Category Archives: gratitude

The Power of Gratefulness In Your Daily Life

The Power of Gratefulness In Your Daily Life by John Assaraf

http://blog.myneurogym.com/grateful-life/

‘Tis the Season for Giving Thanks…

The smell of turkey is in the air, and that can only mean that another year is coming to a close. Now is the time to take a moment and reflect. How did 2015 go for you? Did you achieve some personal and professional goals you set at the beginning of the year? Or, do you find yourself saying “if only I…”

It is easy to look back and focus on regrets, mistakes, and missed opportunities. However, a negative outlook on the events of the past year can set you up for failure in the next one. What if you concentrated on things from the last 12 months that you can be grateful for instead? You would be amazed at how it might change your whole perspective.

Being grateful may not come naturally to you. Some people have to make a conscious effort. It means pausing in the middle of a hectic life and giving thanks, verbally, internally, or even on paper, for the good things. It can be something big like your health, the love of a spouse or partner, or a fulfilling job.

 

But it can also be the little things. A sunset, a song on the radio, a green light… you would be amazed by the positive energy you create in your mind from being grateful about a small thing that you would normally ignore or overlook altogether.

Many studies have shown that making even a little effort on a daily basis can perpetuate positivity. A 2003 study that compared two groups, one that kept track weekly of things they were grateful for with one that only listed the things that bothered them, revealed that after 10 weeks, the first group enjoyed significantly greater life satisfaction than the other.

So how can you integrate gratefulness more into your daily life? First, start with the voice in your head. Make sure at least once a day you hear it say, “I’m grateful for…” no matter how big or small it is. Next, try on a weekly basis to write an email or letter to a friend, co-worker, or family member, thanking them for their help or generosity. Finally, you can simply say “thank you” to everyone! Whether it’s the barista, the bus driver, or the bagger at the supermarket, expressing your gratefulness with those simple two words is a great way to pay it forward – and put proven power into your own life.

 

HERE IS A GREAT ARTICLE THAT CAN STAND ALONE AND SPEAK BY ITSELF. NOTHING MORE THAT I CAN REALLY ADD OTHER THAN PLEASE READ AND USE IT !

From Psychology Today Magazine………

Fulfillment at Any Age

    How to remain productive and healthy into your later years
    by Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D.

Giving thanks: The benefits of gratitude

      Why gratitude is good for your mental health

We all like being thanked. It’s a great feeling to have someone, especially someone who doesn’t stand to gain, tell us that we made a difference in their lives. In the past few weeks, I’ve had the good fortune of receiving some heartfelt thank you notes from students, pausing as they got ready to leave campus for the summer, or perhaps for good, to take a moment and let me know that something I said or did proved helpful to them. I’ve also had the good fortune of having favors done for me by people who went out of their way to help me solve a problem, fix something, or in fortunately only one case- return a lost cellphone. Being thanked and having reason to thank others are two sides of the same gratefulness coin. Both exemplify the positive in human behavior and provide us with a positive charge that boosts our emotional balance.

On the surface it seems like gratitude has everything to recommend it. There are a few gratitude traps, though. Some people feel uncomfortable about being thanked. They get truly embarrassed, dismissing the thanker by insisting that “it was nothing” (though clearly the thanker felt otherwise). There are also some uncomfortable aspects about thank-yous when it comes to thank-you presents that are overly generous or could be interpreted as bribes.

If you’re at the receiving end of a thank-you, you may feel unsure about how to reciprocate. Does a thank-you present require a thank-you note? What about thanking someone who’s helped you? Do you reward a person who returns a lost item with cash or just allow your relieved face to serve as its own reward? Then there’s the guilt factor: What if you let a few weeks slip by without sending a thank-you note for a birthday gift? Does it look worse to send a belated thank-you note or just to forget the whole thing and hope the gift-giver won’t notice? Thank-you notes inspire their own particular forms of angst, as was pointed out in one particularly insightful Social Q’s column of the New York Times (for the record: this column is a treasure trove of psychological insight on quirky behaviors).

It might be reassuring, then, to learn that the expression of thanks can be its own reward. Being the recipient of a favor can also make the favor-giver (if there is such a word) feel good too. Everyone benefits when thanks are freely given and just as freely acknowledged. 

There are always exceptional circumstances involving acts of extreme altruism. Heroes are known as the people who put the needs of others above our own. These cases put in bold relief the fact that a hero doesn’t expect thank-you notes or little gift baskets as acknowledgement of his or her sacrifice.

Many real-life heroes also do not expect thank-yous. Yet, when we benefit from the labors that others put out for our sake, we feel internally driven to and want to express our gratitude. And that’s a good thing, in more ways than one.

Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough point out that gratitude is the “forgotten factor” in happiness research. They point out the benefits of expressing gratitude as ranging from better physical health to improved mental alertness. People who express gratitude also are more likely to offer emotional support to others.

Expressing gratitude in your daily life might even have a protective effect on staving off certain forms of psychological disorders. In a review article published this past March (see below), researchers found that habitually focusing on and appreciating the positive aspects of life is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.

Now how can you apply these ideas to your own life? Here are some suggestions to boost your own, shall we say, GQ’s (“gratitude quotient”):

1. If someone thanks you, accept the thanks graciously. Let the person know you appreciate being thanked. That’s all you need to do. Really.

2. If you find that difficult, think about why gratitude makes you uncomfortable. Do you not feel worthy of being thanked? In my study of personal fulfillment in midlife, I identified a subgroup of people whose own fulfillment was hampered by their lack of faith in their own worth. Chronic feelings of inadequacy can make it difficult for people to benefit from any thanks that come their way.

3. Look for small things to be grateful for. Not all acts of kindness have a capital “K.” A driver who lets you ease into a busy highway deserves a wave just as much as someone who holds open a door when you’re loaded down with packages. A smile will boost your GQ and make both of you feel better.

4. Don’t fret about gratitude infractions. If you forget to send a thank you note don’t worry about it and certainly don’t use elapsed time as an excuse to avoid the task altogether. Send a quick email and then get to the real thing. If you’re a chronic forgetter, though, you might try to figure out why. By the same token, if someone forgets to thank you, don’t ruminate over it, thereby raising your BP if not your GQ.

5. Keep your thank you’s short, sweet, and easy to write. One reason people procrastinate about writing thank you’s is that they want them to be original and not seem hasty, insincere, or ill conceived. This doesn’t mean the thank you should be one that is short enough to tweet but if you don’t build it up in your mind as having to be a magnum opus you’ll be less inclined to put it off. Whatever you do, don’t make excuses or lie about having sent a thank you that you never did (for more on lying and excuse-making, check out my previous post).

I’ll close by saying thanks in advance to anyone who chooses to add their comments to the discussion or wishes to forward the blog link. It’s the least I can do!

Follow me on Twitter @swhitbo for daily updates on psychology, health, and aging. Feel free to join my Facebook group, “Fulfillment at Any Age,” to discuss today’s blog, or to ask further questions about this posting. 

Copyright Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D. 2010

7 Steps for Creating the Life YOU Want

7 Steps for Creating the Life YOU Want

Stairway in blue heavensWe all aspire to do, be and have great things. Yet most of us simply aren’t creating the results we want. We complain that we don’t have enough money, romance, success or joy in our lives. We point fingers and blame outside problems that “happen” to us and make life more difficult. But what we need to understand and keep at the forefront of our minds is that greatness exists in all of us. It is simply up to us to pull it out of ourselves. Regardless of personal circumstances, economic climates, and access to resources, it helps to maintain faith in the fact we each are more powerful than we think. We all have the ability to create the life we want. We just need to learn how to do it. Is there an exact “formula”? No, but there are certain common features that successful people exhibit and that anyone can practice. They are what can jumpstart your success and attract what you want in life. You’d be hard pressed to find any high achiever who doesn’t live by the following 7 tips:

1. Take No Less than 100% Responsibility for Your Life

One of the greatest myths that is pervasive in our culture today is that you are entitled to a great life and that somehow, somewhere, someone is responsible for filling our lives with continual happiness, exciting career options, nurturing family time and blissful personal relationships simply because we exist. But the real truth is that there is only one person responsible for the quality of the life you live. That person is you. Everything about you is a result of your doing or not doing. Income. Debt. Relationships. Health. Fitness level. Attitudes and behaviors. That person who reflects back at you in the mirror is the chief conductor in your life. Say hello! I think everyone knows this in their hearts, but the mind can play games, tricking plenty of people into thinking external factors are the source of failure, disappointment, and unhappiness. But the truth of the matter is that external factors don’t determine how you live. You are in complete control of the quality of your life. Successful people take full responsibility for the thoughts they think, the images they visualize, and the actions they take. They don’t waste their time and energy blaming and complaining. They evaluate their experiences and decide if they need to change them or not. They face the uncomfortable and take risks in order to create the life they want to live.

2. Be Clear Why You’re Here

I believe each of us is born with a life purpose. Identifying, acknowledging and honoring this purpose is perhaps the most important action successful people take. They take the time to understand what they’re here to do, and then they pursue that with passion and enthusiasm. If you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing, then just tune in to the signals around you. Looking toward others for help and guidance is helpful, but don’t forget to stay tuned in to yourself—your behavior, attitude, likes and dislikes, and life experiences. Identify what’s working and what isn’t. If you need to, write it all down. You might be surprised by what you discover.

3. Decide What You Want

It sounds so simple, but here’s the problem: I see plenty of people who are overly-busy yet who feel unsatisfied and unfulfilled. They are physically tired, spiritually drained, and far from where they’d like to be—as if they’ve been running on a treadmill going nowhere fast. Why? Because they haven’t clearly mapped out what they want and then taken the steps to get there. Rather than identifying specific goals, milestones, and dreams (and I’m talking BIG dreams and goals here), they go through the motions day in and day out tackling unimportant tasks. They end up…you guessed it…going in circles and wasting lots of energy. In the meanwhile, they grow increasingly uninspired and out of touch with their authentic selves. This, of course, sets anyone up to living a life out of balance. One of the main reasons why most people don’t get what they want is they haven’t decided what they want. They haven’t defined their desires in clear and compelling detail. What does success look like to you? Not everybody’s definition of success is the same, nor should it be. Don’t let your inner devil’s advocate (or that incessant but unimportant To Do list) inhibit you from dreaming big. As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, but they also compel others to want to play big, too.

4. Believe It Is Possible

Scientists used to believe that humans responded to information flowing into the brain from the outside world. But today, they’re learning that instead we respond to what the brain, based on previous experience, expects to happen next. In fact, the mind is such a powerful instrument; it can deliver literally everything you want. But you have to believe that what you want is possible. As you commit to believing in yourself, also make a commitment to toning down the complaint department. Look at what you are complaining about. I’m fat. I’m tired. I can’t get out of debt. I won’t ever get a better job. I can’t stand the relationship I have with my father. I’ll never find a soulmate in life. Really examine your complaints. More than likely you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU.

5. Believe in Yourself

If you are going to be successful in creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence or self-assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes; the abilities, inner resources, talents and skills to create your desired results. Have unwavering faith in yourself, for good and bad. Make the decision to believe that you create all your experiences. You will experience successes thanks to you, and you will experience pain, struggle, and strife thanks to you. Sounds a little strange, but accepting this level of responsibility is uniquely empowering. It means you can do, change, and be anything. Stumbling blocks become just that—little hills to hop over.

6. Become an Inverse Paranoid

This one is straightforward: Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that.

7. Unleash the Power of Goal Setting

Experts on the science of success know the brain is a goal-seeking organism. Whatever goal you give to your subconscious mind, it will work day and night to achieve. To engage you subconscious mind, a goal has to be measurable. When there aren’t any criteria for measurement, it is simply something you want, a wish, a preference, or a good idea. Sometimes we need to make just one initial goal to get started, and that’s okay. At least it comes with a few actions to achieve. A first step simply can be making an immediate change in a single area in your life. Are you unhappy about something that is happening right now? Make requests that will make it more desirable to you, or take the steps to change it yourself. Making a change might be uncomfortable and overwhelming for you. It might mean you have to put in more time, money, and effort. It might mean that someone gets upset about it, or makes you feel bad about your decision. It might be difficult to change or leave a situation, but staying put is your choice so why continue to complain? You can either do something about it or not. It is your choice and you have responsibility for your choices. Bear in mind that you have to be willing to change your behavior if you want a different outcome. You have to be willing to take the risks necessary to get what you want. If you’ve already taken an initial step in the right direction, now’s the time to plan more steps to keep moving you forward faster. Isn’t it a great relief to know that you can make your life what you want it to be? Isn’t it wonderful that your successes do not depend on someone else? So if you need just one thing to do different today than you did yesterday, make it this: Commit to taking 100% responsibility for every aspect of your life. Decide to make changes, one step at a time. Once you start the process you’ll discover it is much easier to get what you want by taking control of your thoughts, your visualizations, and your actions!


  WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete statement with it: Jack Canfield, America’s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul®and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessStrategies.com

Frey Freyday- make a difference

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

When you encourage others, you in the process are encouraged because you’re making a commitment and difference in that person’s life. Encouragement really does make a difference.-Zig Ziglar

Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.Barbara de Angelis

I think one of the best words in the English language is ‘compassion.’ I think it holds everything. It holds love, it holds care… and if everybody just did something. We all make a difference.-Michael Crawford

For a successful entrepreneur it can mean extreme wealth. But with extreme wealth comes extreme responsibility. And the responsibility for me is to invest in creating new businesses, create jobs, employ people, and to put money aside to tackle issues where we can make a difference.-Richard Branson

It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.-Tom Brokaw

That’s the beauty of coaching. You get to touch lives, you get to make a difference. You get to do things for people who will never pay you back and they say you never have had a perfect day until you’ve done something for someone who will never pay you back.-Morgan Wootten

When your heart speaks to you about what you need to do to sustain life on this planet, listen to it, make a difference, and be an inspiration for generations to come. Be inspired by people like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Christopher Reeve, Albert Schweitzer, Helen Keller, and many others.-Bernie Siegel

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world and make a difference.-Robin Williams

Choose How You Want to Feel

By Kare Anderson
Emmy-Winner | TEDx | Connective Behavior | Speaker | Columnist | Author | Strategist
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Breandan and Emma, the couple up the hill from me in Sausalito have been married 54 years, they proudly told me last year. They walked, hand-in-hand past my home each morning, usually laughing, smiling and pointing out things to each other along the way.

Originally from Ireland, they listened, in bed, to BBC News at dawn so they usually had a tidbit of news to share with me if they happened to pass my home when I was finishing my lame attempt at morning exercises in the back yard.

When Emma died suddenly, Breandan stopped walking. He stayed inside their home and ignored my knock on their door. Several times. Later, when he started walking again, he told me his son, a motivational speaker on leadership, suggested that he start saying positive self-affirmations every morning “to lift his mood.”

He retorted, “My mood doesn’t need lifting! It’s right where it’s supposed to be.” So his well-intentioned son then mailed him a card pack with cheery faces on one side and, on the other, a series of upbeat daily affirmations. The card pack was entitled ”Yes, I Can!” to which Breandan hotly responded (to me, but not his son, I gather) “No I won’t!”

Write Yourself Through Your Journey to a Better Emotional Place

That gift inspired Breandan to get out of the old chair he sat in most days, with a morose look on his face, and take action, but not in the way his son intended. He wrote his own collection of “realistic affirmations.” I figured that the sentiments reflected his way of responding to grief, his stubborn resistance to being told to feel better and his core attitude about living life as it happens. Some were darkly funny. Yet his basic resilience started to shine through as he finished writing his sayings by the end of the year. “Not every cloud has a silver lining so start liking the clouds.”

I thought of Breandan when I read that Norman Vincent Peale may have been wrong, at least for some people, when he advocated saying positive self-affirmations to lift one’s mood. That’s a startling revelation for many of us Americans who have been bombarded with self-help messages based on the belief that positive affirmations are entirely beneficial.

“Repeating positive self-statements may benefit certain people, such as those with high self-esteem, but backfire for the very people who need them the most,” concludes social psychology professor Dr. Joanne Wood. Even those with high self-esteem felt only slightly better after repeating a positive self-statement.

The news gets worse for those with a low self-image Wood and her colleagues found:

• People with high self-esteem are more likely than those with low self-esteem to try to improve their moods when they are sad, as well as to savor their moods when they are happy.

• Those with low self-esteem sometimes even try to dampen their happiness, and engaging with others on Facebook seems to reinforce that reaction.

Don’t Fight Those Feelings. Instead, Notice Them, Then Choose What to Feel

Like obsessing more about the elephant in the room after being told to ignore it, being told to repeat “get happy” sayings, when sad, can make us feel even more sad. As Ed Yong concluded, “Statements that contradict a person’s self-image, no matter how rallying in intention, are likely to boomerang.“ “Don’t believe everything you think. “Thoughts are just that – thoughts,” wrote Pocket Peace author Allan Lokos.

Instead, of trying to change your feelings (as cognitive therapy attempts to do) change how you choose to view your thoughts. That approach calls on us to be mindfully observing what we are thinking and feeling from a calm pool, so to speak, without getting repeatedly sucked into the downward swirl of them. As Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

Practicing this way we can notice what we are feeling in the moment without immediately reacting, thus becoming better at choosing how we want to act. This approach is called ACT:Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. To reinforce that practice, “think of yourself as a kind friend,” suggests Duke University psychology professor Mark Leary. That bolsters yourself-compassion and thus your happiness. “One is a great deal less anxious if one feels perfectly free to be anxious, and the same may be said of guilt,” Alan Watts wrote.

Breandan, by the way, has begun writing his memoir, describing some of the adventures he shared with Emma, the people they met and the joy of living with her “through thick and thin.” His writing enables him to take the ACT approach, to observing and accept his sadness at his wife’s passing and to choose to focus, instead, on the many of the happy times they enjoyed together. He showed me the quote he chose for the first page:

“In the end, just three things matter:

How well we have lived

How well we have loved

How well we have learned to let go” ~ Jack Kornfield

As Byron Katie would say, he is “loving what is.” See more ideas at my Quotable and Connected column at Forbes.

https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140716144633-7216756-choose-how-you-want-to-feel?_mSplash=1%5C&published=t

Frey Freyday – Memories

(Frey Freyday is simply a bunch of inspirational, motivational and other quotes meant to make you think, reflect, smile, even laugh a bit. Hopefully helpful, useful stuff..)

Memories are thoughts that arise. They’re not realities. Only when you believe that they are real, then they have the power over you. But when you realize it’s just another thought arising about the past, then you can have a spacious relationship with that thought. The thought no longer has you in its grip.-Eckhart Tolle

The heart of marriage is memories; and if the two of you happen to have the same ones and can savor your reruns, then your marriage is a gift from the gods.-Bill Cosby

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them.-Bob Dylan

You shouldn’t wait for other people to make special things happen. You have to create your own memories.-Heidi Klum

To reminisce with my old friends, a chance to share some memories, and play our songs again.-Ricky Nelson

Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.-Corrie Ten Boom

Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: Deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good.-Mariska Hargitay

It’s great to reminisce about good memories of my past. It was enjoyable when it was today. So learning to enjoy today has two benefits: it gives me happiness right now, and it becomes a good memory later.-George Foreman

Memories of my girls are pretty precious. – Jim Frey

Whenever I think of the past, it brings back so many memories.-Steven Wright

I think it would be interesting if old people got anti-Alzheimer’s disease where they slowly began to recover other people’s lost memories.-George Carlin

Do This to Get Everything You Want in Life

read this recently and felt it worthy enough to pass along.
Enjoy and Happy New Year.
—–
You’ve worked hard, studied long hours, and taken the high road while watching so many others take the easy way out. But trust me, you’ve made the right choice, even though it might seem there is a missing ingredient holding you back from the success you desire – and deserve. Today, you’ll discover exactly how to achieve it, and you just might be surprised when you find out how to get it. It all starts with one simple solution.

Craig Ballantyne

“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge
Do This to Get Everything You Want in Life

By Craig Ballantyne

After listening to the silky smooth Rat Pack Christmas Album over and over for three days, it was finally time for my favorite day of the year. No, not December 25th, but the Night Before Christmas because of the anticipation and magic it brings.

I love that there are so many creatures stirring, hurriedly finishing their shopping in time to place them under the tree with care. I love the thrill of expectation hanging in the air. I love that hope springs eternal in kids from one to ninety-two, tiny tots and old men alike with their eyes all aglow, finding it hard to sleep at night. I suppose if Christmas came more than once per year that feeling would be diminished, but oh how I wish I could bottle it and pour some on the world on a hot muggy August day when sitting in a traffic jam.

This past Christmas Eve did not disappoint me. Our family sat down to a wonderful dinner with all the fixings. We then settled in for Christmas snacking, holiday movies, and to finish wrapping gifts or making phone calls to friends and family far away.

Having grown older, Christmas morning is now anti-climatic. Gone are the days of waking up before dawn to sneak down to the Christmas tree and wait…and wait…and wait until Mom and Dad got up. Nowadays we don’t check the tree until mid- or late-morning, almost as an afterthought of, “Oh yeah, we better exchange gifts before we start eating again”.

But there was something special about this Christmas. After reflecting upon the big day, I think I’ve finally figured out why.

It all starts with 2013 being my Big Year of Giving.

This was the year that I worked harder than ever in my businesses to create memorable, shareable products and free content. I spent more hours in front of the camera filming and brought more energy to every video. I studied speaker after speaker, from business professionals to stand-up comedians, to see how they entertained and informed their audiences. As a result, our products sold better, and we reached many more readers. Giving more brought us more.

Likewise, I held nothing back and revealed even more deeply personal lessons from my life in our daily essays at EarlyToRise.com. I spent more time improving my coaching program, and I went all out in creating our greatest event ever at last June’s Turbulence Training Summit. I even flew out my family to be in the audience (and just wait till you see what we have planned for next year). By giving more, we received more. My seminars were rated higher, audience engagement went up, and we expect to double the number of attendees again this year.

The spirit of giving continued this Christmas.

I spent more time than ever shopping for my friends and family this year. I sent out over 65 handwritten Christmas cards, this in addition to the over one hundred hand-written thank you cards I had sent to friends, family, and work colleagues since beginning my daily Thank You Therapy habit in early summer (read about that habit here). In 2013 I simply gave more than ever and a big smile crosses my face with each card dropped in the mailbox.

It is because of this giving that I received so much in 2013, from the volume of life-changing entries in our Transformation Contests to the number of presents under the tree this year with my name on it, and even to the amount of money we raised for our Early To Rise Toys for Tots drive this December. I apologize if this sounds selfish, but I received so much this year because when you give, give, and give, the Universe can’t help but respond by giving back to you in return.

“Oh here we go,” you might be thinking. “Craig is going all ‘woo-woo’ on us. Just stick to the business advice, buddy,” you say.

It might sound hokey, but I urge you to try it. Make 2014 your Year of Giving.

The most successful people I know are the most generous. From my business partners, Matt Smith and Bedros Keuilian, to my friends Joel Marion and Porter Stansberry, they are true givers. They give more than they get, with no expectation of getting anything in return. It’s no surprise to me that these four gentlemen all run the fastest-growing and most profitable businesses that I know.

Giving is the focus of TED speaker and NY Times best-seller author of Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Adam Grant. The youngest-ever tenured professor at the Wharton School of Business, Grant writes, “If you decide to shift in the giver direction, my favorite strategy is what one of America’s top networkers calls the five-minute favor. The key is to look for ways to help others…It might be making an introduction between two people who could benefit from knowing each other, sharing an interesting article, or offering to provide advice or feedback. If you choose a form of helping that you find enjoyable and meaningful, it might even boost your mood and energy.”

Every one of us has something more that we can give. It might be money or time. Or it might be that you might have more love, more energy, more wisdom, or more experience that you can share with the world. You might be the person who simply knows the right thing to say at the right time. Maybe you’re the person that can shoulder the load when everyone else is collapsing around you.

Whatever it is that you are blessed with, give it away this year. Give until you think that you can’t give any more. It will all come back to you, and more, many fold.

“If you want to be given everything, give everything up,” instructs the Ancient wisdom of the Tao Te Ching.

But do not give with a greedy mindset. Do not give thinking only about what is in it for you. Don’t just give to get or take. Don’t do it for the material rewards. Don’t do it for how great you will feel during and after. Give because it is good. Give because you can.

Trying to ‘out-give the Universe’ in 2013 allowed me to have my greatest year ever in both my personal and professional life. I dropped my guard a little, gave more of myself, and it’s resulted in deeper friendships, better – and exponentially less stressful – family relationships. Just imagine what this approach can do for you.

2014 will be your best year ever if you make it a Year of Giving. You can be a coach or a mentor, you can become a better influencer and speaker, you can help more people make big changes in their lives, and it all starts with giving more of yourself.

If we were all a little more generous in 2014, the world will, of course, be a better place. And if you make it your goal to be a lot more generous, I can assure you that your world will change for the better, and that this year you will receive more than ever. That’s the way it works, my friend, so give your gifts today.

Craig Ballantyne is the editor of Early to Rise and the author of Financial Independence Monthly, a complete blueprint to helping you take control of your financial future with research of proven methods in your career, in your business and in your personal life. He has created a unique system to show gratitude and appreciation to stay on

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