7 inspirational quotes about happiness

Quotes about happinessIf I were to conduct a survey of readers on the question of happiness, I’m fairly sure that most people would say that whilst they want to be happy, they have yet to achieve that state of mind consistently.

Why is that do you think?

I think it’s because we’re always chasing what we haven’t got.

Being happy requires us to be content with what we’ve got. If we’re always chasing more then by definition we can’t be content with what we’ve got, can we?

So if you want to be happy, then I think the trick is to learn to enjoy whatever it is that you’ve actually got, rather than fretting about those things that you’d like to possess but don’t right now.

Take pleasure in the moment, whenever you can, and always look for the positives in any situation.

Happiness is a state of mind. You can choose to be happy or not. It’s all down to the way you choose to look at the world. You can allow things to bother you or you can say, “I’m not going to worry about stuff I can’t change, I’ll just focus on enjoying my life for what it is and make the best of it.”

Here are 7 inspirational quotes about happiness to help you think about what it all means.

Quotes about happiness:

  1. I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition. ~Martha Washington
  2. It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere. ~Agnes Repplier
  3. Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions. ~Dalai Lama
  4. Be happy with what you have and are, be generous with both, and you won’t have to hunt for happiness. ~William E. Gladstone
  5. Happiness cannot be travelled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude. ~Denis Waitley
  6. There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will. ~Epictetus
  7. Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. ~Jim Rohn

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How to deal with criticism in the workplace

How to deal with criticism in the workplaceHave you ever had a problem dealing with criticism in the workplace, dear reader?

If you have, you’re not alone.

Most of us can be a little sensitive when we’re criticised by other people, particularly in the workplace. That’s natural and I struggle with it just as much as the next person.

However, over the years I’ve learned that criticism comes in two types, as follows:-

  1. Constructive criticism; and
  2. Destructive criticism

What’s the difference?

People who offer constructive criticism are genuinely trying to help, even if that isn’t immediately obvious.

However just because they’re trying to help doesn’t necessarily mean they’re right in what they’re saying. I’ll get back to that point shortly.

When you’re being subjected to destructive criticism then someone is just having a go at you.

That may be to bolster their own ego or they may not like you very much and so can’t resist the temptation to belittle you or just generally make you feel uncomfortable.

Remember there are people who get off on other peoples’ discomfort and having a go a people. These are the haters and the trolls. They exist in the workplace, as well as on social media.

How to deal with constructive criticism:

When you’re on the receiving end of criticism, don’t take any of it personally. Remember you’re bigger than that.

Just remain calm; listen to what’s being said; consider the person saying it; and of course the rationale behind their comment.

As you absorb what has been said to you, ask yourself this question “Is this person being constructive or destructive?

If you feel they’re being constructive in offering their comment then the next question to ask yourself is, “Do they have a fair point?

In answering that question you must be really honest with yourself.

Remember it’s a sign of maturity when you can acknowledge your own inexperience and mistakes.

And you can’t learn from your mistakes unless you recognise them first.

So if after careful reflection you feel that they do have a fair point then take it on-board and use it as a learning opportunity.

At this point thank your critic for the feedback and decide how you might use it to improve and be better at what you do.

You might even ask your critic for suggestions if you think they can help you.

Even constructive critics are not always right:

Not every self-appointed critic has a universal monopoly on knowhow and common sense, however well-intentioned they may be. Even so-called experts get stuff wrong occasionally.

So in reflecting on any constructive criticism offered, your conclusion might be that they don’t have a fair point. And as long as you’re being really honest with yourself, it’s perfectly reasonable to say, “You know what? I think they’re wrong.

If that’s the case then be polite, thank them for their feedback and agree to disagree if necessary.

Accept that they offered their comment in good faith and their intentions were honourable but just move on, without any sense of feeling hurt just because someone had the temerity to question your approach.

They’re entitled to their opinion but you don’t have to accept it.

How to deal with destructive criticism:

If someone is attempting to be destructive in their criticism then don’t rise to the bait. Just smile politely and move on.

Do not give anyone the satisfaction of a reaction or signs that they’ve got to you. That’s the oxygen on which they feed. It’s the dopamine hit which they crave.

You’re better than that so don’t allow yourself to get drawn into their game. They’re unworthy of a reaction or any of your emotional energy.

And never allow such people to chip away at your self-esteem.

That’s what they’re trying to do, so know that and as you’re smiling just say to yourself, “I’m better than you and your attempt to have a go at me won’t get you anywhere. So stop wasting your time and mine.

Conclusion:

Recognise that criticism has two forms. Either way never take any of it personally, even if you suspect your critic is being personal.

If your critic is being constructive, then be honest with yourself and question whether your critic has a point. If they do have a point then you must learn from it.

If your critic is being destructive then do not give then the satisfaction of a reaction. Just smile and move on.

And if you’re not sure whether they’re being constructive or destructive? Give them the benefit of the doubt, assume they’re being constructive and act accordingly.

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Why passion is the key to success

Why passion is the key to success

Have you ever wondered why passion is the key to success, dear reader?

If success is your aim then received wisdom suggests that you should find your passion. You’ve heard that before I’m sure. However the phrase is now spoken so often that it’s has become a bit of a cliché, don’t you think?

And of course, once something becomes a cliché then it’s hard to take it seriously, wouldn’t you agree?

Then again, just because something has become a cliché doesn’t in itself mean that it lacks an underlying truth.

From experience I can tell you that if you really want to succeed at anything then whatever it is must matter to you. And I’m not talking about mattering just a little bit. I mean it really, really, really must matter to you. It must be as important to you as the air that you breathe.

You can call it a ‘passion’; you can call it something with which you have ‘a sense of connection’; or you can call it your ‘Why’. Whatever you call it, you’ll only have the determination to see it through as far as it goes if it actually matters to you.

How lucky are those people who find something in life that matters so much that it drives them to make their mark? To be recognised for making a significant contribution to their chosen pursuit.

That pursuit could be painting or writing or playing a musical instrument. It may be computers or fast cars. It may be starting a business and making serious money. Whatever it is, it’s that special something which for those people is not only interesting and absorbing but rewarding too.

It becomes so important to them that it would be their hobby if they couldn’t make a living at it. Because they love it so much, it’s not really working at all, for them it’s a pleasure.

It’s something for which they have a sense of enthusiasm or ‘passion’ and instinctively they recognise that it’s what they’re good at. And of course, because they love it, they practise and keep practising. And because they practise they hone their skills and they get even better at it. This creates a virtuous circle.

Constant practise will help you excel and reach the very top of your game.

Sadly for most people, that special something is something they never find.

However, if you’ve yet to find that special something, you must never stop looking. One day you might just stumble upon it and it’s never too late for you to become the person you really could be.

That’s why passion is the key to success.

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The Guy in the Glass

The Guy in the GlassIf you’re unfamiliar with the poem, The Guy in the Glass dear reader, then I recommend you spend a few moments to consider it now.

I’m sure you’ll know that life’s not a rehearsal. Whether we like it or not, we’ll live it only once.

So it seems obvious to me that we must make the most of our time and try to enjoy every moment. That’s a healthy personal philosophy by which certainly I try to live, most of the time, at least.

Literally enjoying every single moment is not possible of course.

There will always be good times but, inevitably, there will be bad times too.

Let’s face it, you couldn’t appreciate the good times without experiencing a few bad times along the way, could you?

Now, I am a firm believer in the notion that you only get out of life what you put in.

If you just drift along, with little effort and a lot of unwise choices then your future is likely to be unexciting at best, unless you get very, very lucky.

Whereas making some effort to realise your full potential; deciding what you want and pursuing your dreams with hard work and determination; this approach is more likely to lead to better life experiences.

Ask yourself this question, “When I’m old and frail and reflecting on years gone by, how will I feel if I’ve wasted those years?

The problem with time is that once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can’t get it back. So, surely time is our most precious resource?

The answer to the above questions matter only to you.

You’re the one who must look at yourself in the mirror each day. You’re the one who must look yourself in the eye.

You may fool other people with tales of what might have been but you can’t fool yourself.

Deep down you’ll know whether you tried or not. You’ll know whether you made a lot of choices you wish you hadn’t made. You’ll know whether you cheated yourself. And let’s face it, regret lies at the heart of cheating yourself.

So my advice would be, don’t do it.

When you look in the mirror each day, ask yourself some searching questions:-

  • Are you making the most of your natural talent, whatever that might be?
  • Are you looking after your body and your mind?
  • Are you developing habits which will be detrimental to your wellbeing?
  • Are you looking after those who matter most to you?
  • Can you reflect on your life so far with at least some degree of pride and satisfaction?

If you’re getting too many negative answers, then perhaps it’s time for some changes in your life, don’t you think?

Reflecting on today’s idea is what got me thinking about the poem The Guy in the Glass, mentioned above.

This poem is included as part of the process Alcoholics Anonymous use to help their client base.

However, I think it’s relevant to us all, regardless of whether we’re alcoholics or not. The underlying message is that your behaviour should be consistent with the need we all have to be able to look ourselves in the eye.

It really is a thought-provoking verse and, despite its title, the message applies equally to men and women. The glass is, of course, the mirror on your wall. The poem was written by the late Dale Wimbrow in 1934 for publication in The American Magazine:-

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Valuing people must take precedence in the modern age

Valuing PeopleOne thing you’ll learn as you get older is the importance of valuing people.

We all can get so carried away with our work and careers and we can forget what really matters most.

Now I’m sure that your work is important to you and perhaps you even believe that you’re indispensable to your employer?

If you really believe that then, all I can say is, dream on.

From experience I can tell you that there’s no such thing as indispensable when it comes to being employed.

If you were to die tomorrow then your employer would replace you in a matter of days and the company would carry on without you. You won’t be missed for long and in all probability you’d be forgotten fairly quickly.

That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your life has balance.

Yes, of course, you need to work, to earn an income to put a roof over your head and bread on the table. So in that sense, work’s important. However, it shouldn’t be everything to you. Some things are much more important.

Don’t let time slip through your fingers without having spent some of it on a regular basis with those that really matter to you; the people closest to your heart. That is, your loved ones.

Your employer may not miss you for very long, should you pass away, but the family and friends you leave behind would feel a sense of loss for the rest of their lives.

Work gives us a sense of purpose and a sense of identity too, but only people really matter. So valuing people must always take precedence over work and material things.

So make sure you enjoy some time with those that matter to you before it’s too late.

And, you never know, it could be later than you think.

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11 wise sayings about life lessons

wise sayings about life lessonsToday dear reader, I offer you 11 wise sayings about life lessons and some observations about what I think they really mean for your life.

I hope you enjoy them all.

Wise sayings about life lessons:

1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. ~English Proverb

If you visit a foreign country, with a different culture to that found in your own, then the best way to get along with local people is to respect their culture and their way of doing things.

Essentially it’s all about respecting and adhering to their way of life as far as reasonably possible.

Respect people and they’ll appreciate it.

Learn a little bit of their language and you’ll really connect with them. They won’t mind if you don’t get all the words and pronunciation completely correct but they’ll really appreciate you making the effort.

Treat people with respect and they’ll treat you with respect. It’s that simple.

2. Be contrary and be known. ~Arab Proverb

If you want to get yourself noticed then a ‘me too’ approach to life is unlikely to get you very far. When you’re just like everyone else then how can you stand out in the crowd?

If you really want to get noticed then you need to offer something a bit different, surely?

To stand out in the crowd then you’ll need to dress differently, have an unusual hairstyle or offer something new.

Go against the accepted thinking of the day and you’ll get noticed.

Suggest something which goes against the received wisdom of the day and people might just listen, if you back up your observation with a reasoned argument.

Be different, be contrary and you’ll get noticed.

Back it up with real substance and you will make a permanent impression on public consciousness.

Elvis Presley was like nothing that went before him; neither were The Beatles or The Sex Pistols.

These were people who had a look, style and approach all of their own. They made a genuine impact and they changed peoples’ outlook on life permanently.

In other words, they made their mark and you can too.

3. A beautiful thing is never perfect. ~Egyptian Proverb

There’s no such thing as perfect; certainly not when we are talking about people.

We’re all imperfect in some way.

However that’s what makes us interesting as individuals. And it’s also what makes it easier for other people to live with us because no matter how good we are in some way, there are also ways in which we are not quite so good.

So accept your imperfections. Work to your strengths and minimise your weaknesses and do the best you can with whatever you have at your disposal. It you do that you can succeed.

4. There’s no shame in not knowing; the shame lies in not finding out. ~Russian Proverb

How often do people refrain from asking a question for fear that they might look a little stupid? Does that ring a bell with you dear reader?

We’ve probably all done it at some point in our lives, wouldn’t you agree?

However it’s rather silly if you think about it.

None of us can know everything, can we? There will always be gaps in our knowledge, that’s for sure.

So if you don’t know something, surely it’s better to find out? Better to ask a question, even if you appear foolish momentarily.

People might laugh but so what?

Intelligent people ask questions and it’s better to look a fool than proceed in ignorance. You may look a fool for not knowing but you’ll look an even bigger fool if you screw up because you didn’t ask.

Never, ever be afraid to ask a question if you don’t know.

That way you’ll learn. Any other way and you’ll never learn.

5. Experience is not always the kindest of teachers but it’s surely the best. ~Spanish Proverb

Education is a wonderful thing, I’m sure you’ll agree.

However the best teacher by a country mile is the School of Hard Knocks at the University of Life.

Making mistakes and getting your fingers burned teaches you lessons you’ll never forget. And those lessons are invaluable.

That’s what they call experience and experience is a valuable commodity indeed.

Experience is the basis of all wisdom.

It’s also an essential element in finding out what you’re good at and what you enjoy.

And if you can find that sweet spot where what you’re good at coincides with what you enjoy doing then you really will begin to shine. So shine on my friend.

6. Having two ears and one tongue, we should listen twice as much as we speak. ~Turkish Proverb

How often are we so keen to get our point across that we don’t really listen to what the other person has to say? That’s a mistake.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can develop.

To quote Stephen R. Covey, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.”

In order to understand someone else’s point you must listen first.

Listening is not the same as hearing.

Hearing is simply being aware of sounds going on around you.

Listening is absorbing what is being said and considering it carefully.

Listening requires both your ears and your brain to be engaged in the process simultaneously.

Naturally you want to feel that your point of view matters.

If you listen to people first not only will they appreciate it but they’ll also start listening to you. If you’re showing them respect then they’ll do the same to you.

By listening to each other we can begin to understand each other.

And if we understand each other we have the basis for getting along together.

So listen more and talk less.

In this way the world might just become a better place. Let’s hope so anyway.

7. Better to die than to live on with a bad reputation. ~Vietnamese Proverb

Some time ago, a friend of mine was working for a retailer and foolishly did something dishonest. The result was that he lost his job and damaged his reputation in the process.

Only when he began to realise how much damage he’d done to his reputation did he begin to realise how foolish he’d been.

Damaging your reputation can have serious consequences and you can often feel the impact of that for many years after the original indiscretion.

So protect and value your reputation.

It’s one of the most important commodities you have to offer.

Whether you’re in employment or self-employed you’ll always be judged on your reputation. Gain a bad reputation and you’ll be judged harshly.

8. A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. ~Greek Proverb

Your legacy in life will be based on what you’ve done for other people, regardless of whether you’ve benefitted from it yourself.

That’s how you’ll be remembered.

A civilised society depends on each of us making a contribution towards the greater good. We cannot just leave it all to someone else.

If you want your grandchildren and their children to enjoy a well-ordered and civilised society then you must be prepared to do something the result of which you may never see. The payoff for you will simply be the knowledge that future generations will benefit from your altruism.

Leaving something that enriches the lives of future generations would be a real and genuine legacy, wouldn’t you agree?

9. God gives the nuts but he doesn’t crack them. ~German proverb

You can’t expect everything to be done for you.

At some point you have to do something for yourself.

If everything is done for you, you’ll never learn; you’ll never develop new skills; and you’ll never be able to deal with life.

So don’t try to avoid the chore, embrace it with enthusiasm and recognise that it’s in your own best interests to act.

10. A wise man makes his own decisions; an ignorant man follows public opinion. ~Chinese Proverb

Criticism can be uncomfortable, so it’s easy to be swayed by the majority view. However, how can we be sure that the majority view is correct? Perhaps they’re all wrong.

Just because a lot of people think something is so, it doesn’t mean that they have a monopoly on knowledge and/or common sense.

Rather than simply following the herd, it’s much better to consider a situation carefully, weighing up the various possibilities, and then forming your own opinion or making your own decision.

Think for yourself; don’t allow the herd to impose their thinking for you.

11. Every ass loves to hear himself bray. ~Proverb of Unknown Origin

As the old saying goes, empty vessels make the most sound.

However just because someone can talk a good game doesn’t mean they can play a good game.

People who are really good at something will demonstrate it by their actions not by their words. They’ll leave the talking to other people.

You’ll never impress anyone by singing your own praises.

However you’ll win them over if you can demonstrate how good you are by the results you deliver.

So go on, start showing people what you can do.

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How to ensure your dreams and goals add value to your life

Dreams and Goals 2I’m sure you must have dreams and goals dear reader. After all, most people do. However, how often do people fail to realise their dreams though? How often do dreams and projects simply never happen? Why is that?

Well in the thought-provoking TED video included here, Bel Pesce suggests how not to follow your dreams. She gives five reasons why you’ll fail, if you adopt the wrong approach.

Bel Pesce observations relate to the beliefs people hold in relation to how success is achieved. In her view, those erroneous beliefs are as follows:-

1. Believe in overnight success

We see someone successful but we don’t see their back-story. They appear to have gained their success overnight, when in fact it was down to years of hard work mastering their craft first.

No one succeeds without years of hard work first. Nothing happens by accident. It’s all down to determination, grit and an insatiable desire for success.

Opportunity may come overnight, but you have to be well-prepared to grab that opportunity when you see it. Being prepared means mastering your craft.

2. Believe someone else has the answers for you

It’s your life, and no one else knows you and your life better than you.

You need to find your own way, in your own time. In finding a way, it must be a way that suits you well and one with which you feel truly comfortable.

No one else has the perfect answers that will be a good fit with your life.

3. Believe you can settle when growth is guaranteed

It can be amazing just how many people will stop and settle once they’ve reached a goal they’d set for themselves. They get to a point where they think, it’s OK now.

And yet, OK is never OK.

When you reach a peak, you must find the next peak, if you are to continue to grow and sustain success.

4. Believe the fault is down to someone else

If you have a dream, it’s all down to you to find a way to make it happen. You find a way or you make a way. And you never accept No for an answer, unless of course that was the answer you wanted.

The key message is it’s all down to you. If you fail to achieve your dream then it’s your fault and no one else is to blame. Simple!

5. Believe the only things that matter are the dreams themselves

Having a goal is important but life is not just about goals.

Life is a journey with a constant stream experiences and interactions with other people along the way.

The real fun is in the participation. Achievement is just a bonus.

Achievement is a momentary experience but life is not. Life goes on beyond the moment.

Dreams and goals in perspective:

If you’re driven by your dreams then I recommend that you listen to what Bel Pesce has to say. It might just save you some heartache.

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Here’s a truly brilliant ‘don’t quit’ poem to inspire you

Don't Quit PoemIf you’re in search of a ‘don’t quit poem’ to inspire you then I can offer you a truly brilliant one right here.

Many people aspire to success but it can be hard to keep going. You want success but do you want it badly enough to pay the price. There’s always a price and that price must always be paid first. That price is not about money, the price must be paid in blood, sweat and tears.

How often do people quit when with a little more effort or a few more steps they would have achieved their goal?

Now I have no scientific data to back up my conclusion but I suspect it happens quite a lot, wouldn’t you agree?

Certainly from anecdotal evidence I have, from talking to people I know, this is the case.

People start out on a project or goal with enthusiasm and they think it’s all going to be easy. Then it proves to be a bit harder than they imagined, so they quit. Is that an experience to which you can relate dear reader?

Well we must all accept that nothing worth having is ever easy to gain. As I said, there’s a price to be paid.

Nevertheless people do succeed all the time. So if other people can succeed, why not you?

Just decide on your goal, pursue it with determination and energy, and if it all starts to get a bit hard, just don’t quit until you get to where you want to be in life. Don’t quit and you can succeed; quit and you won’t.

The last thing you want is to spend your life wondering what might have been. So keep going.

To inspire you when the challenge gets hard, here’s a memorable and thought-provoking poem by the late Robert Service, the so called ‘Bard of the Yukon’. It’s called The Quitter and it’s reprinted here :-

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Why you should put something away for a rainy day

When you have money, think of the time when you had none. ~Japanese Proverb

Most people experience hard times at some point in their lives, particularly when they’re young.

If you are lucky enough to have a good income now, you’d do well to remember the tough times and put some of your income away for a rainy day.

You can be sure it will rain, the only question is when.

You will be able to weather the storm a lot better if you have a financial cushion in the form of some savings.

It’s easy to squander your money thinking the good times will never end. However nothing lasts forever. So, be prepared.

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What is life’s most precious resource?

To realize the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam. To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of one minute: Ask a person who has missed a train, a bus or a plane. To realize the value of one millisecond: Ask the person who has won a silver medal at the Olympics. Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have. You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special. ~Author Unknown

What is life’s most precious resource?

Now many readers might say money, possibly.

However think about it for a second. Certainly money is a precious resource. That’s true but you can always get more money of course. You can earn a bigger salary; you could win the lottery; you could sell some of your possessions if necessary. So in that sense money is not a limited resource.

How about time?

Now time is a limited resource. We’re all limited to 168 hours per week, whether we like it or not. None of us can get more time than that each week however wealthy we may be. We cannot buy more time.

So time’s a very precious commodity. In fact it’s our most precious commodity. It’s the only commodity we cannot get more of, so it must be more precious than anything else.

Therefore if time is so precious we must use it wisely. We must guard it carefully. And we must not allow others to waste our time.

If anyone wants a piece of your time then they must have a very good reason if you’re to agree to their request. If it’s not a good reason, never be afraid to say NO.

Someone asking for a piece of your time is not a obligation on you, it’s simply a request. You decide whether you’ll grant that request.

And it’s perfectly reasonable to say NO, if that’s the most appropriate response from your standpoint.

Always be polite of course but guard your time very carefully. Always remember, it’s your time and you decide how it’s used.

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Editor’s Note: Today’s quote originally featured on the website www.JuanUlloa.com and I thank Juan Ulloa for sharing it.

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