enhancing hormones like endorphins, and decreases stress-inducing hormones like cortisol, so you become healthier as well as happier.

Most importantly, smiling makes you more attractive to other people. So smile. And if you can’t smile, fake it until you can.

 

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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.

 

How to Deal with a Bad Boss

We all have bad bosses at some point in our career. For many of us, it may be for as much as 50% or more of our working lives. Successful people find ways to deal with, learn from, and become friends their supervisors, even the bad ones. What can you do to be happy and successful even if you have a bad boss?

1. Recognize they are human. Believe it or not, they were not put on this earth just to make our lives miserable. Bosses are people and they have faults just like we do. They also have fears and insecurities, as well as hopes and dreams. What are they scared of or worried about that is driving their behaviors? Are they worried you are not going to get the job done, that you won’t do it right or that you will make them look bad? How can you allay some of those fears? How can you provide them with the confidence that you will deliver and you will help them look good for their boss? How can you be more understanding and helpful with their challenges?
2. Get to know them as a person, not just a boss. Go to lunch or schedule time on your calendars to get to know each other; ask about their families, careers, hobbies, and lives in general. What is important to them? What do you have in common? The more ways you can connect, the better you will understand them and the easier it will become to work with them.
3. Eliminate Expectations. One common challenge with supervisor/employee relationships is that we expect our bosses to do or be certain things. For example we expect them to be leaders, make good decisions, recognize us for our efforts, explain how they want things done, and to clearly communicate their expectations. Unfortunately our bosses are similar to us and have not been trained or prepared to meet these expectations. Most supervisors are promoted because they are good at their job rather than because they would make good bosses. So they don’t understand our expectations or know how to deliver on them.

Activity: Managing Our Expectations of Our Bosses
1) Write at the top of blank sheet of paper, “I expect my boss to: “
2) Then make a list of your expectations.
3) Put a star next to the most important expectations.
4) Now cross out “I expect my boss to: “ and write in “I would be grateful if my boss were to:” Now you have a list of what you will appreciate if it happens rather than what you will be angry about when it doesn’t happen.

5) For the expectations you starred, sit down and talk to your boss. Courteously ask them if they can help in those areas. Be ready to discuss how they can help.

You can spend your time appreciating the good things that your boss does or being angry about unmet expectations. The first is productive and helpful; the second is a waste of your time and energy.
4. Don’t be the victim. Don’t let one person, even if they are your supervisor, ruin your day. No matter what they do, you get to choose how you react to them. You can’t control your supervisor. People are going to act the way they act. You can be annoyed, angry, and rebellious, or you can get your work done and move on to things that make you happy. You can even show empathy and respect. If your supervisor gets angry, that is something you can’t control. It is his or her failure, not yours. Find the truth behind the anger; there is always something to learn there. But don’t absorb the anger as your fault, or even something you are going to try to control or avoid. Let it be your supervisor’s problem, which it is. Do the best you can to control what you can control, and let go of the things you can’t control.
5. Put yourself in their shoes. Why are they asking you to do certain things? What types of stresses and challenges are they under? What kind of pressure are they getting from their boss? What would you expect from your position if you were the boss? Deliver for them at the same level you would expect an employee to deliver for you.
6. You can’t change them. Being actively subversive so they will learn a lesson or hoping their boss or a training class will cause them to change and act differently is futile and will only lead to more frustration and disappointment on your part. Accept them for who they are, with all their flaws and challenges. Focus on appreciating what is good about them rather than trying to change what you judge as bad.
7. Recognize your autonomy. You can always quit your job or find some other role within the company. In most situations, you are better off learning how to adapt to a bad boss rather than running away from the situation. At the very least you can learn how you would do things differently. If you are choosing to stay, then make the best of it.

How we choose to relate to our bosses can have a significant impact on our happiness and success. We can spend our time ruminating about our “bad boss” and letting them wreak havoc on our emotions, or we can choose to be happy and successful no matter what the situation. Take control of your life. Find ways to have a positive relationship with your supervisor, no matter what kind of boss they are.

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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.

Smash Pessimistic thoughts

Happiness Hack #16 Optimism

Practice Optimism to Become Happier

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston Churchill

Optimism changes the way we look at and remember our interactions in life. We put a more positive spin on our events and activities. By changing how we see and think about future outcomes, we influence those outcomes for the better. We work harder to keep outcomes in line with our optimistic expectations.

Numerous research studies have confirmed the benefits of optimism which include better health, longer lives, faster recovery from illness, and even healthier babies.

Some tips for creating optimism in your life:

  1. Visualize Your Best Possible Self – Visualize a future for yourself in which everything has turned out the way you want it.
  2. Find a pessimistic thought and smash it – Keep a small rock or some other touchstone in your pocket or nearby. Whenever you recognize a pessimistic thought, visualize yourself smashing it with the rock and replacing it with a more optimistic thought.
  3. Put a quarter in a cup – put a coffee cup on your dresser or desk. Every time you consciously replace a pessimistic thought with an optimistic thought, put a quarter in the cup. When the cup is full, you can use the change to buy yourself a treat. An empty cup reminds you to keep finding ways to choose optimistic thoughts.

 

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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.

Believe Lighthouse

Believe to Achieve

(photo courtesy of Colleen Kilpatrick)

It has been proven that if you don’t believe you will not succeed.  How can you achieve something if you don’t believe you can?

Our beliefs are what we decide we want to think is true – based on our own personal experiences and information we have learned through our lives.  It is the only common factor in determining your ability to achieve something.  If you don’t believe you are capable of achieving, then, you will not achieve.  However, if you believe in yourself, you will likely endure in finding a way to succeed.  “Unbelief” manifests itself in the same way – if you have a thought, but believe it will not occur, then forces will drive your thoughts and emotions to be true – it will not occur.

Your power is very forceful and real.

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” –  Henry Ford

While Shawn Achor was specifically talking about happiness in his book, The Happiness Advantage, he explains that the brain scans for positive or negative meanings from the input it receives.  Problems arise when you program your brain to scan for the negative (disbelief) before positive (belief).  By scanning for the negative first, we ultimately shut down opportunities to succeed because we are masking our ability to see positively.  We need to program our brains to look for the positives first and believe.

While there is relevance in the “law of attraction” (think about something and you will attract like things), I am not saying that by simply thinking of things, they will automatically appear.  That is more “wishing” than believing.  Believing is having the confidence that you will be able to do what’s necessary to achieve your goal.  You will put the steps in place to be successful.  Begin believing in yourself and see the power it unleashes.  Doors will open because you are “looking” for them to open.  If you are negative with a closed mind, you may not recognize the opportunities in front of you.

Here are a few examples of what you can do to see things more positively:

  • Positive is a choice – being positive is a choice and you can control how you approach your thoughts.  You know when you are thinking negatively.  If you recognize your thoughts as negative, simply shift them to being more positive.
  • Positive Affirmations – repeat positive statements of your desired outcomes.  This repetition will build positive momentum in your subconscious thinking and open your mind up to success and positive thinking.
  • Visualization – like affirmations, visualizing yourself being successful will cause you to be more positive.  Visualize yourself succeeding – experience every moment and all of the senses.  The more realistic your visualization, the more powerful it will be.
  • Eliminate negative influences.  External factors have a significant impact on our thoughts.  You need to recognize the negative influences in your life and replace them with positive.  Generally these negative influences are people at work, friends and even family.  While not always easy, you need to minimize interaction with these toxic influences and replace them with supportive and positive influences.
  • Share Positivity – the true impact of becoming positive is your ability to share being positive with others.  Like many things in life, being positive is contagious – make an effort to smile at someone else, share a compliment, reinforce that someone has done a great job.  Bottom line, Be Good to People.

The outcomes of our activities will greatly depend on how we look them.  Take time to understand your thoughts and guide them toward the positive.

 

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