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Design Your Happiness - 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want

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(Millennial Edition)

Irene Caniano

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means — electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other — except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the author.

 

Although every effort was made to ensure that the information in this book was correct at press time, the author does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss, damage, or disruption caused by errors or omissions, whether such errors or omissions result from negligence, accident, or any other cause.

 

Cover and interior illustrations: www.bigstockphoto.com

Copyright 2016 Irene Caniano

DEDICATION

 

 

I dedicate this book to

my mother, Margaret,

for the love and care she gave to our family,

and for her gift of touching so many lives

by being who she was.

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www.facebook.com/essential11skills/

 

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Join us on Facebook

 

for

 

~ Design Your Happiness tips

 

~ Information about free group calls

 

~ Updates on the second book of this series,

Take Charge of Your Life.

CONTENTS

 

Introduction

 

PART I – YOU

 

Element 1 – Your Gifts

Element 2 – Your Values

Element 3 – Your Belief

Element 4 – Your Contentment

 

PART II – YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

 

Element 5 – Your Network

Element 6 – Your Boundaries

 

PART IIIYOUR CHOICES

 

Element 7 – Your Customized Environments

Element 8 – Your 3 R Kit

Element 9 – Your Perspective

introduction

 

Your twenties and early thirties are significant years. During this period, you will make major decisions. These choices will affect your productivity, your finances, your health, your relationships, and your long-term happiness.

 

In addition to building a career, you are making changes in your personal interactions. You are deconstructing parts of your former life and allowing your associations with family members and friends to evolve. You are engaging with new people and moving on to new environments. You may be in the process of selecting a life partner or planning with the one you have chosen. All these changes add up to lots of stress.

 

Years ago, I didn’t realize just how much goes into designing a life. My journey would have been much easier if I had identified my unique set of personal strengths, addressed the limiting beliefs that were holding me back, and clarified my needs and wants. I missed opportunities for growth and enjoyment. This lack of self-understanding resulted in unnecessary setbacks, disappointments, and pain.

 

 

 

Over the years, I learned a lot through “trial and error.” I also spent hundreds of hours seeking wisdom about success, relationships, and happiness from experts. Eventually, I studied to become a life coach. The training helped me to integrate what I had learned and led me to a new perspective on how to approach life. I wish I’d had this information when I was younger.

 

There’s a saying,

 

If I knew then what I know now…

 

You may not have said it yet, but any older person can surely relate to it. It can be frustrating learning things that could have benefitted you had you known them sooner.

 

As a mother, former teacher, and success coach, my passion is passing on what I know now. The purpose of this book is to give you the opportunity to think about what’s important for your life, so you don’t leave things to chance.

 

Now is the time to understand your adult self. I hope you will learn from the stories in this book, complete the activities, and implement changes. In doing so, you will create an excellent foundation for the life you envision.

 

So, let’s get started.

 

ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Design Your Happiness will help you to increase your confidence and optimism, understand your part in relationships and expand your social network. It will show you how to add more joy to your everyday life and how to prevent setbacks on your journey toward long-term happiness.

 

Paragraphs in italics are stories that illustrate the “Design Your Happiness” element of the particular chapter.

 

ACTIVITY indicates a short assessment, a time to reflect, or a chance to brainstorm ways to make the element a part your life.

 

INCORPORATING THE ELEMENT INTO YOUR LIFE includes a summary of the strategies for using the element.

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Happiness – overall satisfaction related to

living a meaningful life

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Happiness starts with you.

Not with the relationships,

Not with a great job,

Not with money or wealth,

Not with status, yours or

the one you are connected to,

But with YOU.

 

-Mandy Hale

 

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design your happiness

 

Whether you are designing a home, a website, or a dress, there are elements to consider, like color, shape, space, and line. Choices need to be made in each category. Once the ideas come together, you can focus your efforts on making the design a reality.

 

With this book, you will plan your life by thinking about nine key components. The only difference is that, unlike the designs above, you won’t have to decide on all the elements beforehand. You will concentrate on one part at a time.

 

Begin with the first chapter. Read it and carefully think about your choices. Then begin to incorporate that feature into your life. When you feel ready, move on to the next chapter and design that aspect of your life. You’ll build your life chapter by chapter, instead of waiting until you finish reading the book.

 

In the first chapters, your Fact Finding Mission is to determine the REAL YOU, not the son or daughter, not the employee, not the person you were two years ago. You’ll focus on the important steps of identifying your strengths, beliefs, and desires. This awareness is essential for creating a fulfilling life.

PART I

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YOU

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Your Life Closet

 

Imagine you are looking into your closet. You decide to sort your clothes so that only the items that work for you remain. Out go the styles you don’t like anymore. Out go the gifts that you’ll never use. Out go the pants that are too loose and the shoes that are too tight. You pack up the unwanted items and donate them to Goodwill.

 

Now your life is simplified. The clutter is gone. You’re no longer distracted by all the stuff that serves no purpose. Next, you pick up a few new items to coordinate with your newly organized wardrobe. Instead of being an overflowing mess, your closet contains updated clothing choices that match your current preferences. When you get dressed, you’ll look and feel your best.

 

Your young adult years are for sorting out your life. You’ll hold on to helpful thoughts and behaviors. You’ll keep the “gifts” of advice, standards, and traditions that you want. You’ll let go of whatever isn’t working anymore. Then you’ll add your personal style. Your choices will fit in with your plans and give you a sense of peace and hope. Each of the elements that follow will guide you to make the decisions that are best for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Element One

 

YOUR GIFTS

 

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This above all: to thine own self be true.

 

-William Shakespeare

 

Let’s start by talking about Dylan, who has done lots of sorting. Over time, he’s given up some ideas, expectations and behaviors that no longer work. He appreciates his strengths and incorporates them into his daily life.

 

Dylan comes from a quiet, reserved, structured family. As a child, he found life at home boring. It was hard for him to follow his relatives’ ways of doing things. Eventually, Dylan realized that he had a different approach to life. He allowed his natural strengths to come through.

 

This thirty-year-old is a spontaneous, energetic, optimistic, curious people-person who enjoys his job as a physical therapist. Dylan’s rarely alone, preferring to be out with his girlfriend, Vickie, playing sports with his friends, or chatting with neighbors.

 

Dylan’s life is like an endless adventure, as he engages with individuals of all ages and backgrounds. He’s open to new experiences. When someone shows an interest in something, Dylan is ready to join in. That’s how he found himself skydiving, helping out at a homeless shelter, and sitting in the audience at the New York Fashion Week runway show.

 

Despite having a different lifestyle, Dylan spends time with his less active family members. He joins them for holidays and birthdays and for dinners every few weeks. Dylan’s parents and brothers share his love of learning. Their conversations often involve current events or books they’ve read. Dylan can be himself. He is content because he is living according to his values and strengths.

 

Here are the natural strengths that Dylan uses each day.

Kindness

Love of learning

Curiosity

Social intelligence

Gratitude

Love

Enthusiasm

 

Notice how Dylan acknowledges his strengths and shares them. At work, he uses his innate people skills. Much of his free time is spent socializing. He has a close relationship with Vickie and his friends. Dylan is energized by being involved in different activities with others and by learning.

 

Acknowledging Our Strengths

 

A major obstacle to success and happiness is what Paul Angone calls “Obsessive Comparison Disorder.” It’s our need to evaluate and decide if we are good enough by checking how we stack up next to others. Since it’s impossible to be the best at everything, this constant assessing is pointless, exhausting, and harmful to our self-esteem.

A helpful perspective is to acknowledge that each of us has a unique set of strengths. I learned to appreciate this during my coach training. The instructor had us begin the sessions by describing ourselves. Every week, we started by announcing who we were. We’d each give our name and add a sentence describing ourselves with five positive adjectives. One person might use this sentence after announcing her name. I am an enthusiastic, compassionate, creative, curious, adventurous person. Another might use this one to describe his strengths. I am a kind, funny, caring, brave, open-minded individual. The purpose of this ritual was to teach us to be aware of our strengths and let others know who we really are. From this, I learned that there’s no reason to feel inadequate if someone has a trait that I don’t. My strengths are gifts to others. Their strengths are gifts to me.

 

I decided to use this “strengths introduction” exercise at the beginning of the workshops that I present. Each time the participants finish their introductions, we find that various traits were mentioned. As a person who doesn’t have a great sense of humor, I no longer concern myself with this “deficit.” Invariably, at least one person in the audience mentions humor as a significant strength.

 

 

ACTIVITY

Your Natural Strengths

 

The next activity will show you how to identify your “gifts.” There are three ways to do this. Choose one of the methods to find your seven top strengths.

 

Suggested Method

 

Take the free VIA Survey (This was formerly known as Values in Action Survey) to assess your top signature strengths. After completing the questionnaire, you will be able to print out your profile of the twenty-four traits, with your strongest ones first.

 

http://www.viacharacter.org/www/The-Survey

 

 

Alternative One

 

Use the chart of the twenty-four strengths evaluated in the VIA Survey. Decide which are natural strengths for you.

 

VIA Survey – Signature Strengths

 

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Alternative Two

 

Think of adjectives that describe your predominant positive characteristics. Some examples are dependable, intelligent, reflective, patient, innovative, conscientious, confident, generous, stylish, determined, cautious, warm, cooperative, peaceful, logical, loyal, trustworthy, and the VIA strengths listed in the chart.

 

Your Top Strengths

 

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Using Your Strengths

 

Let your strengths lead you to the kind of life you want to live. Here are some things you can do with the new awareness of your strengths. Start the day by reminding yourself of your natural gifts. Look for opportunities to use your strengths during the workday. If you find that your current job isn’t a fit for your strengths, you might want to keep your eyes open to see if there are other positions available. If you are highly motivated and willing to make sacrifices, you can put in the effort to qualify and gradually gain the skills that are needed. Then you could apply for a job that utilizes your top strengths.

 

You can also demonstrate your special gifts at other times. If you’re creative, you can spend more time painting, writing, or practicing with an improv group. If you are compassionate, you can do volunteer work in the community. If you crave adventure, you can plan activities that interest you.

 

Perhaps you are ready to explore a trait that isn’t a strength. Let’s say that you prefer to work alone. However, you realize the value of being a team player. You could partner up with a colleague on a project or contribute to discussions at meetings. While you are building this part of yourself, also keep acknowledging and using your signature strengths, the traits that come to you naturally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

 

STRENGTHS

 

Into Your Life

 

~ Avoid comparing yourself to others.

 

~ Acknowledge your strengths as natural gifts

and use them every day.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

Next we will discuss personal values. These are deeply held ideals. Let’s see how they impact our behavior and our happiness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Two

 

YOUR VALUES

 

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Money will buy you a bed,

but not a good night’s sleep.

A house, but not a home,

A companion, but not a friend.

 

-Zig Ziglar

 

 

 

Values

 

While your strengths are your natural gifts, your values are the characteristics that determine what you think is the best course of action. Our values are shaped by our experiences, culture, religion, schooling, peers and the media. Some values are honesty, growth, trust, integrity, success, teamwork, popularity, faith, fun, generosity, beauty, and diversity.

 

Your values affect many of your decisions including:

 

~ How you spend your money

~ How you use your time

~ The people you associate with

~ The groups you align with

~ The causes you support

~ The trade-offs and sacrifices you’re willing to make

 

 

 

Our Values and Our Goals

We used Dylan as an example when we explored the topic of strengths, now let’s continue his story as we discuss values.

 

As you probably noticed from what you read earlier, Dylan is a happy guy. He gets satisfaction from his work and social life.

 

For five years, Dylan shared his apartment with friends. These original roommates went on to get their own places a while back. Now his fellow tenants are messy and noisy, which frustrates Dylan. Lately, he’s been thinking, “This isn’t working.” He’s started to change his spending habits and is saving money so he can move.

 

Dylan is cooking his meals more often instead of eating out, and he’s finding inexpensive ways to enjoy his time. His goal of having his own apartment is worth the sacrifices he is making.

 

Dylan values independence and advancement. He also wants a quieter and cleaner environment to come home to. These preferences motivated him to set new goals.

 

Positive change starts with awareness. If you don’t clarify your values, you’ll won’t be able to focus on the things that matter to you.

 

ACTIVITY

Values and Preferences

 

This activity will help you gain awareness. Answer these questions. Then choose the answer that resonated most with you. Remind yourself of that sentence each day. See if it inspires you to make changes like Dylan’s awareness motivated him.

 

What values are important to you?

How do you want to feel?

What are you tolerating?

What do you want more of?

What’s your vision?

 

Setting Standards and Living By Them

 

Our behavior is affected by our values and what we consider to be right or wrong. Even though we have standards, it’s still easy to lower the bar. We may be influenced by seeing others around us and in the media living self-centered lives. It’s tempting to ignore our principles to fit in with others when society is sending messages that go against our ideals.

 

Staying true to ourselves requires conscious effort. If not, little by little, we might keep changing until we’re far from the values by which we hoped to live. Convenience, pleasure, peer pressure, and a lack of courage can get in the way of following our conscience. Then, as we look back, we regret not living up to our values.

 

E. Stanley Jones compares people to train engines, saying we can get to our destination as long as we stay on the tracks. The tracks are guidelines for living an honorable life. It’s sometimes tempting to go off the path, thinking we’ll be free. However, when we abandon our principles, we do not gain freedom. Instead, our lives become confused and chaotic.

 

When we embrace high standards, our experiences take on new meaning. Events move us to act for the greater good. One example of this is the work of the Chief Shoe Giver, founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie.

 

Blake Mycoskie’s life changed during a trip to Argentina ten years ago. When he saw children without shoes, he knew he had to help. Mycoskie ruled out seeking donations for the cause. Instead, he created TOMS, (TOMorrow’s Shoes), a business using his One for One model.

 

TOMS would give new shoes to a poor child every time a customer made a purchase. Over 35 million children now have shoes, thanks to Blake’s company. Since then, TOMS branched out into the sale of eyewear and coffee. TOMS Eyewear has helped 275,000 people and its coffee sales have provided 67,000 weeks of safe water since 2014.

 

Blake was deeply moved by seeing the suffering caused by extreme poverty. He couldn’t accept that children were denied a necessity like shoes, and knew he had to do something. Using his previous business experience, Blake figured out a way to make a difference. Now each day, he works to improve his life and the lives of many others. One experience turned Blake Mycoskie into the Chief Shoe Giver. He’s an example of a person who chose to live by a higher standard.

 

Blake’s eye-opening experience set him on his path to creating a better life for others. You have probably had experiences that brought out your values and moved you to act. As an Eagle Scout, you might have organized a clothing drive. Maybe you contributed money to help in the Nepal earthquake relief effort. Perhaps you quietly do acts of kindness on a daily basis. You see yourself as someone contributing to others and act accordingly.

 

When Values Conflict

 

Most of us try to act in accordance with our values. To stay on course, we need to keep motivated, focused and energized. There will be obstacles and frustration along the way.

 

One difficulty is deciding between two of our values that conflict. If you are confused, you may need to sort out how the values play out in a particular situation. Let’s use Louisa’s story to demonstrate this.

 

Louisa, 33, is engaged to Jared, her strong-willed partner. Since she values harmony, she has avoided arguing with him. Lately, he’s become rude and controlling. In her gut, Louisa knows that something has to change. She realizes that she is losing her independence.

 

Louisa regrets giving up her individuality to “keep the peace.” Since she values independence, she knows she needs to stand up for herself. Louisa can reflect on both values—harmony and independence—and consider how her behavior is affecting her relationship. She can come to understand that harmony doesn’t mean being a doormat. With a clearer perspective, she can decide to serve her own needs and change the way she is acting in the relationship

When you feel unhappy, it may be that you are experiencing a values conflict like Louisa. Consider that you may be distorting your view of one of the values. Awareness can lead you to a new perspective of the situation and an understanding of how to move forward.

 

More Than Following Your Heart

 

Let’s discuss one final point to bring values to the forefront. Sharon Janis, author of Never to Return: A Modern Quest for Eternal Truth and Spirituality for Dummies clarifies the expression, “Follow your heart.” For many, “following your heart” might mean simply doing what feels good. By adding the word “purified,” Janis inserts our values and provides direction.

 

A Purified Heart

 

Matthew Kelly speaks about the “classroom of silence” as a means to get in touch with God. Janis uses the peace that comes with being quiet as a way to find the answers that lie within us. Here are her steps for following a purified heart.

1. Understand your motivations. Enter a calm state and become mindful of your thoughts. Pay attention to your intuition. Aim for harmony of mind, body, and spirit.

 

2. Check that your purpose is helpful, and not harmful to yourself or others. After that, you will know whether to follow through with the behavior.

 

Without first checking intentions, a person could ruthlessly pursue a personal dream, without regard to the negative impact on others. On the other hand, once you check that your intentions are worthy, you understand the way to proceed, while keeping your integrity.

 

By following Janis’ practice, you not only improve your own life. As a parent or a role model, you are an example of someone who is striving to be his or her best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

VALUES

Into Your Life

 

~ Know what’s important to you.

 

~ Don’t live in default mode.

 

~ Hold yourself to a high standard,

so you live by your values.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

Everyone has both empowering beliefs and limiting beliefs. Each belief has either a positive or negative effect on our goals. In this section, you’ll learn to turn around your limiting beliefs and clarify your beliefs in different areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Three

 

YOUR BELIEFS

 

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My beliefs will run through everything I do.

 

-Ed Milliband

 

 

Thoughts Are Powerful!

Beliefs Are SUPER-POWERFUL!

 

Thoughts are powerful! You remember your cousin’s birthday, so you rush out to get a card. You realize that your evaluation is coming up, so you pay more attention to your punctuality.

 

Beliefs have an even GREATER effect on us than thoughts. They can empower us, and they can also limit us. We don’t question a belief because it’s part of our identity. In fact, we filter our experiences through a personal perspective that we took on long ago.

 

We unconsciously behave in ways that support the belief, even if we harm ourselves in the process. Let’s start with the beliefs that hold us back.

 

Limiting Beliefs Derail Our Potential

 

I didn’t take control of my limiting belief when I was in my twenties or thirties. Instead, I just let it became less powerful over decades. This is not the process that I’d recommend for you. The sooner you confront your limiting belief, the more you increase the opportunities that you have.

When I was a young child, I took on a limiting belief which persisted for decades.

 

 

Play it safe. Avoid the spotlight!

 

My first grade teacher was an elderly woman. She had the overwhelming job of managing a class of fifty energetic students. I remember her yanking a child out of the line for talking. The teacher sternly chastised my classmate. After witnessing this frightening event, my priority was to keep from being noticed.

 

I unconsciously created the “Avoid the Spotlight” rule. I didn’t participate in discussions and worried about making a mistake. As an adult, I was uncomfortable speaking up for what I wanted.

 

Once I understood the reasoning behind this limiting belief, I was able to confront it. I began to recall moments from long ago when I was in the spotlight, and things worked out well. I remembered that the same first grade teacher was very reassuring when I started to cry because I thought I messed up my project.

 

I also remembered a delightful moment when my father beamed with pride as he introduced me to someone he knew. I realized that I did enjoy being noticed by him and his friend. Being in the spotlight that day made me happy.

 

By challenging our limiting beliefs, we free ourselves. We not only eliminate significant obstacles, but we also create many new possibilities.

 

Your Limiting Beliefs

 

Long ago, each of us formed undesirable beliefs based on our emotional reactions to what we considered bad experiences. Over the years, some of these ideas became entrenched. Logical or not, we held them as true and let them determine our behavior. These “rules” negatively affect our self-esteem, our relationships, and our success. Here are some common limiting beliefs.

 

I’m stupid.

 

I’m shy.

 

I’m not good-looking.

 

The saddest thing about limiting beliefs is that they prevent us from reaching our potential and stop us from sharing our gifts.

 

I’m stupid, so I’m never taking another class.

 

I’m shy, so I can’t go to the party.

 

I’m not good looking,

so I’m not going to put any effort into my appearance.

 

The Power to Change Limiting Beliefs

 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve held the limiting belief or what the belief is. What matters is that you identify it and are open to thinking in new ways. Imagine if Iyanla Vanzant didn’t change her limiting belief.

 

Iyanla felt beaten down for years. Losing her alcoholic mother to cancer and being raped by her uncle were devastating events. She was overwhelmed by the responsibilities of being a teenage mother. Life didn’t improve when she got married. Feeling hopeless, Iyanla attempted suicide twice.

 

After she had turned 30, Iyanla decided that she would NOT give in. Taking her three children, she escaped her abusive husband. Then Iyanla challenged herself and attained her law degree. Now she provides inspiration and guidance to despairing guests on “Iyanla: Fix My Life”, a popular show on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. Many recognize Iyanla’s famous quote, “I AM MY OWN RESCUE!”, which embodies her take-charge approach.

 

All of us have both limiting beliefs and empowering beliefs. You can sort your beliefs using the following chart. Identifying your limiting beliefs is the beginning of positive change

 

Identify one of your limiting beliefs. Then, think back to its source. Use the following questions to guide you. Once you understand the reason that you have the belief, you can ask yourself if it makes sense anymore. If you can find evidence to dispute the unhelpful idea, you can put the situation in the past and realize it doesn’t apply to the present.

 

ACTIVITY

Your Limiting Beliefs

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~ Is it true for the current situation?

~ Is the belief relevant to my current life?

~ Is it accurate, as opposed to exaggerated?

 

| =. |=. p={color:#000;}. POSITIVE?

~ Does the belief leave my self-esteem intact?

~ Does it give me hope, rather than cause me anxiety? | =. |=.
p={color:#000;}. HELPFUL?

~ Does the belief support me in reaching my goals?

~ Does it help me to advance instead of leaving me feeling stuck and powerless?

~ Will the belief lead to my long term-happiness?

 

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Which of your beliefs limits you?

 

What was the source of the belief?

 

What will life be like if you give up the limiting belief?

Are you willing to challenge the belief and think in new ways?

 

 

 

Confront Your Limiting Belief

Be Your Own Best Friend

 

When you are rational rather than overly-emotional, you see through your limiting beliefs. One way to help yourself is to take on the role of your own best friend. Talk to yourself as if you were talking to a friend who was putting himself down. Even use your name as if you were addressing yourself. Here’s how it would work.

 

I’m stupid, so I’m never taking another class. / Bob, you aren’t stupid. Remember the time you… and the other time when you… What if you took a small step and …

 

I’m very shy, so I can’t go to the party. / Mary, you aren’t always shy. You’re so animated when you are with… and you enjoy socializing when you are with your cousins. Maybe you could just stop by at the party and stay a short while.

 

I’m not good looking, so I’m not going to put any effort into my appearance. / Anna, you’ll look fine once you find clothes you feel confident and comfortable wearing, and come to appreciate yourself. Imagine what these changes would do.

 

We are often much kinder to others than we are to ourselves. That’s why stepping away from the emotion and thinking things through as if you are talking to a best friend helps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beliefs Affect Your Actions

 

A limiting belief creates an unhelpful version of the story you are telling yourself. When you confront a limiting belief, you revise the story, so it no longer blocks you from what you want. You get out of your own way so you can move toward your goals.

 

Develop the habit of disputing each negative belief so that over time it begins to have less of an effect on you. Eventually, the belief will become weaker and weaker, and may entirely disappear.

 

Many of our beliefs are empowering. I am capable. I value opportunities to learn. My family will be there for me if I need them. I am resilient and can get through this challenge. As we transform our limiting beliefs, they can be added to other positive ones. Then our thinking becomes more of a support for us.

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

 

BELIEFS

Into Your Life

 

~ Understand the source of your limiting belief.

 

~ Convert the unhelpful belief into an empowering one by telling yourself a new story.

 

~ Use your preferences to guide you in setting goals.

They point you to your happiness.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

You have to be satisfied before you can be happy. The next element will help you improve your level of satisfaction. Being frustrated in one area of your life can have an adverse impact on the other areas. Therefore, it is important to understand the power of your personal satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Four

 

YOUR

CONTENTMENT

 

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Get a fulfilling life,

not just an impressive lifestyle.

 

-Thomas Leonard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think of the element of contentment as a state of satisfaction concerning the different areas of your life. Let’s say you have a new job. The pay is fine for now, and the company is the one that you were hoping to work for. You see the potential for professional growth and additional income. So you’re content with the job, finances and outlook for your future. Your relationships are going well, and you are in good health. On the whole, life is good.

 

Contrast this with making lots of money, but feeling under constant pressure. You don’t have time for your family and friends. You’re not sleeping well, and you always feel run down. It is as if you are running a marathon that never ends. Life is a daily struggle. Being overwhelmed at work is affecting other areas of your life.

 

Arianna Huffington is the wealthy, successful co-founder of the Huffington Post Media Group, and is considered one of the world’s most influential women. However, she realized her lifestyle was destroying her health and peace. Unfortunately, it took an injury for her to see how unbalanced her life had become.

 

In 2007, Huffington collapsed from exhaustion. While receiving care for her broken cheekbone and undergoing medical tests, she began reexamining her life. She wondered, “Is this what success looks like?”

 

Her book, Thrive, is the result of this life-changing experience. In it, Arianna speaks about the importance of physical and mental health, as well as spirituality, gratitude, and contributing to others. She feels these factors are necessary for her happiness. Financial success and fame aren’t enough.

 

Arianna Huffington is now a proud member of The B Team, founded by Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz. This non-profit fosters a shift in the way companies operate. For years, the goal of business has been to make huge profits without regard for anything else. Huffington is the head of Plan B’s Well-Being Committee, which shares information about what needs to be done to improve workers’ lives.

 

Arianna encourages her staff members to express their creativity. They also enjoy nap rooms and are no longer expected to respond to e-mails after hours. Huffington is passionate about fostering the well-being of all of her employees. She has created a business environment that recognizes the importance of being satisfied in the different areas of our lives.

 

As Arianna demonstrates, life is a balancing act. It’s not easy to know where to spend our limited time and resources. Often we neglect something that is important to us because there is so much else going on. There is a high cost for not taking care of a particular area of our lives.

 

 

A fun-filled life can result in missed career opportunities. Refusing to eat well and exercise will eventually deteriorate our health and limit our options. Failure to pay attention to the important people in our lives will gradually weaken our relationships.

 

No life is perfect. There’s always an opportunity for improvement. The first step is to see how satisfied you are in the different parts of your life. Then you can decide if you need to make changes in one area that is being overlooked.

 

ACTIVITY

Your Life Satisfaction

 

Looking at the different areas of your life helps you to identify which part you might be neglecting. The following activity will quickly pinpoint the area that needs attention.

 

The categories represent the factors that make life worth living, with each one playing an important role.

 

Put a satisfaction score for each area of your life, with 1 being Unacceptable, 5 being Fair and 10 being Outstanding.

 

table=. =. |=.
p={color:#000;}. How satisfied are you in each area of your life?

 

Score each area.

Scoring 1 – 10

 

=.
=.
=.
=.
=.
=.
=.
=.
=.
=.

 

 

Now you can see how satisfied you are in the different parts of your life. Stay aware of the zone of least satisfaction. As you find ways to improve that area, there will even be a positive ripple effect on some of the other areas.

 

To start making changes to improve the satisfaction in the area that needs it, decide how much control you have.

 

Low Control Some Control High Control

Even a small change can increase your satisfaction. Think of something that you are confident that you can implement. Then check how committed you are to following through. If you aren’t totally committed, tweak the change.

 

One thing in your power is your attitude. You can think in new ways. If necessary, accept what can’t be changed to avoid becoming frustrated and exhausted. Use your energy to focus on something that is under your control.

 

You can also take on an attitude of gratitude. Heighten your awareness of the many things that you are happy about. List 100 of them. Once you do, you’ll start noticing many more. You’ll develop an appreciation for the little and big things that are going well in every area of your life.

 

ACTIVITY

What Change Could You Make?

 

~ What is one small change you are willing to make to improve your area of least satisfaction?

 

~ What do you need to make the change happen?

 

~ When will you make the change?

 

~ If you feel stuck and unable to implement change, try to understand your emotions. Are you are afraid, overwhelmed, angry, hurt or frustrated?

 

~ What are the resources and support would be helpful?

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

CONTENTMENT

Into Your Life

 

~ Identify the area of your life that could be

more satisfying.

 

~ Decide how much control you have

over that area of your life.

 

~ Change your attitude or behavior.

Even a small adjustment brings improvement.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART II

~~~~~~~~~~~

YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

In this next section, you will identify the two sets of people who are vital to your success.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Five

 

YOUR

NETWORK

 

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Things work well when a group of people

know each other,

and things break down

when it’s a bunch of random people interacting.

 

-Jimmy Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rob Lowe begins his book, Love Life, by comparing the cast of a movie to the people we surround ourselves with in life. He advises us to choose carefully those who will play important roles in our lives. Otherwise, he warns, our lives will go straight to DVD. Let’s use this analogy for building our network of family, friends and others who will be the co-stars in our life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITY

The Top People in Your Life

 

Which individuals are you casting for roles in your life?

List people that you spend the most time with

or those who have the greatest impact on you.

(Rather than use all of the slots for your immediate family, you can group them on one line.)

 

____________________ ____________________

___________________ ____________________

___________________ ____________________

___________________ ____________________

 

Look back at the list. Do these people increase value in your life? Are you a better person when you are with them? Do you learn from them? Are they reliable? Do they bring out the best in you? If so, that’s great!

 

Unfortunately, sometimes, the people on our list are not helpful. Check to see if any of them are frequently in crisis, reckless or selfish? Does anyone lack initiative? Consider how each person affects your mood.

 

Changing Relationships

 

Perhaps you have stopped seeing some of your former friends due to distance or the changes in your lifestyles. If you have moved on to a new job or different neighborhood, you may not feel comfortable with others in your surroundings. Have you thought of forming some new friendships?

 

You can start by looking around for the types of people you would like to have as friends. Consider initiating contact instead of waiting for other people to connect with you. You can also add people who can support you in your goals.

 

~ If you don’t have a mentor, start looking for one. It’s likely that the person that you ask to be your mentor once had a mentor too. He or she might also have a mentor now. Your relationship with a mentor will probably not last forever, but the benefits will last a lifetime.

 

~ Life is much easier when you have a sounding board, cheerleader, accountability buddy and partner for your success. Include people to play these roles in your life. If you want to work with a life coach, you will get this kind of support. Through coaching, you can you gain clarity, move out of your comfort zone and achieve what you want more efficiently.

 

~ You can be a role model or mentor for someone else.

 

Tribes

 

Now, let’s move beyond family and friends to the second set of people in our lives, our tribes. Tribes are groups of individuals who share the same interest. They allow us to express a different side of ourselves and share our passion with others. Together, members of a tribe can achieve common goals and find fulfillment. Lady Gaga’s story tells of two tribes to which she belongs.

 

Lady Gaga and 90-year-old Tony Bennett share a love of jazz. Tony, a singer who became famous in the 1950’s, asked Lady Gaga if they could make an album together after he heard her sing at the Robin Hood Foundation a few years ago.

Lady Gaga, 29, said “Cheek to Cheek” was the most important album she ever made. She was singing “songs by the greatest songwriters in the history of American music” and she was partnering with Tony Bennett. Of course, both singers were part of a tribe that included musicians, directors, managers, music producers, audio engineers, lawyers, promoters and others. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are part of the same tribe, doing concert tours all over the United States and Canada.

 

Four years ago, Lady Gaga started the Born This Way Foundation. It provides mentoring and helps with youth issues, such as bullying and career development. The foundation’s mission is to support the “wellness of young people” and empower them “to create a kinder and braver world.”

 

Support from the California Endowment, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Research Advisory Board has been crucial to the success of Lady Gaga’s foundation. Lady Gaga couldn’t do this important work without those who joined the effort as part of her foundation tribe.

 

Despite her interaction with many people, Lady Gaga considers herself an introvert. She explains, “I generally really keep to myself and I am focused on my music. But when I do meet people that I have lots in common with it goes really well.” Being part of tribes enables Lady Gaga to have professional success and to fulfill her vision of contributing to society.

 

Your Tribes

 

Like Lady Gaga, you’ll want others on your life journey besides your relatives and close friends. You’ll want the members of your tribes. A tribe is made up of people who share the same passion – interest, career, hobby, or mission – as you.

The members of your tribe add to your performance by collaborating, encouraging, and sharing the excitement when engaged in a common activity. They might even be competitors if that’s what the tribe agrees to.

 

If you feel shy about joining a tribe, you can ask a friend to go with you the first time. Maybe you think that you don’t have anything to offer a tribe. You are selling yourself short. Let’s use the example of a compassionate young man, Jose. He joined the Red Cross, not knowing what he could offer. Then there was a natural disaster in the area. His ability to speak Spanish was crucial in communicating with residents who were at risk. Perhaps joining a tribe is too big a step for you at this time. What about volunteering for a few hours? Sites like VolunteerCNY.org allow people to help out for one event, taking on jobs like canteen assistant and registration volunteer.

 

Perhaps, you would find a local or virtual role that appeals to you on a site like volunteermatch.org. When you share your time and interests, you will feel more confident, connected and fulfilled.

There are many different kinds of tribes, and certainly, a group that would be a good match for you.

 

~ Workgroups: colleagues, professional organizations

~ Social groups: meetups, cultural organizations, net- working groups, singles clubs

~ Interest groups: bands, sports teams, art groups, theater groups, environmental groups, political organizations, gardening clubs, Toastmasters

~ Volunteer groups: work for causes like homelessness, hunger relief, animal welfare, Big Brothers, American Red Cross

~ Community organizations – Lions Club, American Legion

~ Religious affiliations

~ Educational groups: courses, workshops, online classes

~ Support groups: MS, AA, Debtor’s Anonymous, Weight Watchers, Recovery

 

As members of tribes, we share our interests and express different parts of ourselves. Interaction creates opportunities to contribute, to learn, and to experience connections with others.

 

 

 

ACTIVITY

Your Tribes

 

 

Make a TRIBES list.

 

First write down any tribes you belong to.

 

Then list tribes that you would consider joining.

 

Become active in one or more tribes.

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

 

YOUR NETWORK

Into Your Life

 

~ Make changes regarding your relationships

if they don’t serve you well.

 

~ Be open to making new friends.

 

~ Consider being active in the groups

that you listed in the Tribe Activity.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

There are people who are takers and others who are givers. Neither extreme is satisfying in the long run. It’s best when we can give to others and also allow them to give to us. Learning how to set proper personal boundaries can improve your relationships.

 

 

Element Six

YOUR

BOUNDARIES

 

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Personal boundaries are guidelines, rules or limits that a person creates to identify for themselves what are reasonable, safe and permissible…

 

-http://outofthefog.net

 

 

 

 

Each of us sets personal boundaries, ranging from very passive to very aggressive. The COO of Facebook contrasts different behaviors in professional settings to address the actions of women. Her examples will be a starting point for a discussion of this element, and will apply to the topic of personal boundaries regardless your gender.

 

Take your seat at the table” is something Sheryl Sanberg urges women to do. She tells of a meeting at Facebook. All the men went up to the buffet, picked out their food and sat at the conference table. The women waited until all the men were sitting down. Then they got their food and sat in seats off to the sides.

 

Sanberg also noted that at another meeting, she announced that she would take only two more questions. After answering the two questions, men kept their hands up. Without thinking of what she had just said about ending the question-answer period, Sheryl automatically responded.

 

Sheryl’s TED talk, “Why we have too few women leaders,” stressed the differences that women experience in the workplace and the way women behave. She urges them to step up so they can reach their potential in their careers.

 

Boundaries Matter

Whatever your gender, here are some questions to think about. Are you “sitting at the table” confidently, or are you “sitting on the sidelines” because you find it difficult to speak up? On the other hand, are you pushing others aside and disregarding their rights? Maybe you’re in the middle, acting appropriately assertive.

 

We mark our boundaries. Our boundaries affect:

~ who is taking responsibility

~ if we are letting things happen or taking control

~ if we can accept what is out of our control

~ if there is respect for privacy

~ if each person encouraged to live his or her life

~ if we are true to our feelings

~ if we are “shoulding ourselves”

~ if we are trying to control others

~ if we listen to our gut and adjust our actions accordingly

 

Whether we are passive or aggressive, adjusting our boundaries is difficult. We may think it is too late to change. It can feel overwhelming as we take on more responsibility for our actions and reactions. At first, acting in new ways may upset those we care about. It may feel too risky to say what needs to be said. Yet, being appropriately assertive improves our relationships.

 

Firefighter Fred, Princess Penny and

Appropriate Al

 

Later in this chapter, you’ll evaluate your own boundaries. First let’s take time for three different examples of personal boundaries as you meet Firefighter Fred, Princess Penny, and Appropriate Al. Each has a very different style of behaving in relationships. Their boundaries impact their effectiveness, lifestyle and long-term happiness. See if you recognize their behavior in yourself or other.

 

 

Firefighter Fred is a giver. His work requires self-sacrifice to rescue and assist others. Even when he’s off-duty, Fred’s ready to help anyone in need. He’ll drive you to the airport, even though he’s exhausted from his long shift. He’ll lend you money, even though he needs to pay his bills. He’ll take care of your four cats during your two-week vacation, even though it’s a major inconvenience. Firefighter Fred has weak boundaries. He doesn’t know how to say “No.”

 

Princess Penny is a taker. She frequently asks favors from others, even those she’s only just met. When people hesitate to fulfill her requests immediately, she pouts or starts an argument. Penny is self-centered and persistent. She doesn’t accept a “No.” Feeling entitled, she will invade another’s space as if it were her own, but she won’t allow anyone to come into hers. The people in Penny’s life have been trained to expect nothing from her. She disregards their needs and wants. Her boundaries are high, which prevents others from making requests of her.

Appropriate Al has proper boundaries. He is aware that there are three choices when a request is made: “Yes,” “No,” and “Maybe.” He helps others whenever he can. If he isn’t sure that he can help, he gives himself time to think by saying, “Maybe.” If he decides to say “No,” he doesn’t feel obligated to give a detailed explanation. Al realizes that “No” can sometimes prevent him from feeling overwhelmed or resentful. Having three answers allows Al to take charge of his time and needs. When he asks for a favor, he realizes that others have the same three choices. This understanding prevents him from getting upset when others say “No” to his requests.

 

Problems are often self-created and involve ineffective personal boundaries. If you or someone you know can relate to Firefighter Fred or Princess Penny, you will see that such mindsets can make relationships uncomfortable and frustrating. One person may be too timid and the other too aggressive. This kind of interaction leads to discord.

 

For many parents, the difficulty is saying “No” to unreasonable requests from their children. Some friendships are one-sided, with one person constantly appeasing the other. In marriage, there can be a situation in which one person holds the power.

 

The passive person may wish to avoid conflict, but being like Firefighter Fred results in unfair sacrifices. Unassertive behavior can start a pattern, which eventually results in the giver becoming worn out, and the taker losing the incentive to be responsible and fair. In all of these cases, both people need to adjust their boundaries to moderate their behavior.

 

How do people treat you? Are they respectful? How do you treat them? Are you considerate of their needs and wants? Do you have one-sided relationships? Where do you set your personal boundaries?

 

 

ACTIVITY

Your Boundaries

 

What column represents your behavior?

 

table<>. <>. |<>.
p={color:#000;}. PASSIVE |<>.
p={color:#000;}. * ASSERTIVE * |<>.
p={color:#000;}. AGGRESSIVE | <>. |<>.
p<{color:#000;}.  

Firefighter Fred

 

 

|<>. p<{color:#000;}.  

Appropriate Al |<>.
p<{color:#000;}.  

Princess Penny | <>. |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Pushover |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Appropriate |<>.
p={color:#000;}. Demanding

 

| <>. |<>. p={color:#000;}.  

Weak Boundaries

 

|<>. p={color:#000;}.  

Appropriate |<>.
p={color:#000;}.  

High Boundaries

 

|

 

 

Moderating Your Behavior

 

If you are a Firefighter Fred, hesitate before answering a request. Think of yourself and what you need. Remember “No” and “Maybe” are choices. The answer doesn’t need to be an automatic “Yes.”

 

If you are a Princess Penny, change your expectations of others, so you don’t come off as appearing helpless or entitled. When you take responsibility for your life, you will be happier.

 

 

Proper Boundaries Encourage Responsibility

 

Each of us needs to take appropriate responsibility for ourselves, so a relationship doesn’t become one of a total taker and a total giver. We don’t expect others to do things that we are capable of doing for ourselves, and we don’t do the work that others are capable of doing for themselves.

 

When we are assertive, we have appropriate boundaries. We aren’t stressed by the demands of being constant pleasers, and we make sure we are respectful of the rights of others. When we need help, we ask. Our lives are simplified, and our relationships run smoothly.

 

Public Versus Private

 

Now, let’s consider preferences when it comes to sharing personal information – the good news, the bad news, feelings, hopes, and fears.

 

Take, for instance, the various television reality shows. It’s obvious some people feel comfortable living their lives as an open book. Many of these TV personalities have been in the public view for years.

 

We, however, may not be as willing to have others see us at our worst or during our private moments, even with the incentive of easy money. When it comes to how much we want to share and with whom, we each have our preferences.

 

Range of Relationships

 

You can use the diagram that follows to help you reflect on the people in your life and how you relate to them.

 

1 – The very special people in your life are those in the circle closest to YOU. They are your confidants, the people you trust since you know they have your best interest at heart. You’ll share important news and serious concerns with them.

 

2 – Then there are other people you trust. You may not share as much with them, but their willingness to listen and give helpful feedback is important to you.

 

3 – The next group includes those with whom you socialize. You enjoy being with them because you have common interests.

 

4 – Last comes associates, the people you interact with on a professional or unemotional level. They may be co-workers or people in your neighborhood. Your conversations can be polite and enjoyable, but do not touch on intimate and personal matters. Subjects for discussion could include work related issues, current events or small talk.

 

 

 

 

Relationship Circles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Problems can arise when you aren’t clear about which people belong in the closest groups: your confidants, and others you trust. If you unburden your heart, sharing personal matters with companions and associates, they may assume that they can share whatever you say. This misunderstanding could lead to your being upset and angry with them. Be clear about the people you want to trust with your private thoughts, and if you don’t want them to discuss matters with anyone else.

 

Setting Parameters on Sharing

Now let’s set appropriate parameters on how much to share of our thoughts, opinions, and photos.

 

Avoid the Sky High, Impenetrable Privacy Wall – An extreme need for privacy is like surrounding yourself with a sky high, impenetrable wall. In this case, you don’t allow anyone to come close, and you are unable to get close to anyone. You may believe you are required to be entirely independent. Perhaps you fear looking imperfect. Trusting others can be difficult for you.

 

Everyone deserves to have another person to relate to, to ask for help, and to depend on in times of need. Each of us also has support to offer and love to give. Choose at least one other person and share some of your thoughts, feelings, wishes, and goals. Allow yourself to be open to connecting with another person so both of you can get the mutual benefits of the relationship.

 

Avoid Oversharing – While isolation has its problems, so do excessive attempts to connect with others. We can easily spot examples of unfiltered sharing. A co-worker vents daily about a recent breakup. A Facebook friend lashes out in a political rant in response to another opinion. A former classmate shares an unflattering video of fellow party goers who had way too much to drink. A relative uses Instagram to upload a gross image related to his recent surgery. In all of these situations, less is more.

 

To ensure that we aren’t overstepping the bounds of etiquette, we need to consider our intention. Is this sharing helpful to others? Would anyone object to what we are communicating? Is our motivation attention, sympathy, or revenge? Does the sharing fulfill a need to seem important? Would it be a problem if others also shared the information? Play it safe and only share what you and those involved feel is appropriate.

 

It’s fine to update others on what’s happening, to spread useful information or to ask for input. If the intention is a good one, and we aren’t infringing on another person’s privacy, the sharing is probably appropriate.

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES

Into Your Life

 

~ Reset your boundaries if you are too giving

or too demanding.

 

~ Respect your needs and wants,

as well as the needs and wants of others.

 

~ Decide what level of privacy is comfortable for you. Choose at least one person to share some of your thoughts, feelings, wants and needs.

 

~ Be careful about what you share.

Respect the feelings of others.

 

  • * * * * *

PART III

~~~~~~~~~~

YOUR

CHOICES

~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

Have you noticed the difference that you feel when you are walking in a subway station, as opposed to strolling on the beach? Environment affects our performance and happiness. In the next chapter, let’s explore how environments are impacting your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Seven

YOUR

CUSTOMIZED

ENVIRONMENTS

 

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Analyze your life in terms of its environment.

Are the things around you helping you toward success – or are they holding you back?

 

-W. Clement Stone

 

 

 

 

We all have preferences, including our likes and dislikes for different environments. Shigeru Nakayama took years to find the unique surroundings that he calls home. His story shines a light on how our environments affect our happiness.

Tropical rainforests are precious. They play an essential role in weather patterns and pollution reduction and are also a source of natural products used for food and medicine. Research scientists believe that they will discover many cures from the unique plants. Rainforests are rich, beautiful habitats. Many of us may long to see these natural wonders in person; but would we want to live there?

Shigeru Nakayama’s dream came true in 2011 when he was asked to care for the abandoned village, Airao Velho, in northern Brazil, deep in the Amazon Rainforest. Now he lives in this untamed forest among the ruins of the old village, near a peaceful river. Shigeru feels at home here with his animal neighbors.

Airão Velho is located several hours from any city. To make the trip, travelers must request permission from the government’s environmental agency and make special arrangements with certified boat operators. When visitors do find their way to Novo Airão, Shigeru happily shares his knowledge of the area’s history, showing them the museum he made. He is committed to protecting this spectacular environment.

 

Mr. Nakayama knows he’s found his best environment. He explains that even, as a child, he was interested in tropical agriculture. After living in São Paulo, he concluded that urban life didn’t agree with him. Now he’s living in the jungle in what, to him, feels like “home, sweet home.”

 

Shigeru Nakayama is happy in his new habitat. He wanted a lifestyle that the city couldn’t provide. His example is extreme. We can easily improve our environments with simple, low-cost changes. First, let’s talk about how our settings affect our happiness.

 

How Environments Affect Us

 

Many television programs show us how to improve our living spaces. Whether it’s home repair, de-cluttering, or tending our gardens, we have come to appreciate the importance of caring for our environment.

 

Studies found that modifying the patients’ surroundings influenced their recovery from medical conditions. A patient’s environment affected their blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and healing time. Temperature, space, lighting, and noise affect our physical comfort. Psychological factors, such as, feeling secure, having the right amount of stimuli and support, and a comfortable level of privacy can have a positive impact on a person’s mood and medical state. Now more than ever, hospitals are being designed to create settings that promote a sense of security and peace.

 

Being Aware of Our Surroundings

 

Every one of our environments has an effect on us. Think about some unpleasant places: a hectic office, a messy bathroom, a noisy cafeteria, a crowded supermarket, or an impersonal government building. Now, consider happier places: a lively Zumba class, lush gardens, a homey cottage or a beach with waves gently coming to shore. Some environments cause stress. Others bring out the best in us.

 

Sometimes, we miss the beauty within our settings. Awareness helps us appreciate parts of our environments which might otherwise go unnoticed.

 

I remember traveling on an open highway while on vacation in New Mexico. I marveled at the sky. The expanse of blue dotted with soft, white clouds was beautiful to behold. A few years later, I left my full-time job to start my coaching business. I was living life at a less hectic pace. One summer day, I was standing in a nearly empty supermarket parking lot. When I looked up, I saw that the sky was as lovely as the one out west. I realized that when I was working, I was too busy rushing around. I wasn’t stopping long enough to enjoy the view. Sometimes, there’s beauty where we least expect to see it.

 

Stuffocation

 

Lucky You! You’re young and haven’t spent decades accumulating numerous items that have become useless. James Wallman wrote a whole book on the hazards of “stuffocation.” He observed that many people no longer feel “enriched by things”, but are “stifled” by them. The clutter has become too much to manage. Wallman notes the examples of Zipcar and Netflix as trends toward having fewer possessions.

 

Princeton University researchers found that clutter-free environments made subjects less irritable and more productive. Keeping your environments clutter-free can foster your peace and increase your focus.

 

In Simple Abundance, Sahar Ban Breathnach explains her view of the path to joy.

 

~ From gratitude, we shift to simplicity as we no longer pine for more and more.

~ From simplicity, we move to order. Our surroundings are uncluttered, and our mind is clear. We are free from the stress of being overwhelmed.

~ From order, we progress to harmony.

~ From harmony to beauty.

~ From beauty to joy.

 

Simplicity is the opposite of stuffocation. Having less leads us to appreciate the beauty of that which was previously unnoticed. By committing to a lifestyle that avoids clutter, we enjoy the benefits of orderly spaces that are conducive to relaxation.

 

ACTIVITY

Awareness of Environments

Awareness is the first step for positive change. As you go through the day, take note of your different environments. Here are some questions to guide you:

- Are you physically at ease with the space, temperature, and cleanliness of your different environments?

- Are you psychologically comfortable? Is there a sense of security and safety?

- Is the place attractive and inviting?

- Is there the right level of activity?

- How is it to be with the people in that environment?

- Is the environment too noisy, too quiet, or just right?

- Do you feel connected to nature in the setting?

 

Ways to Improve Your Environments

 

When I was teaching writing to my young students, I explained that revising includes +, -, and change. They could add some detail or description. They could take away sentences that didn’t support the main point. They could change the writing by moving parts around or substituting better words.

 

Likewise, you can alter your environments. What do you want to add? What do you want to remove? What do you want to change? The following lists include ideas to improve your environment.

 

Add

• A photo, new screensaver or digital slideshow

• Pleasant sounds – wind chime, music, clock

 

• Flowers, art, a vase, plants

• A cheerful accessory

 

Remove

• Clutter

• Old, ugly, broken, or dirty things

• Things that you no longer use that just take up space

 

Change

• Clean – do an intensive cleaning, tidy up for 15 minutes each night, have a weekly cleanup day or hire someone.

 

• Replace something

• Rearrange furniture or group similar objects

• Change the wall colors

• Keep dust cloths and wipes in each room and your car to do quick clean ups

 

• Spend more time in a pleasant or calm environment:

in nature, at a library, at a coffee shop, by a fountain

• Interact with cheerful people in your environments

 

 

ACTIVITY

Improving Your Environments

 

What can you ADD to improve your environment?

 

What can you REMOVE to improve your environment?

 

What can you CHANGE to improve your environment?

 

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

CUSTOMIZED ENVIRONMENTS

Into Your Life

 

~ Observe the various environments

in which you spend time.

 

~ Take small steps to improve your surroundings.

Simple changes can enhance your performance

and your level of satisfaction.

 

~ Spend your free time in environments

that make you happy.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

In the following chapter, you’ll plan ways to de-stress and add enjoyment to your life. Reenergizing, restoring your spirit and participating in recreational activities are essential if you want to thrive in our ever-changing, crazy-busy world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Element Eight

YOUR 3 R KIT

Restore ~ Reenergize ~ Recreate

 

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We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time,

and take little pauses to relax

and re-center ourselves.

And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.

 

-Thich Nhat Hanh

 

 

 

Your 3 R Kit enables you to:

 

~ Restore your spirit

~ Reenergize your body

~ Recreate yourself through enjoyable activities

 

Some people think that relaxation and recreation waste time. President Obama doesn’t. He shares the same view as other presidents when it comes to the issue of downtime. Read on to learn about presidential restoration kits. Afterward, we’ll focus on yours.

 

It was the annual summer family vacation for Mom, Dad, and their two daughters–this year, to Martha’s Vineyard. While many would think, “Good for them. Finally, a chance to bond, relax, and have fun without the pressure of work or school,” the press did not agree. Critics of President Obama complained that the country had too many pressing problems for him to be out of Washington, D. C.

 

While presidents have to be ready to interrupt their personal lives in an instant to attend to a national emergency, many citizens feel that downtime serves our leaders well. Obama supports this thinking, and in his free time, limited though it may be, he plays golf and basketball. During his presidential trips, he goes sightseeing. He also enjoys eating out, concerts, and movies. These activities, like his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, help him to stay healthy, clear his mind, learn, and promote a stable family life.

 

Other presidents took breaks from their many responsibilities. Harry Truman and Richard Nixon played the piano while Bill Clinton preferred making music on his saxophone. John F. Kennedy relished his time on his sailboat. Ronald Reagan even took a break while in England to go horseback riding with Queen Elizabeth II.

 

At the White House, there’s a one-lane bowling alley, a swimming pool and cabana, a family theater, and a garden. Everyone needs to take a break from work, even presidents.

 

Passive and Active Leisure

 

If our president can make time to relax so can we. Leisure is a period when you are free from work demands, so you do what you enjoy. It can be either passive or active.

 

 

 

Passive leisure is relaxing. Watching a movie, listening to music and reading are examples of passive leisure. These activities don’t take much effort to plan or do. Resting is good for our mental health, but we also need to include activities that are involve effort. Active leisure includes learning a language, trying out a new hobby, hiking, going to social events, and skiing.

 

Work Breaks, Stress Breaks

 

There are many benefits of taking breaks from work. Those who incorporate recreation into their lives report fewer doctor visits, lower body mass, lower blood pressure, reduced stress, and more life satisfaction. Leisure gives us opportunities to learn more about ourselves and to connect and bond with others. Life is a combination of work and play; both are crucial.

 

Free Fun / Cheap Fun

 

Everything can seem expensive when you are responsible for keeping up with the bills. Learning how to have free and low-cost fun can help stretch the budget.

 

I recently heard that any resident of New York City can have free access to the various museums, zoos and botanical gardens for one year. All that’s needed is an idNYC card. Even if your town or city doesn’t have a program like this, there are plenty of inexpensive ways to enjoy your spare time.

 

You can take local adventures – browsing at an ethnic or health food store to learn about items you never knew about, going to a library and checking out a new genre, visiting a park or art gallery, or exploring a new neighborhood. Meeting up with friends for coffee is inexpensive. Perhaps you could take up a hobby, join an interest group or participate in a sport that doesn’t require a lot of money. We all need variety. These kinds of experiences can renew our spirits.

 

Let’s explore your time away from work. How do you relax? Which activities make you happy? What helps to renew your energy when you are tired or feeling down?

 

ACTIVITY

Thinking About Your 3 R Kit

(Restore, Reenergize, Recreate)

 

Here are some possibilities for your restoration kit. If you read through this list, you may find some new activities that will help you to de-stress, relax and enjoy life. Then you can list a few new items for your 3 R Kit.

 

~ Unplug and let go off all digital distractions. Put away

the to-do list. Enjoy slowing down.

 

~ Music: play an instrument, listen to songs, sing, create a go-to song file that lifts your mood, increases your energy, or helps you relax.

 

~ Read books, magazines, newspapers, poetry, blogs

 

~ Art: surround yourself with beautiful images, make crafts, paint, sketch, color

 

~ Nature: go to the beach, work in a garden or the care for houseplants, stroll in a park, hike, enjoy beauty or the sound of a water feature, observe birds or other animals

~ Connecting: spend time with family or friends, talk on the phone, participate in an organization, help someone, interact with a pet

 

~ Reflecting: meditate, pray, relax and let thoughts flow, keep a gratitude log

 

~ Write stories, poems, journal entries or a blog

~ Collecting: make a file of inspirational quotes, display uplifting posters, buy souvenirs, create a photo album, make a collection of anything from stamps to recipes

 

~ Moving: play a sport, walk, do yoga, exercise, dance, take a bike ride, jog

 

~ Humor: watch funny movies, go to comedy clubs, spend time with people who have a good sense of humor, sign up for the joke of the day, write funny stories, tell jokes

 

~ Cooking: make your favorite meal, try something new, watch cooking demonstrations

 

~ Shopping: window-shop or treat yourself to something you can afford

 

~ Routines and rituals: These recurring activities are breaks that will energize you while creating stability and structure in your life. Examples: following or creating traditions, going to the gym three times a week, attending a weekly religious service, having Saturday brunch with a friend, watching a favorite show

 

~ Celebrating: taking time to be with others for their special events, setting aside moments to revel in your accomplishments, inviting friends and family to share in your joyful occasions

 

~ Learning or trying something new: a different language, a new skill, or a new route to take on your way home

 

~ Playing a game online or playin a board game

 

~ Doing puzzles: putting a jigsaw puzzle together, completing a crossword puzzle or Sudoku puzzle

 

 

Your 3 R Kit

 

~ Ways to reenergize your body

~ Ways to restore your spirit

~Ways to recreate yourself through enjoyable activities

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

YOUR 3 R KIT

Into Your Life

 

~ Take small breaks during the day.

 

~ Plan for down times and vacations.

 

~ Enjoy hobbies and sports.

 

  • * * * * *

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

 

The people spotlighted in this final chapter will give you an understanding of the importance of perspective and choice. You can apply what you learn to make better decisions concerning your present and future happiness.

Element Nine

 

YOUR

PERSPECTIVE

 

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Perspective is everything when you are experiencing the challenges of life.

 

-Joni Eareckson Tada

 

 

 

 

Perspective

 

To consider how perspective affects a person, check out the pairs below. One view is not necessarily better than the other, but each perspective affects our feelings, thoughts and decision

 

Seeing a problem – Seeing an opportunity

Being a judger – Being a learner

Noticing details – Looking at the big picture

Focusing on inner thoughts – Preparing for action

Thinking emotionally – Thinking neutrally

Being closed minded – Being flexible

Emphasizing the trivial – Spotlighting what’s significant

Interpreting an event as failure – Considering it feedback

Seeing the glass as half-empty – Seeing it as half-full

Having a short term view – Having a five-year view

Being self-centered – Thinking of self and others

Feeling powerless – Feeling in charge

 

We’ll begin with Andre Agassi’s story which illustrates the need for the short and long term perspective concerning our happiness.

 

Imagine doing something that you hated for twenty-eight years. That’s what Andre Agassi did. Despite attaining the 1966 Olympic tennis gold medal and being considered one of the greatest players, he hated the sport since he started training at age 7.

 

In his biography, , Agassi explains that he was the youngest of four children and that his playing tennis fulfilled his father’s dream. He describes relentless practices with the modified ball machine that he calls “the dragon” and a net six inches higher than normal. By ten, Agassi was competing in the nationals.

 

At a young age, he already felt lost academically but never revealed his intense anxiety. By 16, he took on the responsibilities of a professional athlete. Six years later, he won his first Grand Slam title, followed by several more.

 

Eventually, Agassi’s body took the brunt of the years of competition. He sustained ankle, leg and wrist injuries and endured severe back pain. Even his father knew it was time for Andre to stop playing tennis. At age 35, Agassi retired from the sport.

 

Agassi’s current Facebook banner shows a photo of a large group of about forty “Agassi’s kids”, students benefiting from his foundation. Andre Agassi, who quit school as a teenager, now devotes his time to helping children enjoy learning. Students from kindergarten through high school attend Agassi Prep. College banners hang as a reminder of the children’s goal. Guests like Bill Clinton and Shaquille O’Neil drop by to visit the $40 million dollar campus. Andre has spent his years after tennis doing what’s meaningful to him. He’s making the most of his power of choice.

 

Goals That Didn’t Bring Happiness

 

Andre Agassi’s public success coincided with private misery. Agassi got stuck spending years doing what he didn’t enjoy. It wasn’t as if he made sacrifices for a goal that he valued. Playing tennis wasn’t serving his happiness at that time, and it wasn’t leading to something that he was looking forward to in the future. Perhaps, Agassi felt powerless to make changes. Maybe he didn’t realize that he had other options. Thankfully, after retirement, Agassi broadened his perspective and did find happiness.

 

Tal Ben-Shahar also spent years working toward an achievement, and then realized that it didn’t bring him happiness. Profoundly affected by the realization that he had wasted so much time on something that left him unfulfilled, Ben-Shahar decided to devote his life to the study of happiness.

 

Hamburgers and Happiness

 

You can learn about Ben-Shahar’s different happiness theories from his books and online videos. For this section, I’ll use part of his Hamburger Model of Happiness.

 

Ben-Shahar enjoyed eating burgers, so he used them as metaphors. Eating different kinds of burgers represented the various types of behaviors that bring or prevent happiness.

 

Only eating nutritious burgers would enhance his health. It wouldn’t matter if the burgers were tasty or tasteless. He’d get the long-term benefit. Ben-Shahar applied this thinking to actions that lead to long-term happiness. Two kinds of behavior result in future happiness – happy now, happy later behaviors and delayed happiness behaviors.

 

Behaviors and Long-Term Happiness

 

These behaviors lead to long-term happiness.

 

  • Happy Now, Happy Later Behaviors – We’re doing something we like, and we’ll get long-term benefit from it. Examples might include doing a project that we’re excited about, engaging a hobby that we find interesting, or having fun participating in a sport. We enjoy the activity when we are doing it and afterward feel that our time was well-spent.

 

  • Delayed Happiness Behaviors – There’s a saying, “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” Delaying gratification is easier when we know the discomfort is for a future benefit that we value. We keep motivated as we work toward a goal because we anticipate the positive result that will come. An example is studying hard to get a certification which will lead to a better job and lifestyle in the future. The pain is worth the gain.

 

You’ll want to plan for both of these behaviors. This way you will have happy times in the present and the future. Life will be a balance of play and meaningful work.

 

Difficult Choices Involve Tradeoffs

 

As you probably realize, you can’t have everything you want. We all have to make tradeoffs. The price of being a celebrity is a lack of privacy. A life of leisure limits a sense of accomplishment. Being an innovator involves the risk of failure. A recent news story illustrates the dilemma involved when making major decisions.

 

CC Shocker and Great ConCern were the headlines in New York newspapers on October 6th, 2015. The Yankee pitcher, CC Sabathia’s personal decision was front page news as his team was entering the wild card face-off with the Houston Astros.

 

Sabathia would miss the MLB playoffs so he could enter an alcohol rehabilitation center. He explained how much playing baseball meant to him and how he regretted leaving his teammates at such a critical time. His recovery and his family had to come first.

 

This decision was heart-wrenching. Sabathia was publically admitting his weakness. He felt he let down his fellow Yankees. Also, he was missing a significant event in his career. The only reason to go through this pain was his hope for future happiness.

 

Like CC Sabathia, some of our hardest decisions will probably be based on our goal of long-term happiness. By sacrificing happiness in the present, we build a bridge for a better life in the future.

 

Some Enjoyable Behaviors Don’t Bring

Long-Term Happiness

 

Buying designer clothes that you can’t afford can make you feel attractive, but what’s going to happen to your financial situation down the road? Spending hours each night on your phone may be enjoyable, but is there a future benefit? By looking at the consequences of your actions, you can make decisions for your long-term happiness.

 

We all have times when we revert to default behaviors. Our habits seem natural, and we often don’t consciously decide to do something. To disrupt a negative pattern, we can determine beforehand what the new association will be.

 

Since many of us have connected watching television with unhealthy snacking, let’s use that as an example. What can you do besides eating junk food while watching the show? Choose a healthy snack? Just relax? Fold the laundry? The idea is that you aren’t acting mindlessly. You’re aware of the behavior that will lead to future happiness.

 

Living With Intention

 

By living with intention, we are mindful of what we are doing. We are aware of our behavior and can judge if it will benefit us in the future. After identifying the purpose, we can decide if our actions are worthwhile. The following story demonstrates how the choice to experience temporary discontent can lead to future long-term happiness.

 

A mother waits ten minutes for her child to get dressed without help. She patiently watches him put on his clothes day after day. Her intention is to let him practice so he will eventually increase his independence. Even though the mother doesn’t like waiting, she knows the future pay-off is worth it. She isn’t annoyed by her son’s slowness since she’s thinking about how much easier life will be for both of them in the future.

 

ACTIVITY

Unhappiness and Choice

 

Think about something that is making you unhappy.

 

1. Decide if the present unhappiness will lead to future happiness. If so, focus on the future benefit.

 

2. If your current unhappiness doesn’t lead to future happiness, decide if you are willing to stop this behavior. If you are, check out your options and commit to an action that brings long-term happiness.

 

3. Notice if you are spending too much time on fun activities that interfere with your productivity and future happiness. Adjust your actions to fit with your goals.

 

4. What observations did you make? What changes can you implement?

 

Happiness Benefits

 

While Tal Ben-Shahar stresses how to get long-term benefits from our actions, Shawn Achor, explains the importance of “The Happiness Advantage.” In his book, Achor tells of the big surprise he got when he arrived at Harvard. Many of his fellow students at this prestigious university were not feeling fortunate to be there. Within a couple of weeks, they were stressed with the workload and competition.

 

After graduation, Achor remained at Harvard to study happiness. He found that the key to success is being happy first. Having a positive perspective increases motivation and the ability to see new solutions, leading to a more fulfilling personal and professional life. Achor insists that “negative brains can be trained to see more possibility.”

 

Happiness is determined by our internal state, the way we perceive our environments. It is not created by our external experiences. Achor urges us to develop positivity as we go through our days. He emphasizes that HAPPINESS LEADS TO SUCCESS. Success does NOT automatically bring happiness.

 

The famous 2001 Nun Study by Danner, Snowdon, and Friesen supports Achor’s theory of the “Happiness Advantage”. Since the sisters were about the same age and had similar lifestyles, they were an excellent choice as subjects for the study. The journals of the 678 nuns entering the convent in the 1930’s and 1940’s were analyzed. Researchers looked for positive words and emotions in the entries. They categorized the sisters by their positivity. Nuns who had a bright outlook lived longer. It is believed that these nuns also had a “natural immunity” to Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

ACTIVITY

Positivity

 

Build an awareness of your level of positivity by observing your thinking and behavior. Spend a day noting how often you have a positive perspective and how often you have a negative perspective. You can put tally marks in the columns to keep track.

 

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Staying Flexible, Realistic and Hopeful

 

By using the power of choice, we create a path to our future. However, it is rare for anything to work out perfectly. Life doesn’t come with guarantees. Even with careful planning, we experience disappointment. It helps to be flexible, realistic, and hopeful. Otherwise, we will experience inevitable frustration and find it hard to move forward.

 

Do you find yourself sometimes envisioning the worst case scenario? Is it hard to enjoy the good times because you feel you need to be prepared if things change? Do you pin all your hopes on one outcome? Many of us have a high need for security. This tendency can interfere with our happiness.

 

After years of being “addicted to certainty,” Allison Carmen now helps others. She assures them that when things don’t go as expected, this doesn’t necessarily lead to loss, pain and doom. She is the author of The Gift of Maybe: Finding Hope and Possibility in Uncertain Times.

 

In the past, Allison Carmen suffered from fear of the unknown. She worried that her work at the law firm wouldn’t be good enough. She feared that she wouldn’t get a raise. She even wondered if she might get fired. Loops of negative thoughts interfered with her sleep. This pattern of apprehension took a toll on her health.

 

Finally, overcome by anxiety, she quit her job and started her own law firm. However, over time, she realized that work wasn’t the source of her problem. Her suffering wasn’t due to any external factor. It was her need to “know” that was creating unrelenting stress in her life.

 

Everything changed when she became aware of the “gift of maybe.” Allison started thinking differently. She saw that every situation could develop in a variety of ways and no longer pondered an endless list of negative “what ifs.”

 

More confident and optimistic, Allison Carmen took a leap of faith. She started a new business as a consultant. Now Allison lives her passion, as she helps her clients incorporate the “gift of maybe” into their lives. She also inspires her followers with thought-provoking observations and the distinctive perspective of her blogs.

 

It is impossible to know what the future will bring. Instead, we can remember that the unknown offers many options. Some of the alternatives could very well be positive ones and bring new opportunities. Instead of dreading the future, we can hopefully anticipate what comes next.

 

Some People Need A Reality Check

 

Some people do not fear the unknown. Instead, they are overly optimistic, only seeing the best case scenario as a possibility. They might fail to act responsibly because they believe that things will always work out. Perhaps they are used to parents smoothing the path for them or others cleaning up their messes. The attitude adjustment for them involves taking their blinders off and having a reality check. These individuals need to see that there is no assurance that a rescue team will be there after they’ve created a crisis due to negligence.

 

Events Affect Our Happiness,

But For How Long?

 

I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that significant experiences can influence our happiness. If you win the $1 million lottery, your happiness soars. If your fiancé tells you he changed his mind about getting married, your happiness disappears.

 

The interesting thing is that the feelings of ecstasy or extreme sadness usually don’t last that long. The emotions tend to moderate. So if you win the lottery, realize you won’t have that smile on your face every day. If you feel rejected in love, the sadness you feel won’t be permanent, either.

 

Perspectives and Possibilities

 

There are so many ways to look at events. As we’ve seen, there are the present and future time perspectives, the positive and pessimistic outlooks, and the limited view and the broad view. Whenever we feel stuck or upset, it helps to look at the situation another way. We can take inspiration from Nick Vujicic, who was born without all four limbs. The turning point for him was changing his focus from what was missing and then imagining everything that he could have. His new way of thinking transformed his life. Choosing a helpful perspective can alter our lives for the better too.

 

 

 

  • * * * * *

Incorporating

PERSPECTIVE

Into Your Life

 

~ Consider your long-term happiness and make decisions accordingly.

 

~ Maintain a positive attitude. Try to see more of the pleasant, peaceful, enjoyable side of life.

Positivity fosters happiness; happiness fosters success.

 

~ Let go of the “fear of the unknown” and have a flexible outlook that embraces options and alternatives.

 

~ Expect changes in your level of happiness.

Extreme emotions will moderate.

 

  • * * * * *

 

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p={color:#000;}. Acknowledgements

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p<>{color:#000;}. Since I split the original book into two books, Design Your Happiness and Take Charge of Your Life, you will see some of the same names listed in both books. I am indebted to each of these wonderful people, who generously offered their time and talents to help me reach my goal. The names are listed in chronological order.

 

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p={color:#000;}. My Heartfelt Thanks to:

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p<>{color:#000;}. E.G. Sebastian, my dynamic business mentor

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p<>{color:#000;}. Asia Weisgerber, who took on the role of the first reader

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p<>{color:#000;}. George Weisgerber, for his support and many suggestions

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thomas Joseph Caniano, my personal IT Help Hotline

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p<>{color:#000;}. Tom Caniano for his input and gentle prodding to get me to publish the book

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p<>{color:#000;}. Chey-Juan Martin for her enthusiasm and vital feedback on how to make the book “Millennial-friendly”

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p<>{color:#000;}. Kristin Vegh for her patience, dedication and efficiency in editing

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p<>{color:#000;}. Michael Swendenberg, author and expert on self-publishing

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p<>{color:#000;}. Robyn Kumar, Patricia Hanley, friends, and relatives for their interest and encouragement

 

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p={color:#000;}. To My Millennial Coaching Clients

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p={color:#000;}.

Thanks for putting your trust in me and the coaching process. You provided the inspiration for me to write this book.

Closing Thoughts


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p<>{color:#000;}. You have taken the time to reflect and build the foundation for your happiness. As you continue your adult journey, you will pass through different stages. Each phase will be a new place to explore, as you are presented with a myriad of choices. Each day, live with intention. Keep the thought, “I choose to…” in the forefront. In this way, you will continue to design your happiness.

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p<>{color:#000;}.

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p<>{color:#000;}. On your travels, put aside the pressure to be perfect. Be kind to yourself and others. Stay open to ways to progress and make small changes that will add up over time. Use your signature strengths. Enjoy the trip!

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p={color:#000;}. There’s great power in being part of a supportive community.

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p={color:#000;}. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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p={color:#000;}. Check for information about the

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p={color:#000;}. FREE scheduled group calls, where we’ll discuss the Design Your Happiness elements and

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p={color:#000;}. strategies to increase productivity.

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p={color:#000;}. .

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p={color:#000;}.

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p={color:#000;}. Feel free to pop in for one or more of the sessions.

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p={color:#000;}. You can share your thoughts or just listen.

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p={color:#000;}. Dates and times of calls will be posted @

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p={color:#000;}. https://www.facebook.com/essential11skills

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p={color:#000;}.

 

Also, feel free to contact me – [email protected]

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p={color:#000;}. References

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. Hale, M. (2013). The single woman: Life, love, and a dash of sass.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Your Gifts

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p<>{color:#000;}. BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015.

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p<>{color:#000;}. http://allgroanup.com/featured/obsessive-comparison-disorder/

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p<>{color:#000;}. http://www.viacharacter.org/www/The-Survey

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p<>{color:#000;}. Peterson, C., & Park, N. (2009). Classifying and measuring strengths of character. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Oxford handbook of positive psychology, 2nd edition (pp. 25-33). New York: Oxford University Press. www.viacharacter.org

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p<>{color:#000;}. Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification. New York: Oxford University Press and Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. http://www.viacharacter.org

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p<>{color:#000;}. Your Values

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p<>{color:#000;}. Money will buy you a bed. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2015.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Jones, E. Stanley. Abundant Living. New York: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1942. 11. Print.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Mycoskie, Blake. Start Something That Matters. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2011. 3-6. Print.

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p<>{color:#000;}. “Blake Mycoskie.” TOMS : One for One. Web. 4 July 2015. (http://www.toms.com/blakes-bio)

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p<>{color:#000;}. Janis, S. (2008). Spirituality for dummies (2nd ed., p. 22, 24, 25, 27). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Your Beliefs

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p<>{color:#000;}. BrainyQuote. Xplore, n.d. Web. 08 Oct. 2015. Ed Milliband

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p<>{color:#000;}. Life Satisfaction

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p<>{color:#000;}. Leonard, Thomas J., and Bryon Laursen. The 28 Laws of Attraction: Stop Chasing Success and Let It Chase You. New York: Scribner, 2007. 123. Print.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Thrive The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating A Life Of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder pages 1-2, --- Print

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p<>{color:#000;}. “ReWork: Rethinking Work and Well-being” Huffington Post June 4, 2014

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p<>{color:#000;}. Gollom, Mark. “Why Arianna Huffington Says There’s More to Business than Profit.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 24 June 2013. Web. 5 July 2015.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Your Boundaries

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p<>{color:#000;}. Out of the FOG – Setting and Maintaining Boundaries. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2015.

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p<>{color:#000;}. Sandberg, Sheryl, and Nell Scovell. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. 28-31. Print

 

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p<>{color:#000;}. Your Network

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

For over twenty-five years, Irene Caniano enjoyed a fulfilling career in education as a classroom teacher and later as an instructor of technology, physical education, and science. She held positions as PTA (Parent Teacher Association) liaison, UFT (United Federation of Teachers) chapter leader, and member of the school leadership team. Irene left teaching in 2009 to train to become a success skills coach.

Her clients are Millennials, who bring their unique perspective to life and work. Irene shares with them empowering principles and effective strategies so they can improve productivity, increase life satisfaction and reach their potential. She provides individual and group coaching and conducts workshops on life skills and happiness. Her passion is assisting young adults in acknowledging their strengths, leaving their comfort zones, and becoming their best selves.

Irene is a long time member of Toastmasters and CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) and one of the planners of the annual Lions Club Just 4 Women Expo in her area. She has also served as a director with the NYC chapter of the International Coach Federation.

Her leisure activities include gardening, reading and traveling. She lives with her husband, Tom, in the lovely village of Floral Park, NY. Irene enjoys keeping in touch with her two grown sons. To her, it’s a pleasure watching them use their unique gifts as they travel on life’s journey.

  • * Coming Later in 2016 * *

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE

17 Proactive Strategies for Challenging Times

By Irene Caniano

Here’s a sneak peak.

PART I – Progress in Life

1 – Take Charge of Yourself

2 – Understand Your Decisions

3 – Attain Your Goals

4 – Benefit from the “Power of the Pause”

5 – Just Listen

6 – Appreciate the Precious Gift of Time

7 – Ask Powerful Questions

8 – Control Your Negative Thoughts

9 – Flip Your Focus

 

PART II – Prepare for the Tough Times

 

10 – Remember “Life is a Pendulum”

11 – Push Through Setbacks

12 – Deal with the Toxic People in Your Life

13 – When All Else Fails, Be Resilient

 

PART III – Feel Good About Your Future

 

14 – Learn, Don’t Judge

15 – Let the Magic Happen

16 – Be-Do-Have

17 – Pursue Your Hero


Design Your Happiness - 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want

Whether you are designing a dress, a house or a website, there are certain elements to consider. It's the same for creating a customized version of your life. In this book, you'll immerse yourself in planning your happiness around nine necessary elements. In Part I, you'll begin to eliminate what's not working, keep what is and add what you want in your life. In Part II, you'll focus on the different kinds of relationships and learn how to improve your personal interactions. In Part III, you'll discover the many options that you have and apply theories of happiness so you can attain your goals. Step by step, element by element, you'll make changes that will move you toward the life you envision. Each chapter contains an explanation of the significance of the element, inspiring stories and activities to help you implement the aspect in your life. By making the choice to design your happiness, you can positively impact both your present life and your future.

  • ISBN: 9781310892929
  • Author: Irene Caniano
  • Published: 2016-03-09 05:41:12
  • Words: 15973
Design Your Happiness - 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want Design Your Happiness - 9 Essential Elements to Create the Life You Want