TEACHING HAPPINESS

#happiness #TeachingHappiness #schools
Most of us think of happiness as a feeling.
Either we are happy, or we are not.
In Delhi, India, children have a class on happiness in school.
It appears the public schools in Delhi are experimenting with such a class, since schools in India are so obsessed with test scores that the obsession may be stressing the students.
Vidhi Doshi wrote about this in an article in The Washington Post. It was also published July 29, 2018, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
And, the article says, the classes have paid off. Delhi’s public schools have outperformed the private schools on standardized test in recent years.
“We should work happily,” the article quotes Aayush Jha, 11, who took his first happiness class. “When you work sadly, your work will not be good,” he said.
But, after nearly three decades of rapid industrialization in India, some states in the country made exams easier and graded them leniently to bring up the scores. Some students got through high school without being able to read or write, the article says.
So now, experts in India are asking whether the focus on employability has stifled creativity and stymied social progress, the article says.
So, how do the classes work? Some 10,000 Delhi students spend the first half-hour of each day without opening a book, learning instead through inspirational stories and activities, as well as meditation exercises, the article says.
It’s kind of like recess, indoors, to start the day.
During this period, the students are encouraged to think about what makes them happy.
So, if your job, or school, stresses you out, start the day by thinking about what makes you happy.
Not just, say, ice cream, or cake. Instead, think about what you want out of your life that you don’t currently have. It may inspire you to do something different or, at the very least, allow you to go to work inspired to do something great. Then, you may be able to have what you want, eventually.
In realistic terms, however, many jobs will not provide people with what they want out of life. The jobs either don’t pay enough, or occupy too much of our time – or both.
If you have a really big dream, and your situation isn’t getting you closer to achieving that dream, it may be time to look at something else.
Fortunately, there are a number of vehicles out there that, starting with a small, part-time effort, could give you what you need to fulfill that dream. To check out one of the best such vehicles, message me.
As we’ve learned in the U.S., focusing an education system on test scores may not be the best way to educate children. We certainly want our children to achieve as much as they can academically, but kids need time to be kids.
They also need to learn the value of skills that are not easily measured – happiness, friendliness, working as part of a team, getting along well with others etc. They can be just as important to one’s career as math, science, social studies and language.
Perhaps U.S. children don’t need to take a class in these “soft” skills, but they should learn them as part of their overall education.
Chronic unhappiness not only leads to other mental and physical problems, it can reduce productivity.
We’ve been taught to work smarter, rather than harder. We should all learn to work happy, live happy. We may have to work harder to create that happiness.
Peter

DON’T JUST FIND HAPPINESS; CREATE IT!

#happiness #CreateHappiness #optimism
Happiness doesn’t just happen.
It is created.
Sometimes, as author Ellen Petry Leanse tells us, we have to hack our brains to create happiness.
She discusses the topic in her book, “The Happiness Hack.”
She writes that we have to overcome distractions, create real connections, find more calm and master new habits.
Though technology has many benefits, it also creates many distractions, she writes.
It’s been said that some people aren’t happy unless they are miserable.
Workplaces are filled with people who constantly complain, and try to drag happy people into their pity pots.
There’s more gloom and doom out there than most people can stand. Some take vacations from social media to get a break from it.
Part of being happy is being optimistic. It’s also appreciating the good we all have in our lives.
Certainly, circumstances will knock us off course. We may experience illness, death of someone close to us, economic hardship etc. But we have to fight to overcome circumstances and regain our happiness.
We all can think of things we would like to have to enhance our happiness. Yet, not having those things immediately should not deter us from appreciating the good things we already have.
Perhaps our circumstances are such that we believe we are not where we think we should be. If your economic circumstances are that way, and if you are willing to look at a different path, message me.
Leanse uses in her book a quote from an unknown source that says, “ When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Such wisdom is rare among grade-school pupils. Yet the idea is spot on.
We all have different definitions of happiness. Some can find happiness no matter the situation. Others can find despair even when their lives are quite good.
No matter what makes you happy, look for it. Find it. Perhaps you don’t know what will make you happy. That’s no reason not to look for it.
Don’t just look for it. Create it. Look at all the positives around you. Don’t let the negatives, or negative people, affect you.
If you have a job, find things about that job, no matter what they are, that you like about it. Focus on those things. Certainly, there are tasks we must do that don’t create happiness, but one can push through those to focus on what makes us happy.
The distractions will come, as Leanse points out. But don’t let those distractions taint your overall happiness. Happiness is not just there for the taking, it’s there for the creating.
Peter

MONEY CAN BUY HAPPINESS: REALLY?

#MoneyCanBuyHappiness #time #money
“If you were given $40 on the condition that you had to spend it on something that would make you really happy, what would you do with the money?”
So asks Jenna Gallegos, who discussed time and money in an article in The Washington Post. The article also was published July 30, 2017, in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The answer to the above question would be different for just about everyone. Some would buy a piece of their favorite food or beverage. Some would buy that shiny, new object they’ve had their eyes on. Some wise folk might decide to put it in the bank, postponing their happiness for another few years.
Gallegos quotes a study published in the journal PNAS, saying people who buy time by paying someone to complete a household task are more satisfied with life.
We all have a to-do list that includes tasks that someone else can do better and faster than we. If it’s going to take you several days to, say, paint a room, but a professional painter can come in and knock out that job in a few hours, would that be worth it to you?
OK, some folks love to paint, garden, mow the lawn or do household and auto repairs themselves. For many of us, though, those are drudge tasks, or tasks we cannot accomplish ourselves competently. For some people, the “challenge” of doing something themselves rather than paying someone else to do it allows them to brag about it to friends and family.
Gallegos might ask: are those people in that latter category really happy? Across all surveys, Gallegos writes, life satisfaction was typically higher when people spent money to save their time – regardless of their household income, hours worked (at their regular job) per week, marital status and number of children living at home. (Disclaimer: very few with extremely low incomes were surveyed, Gallegos points out).
The point here is that time is money. Most leadership and motivational experts say you should devote the largest percentage of your (work) time to the things YOU do best. The rest, if possible, should be delegated. There’s a trap here, too. Those same experts might also advise that you not ask anyone who works for you, or with you, to do anything you would not do, talking about those menial, yet necessary tasks to get the job done.
So, for the sake of argument, we won’t focus on those work-related things. We’ll focus on tasks you must do in your time outside of work.
Gallegos cites another study, in which 60 working adults in Vancouver were given $40 on each of two consecutive weekends. They were told to spend that money on a material purchase one weekend, and a time-saving purpose another. The researchers found the time-saving purchases were accompanied by an increased positive effect, and less time stress, Gallegos writes.
Yet in another Vancouver study group of 98 working adults, they were asked how they would spend $40 if it were given to them. Only 2% said they would buy more time, Gallegos writes.
In short, time is indeed money and using your money to buy more time for you to do things you enjoy creates happiness. There are many folks out there who have a combination of not enough money and not enough time to enjoy life. If that description fits you, and you are willing to check out something outstanding that will solve your money/time problems, message me.
Understand that time can’t be replaced. You should be spending the bulk of your time doing things YOU do best, if you can. You should maximize your leisure time doing things that please you the most. It will make you happier.
Money CAN buy happiness, if you use it to purchase time.
Peter

BE A HAPPY, OPTIMISTIC PROBLEM SOLVER

What qualities does a leader have?
He or she is happy, optimistic and a problem solver.
So says Dr. Dale Henry, a Tennessee-based educator, trainer and speaker, and owner of Your Best Unlimited training academy.
Henry’s speech, given at the Leadership Cumberland graduation ceremonies in Crossville, Tenn., Aug. 23, 2016, was titled, “Look Before You LEAP – For the Landing Spot.”
Henry says that despite those desired qualities in a leader, we all tend to be whiners.
When we have difficult decisions to make, our first question tends to be,”Whose Fault Is This?” Who is to blame for the difficult circumstances we are in.
Casting blame takes valuable energy away from solving problems.

We tend to gravitate toward, “the world is going to hell in a handbasket,” instead of “the future looks very bright.”
Let’s take Henry’s three characteristics and break them down.
First, being happy is something that doesn’t always come naturally. Often, we get thrown curve balls in life and, when we get enough curve balls thrown at us, we tend to lose our happiness. Leaders tend to look beyond circumstances toward what’s good in their lives, and focus on that. So, happiness is not always natural. Sometimes, we have to work on being happy.
Optimism has much the same quality as happiness. If one watches the TV news, reads newspapers etc., one finds optimism stealers galore.
Whether it’s a natural disaster, humans behaving badly or overzealous actions on behalf of one’s beliefs, it’s not easy to be optimistic about the future.
Yet, there is so much good going on unnoticed. Amid disaster, there are people giving their time, talent and treasure to help. Amid criminal acts, there are people bringing those responsible to justice. Amid overzealous actions, there are calm and reasoned voices attempting to deal with the problem.
As individuals, we must be leaders. We must see what is good in our lives and focus on that.
Solving problems can be much more difficult than casting blame.
When a tough decision is before us, we must remain calm, rational and curb whatever emotion we bring to the problem. We must take each solution and weigh all aspects. We must look for the potential good in any bad situation.
Our natural tendency is to whine We must recognize that tendency and overcome it by dealing with what’s next, instead of what was. We like to wish we could go back to what was, but when we can’t, we must realize that our only option is to move on. We should do so with the utmost happiness and optimism.
If you are a happy, optimistic problem solver, or believe you can become one, and are looking for action you can take to better your life, message me.
You can perhaps become a person who will not only have done that, but also have helped others do the same.
As has been often said, the windshield has a better view than the rear-view mirror. Continue to look forward, knowing you can make YOU better. If you focus on making you better, others will see it and follow you. That will make your community, country and the world better.

Peter

HOW TO BE A HAPPY RETIREE

#retirement #happiness # StayPositive
Happiness in retirement may not entirely be based on how much money one saves for that purpose.
Many other things go into it, according to Wes Moss, chief investment strategist for the Atlanta-based Capital Investment Advisors, host of the “Money Matters” show on WSB radio in Atlanta and personal finance columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
He discussed his eight rules for a happy retirement in his newspaper column published June 7, 2016.
His eight rules include: 1) Skip the BMW. Own a car that is comfortable, reliable and affordable. 2) Stay the course on investments. Don’t chase the next “hot stock.” 3) Give back. Find a cause you care about and contribute your time, talent and money. 4) Don’t move or renovate. Make sure you are happy with your home before you stop working. 5) Buy the big stuff before you retire. When you spend your money is just as important as how much you spend. 6) Start now. He writes that 44 percent of unhappy retirees in Moss’ study group were dissatisfied with how much retirement planning they’d done. 7) Know your rich ratio – the amount of money you have in relation to what you need. Or, monthly income divided by monthly expenses. 8) Stay positive. People probably won’t retire when they want to because they don’t believe they can, he says.
It’s certainly important to save for retirement, starting at the youngest age possible. Some in previous generations did not begin saving until their children were adults.
With the job situation very fluid today, one should not expect to work for as long as he or she wants. People are very often retired early not by their own choosing. If you’ve developed good saving and investing habits as a young person, you need not fear this problem.
Also, one should always have a Plan B, in case a good job goes away prematurely. It’s difficult to be a happy retiree when one is forced into the situation. One Plan B might be to turn a hobby into an income-producing activity. Another might be extensive, careful investing throughout your life.
There are other Plan Bs that allow people to make additional income without the need for a traditional W-2 job. For one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau
As Moss writes, retirement is more than just sitting in a chair resting from years of labor.
It’s meant to be an enjoyable part of your life. You can certainly do things you love to do, but many experts say that it’s best to have a purpose in life, no matter what your age. That’s probably where Moss’ “give back” rule comes in.
“The happiest retirees envisioned a future and worked consistently toward that future with optimism – secure in the knowledge that while the economy and stock market can be a crazy ride, the long-term trend has been decisively positive,” Moss writes.
If you are young, think about when you might want to stop working, and prepare for that time. Set a goal. Follow Moss’ advice and don’t let fear and pessimism kill your dreams. Enjoy your young life, but also prepare for a good life as you get older.
Always have in the back of your mind that one day, the good job you have might disappear. If it doesn’t, you will have lucked out. If it does, the well-prepared person will go forth knowing he’s done his best to be happy in the face of an unexpected turn.
We can’t control our circumstances, but we can do what we can to react positively when things don’t go as we would want.

Peter

CONTENTMENT VS. HAPPINESS: GO FROM FORMER TO LATTER

#happiness #contentment #HappinessIsCreated
Most of us would probably say we are happy with the way things are for us.
Some, of course, would say they live one crisis after another. These folks may never see happiness, perhaps because they don’t pursue it. They wait for it to come to them.
But let’s talk about the former group.
Pose this question to yourself: are you HAPPY with the way things are for you, or are you CONTENT with the way things are for you?
Though it’s truly a blessing to be alive, let’s not talk about those who are just happy to be standing upright, or those happy to be on the right side of the dirt.
Let’s focus on those who say they are happy with their lives as a whole. If you are HAPPY with your life, you ALWAYS wear a smile. You have no worries about anything. The sky is never falling. Tomorrow will always be better than today.
If you don’t look at life this way, but feel that, when you balance your ups and downs, that life is OK, you are merely content. If you say to yourself, “I’d really like that, but I’ll settle for this,” you are merely content. If you look forward to your good days, but have occasional bad days, you are merely content.
So let’s take this premise a step further. Once you determine whether you are HAPPY, rather than merely CONTENT, what do you do next if you discover that what you thought was happiness was just contentment?
Chances are there are steps you can take to change your status. It’s not just a mood change, or putting on a façade of happiness. It’s a life change.
Ask yourself whether you are governed by your circumstances, or whether you are governing your circumstances. If it’s the former, what do you do to change to the latter?
To borrow from the song Dusty Springfield made famous, wishing, hoping and praying alone aren’t going to give you what you want.
You have to determine what you want that will make you truly happy. You certainly can live with contentment for a time, but you have to really aim toward happiness. Once you aim toward it, you have to pursue it relentlessly and continuously. That, for some, is the hard part.
You see, contentment may be good enough once some of us realize what it takes to achieve true happiness.
For others, they have the determination to achieve happiness, but need the vehicle that will get them there. If you are one of those, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It’s one of many, and indeed one of the best, vehicles for those who not only know what they want to go from content to happy, but also want to take others on the same journey.
Going from content to happy may not always be easy. However, for some, it could be a simple adjustment in the way one leads a life or uses his time.
For those happy to be content, perhaps now, at least, you may understand the difference between contentment and happiness.
For those who want true happiness, find out what that is for you and do what you need to do. It seems simple, but, for some, it’s very hard.
Remember: happiness is not given. It is created.
Peter

WANT IT FIRST, THEN DO WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

“The difference between a successful person and others is not the lack of strength, not the lack of knowledge, but, rather, the lack of will.
Vince Lombardi
#motivation #desire #happiness
You’ve heard lots of talk about discipline.
What you don’t always hear about is the link between desire and discipline.
Some people know exactly what they want from life. Others really haven’t a clue, except for some superficial desire for money, power or some other thing in the abstract, especially when they see that others have what they don’t.
Those in the first category usually not only know what they want from life, but also find a way to get it, even if it means having to do some uncomfortable things before they get it.
Those in the other group will search for contentment, probably never find it in absolute terms and complain that they are not getting it. Many of us know these people. They work at a job, or in a certain place, they make a living and make the best of what life gives them. They realize it’s not enough and are envious of those who have more. Envy is a profound energy waster. It will produce nothing, but will gradually drain one’s physical and mental resources.
Those in the first group look at others’ accomplishments as goals for themselves. They don’t waste energy on envy, resentment and other worthless emotions. They focus their energy on what they need to do to achieve what they desire.
It’s difficult, but not impossible, to convert from one type of person to the other. It’s not easy for an envious person to be self-reflecting. It’s not easy for a motivated, discipline person to sink to the level of the envious, providing he doesn’t listen to what the envious tell him.
But let’s just say an envious person has an epiphany, the same way an addict gets the message that he needs to stop. When that happens, the envious person learns that he DOESN’T have to accept things as they are. He learns there IS a way he can better his life, even, perhaps, without interfering with what he is doing.
What might cause this? Desire! One must realize that he would like something in life strongly enough to make changes, to discipline himself to do what he needs to. Just as the addict might one day say, NO MORE, and mean it, the envious person might find the desire that has been missing. He might realize that contentment is not the same as happiness. He might discover something inside him that will make him want to change.
It’s easy to be fooled by procrastinators. They will talk eloquently about what they will do tomorrow, but that tomorrow is long in coming. They realize contentment isn’t so bad. The person truly converted from envious starts immediately. He doesn’t necessarily look for things to happen quickly, but he performs activities needed to change his life
Are you an envious, contented procrastinator? Or do you want more from life than what you have, and are willing to do what you need to get it? If so, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. See firsthand how people motivated by what they want can get it. Then, see how motivated people help other motivated people do the same.
They had, or discovered, a discontent with a contented life. They didn’t want to wait for something to happen. Instead, they did what they had to do to make it happen.
Another characteristic of motivated people is that they can lose everything, and know they can get it all back. Instead of settling for contentment, they strove for true happiness, and helped others do the same.
Peter

HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE

Happiness is not happenstance.
Life comes and goes, with its ups and downs, but happiness is a choice.
Glenn Van Ekeren discusses happiness, among other attitudes, in his book, “Love Is A Verb: 10 Ways to Make All Your Relationships Great.”
Van Ekeren uses the example of child star Shirley Temple Black’s husband, Charles, who asked his mother what the happiest moment of her life was. “This moment – right now,” she responded.
The happiest moments of her past were the happiest then. But today, she is living in the present. It’s great to have cherished memories of the past, but you need to be happy today. Happy people only have two things in common, Van Ekeren says. They knew exactly what they wanted, and felt they were moving toward getting it.
Circumstances will confront you, but not control you. Happiness is a choice. Others will have what you don’t have. It doesn’t matter. Happy people make the best of what THEY have.
Van Ekeren uses the term “inverse paranoid” to describe happy people. They are people who think everyone is out to make them happy. Happy people, therefore, devote their time to making others happy. Usually, the favor is returned many-fold.
Happiness is not a state of being. It’s a created attitude. When you ask someone as you greet them, “how are you,” do you get responses like, “I’m here, aren’t I?” Or, “I’m living to see another day,” these folks have not created happiness in their lives.
On the other hand, no matter what they are going through, happy people will respond, “I’m great,” or “life is wonderful.” They have worked on being happy. It doesn’t matter what their circumstances are. They are happy, and they want YOU to be happy.
We all experience anger, disappointment, resentment and other negative emotions. We might all occasionally ask, “why me?” But happy people never say, “woe is me.” Their inverse paranoia takes over. They want to make someone else happy today, and they probably – though it’s not an expectation – will be made happy by someone else today.
You see, happy people give without expecting a quid pro quo. They are happy because they believe they can offer someone value, and will gladly donate it to them. Now, people need to earn money, but even in business, the happy businessperson gives his clients more than they pay for.
Did you work on your happiness today? Have you been working on it for a while? Have you worked on it for so long that it just comes naturally to you? Are you paying it forward, by making someone else happy? Are you a person who knows what he wants, and is moving toward getting it?
If that is NOT you, stop. Don’t think about your circumstances, think about your relationships. Are you helping make other people happy? Are you doing that gladly? (In some jobs, your boss may be happy with you, but you are not happy about making him happy). Do you see where you want to be in life way in the distance or, in your mind, unachievable?
Regardless of how you see yourself, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. People who’ve worked on their happiness might see a vehicle with which they could make many more folks happy. People who haven’t may see a vehicle that could help them build their own happiness.
Bobby McFerrin’s song, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” is a cute tune and a cute lyric that disguises his musical genius. Happy people may have worries, but they are short and temporary. You will never see it when you talk to them. Their attitude is on the big picture. They want to make YOU happy. Undoubtedly, you’ll want to do the same for them.

Peter