Happiness: 3 Simple Steps

3 Secrets to Happiness

Do you remember that great book you once read? It seemed kind of long when you picked it up but as you read the first page there was anticipation, excitement, and desire to find out what was going to happen?

And like most books, it started slow as the characters developed. But, the plot thickened and it got more and more exciting and it started to go by faster and faster. Until finally, the ending was in sight and you couldn’t put it down, time stood still and you voraciously relished every last word to the very end.

Life is like a good book for the “Happy Person.”

There are three steps to achieve happiness.

1. A Happy Person has a long term vision, mission, or purpose for life that is achievable. In essence, they begin with the end in mind. Knowing what your purpose is and where you are going in life has many benefits.  First, it allows a person to relax and not get stressed because they “aren’t where they are supposed to be yet.” Mission and purpose allow positive emotional states like peace and relaxation to be present when a person focuses on their long term purpose. Second, in the face of obstacles, they have all the time in the world to find solutions because they have confidence, knowing they are on the right path and doing the right things.

2. While keeping their purpose in mind, A Happy Person chunks down their goals into small measureable actions that are easily attainable. At first, learning to tie your shoes is a laborious process. You have to bend down, get the laces, work through each single step to get the knot right. A happy person can focus on one small step at a time because they are very present in the moment. They are “Happily learning” each small step of the process because they know it is their mission and purpose to learn to tie their shoes. There is anticipation, curiosity, and excitement in discovering the joys of working towards their goals.

3. Chunking down goals into small attainable moments, a Happy Person can anchor in positive and inspiring thoughts, feelings and emotions to “living and learning.” Each and every moment becomes a joy. Just like at the end of the book. Momentum grows exponentially as happy people experience success in every moment of the day. Smiles and happiness are infectious and move the world.

BONUS STEP: More Happiness Now!

Go for a walk and ask yourself these questions 3-5 minutes a piece in this order. This exercise should take about 3-15 minutes. Let you mind answer the question each time before asking the question again.

1. When have I been Happy in the past? (3-5 min)

2. How do I know I am feeling Happy now? (3-5 min)

3. How am I going to continue to be Happy throughout the rest of the day? Tomorrow? Next week? Next Month?  (3-5 min…future pace out this question, ie  day, tomorrow, next week, month, etc)

When would NOW be a good time to continue to be Happy?

Your life is one great story. Write your own book of happiness, achievement and success. Happiness is contagious and so are smiles. Wear yours proudly!

To your continued Happiness, James

Anyone you know UNHAPPY with their life? Have them call to set up their “Success-Now” session at (919) 792-0085.

 

Fear, Anxiety or Excitement –which is it?

You will have to forgive me again for talking about running this week! This weekend is my big 100-mile race that you have all been reading about for the last six months, so bear with me one more time.  Well, perhaps I will give a recap on what I get from the race next week and then I am done talking about it, I promise!

Anyway, I as I was packing enough clothes and food for the entire crew of the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier tonight, I am feeling a mixture of excitement, fear and anxiety. I always tell my clients, “If you are looking for financial planner, get one who is debt free and works because they choose to”. Same for a coach, “Get one who says I am my own best client.” 

I have been coaching myself hard tonight. On the eve of big life events, it is just like a ride on a roller coaster. There are only two main emotions on a roller coaster…fear and excitement. Picture the people on the ride…clenching onto the shoulder harness in fear and putting their hands up and screaming, “Bring it on!!!” at the top of their lungs.

What allows a person to let go of the shoulder harness of fear and scream with excitement is letting go of expectation and the “What if’s…”, along with having a little bit of faith and trust. Trust that the ride will end safely, faith that it will stay on the track, so you can enjoy the rush of adrenaline that each new exciting experience in life brings. 

Some fear and anxiety is healthy. It is what motivates me to remember to run upstairs and pack my rain jacket just in case. Being able to manage those emotions and put them to good use is critical. It allows you to feel prepared for the ride so you can let go, enjoy it free of expectation and trust that it will be a great ride. 
  
In the end, you will be living a life of events and rides that are thrilling. AND, you may find that you are addicted to the ride. So, I may have to go back on my word that this is the end of my writing about running for a while. After all, there is the Marine Corps Marathon in October with one of my Marine clients who will have just came back from a tour in Afghanistan (Stay safe brother!). And, I just planned for another possible marathon in France in 2013 with another fantastic friend. They serve wine at every water station and everyone dresses up! Life is full of such wonderful rides! 

Enjoy your life since you only have one. Live it fully doing what you love. Have a life full of wonderful tales to tell your grandkids as they sit on your knees! I hope you continue to ride the ride and remember that it is only a slight adjustment to go from fear and anxiety to excitement and fun. Enjoy the ride!

What did you see?

What did you see?

Isn’t it interesting how two people can share a life event together and come away with two different experiences?

In the last few months, Emmanuelle and I have been touring our local charter and public schools in preparation for Isabelle’s entry in Kindergarten. As we were touring one of the public school playgrounds, we saw about a half dozen trailers in back of the school. As we passed, Emmanuelle and I looked at them and thought, “It must be horrible to have a trailer for your 4th and 5th grade classroom? It would be cramped, isolated from the school and hot in the summer months.”

As if she had been listening and reading the parents minds, the school guide informed us that the upper level classes loved the trailers. They saw them as a rite of passage growing up from the younger kids and took a lot of pride in them. As if on cue, kids poured out of the trailers to change classes. They were laughing, joking, and having fun. Their attitudes reflected exactly what the guide had just stated!

This week, Isabelle hit another milestone. She discovered that she could be dropped off at the front door of her kindergarten school, “like a big girl” so that Emmanuelle and I would not have to walk her in. As she stood proud in her newfound independence, it was all that I could do to keep a smile on my face and be happy for her. She is our last child and I love every last walk into school with her. I was already missing that big, goodbye hug at her classroom door.

One of the greatest gifts we have in life is to choose what meaning to attach to the events that shape our lives. How you choose to label an experience and the meaning you attach to it will directly impact the quality of your emotional health and life.

The way to work through any disempowering emotional state is to ultimately put an empowering meaning towards it. This is a very common pattern in movies. The hero/heroine’s mentor or right hand man dies and as they speak their last words they utter, “Be true to yourself, fight for what is right, and help those less fortunate than you.” or, “don’t let me die for nothing, catch that bad guy.” In that emotional moment, the hero has a choice to attach an empowering meaning to the event, it motivates the main character to overcome life’s problem, and achieve more greatness than they ever thought was possible.

How can you turn loss into gain, pain into pleasure? Put an empowering meaning to it! I love to see Isabelle’s independence as she grows up because in 10 years when the boys start calling, that independence will be a very important trait for me to rely on. The confidence and pride that students feel by “moving up” and earning the right to have a “higher” social status will serve them well as they make the transitions to Middle School, High School and College. That is how confidence and self worth are born, bred and raised. I hope you continue to see things differently this week and find more empowering meanings for your life experiences.

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Be sure to check out my website: www.evolutionforsuccess.com soon for an exciting new 2-CD release on Parenting, due out April 2009.

Please pass this on to anyone who needs an encouraging “Thought” this week. They can sign up for the “Thought of the Week” by sending me an email at james@evolutionforsuccess.com and place “subscribe” in the subject line. I never share my email list with anyone. Your privacy is of utmost importance to me.

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"Two Roads Converged…"

“Two Roads Converged…”

Last week, I had the distinct pleasure of taking Isabelle to school. As we came up to the stoplight leading out of our neighborhood, the line was very long and I guessed that it would take about 3 light changes before we would be able to turn left onto the main street. We were looking at a ten minute wait in line which meant she would be late for school.

Instinct took over and I quickly merged into the right hand lane. I drove past the long line of cars straight up to the light. At this point, the only way for us to go was the “wrong” way. We had to turn right instead of left, which took us farther away from her school. Isabelle immediately realized we were going the wrong direction and asked, “Daddy, why are we were going the “wrong” way?”

I turned right, drove 100 yards and turned around in a different neighborhood entrance. Almost immediately, I was able to make the left hand turn onto the main street going towards Isabelle’s school. As I drove, I explained to Isabelle that I was taking a “secret short cut” to school and even though it seemed like the “wrong” way, sometimes going the opposite way of everyone else was quicker. We would have to experiment and see if it was true. In this case, it was true, much to her delight. She even waved at the line of cars as we passed them, who were still waiting for the light to turn green.

A similar experience occurred at the Atlanta airport last Friday. I was waiting for my return flight and needed to stretch my legs one last time before boarding time. As I walked farther and farther down the terminal wing away from the main hub, I noticed that not only did the people traffic lighten up but the drink prices for Coke and water dropped with every store. It was also amazing that the Coke prices were lower than the water prices. Isn’t it ironic how what is better for you is sometimes more expensive and what seems easier, less expensive and more convenient is sometimes not as good for you?

In today’s world, with the media news, business forecasts, stock market news, and radio ads, you may need to get away from the mainstream, take a walk away from the mainstream to where it is not as crowded. It is good to notice where opportunity lies and more often than not, it will be away from popular idealism. Making a little bit better investment on what you are feeding your mind, body and spirit can make a big difference in your health. It can also provide you the edge that will make a small difference in your life today and a very BIG difference in your life in the long run. Make the investment in yourself that will yield results for you mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. If you take the initiative to walk a little farther away from the crowds you may be surprised at the deals you will find.

This morning Isabelle asked me if we were taking the “secret short cut” to school. It took me a moment to understand that she had changed her association from us going to school the “wrong” way to the “secret short cut” way. Separate yourself from the rest of the people who are waiting in line for something different to happen. That is the secret to getting ahead. All of the answers you need to overcome any challenge in your life right now are out there waiting for you. Be courageous, brave and try going the “wrong” way once in a while. We will see you at the “secret short cut” turnaround and we’ll be sure and wave “Hi!”

If you know someone who needs an encouraging “Thought” this week. Please feel free to forward this email. You can sign up for the weekly, “Thought” at www.evolutionforsuccess.com We value your privacy and keep our email database private and confidential. Thank you for reading!

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What are you Willing to Give Up?



What are you willing to give up?

Have you ever had a nightmare that seemed real? During Nicolas’ youth sports we saw many nightmares come true when it came to watching fathers coach their sons’ team. Whether it was the other parents in the stands complaining of favoritism and unfair playing time, the coach getting upset at how his son was playing or the son acting out in defiance of the father; it seemed that for both the father and the son there was more pain associated to coaching and playing than pleasure.

So, there I was on the Board of Directors at the YMCA, my son on a basketball roster that had no coach, and the Director of the YMCA asking me if I had ever considered coaching.

Of course, I had considered it and promptly dismissed it. I had all of the freedom that I wanted being the “Best Fan” on the sidelines. All I had to do was show up, sit down and cheer for Nicolas from the bench and occasionally bring drinks. Bringing drinks was the best part because I could bring his favorite flavor Gatorade and be the hero without much effort.

As I heard myself say, “Sure, I can be an assistant coach for the team,” I was screaming inside of my head, “What did you just say?” And, as I showed up on the first day of practice, as the Head Coach for the team, I was way out of my comfort zone.

A funny thing happened as the weeks of practice and games progressed. I received some basketball training books, I checked out training DVD’s from the library, and continued to educate and discipline myself to show up with a plan for every practice. I agonized over every drill, every tip, hint and suggestion that I gave every young boy. I arm chair quarterbacked myself in my abilities after every practice and game. And, through personal discipline to always be a better coach, learned a lot.

One practice in particular, I took candy to reward players for some drills we did at the end of practice and as the boys eagerly grabbed and fought for their favorite flavor, one young boy on the team, Johnny declined. His dad explained to me that for Lent he had given up candy. Johnny was 9 at the time and I was seriously impressed at the character and discipline he was living. As I learned more about Johnny I found that he played on our team, his school team, and lived at the gym playing ball with the grownups 7 days a week. His mom would pick him up from his school practice, feed him in the car and bring him to our practice. Sometimes after our practice, if his schoolwork was completed, his dad would take him to the gym to play.

Many people in life want the Freedom and instant gratification that comes from having no discipline or rules. You have heard people say, “I want to be thin so that I can eat whatever I want” or “I wish I was rich so I could buy anything that I wanted and not worry about money ever again.” If you were thin, you would not eat anything you wanted and if you did, you would not be thin for long. Same with being rich, if you never focused and concerned about how you spent your money, you would find yourself broke.

True Freedom in life comes only through discipline. The word discipline comes from the root word disciple, which means, “a student, a learner.” Discipline also comes in two different forms. We can discipline ourselves to NOT have something. During Lent, it is traditionally represented as something that you “give up” for the 40 days. If you are older, you may remember that every Friday it was tradition to not eat red meat. Fasting is also associated with Lent in order to represent cleansing and purification. The ability to discipline ourselves also can be done to “have” something. I personally am giving up procrastination and am disciplining myself to “Have” more focus in my writing and business sales everyday.

We learn through gaining knowledge, taking action and self evaluation. The freedom of movement a thin person experiences only comes by being disciplined about what they put in their mouth and how they move their body to exercise. A rich person is rich because they have disciplined themselves on how to maximize their income and cut their expenses to an acceptable standard of living for themselves. Johnny will grow up and experience the joy and freedom of being on his high school team, college team, and I believe the NBA because he disciplines himself to create positive habits and behaviors that put him ahead. The freedom to REALLY develop a meaningful relationship with my son only came when I overcame my own fears and insecurities. I disciplined myself with gaining knowledge, planning, taking action, and self evaluating my performance to become the coach that I wanted to be for myself, my son, and his team mates.

If you want to travel more, buy that new car, improve your relationships, move towards that more meaningful job it will only come from disciplining yourself to do something new in order to grow. I would encourage you to find a place in life where you can set a higher standard of discipline for yourself. You will be amazed at the results you will receive from it in the long run. Nicolas will not remember that I used to bring Lemon-Lime Gatorade for his drinks once a season, but he will always remember me as his coach and “Best Fan.” You can the freedom to have all that you desire in life with a little more discipline. It is the essence of success and the cornerstone of character.

To your continued success,

James M Murphy