#193 Be Curious

I knew some friends in high school that were curious about their ability to ignite the gas they personally produced. Yes… they tried to light their farts …

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#193

Be Curious

Have you heard the phrase “curiosity killed the cat?” I actually grew up hearing that quite often and never paid much heed to it but I find that many people are hesitant to be curious. The  phrase is credited to an English comedy play from 1598 and I can’t help but wonder if it propagated with the simple intent of keeping wandering children or nosy neighbors in line.

New Things

What we know today is that curiosity is one of the fundamental attributes of happy people in part, because when we wonder, we are apt to try new things and when we try new things, there is more novelty in our lives. Novelty keeps things  new and fresh – boredom is rare in curios people. People who are curious are constantly learning, exploring, or trying new things; expanding knowledge and boundaries.

Empathy

When we are curious about people or perspectives, we ask more questions. People who are curious tend to have more friends and deeper relationships because they have – in their curiosity – developed an ability to delve deeper into the conversations that build emotional intimacy even in platonic relationships. As their perspective expands, they are able to have more empathy; a trait that also leads to more consistent reports of well-being.

Personal Growth

Your talent for and desire for curiosity may determine your capacity for personal growth. Researchers have identified a correlation between the two. It seems like a no-brainer because if we don’t ever wonder who we are, why we are, or how to change – then growth simply won’t happen.

Many of the ideas I’ve written about to make your life happier and more productive have been identified as a result of people being curious… “I wonder what would happen if I….” and then a sense of satisfaction, comfort, and/or peace sets in and you feel happy. Trial and error… not everything we are curious about will be something that we really wanted to know. I knew some friends in high school that were curious about their ability to ignite the gas they personally produced. Yes… they tried to light their farts … it didn’t go well.

Other than that… maybe you don’t need to know that… in most other things, your life will be enriched if you find the energy to …

Be Curious.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#243 Start Your Day with Motivation

Grab your tablet, your smartphone, or tune your smart TV to a speech geared to energize your mental energy and listen to something inspiring instead of the morning news while you eat breakfast or prepare for the day.

#243

Start your day with motivation

Your Daily Start

How do you start your day? Do you grab a cup of coffee and turn on the news? Pick up a newspaper? While it’s helpful to check traffic and weather to get your commute organized, it can be a real bummer reading or listening to the day’s headlines. When you get ready for your day do you pick through your closet and reject most of the pieces you grab? Are you frequently complaining about a bad hair day? Are you reeling with negative self talk about your weight, your wrinkles, or your schedule?

Make a Shift

If any of the above is true, is it any wonder that your day starts on a low note? Shifting that routine just a little my in fact completely turn around a dull perspective and give you a much more positive beginning each day.

Instead of listening to the news and all of its negativity, begin your day with something uplifting. Once again, we are living in a time when any information we want is at our fingertips via the internet making motivational messages only a few keystrokes away.

Watch & Listen

This is not a new concept… YouTube channels such as BeInspired and TED Talks are libraries for morning motivation. Searching motivational speakers will return inspiring lectures from Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brene Brown, Brian Tracy, Marianne Williamson, and hundreds more. Almost any topic you find interesting is covered from finance and professional development to spirituality and personal growth. What area of your life do you want to grow? Grab your tablet, your smartphone, or tune your smart TV to a speech geared to energize your mental energy and listen to something inspiring instead of the morning news while you eat breakfast or prepare for the day.

The way we view life is greatly determined by the lens we begin our day with. Technology makes it easier than ever to make that choice for ourselves. Make your day better by making the decision to…

Start your day with motivation.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#277 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Perhaps you’ve just begun adulthood and there is a simplicity in your life that you hope to carry through… write yourself a letter reminding your future self …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

 #277

Write a letter to yourself    

Sometimes, we need a little reminder about life and the very best perspective into our lives is our own!

There’s value in writing a letter to your younger self. Think back a few years; 10, 20, or even 30…. Where were your thoughts? Your values? Your goals? What have you learned since then? By sitting down and writing a letter to your younger self, you are taking stock in how far you’ve come. You’re describing a perspective that may not be actively conscious until you take the time to think. Think about the mistakes & lessons, the challenges & successes, and the insights & ah-ha moments that you’ve had; maybe the ones you wish you had know back then.

When you’re finished writing that letter, you’ll have a wonderful reminder of how much you know and how you’ve grown up til now.

A letter to your future self can also be a great option. Think about what is happening right now that will be important to remember! Perhaps you’ve just begun adulthood and there is a simplicity in your life that you hope to carry through… write yourself a letter reminding your future self to keep it in mind. Sometimes, we allow the stressors of adulting to override the basics we enjoy in the beginning. Life can get complicated and it may be really helpful to have a reminder of the more simple tenets.

When you finish writing that letter, put it in a special place that you’re likely to find in a few years.

It only takes a few minutes and it’s best completed without too much forethought. Let the words come naturally – allowing your heart to guide the advice or wisdom that is seeking to be imparted. You know yourself best so let the self compassion flow as you …

Write a Letter to Yourself.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#329 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Ultimately, writing your story has the potential to provide a great sense of peace that where you are now is the result of a winding road and regardless of the bumps…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#329

Write your story

If your life ended today, would people really have known you? Is there a truth you want told? Is there a perspective you’ve wished to share? What are the messages and ideas that you’d like to have be a permanent part of your story?

Writing your story is not only a great way for future generations to know you but it is a good way for you to put your life into perspective – to see it as a whole; a living, flowing creation.

The most important element derived from writing your story is that it most likely will demonstrate great resilience. Most of us have endured pain, heartache, disappointment, despair, and fear. By describing those times in conjunction with the resolution and emergence into something different, we are able to see the entirety of the cycle instead of staying focused on the more noxious elements.

Your story gives your life a living voice, one that others may connect to, and one with which others may resonate. It may offer hope to others experiencing similar adverse events; showing them how to move toward the other side.

Writing your story allows your voice to be articulated; to have shape. It demonstrates your side, your perspective, your focus; delivering context that has only been available from your view. It allows you to see the connectedness of events, time, and learning in a way that is only available in retrospect.

It may help you to reaffirm  your values. Often when we see our lives from a deep, rich, linear perspective, it validates our choices; affirms our position; cements our belief system. It helps provide clarity of the things we declare as important in our life.

Ultimately, writing your story has the potential to provide a great sense of peace that where you are now is the result of a winding road and regardless of the bumps… it led here. Even if ‘here’ isn’t where you want to be, you’ll likely notice that this isn’t the first difficult challenge you’ve faced and you’ve demonstrated the resources in the past to move through. You may find new energy to persevere.

No time like the present for you to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard as you begin to…

Write your story.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#335 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

We know that the more people smile, the better they are to cope with stress and that they report higher in life satisfaction.

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#335

Smile

When was the last time you smiled without a reason? It turns out that the practice of smiling – randomly for no actual reason – actually increases happiness. The muscles stimulated by smiling triggers a release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins – the chemicals that, when activated, allow us to feel happy.

In a landmark study with college students, Kraft and Pressman (2012) validated that students who produced a smile were able to recover from stress more effectively than students who were instructed in the opposite. This concept has been further probed by leaders in the Positive Psychology field and substantiated. We know that the more people smile, the better they are to cope with stress and that they report higher in life satisfaction.

Especially interesting is that we don’t have to smile spontaneously for this effect to be present! Indeed, just the act of smiling produces some affect.

The goal then, is to make an effort to smile more often whether you feel like it or not. Smile in the car on your way to work. Smile in the shower or while you are dressing. Smile at strangers just for the heck of it (many of them will smile back – perhaps initiating the ripple effect). Smile for a full 60 seconds before you get out of bed in the morning and notice the difference.

I assign the task of smiling to The Elevate Class students and they report overwhelmingly how surprised they are when it really does make a difference. It’s like a water soluble vitamin though… it’s only in your system for a day or so after you take it…  you have to smile every day for the effect to be in place.

Experiment a little and for no particular purpose…

Smile.

Let me know how it goes! I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo on Foter.com

#351 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

I would pick up the book and without reading the cover, I would open it haphazardly and read what was there. IF it resonated, even slightly, I considered it.

My goal is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#351

Self-help books on the nightstand

Heraclitis, a Greek philosopher stated “Change is the only constant in life” – a quote you’ve probably seen a hundred times as you moved into adulthood. We know it to be true and some of us experience an unequal amount of change through the course of our lives. Typically, I find that we attribute this quote to external things; our jobs, our environment, our friends, perhaps spouses… Rarely do I find that people are introspecting about personal change.

Unless of course, they are of the ‘self-help’ mindset and/or focused on their mental health as a habit. I’d love to encourage everyone to adopt a ‘self-help’ mentality – in part so that we each take personal responsibility for our actions, reactions, relationships, and lives. The broader part though is that we too, are always changing and if we are not doing so in awareness, we get caught off guard.

Keeping a ‘self-help’ book on your nightstand or in your kindle/e-reader will help you stay present with where you are and what you are thinking. If doesn’t have to be heavy duty stuff all the time. It can be a book of inspiring quotes that reminds you of the progress you’ve already made. It can be a bible that reinforces your faith (yes, I put the bible in a ‘self-help’ category).

I’ve been known to have a stack; a variety of books on a variety of topics – all designed to make me ‘think’ about myself and my life below the surface of where I am living it. Some books are the kind that I am reading from beginning to end – perhaps slowly so that I can absorb new ideas as I go along. A few are the kind that I can just open randomly and benefit from the words on that arbitrary page. Others are ones that I began but didn’t connect with right away and they’ve gone to the bottom of the pile for future contemplation.

I don’t pick self-help books – I let them pick me. In the days that I began my collection, I would peruse the personal development and/or the spirituality section of the bookstore; allowing my eyes to roam across the titles like a gentle wave until something specific caught my attention. Once it did, I would pick up the book and without reading the cover, I would open it haphazardly and read what was there. IF it resonated, even slightly, I considered it. I still use that method, but I buy half as many bound books these days as I’ve fallen in love with Audible and the ability to listen no matter what I am doing. I often listen to books over music and find that I’m ‘reading’ more than ever with this option available to me.

I will caveat this idea with the warning that one can ‘overload’ on information and it’s equally important to allow yourself to step back from ‘self-improvement’ from time to time so that the things you’ve learned can take root. Personal growth is best accomplished the way we physically grow – in spurts with solidifying periods in between. I found the best way to keep myself motivated along the way is to have…

Self-help books on the nightstand.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#356 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

While I do sometimes use it for my day-to-day tasks, this running list is more about those obscure details that sit under our obvious awareness and, because they are not common in our thoughts, are easily forgotten.

My goal, for those of you who are curious, is to share a daily life lesson, tip, or hack. They are the things I want my children to know and the things that I teach to clients. They are the things that make my life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#356

Keep a running list of to-do items

For years now, I’ve kept a running list of to-do items on my computer desktop. I keep it open so that it is easily accessible when I think of something to add. I add everything… even those things that are more wish list than to-do matters. When items are completed, they get deleted.

I acknowledge that this technique isn’t necessarily advantageous to everyone. I often suggest it to clients as a method to be more organized and I see varying reactions. Perfectionists sometimes feel too anxious to leave something open and undone at the end of a day. People who think more concretely may react to the inclusion of ‘wish list’ items as too indefinite.

The benefits out weigh the objections in my opinion. I think we all have had moments when we can’t remember what we wanted to do in reference to a particular project, or we’ve had the experience of doing one thing and then thinking we should have included another but forgot it had been a consideration.

I glance at my list when I head to Home Depot, the mall, or my local craft store… how many times have I returned from the home improvement store only to remember that I wanted to get spray paint for another project, a decorative knob, or a specialty lightbulb? On a rainy Saturday afternoon, the list reminds me to look for a misplaced necklace, clean out the junk drawer, or fix the torn seam on my coat.

While I do sometimes use it for my day-to-day tasks, this running list is more about those obscure details that sit under our obvious awareness and, because they are not common in our thoughts, are easily forgotten.

Truth be told… some of the items on my list sit there so long they become obsolete. I had the intention of making a window seat cushion for years in my old house… it never got done. I have items like that on my list now. They are wish list pieces that keep me motivated and focused. They may or may not come to fruition, but the ideas sit there and I don’t stress about them. In fact – I appreciate that I have a forum to keep them in my consciousness. Try it!

Keep a running list of to-do items

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Stacy Spensley on Foter.com / CC BY