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Ask good questions

Sometimes we think that in order to become wiser, we need to have the right answers. But right answers to wrong questions are not very useful, are they?

"The key to wisdom", as John Simone said, "is knowing all the right questions."

Questions are powerful tools. They can point to possibilities, encourage self reflection and growth, ignite hope and lead to new insights. They can also confuse issues, destroy hope and keep us stuck in bad assumptions.

Imagine that you are looking at a new project – either work related or personal goals related.

Consider the difference between these questions relating to the project or goal:

Question 1: Can I?
Question 2: How can I?

"At first glance, the questions Can I? and How can I? may appear to be very similar", writes John Maxwell in his book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth: Live Them and Reach Your Potential. "The reality is that they are worlds apart in terms of results. Can I? is a question filled with hesitation and doubt. It is a...

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The Daffodil Principle

Today I am sharing one of my favourite inspirational stories on the power of baby steps.


As it is springtime here in the western hemisphere, and the daffodils are just beginning to show their sunny heads, let us remind ourselves of "The Daffodil Principle" by Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards.

Here it is:

Several times my daughter had telephoned to say, "Mother, you must come see the daffodils before they are over." I wanted to go, but it was a two-hour drive from Laguna to Lake Arrowhead.

"I will come next Tuesday, " I promised, a little reluctantly, on her third call. Next Tuesday dawned cold and rainy. Still, I had promised, and so I drove there. When I finally walked into Carolyn's house and hugged and greeted my grandchildren, I said, "Forget the daffodils, Carolyn! The road is invisible in the clouds and fog, and there is nothing in the world except you and these children that I want to see bad enough to drive another inch!"

My daughter smiled calmly and said," We drive in this all...

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Living a regret free life

Over the last few days, we have been talking about the top regrets of the dying. Thinking and reflecting upon the shortness of our sojourn here on earth is an excellent way to live a better life so that we don't have the regrets at the end of our days.

The good news is that while we are still here, we have thousands of opportunities to change the stories of our lives and leave a legacy that we are content with.

Living a regret free life begins with recognizing what we would like our life to stand for. An excellent way to do this is through the "Eulogy Exercise".

A eulogy, as you know, is a speech given at a memorial service in memory of the deceased. Loved ones gather to say good words about the dearly departed and what impact they had on their lives.

The Eulogy exercise is a little different. It entails writing out two eulogies for yourself.

The first eulogy is to be written as if it is going to be read today. Write it in the present tense, as if the people gathered at your funeral...

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The most common regret of the dying

What do you think was the most common regret of those that Bronnie Ware cared for, and wrote about, in her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing?

"I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me".

"This was the most common regret of all", writes Ware. "When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it."

We may have given ourselves so many reasons and excuses about why we are not doing what we are called to do.

At the end of our days we may realize with regret that we have forgotten the reasons or we may see that the reasons were not very good at all.

What do you dream of doing? Why not start taking action...

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I wish that I had let myself be happier

Many of us do not realize that happiness is, in fact, a choice. A choice that we can make on a daily basis by focusing on what we have rather than what is lacking. On nurturing what is present and available rather than yearning after what may never be ours.

Bonnie Ware found that this awareness came late in life for the people that she cared for. She says, "This (regret) is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called 'comfort' of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."

This is such a good reminder to all of us – to ask ourselves what we can do today to take charge of our own happiness and wellbeing.

We can get choose today to get out of emotional ruts that...

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At Day’s End

Here are some of the questions to ask ourselves when the day is done.

Did today matter?

At Day's End By John Hall

Is anybody happier
Because you passed his way?

Does anyone remember
That you spoke to him today?

The day is almost over,
And its toiling time is through;
Is there anyone to utter
Now a kindly word of you?

Can you say tonight, in parting
With the day that's slipping fast,
That you helped a single brother
Of the many that you passed?

Is a single heart rejoicing
Over what you did or said?--
Does the man whose hopes were fading
Now with courage look ahead?

Did you waste the day or lose it?
Was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness
Or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber,
Do you think that God will say,
"You have earned one more tomorrow
By the work you did today?"

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4 ways money can make you happy

family self awareness Apr 03, 2017

We have all heard the phrase, "money cannot buy happiness".

This is true.

But can we use our money in ways that are likely to bring us more happiness and contentment as opposed to stress and dissatisfaction?

Sonja Lyubomirsky in her interesting book The Myths of Happiness gives us four principles that psychological science suggests we live by if we want to optimally enjoy our money.

Here is the first principle:

Don't spend money on "stuff"— you will get used to it ("hedonically adapt" to use the technical term).

Moreover, she writes that "A mountain of research has shown that materialism depletes happiness, threatens satisfaction with our relationships, harms the environment, renders us less friendly, likable, and empathetic, and makes us less likely to help others and contribute to our communities. . .". These are just some of the negative effects of unbridled consumerism.

Lyubomirsky suggests that in order to counteract this happiness killer, spend money on experiences and...

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The Happiness Equation

In the book Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, Diener and Biswas-Diener explain the connection between income and happiness.

What they found was that the amount of money a person earned only modestly predicted whether or not they were satisfied with their income. Their studies found that some people with a lot of money could not meet their desires, and others with little money were able to do so.

Based on this research, the authors explain that happiness from one's income boils down to a simple formula – "the happiness equation" – which is:

Happiness = What we (actually) have / what we want (what we aspire to have).

Even those of us with basic math can figure out that according to this equation, as our wants increase, our satisfaction with what we have decreases in comparison and this results in a reduction in our overall happiness level.

So a simple way to increase our life satisfaction, or happiness, it seems, is to keep our wants and desires...

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Can you control your happiness?

Through studies with identical twins separated at birth, scientists have discovered that about 50% of our happiness is determined by our genetics and that we have a "happiness set point"—a level of happiness we tend to gravitate toward.

What this means is that when good or bad things happen to people, they tend to get back to their "happiness set point" quite quickly after the happy or sad event.

Surprising right?

Another 10% (ONLY!!) of our happiness is determined by our life circumstances. Most of us spend so much energy on trying to change our life circumstances but research shows that increasing our wealth, living situation etc. etc. and stuff like that has both a negligible and a temporary impact on our well-being. WOW!

What about the rest of the 40%?

Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the most respected researchers in this field and the author of the brilliant book, The How of Happiness believes that a full 40% of our happiness is fully within our control and depends upon how we...

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Do you envy your neighbor’s lawn?

I have a confession.

As soon as summer starts, I look at the beautiful gardens in my neighborhood and am frankly quite envious of the thick, green, golf course-quality grass and the neatly laid out, lush flower beds that surround our somewhat neglected backyard.

I begin to believe that the grass is, indeed, "greener on the other side of the fence".

It seems so unfair. I, too, want green grass and a beautiful garden.

And then I notice that while I am lazing around in the spring, sipping tea and gazing longingly at their gardens and wishing I had the same . . . the neighbors are out whatever the weather. They are tending to their garden, watering the lawn and weeding and feeding the flower beds.

I realize that it is not unfair after all. Nature, it seems, rewards effort. The grass, it turns out, is greener where it is watered and cared for.

So instead of wasting time and energy on envying the neighbors this summer, I plan to start watering the grass on our side of the fence and work...

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