Be Happy First
“Happy people don’t have the best of everything they make the best of everything.”
There is a happiness trap out there that becomes so easy to fall into. This trap will drain your emotional energy, remove you from the present moment, and put you on auto-pilot while the beauty of this life passes you by.
This trap is the “I’ll be happy when” trap. I’ll be happy……
When I make more money
When I fall in love
When I get promoted
When I lose the weight
When I move out of this town
When I find my purpose
Now, don’t get me wrong, these things can definitely boost your happiness, and positive events are an awesome part of life. But please tattoo this thought into your heart and mind –
Your happiness should never be derived from a future event.
Now here’s the big secret – If you focus on being happy first, you will actually achieve all the things on your “I’ll be happy when” list even faster.
See, when we are happy, we are better employees, employers, husbands, fathers, mothers, etc. If we are happy first, we stand a better chance of falling in love. If we are happy first we will increase our self-esteem and have a better chance of losing weight. If we are happy first we will be given more opportunities to make more money because people like to do business with happy people. If we are happy first we will take more action which will ultimately help us in finding our purpose.
Start putting your happiness first. Start realizing that you shouldn’t extract your happiness from your circumstances, you should bring your happiness to your circumstances.
If you constantly rely on future events for your happiness, guess what will happen when you reach that future event? You will just set a new future event. This is why I call it a happiness trap.
I don’t live in the clouds, of course it’s easier to be happy when things are going great, rather than when things suck. I get that. But we want to make sure that our experiences are making us happier, not relying on our experiences just to make us happy. There is a big difference there!
We need to cultivate our happiness within and then bring that happiness to every circumstance and experience that this amazing life throws at us.
Be happy first!
Make today an awesome day!
“The starting point of all achievement is desire.” – Napoleon Hill
This is a story about my son Carter. Wait, wait, before you close the page and think to yourself “doesn’t this guy know that stories about his kids aren’t really that interesting, except to him?” Yes I know that. This story is more about you and me though!
I was reading some of my past journaling about my kids and a funny story stuck with me.
When my son Carter had just turned two he was in the phase of wanting to show his independence and do things by himself. He would say “My Turn” which basically meant don’t help me.
On this particular day, he was making his way up our steps one step at a time. I was standing next to him ready to catch him before he fell. Yes, I was being over-protective, but if he would have fallen, my wife would have made me sleep on the roof. And it was winter. Just kidding, but not really.
He was at the second to top step and he slightly stumbled, which considering it was 20 degrees outside, made me quickly grab him. He looked at me as if I broke his little heart and said “Daddy Noooo! It’s my turn.”
He went all the way down the steps holding my hand and then turned around as soon as he reached the bottom. With determination in his eyes, he let go of my hand and began climbing up again. I wouldn’t dare touch him this time as he was displaying this resolve to win. He wanted to climb the steps without my help, and that’s what Brother bear was going to do.
Needless to say, I was extremely proud of him. He was so determined to reach his goal. That handsome little guy was not going to be denied.
Even when he was so close to the finish line, and life (in this case Daddy) messed up his plan and sent him all the back to the beginning, he still marched on and completed his goal.
It’s My Turn
As adults don’t we sometimes lose this ability to fight for what we want?
Don’t we sometimes give up too easily after we hit a few obstacles?
I’ve certainly accomplished some major goals in my life, and these goals were only achieved by never giving up. I am deeply proud of myself and my accomplishments, but there are still many dreams of mine that I know I haven’t given the required effort needed. There are certain goals that I am just not fighting hard enough to reach. Inspired by my son, I need to declare “It’s My Turn” and start doing whatever it takes.
So I ask you when was the last time you looked at yourself and said, “It’s My Turn”?
When was the last time you decided that you were going to achieve a goal no matter what? Or the last time you decided you were going to overcome any obstacle, and not be denied?
When was the last time you fought with all of your might for something you wanted?
These are all questions I have been deconstructing lately, and I’m offering them to you with great respect for your journey, as tools to help you live a life by design.
The difference between those that achieve their dreams and those that only have dreams, is a true desire.
Look deeply into what you want to achieve in life, and then decide with a burning desire that “IT’S MY TURN!”
Remember, motivation or knowledge doesn’t do anything unless you take action.
Once you decide on the goal that you will achieve no matter what, 5 Ways to keep your New Year’s Resolutions, is a great tool to help you reach that goal.
Make it an awesome day,
4 Reminders for Awesome Parenting
“Every day, everywhere, our children spread their dreams under our feet. And we should tread softly.” – Ken Robinson
Ok, this is a post about parenting which can be a touchy subject. First of all, I would never tell someone how to parent. This isn’t parenting advice, it’s a way of thinking that can be used in parenting. It’s not about the kid’s behavior, discipline, or how to react when your child does something that doesn’t even seem possible. I wrote this as a reminder for myself, and I’m excited to share it with you. Parenting is tough, and I am far from perfect, but these 4 reminders sure have helped me on my parenting journey.
Don’t emotionally attach to a vision
My wife is an amazing Mom. She understands this concept, and she reminds me of it often. See, as parents we often times have a vision of what an event or situation is going to look like. We spend a month planning their birthday party and we envision how it’s going to go and how amazing it is going to be. Then the big day comes, and the birthday girl is cranky, she doesn’t like the outfit you picked out for her, she thinks the cake tastes yucky, and the decorations keep falling down because Dad bought the cheap tape.
With kids, things almost never go as planned.
The kids just want to have fun. They don’t really care how much time you put into it because time doesn’t really mean much to them. They don’t really care that you spent x amount of dollars on this party or on this vacation because money doesn’t really much to them either.
As parents, expecting a day to go a certain way can lead to disaster. Of course, kids needs structure in their lives, but as parents, we also need to be able to go with the flow.
Don’t emotionally attach to a vision of how things should go, instead, savor the present moment.
By emotionally attaching to a vision we will almost certainly be disappointed in some way because things never go as planned. Just embrace the present moment, provide a little structure, and savor all the surprises and randomness that comes with being a parent.
Our spoken words become their inner voice.
As parents, we generally understand this, especially when it comes to keeping them safe. If we drill into their little minds enough times to “look both ways before crossing the street” or “don’t touch the stove it’s hot” or in the case of my son “don’t dive head first off the couch” eventually our voice will be heard without us being around and they will make the right decision. At least, that’s the goal.
But we often neglect this concept when it comes to things like their creativity, their curiosity, or their self-esteem.
The words we say to our children as they are learning, as they are attempting new things, or as they are expanding their comfort zone, have huge impacts. The words we say without thinking will become the voice in their little heads next time they attempt something. Mindset by Carol Dweck is an amazing book to learn more about this. Mindset can be found in the Book Recommendations tab
Our world is big, theirs is small.
This advice seems to apply more to younger kids (I have a 5 and 2-year-old), but I think there is value in it for many ages.
Our worlds are big. See, every day we have a million thoughts running through our heads about how to pay the bills, how to reach our goals, how to deal with that coworker that always seems to say the wrong thing, how to stop justifying eating so many warm cookies because it’s cold outside, and so on.
Our children’s worlds are very small.
I was running late for work one day and my daughter asked me to play Barbie with her. I told her I loved her but that I had to go to work, and that I would play with her when I got home.
When I came home that night after a crazy day at work, my daughter hugged me and quickly asked me if I was ready. She had Barbie dolls in hand, and it still took me a minute before I even realized what she was asking. She took something I said in passing and she held on to it all day long.
In our big world, seemingly inconsequential interactions with our kids can easily be pushed down into the “no big deal” category of our own mind. But in their tiny world, our conversations have a huge impact.
Parenting 101 teaches us to have empathy with our children. A big part of doing that is trying to understand their perspective and realizing that their world is so small.
The test comes before the lesson
One of the few universal truths in the world is that parenting is hard. It’s beautiful and fulfilling, but it’s also full of firsts and at times, those firsts are hard. Remember, while your newborn grows into a toddler, then a child, tween, teen, and on into adulthood – every first for that child is also a first for you as a parent to that child.
It’s hard because it’s new! There isn’t a true dress rehearsal for parenting. Academically, we study material and then we are tested on what we learned. In parenting the test comes out of nowhere, and we learn the lesson in hindsight (most of life works this way).
Babysitting, being an Aunt or Uncle, having pets, these are all great preparation for parenting, but nothing truly prepares you for 3 a.m. diaper changes, the sounds of crying when you are incredibly sleep deprived, your shirt becoming a paper towel to dirty hands and snotty noses, the first day of school, their first date, the fear of injury as you watch them play sports, and so on.
We all experience these emotions in some way, but it’s just different when it’s your own child.
Understanding that the test comes before the lesson gives us permission as parents to stop trying to be perfect all the time, and to forgive ourselves for not always knowing what to do. It’s ok to feel overwhelmed and confused at times. You are taking a test without the study material!
Having said all this, I still feel the most important advice any parent can receive is to enjoy every second of it.
I’m not a perfect Dad, far from it. This article is a reminder for me as much as it is for you. I share this article with humility, respect, and a deep love and appreciation for all the parents out there trying to be the best they can be.
Make it a great day,
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Sources used for this post: Mindset by Carol Dweck. More information on Mindset by Carol Dweck can be found on the Book Recommendations tab.