Category Archives: gratitude

Frey Freyday – Giving

(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….)

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is discarding the meaningless and stressing the true values. Thomas S. Monson

For it is in giving that we receive. Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Francis of Assisi

Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love. Lao Tzu

I’m going to give away a lot more than half my money. I’d be happy to give that to the government if the government put together programs that were like I’m giving away to charity, in which I believe the money is effectively used to help people. Ray Dalio

If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. Bob Hope

No one has ever become poor by giving. Anne Frank

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Giving – giving to others obviously helps the recipients but it also helps us connect to others, it helps us focus on others rather than ourselves, and actually it helps us ‘feel’ better.

We can give of our time, volunteering, write a check, donate food, donate clothing, donate old furniture, donate our skills and expertise. All good things. We can give to our community, our friends, clients, strangers. We can give a kind word, a smile, a precious gift, something sentimental, whatever.

I read an article once “Why Giving Makes Us So Happy” that stated: “Giving is not just a verb. At its essence, it is also a noun. More than something we do, giving is who we are in each moment of our lives, exemplified by the choices we make — sharing a laugh with a neighbor; paying a compliment to the checkout person at the grocery store; passing a warm greeting to someone on the sidewalk; attending carefully to the story our child is telling us rather than chatting on the telephone; relinquishing the need in discussions with our spouse to always be right. These are the behaviors of giving that generate inner happiness.” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/donna-rockwell-psyd/how-giving-is-the-root-to_b_4484075.html

Sometimes during this time of year, society might nudge us towards the commercialization of the holidays, the sales, the buying, what gifts that we want and that we’re giving. I feel it is important to remind myself that it is supposed to be about giving and charity and similar things. It is especially during this time of year that people donate to charities – often due to the season, sometimes just because it is year-end.

Some people donate to the same charity each year, that’s fine. There are so many great charities out there, I don’t think that you can go wrong donating to any one, and it is good to keep an open mind.

If you’re going to give to a charity, don’t you want to make sure that they are well-rated and that they use your money wisely? Check out Charity Navigator (who are they? Charity Navigator is America’s premier independent charity evaluator.)

If you’re looking for a charity or more to donate to, consider these….The exceptional charities on this list execute their missions in a fiscally responsible way while adhering to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities. Each has earned perfect scores for its Financial Health and its Accountability & Transparency. Those two scores then translate into a perfect 100 point overall score. Less than one percent of the thousands of charities rated by Charity Navigator have earned perfect scores.

Here are selected, very high rated charities, I tried to pick one from each category:

https://www.directrelief.org/ Direct Relief is a humanitarian aid organization, active in all 50 states and more than 80 countries, with a mission to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Nongovernmental, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit, Direct Relief provides assistance to people and communities without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities or ability to pay. Direct Relief’s assistance programs – which focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease – are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world’s most vulnerable and at-risk populations. Direct Relief honors the generosity of its donors by following a firm policy of full transparency in all of its operations.

http://www.seo-usa.org/ SEO was founded in 1963 with a mission to provide talented and motivated young people from underserved and underrepresented communities with access to superior educational and career opportunities. Today, SEO runs three programs: SEO Scholars is an eight-year academic program that gets low-income public high school students to and through college-with a 95% college graduation rate; SEO Career is the nation’s premier summer internship and training program for underrepresented college students, specializing in banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, and non-profit; SEO Alternative Investments provides education, exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented professionals traditionally underrepresented in the alternative investments sector.

http://www.kidsalive.org/ Kids Alive International is a Christian faith mission dedicated to rescuing orphans and vulnerable children – meeting their spiritual, physical, educational, and emotional needs – raising them to be contributing members of their society and witnesses to their family and community. Founded in 1916, Kids Alive International began providing homes for homeless children. Since that time, Kids Alive has expanded to include not only children’s homes but also care centers and schools. These programs provide orphans and abandoned children with an education, clothing, food, medical care (in some cases), and most importantly, the love of Christ.

http://www.lcanimal.org/ Founded in 1984, Last Chance for Animals (LCA) recognizes that animals have the ability to experience pain, and as such they deserve certain basic rights protecting them from pain caused by humans. LCA believes that non-human animals should not be subjected to suffering and exploitation by humans because alternatives exist for nearly every traditional usage of animals. LCA opposes the use of animals for scientific curiosity, entertainment, clothing, and food. LCA recognizes the use of non-human animals in medical experimentation as both immoral and of questionable scientific validity due to the tremendous biological difference between species. LCA’s work advocates conscious and informed lifestyle decisions, and LCA is committed to disseminating truthful information about societal animal abuse to improve the treatment of animals.

https://curealz.org/ Cure Alzheimer’s Fund was established to fund targeted research with the highest probability of slowing, stopping or reversing Alzheimer’s disease through venture based philanthropy. All organizational expenses are paid for by the Founders and Board, allowing all other contributions to be applied directly to Alzheimer’s Disease research. Our foundational research is focused on identifying all the genes and gene mutations that are linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. We can then use this genetic information to reliably predict, early in life, those at greatest risk for the disease (with legal safeguards and genetic and psychological counseling). Our foundational research projects include: Alzheimer’s Genome Project, Alzheimer’s Genome Map, Alzheimer’s Brain-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Clinical-Genetic Study, Alzheimer’s Gene Database, MicroRNA’s and APP, and Alzheimer’s Gene Discovery Project.

http://www.fisherhouse.org/ Fisher House Foundation, Inc. is an international not-for-profit organization established to improve the quality of life for members of the military, retirees, Veterans and their families. The Foundation builds comfort homes at military and VA medical centers and gifts them to the government. It assists with the coordination of private support and encourages public support for the network of comfort homes known as “Zachary and Elizabeth M. Fisher Houses.” It works to educate and inform the military and Veterans’ communities, their families and the general public about Fisher Houses and provides necessary support to individual Fisher Houses as needed. Other quality of life programs include scholarship programs, a grants program for volunteer organizations with innovative plans for quality of life projects, the Hero Miles and Hotels for Heroes programs and individual assistance to members of the military and their families during a crisis.

https://www.eji.org/ The Equal Justice Initiative is a private, nonprofit organization that provides legal representation to indigent defendants and prisoners who have been denied fair and just treatment in the legal system. We litigate on behalf of condemned prisoners, juvenile offenders, people wrongly convicted or charged with violent crimes, poor people denied effective representation, and others whose trials are marked by racial bias or prosecutorial misconduct. EJI works with communities that have been marginalized by poverty and discouraged by unequal treatment.

https://wildearthallies.org/ Wild Earth Allies, Inc. (formerly known as Fauna & Flora International, Inc.) joins forces with local organizations and individuals to protect the wildlife and habitats that are so critical to our global biodiversity and sustainability. Our mission is to protect vital areas of our natural world for the benefit of wildlife, habitats, and people by inspiring collaborative action. Our organization is built on important values-optimism, cultural respect, shared learning, and integrity.

The following did not get a 100% but did receive a strong 92.25%-94.13% and I personally recommend it:

https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/shc Shriners Hospitals for Children is a one-of-a-kind international health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing specialty pediatric care, innovative research and outstanding teaching programs. Children up to age 18 with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment at no charge – regardless of financial need.

http://www.feedingamerica.org/ Feeding America is the nationwide network of 200 food banks that leads the fight against hunger in the United States. Together, we provide food to more than 46 million people through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities across America. Feeding America also supports programs that improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger.

https://uwswpa.org/ United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania leads and mobilizes the caring power of individuals, the business community and organizations to help local people in need measurably improve their lives. United Way creates long-lasting change for the betterment of our community. United Way focuses on solving the pressing issues you care about by bringing together the entire community — policymakers, corporate leaders, excellent agency partners, and people like you who want to help – to assist our neighbors in need and develop long-term solutions. No other single local non-profit can mobilize all of these partners and bring them together to achieve results. Together we have the opportunity to transform the lives of so many people throughout Pennsylvania and accomplish long- lasting impact.

Honorable mention:

(I’m in lending and finance, right? So why not help others through lending and finance?)

https://www.grameenfoundation.org/ Grameen Foundation (GF) USA supports technology and microfinance, commonly known as banking for the poor. Microfinance provides small loans, savings, and other financial services so poor people can launch businesses. As an entrepreneur’s business grows, so does her self-esteem, her family’s well-being, and jobs in her community. GF was founded in 1997 by individuals inspired by Muhammad Yunus and Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Our mission is to enable the poor, especially the poorest, to create a world without poverty. GF’s work has helped families across Africa, the Americas, Asia and the Middle East.

And

https://www.fredrogers.org/ Family Communications was founded by Fred Rogers in 1971 as the non-profit producer of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood for PBS. In the years that followed, the company not only created hundreds of episodes of this much-loved program, but also extended Fred’s values and approach to other efforts in promoting children’s social, emotional, and behavioral health and supporting parents, caregivers, teachers and other professionals in their work with children. Now, we honor Fred by carrying on his work under our new name – The Fred Rogers Company. We’re proud to be building on Fred’s legacy in innovative ways through a wide variety of media, and engaging new generations of children and families with his timeless wisdom.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

Frey Freyday – Gratitude

(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….)

Gratitude – [grat-i-tood, -tyood] – the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful:

No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave. – Calvin Coolidge

Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. Denis Waitley –

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Brian Tracy –

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Melody Beattie –

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding. Alice Walker –

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. Zig Ziglar –

Give yourself a gift of five minutes of contemplation in awe of everything you see around you. Go outside and turn your attention to the many miracles around you. This five-minute-a-day regimen of appreciation and gratitude will help you to focus your life in awe. Wayne Dyer

You can’t be grateful and angry simultaneously. You can’t be fearful and be grateful simultaneously. So gratitude is really the reset button.-Tony Robbins –

Most of us never stop to consider our blessings; rather, we spend the day only thinking about our problems. But since you have to be alive to have problems, be grateful for the opportunity to have them. Bernie Siegel –

WORD TO LIVE BY:

Gratitude – Give thanks for everything, big and small, good and bad.

I know that this sort of thing has been covered before by me and by others. In many ways we all know that giving thanks and showing gratitude makes sense and that we should do it, but many of us don’t consistently do it. It does work…..

If you take just a moment to count the little things as blessings, you will make your life more abundant.

There are so many things that we take for granted. We live in a free country, we have food, shelter, education, safety, we have beauty in nature and in each other, we have so many people in this world that want to help, heal, give, teach and share. Look at your coffee cup in the morning. Someone made that, glazed it, created it so that you could enjoy the coffee. Someone took great pain to package your coffee in a secure, healthy, clean, sanitary container. People worked years to improve the freshness and flavor.

Most of us have so many people that care for and about us….friends, family, co-workers – you’d be surprised who cares for you. Think about all of the people, strangers included, that somehow touch your life each and everyday.

When we have what we call a ‘bad day’ we are often in a negative mindset or one of fear or scarcity. We are looking at, focusing on what we don’t have, what we lost, what we are lacking.

It has been said that wherever there is appreciation, there will be duplication. It can be said that what we focus on expands – so if you are grateful for something, you will have more of it.

If you have gratitude for challenges and ‘bad’ things in life, it helps to re-frame them. An experience that we could say is ‘bad’ can instead be thought of as experience, education, wisdom. We learned from the situation, didn’t we? We are wiser and stronger for making it through. Because of that experience, we are better people, and that’s worth being grateful. Think about it, we all have things in life that we we may have considered ‘bad’ as they were happening to us. If you instead think that life is there happening for us rather than to us, and once we gain some perspective on it, we can see that that same event may in fact be a good thing for our life. When you look at a problem like that, it is no longer a ‘bad’ one.

Gratitude helps us re-focus. We can’t be fearful if we’re grateful. We can’t be angry if we’re grateful. We can’t feel scarcity if we have gratitude.

Do you think that you’re “too busy” to give thanks and show gratitude? Well, I do too, sometimes, but that is a load of you-know-what. It is a must to show gratitude! Here’s a quick version if you are really pressed for time

It’s not complicated or time consuming… a few minutes less on news, television, Facebook. Tony Robbins refers to it as priming or meditation. The purpose of this daily exercise is to train the mind to focus on finding things to be grateful for in our daily lives – apparently we can’t be simultaneously stressed out, angry, or frustrated – and grateful… the mind doesn’t work this way. So his daily practice is all about conditioning your mind to alter your state.

TONY’S 10 MINUTE GRATITUDE RITUAL

  1. 5 Minutes on what he’s grateful for – people close to him, loved ones, people that he suggest to make one or two of these micro focused – the wind on your face.
  2. 3.5 Minutes thinking about 3 things you want to create in your life – today or in the future. Anything you want to create.
  3. 3.5 Minutes Strengthening Healing – focusing on healing power for the day
  4. Obviously you can go longer but take time. I know when I do, my day goes far better than when I do not.

Author Christian Mickelsen recently wrote a book that discusses using gratitude to get abundance in money, in relationships, in good health – or whatever. Actually, the first chapter of Abundance Unleashed is actually called Thank God We’re Rich. The reason for that is because a handful years ago, h really focused on gratitude for the year. It helped him increase his income significantly, and improve other areas of his life.

Personally I’ve had long periods of time where I was not grateful for much of anything, and I was unhappy, less people seemed to want to ‘hang’ with me and work with me, and I had more challenges with income, health, etc. Other times when I’ve been grateful – even if there were challenges in life – I was happier, people reacted better to me and with me, I had more opportunities at work, etc.

To help me ‘be grateful’ I often think of pleasant memories, I think about all of the gifts that I have to help others, I think of the fun and exciting times in my life, I think about all of the cool, fun, caring people in my life, and I think about people helping others. I may even just pick some random object in my life, even something small and simple, and think about all of the people that designed it, financed it, made it, sold it, and all those who helped bring it to me so that I could own it and use it.

I am grateful for you.

Frey Freyday was actually born out of something I created called “Words To Live By” (WTLB). Going forward, I will now not only share the quotes, as you may be used to receiving, but also a related (WTLB). In 1999, when we had our first daughter, I was contemplating how I would raise my new beautiful child, and I was thinking about how I can best educate her and my other children about values, morals, and other key thoughts about life. School offers education. Religion offers some values and morals. Parents offer most of it, sometimes intentionally, sometimes accidentally.

So I created a (WTLB) book, like a dictionary, which lists things like honesty, love, persistence, etc. with a definition that I created, with my wife’s input. I then turned it into a workbook with one word per page and space below for notes. For years we would discuss with my two daughters and they would draw pictures and make notes in the blank space. I may share some of those images with you. As they got older, they were less inclined to draw and more open to quotes and references from adults, hence where Frey Freyday came from….

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.

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