Fill Your Mind with Positives

In my NYU Music in the Media Business class, our focus is —  it’s just as important to make a life as it is to make a living.

God knows these young folks are going to be successful in their careers post-college and we want to make sure they are just as successful at finding happiness.

I thought you might be interested in one of the most popular Dale Carnegie principles they commit to work on during their semester.

Fill your Mind with Thoughts of Peace, Courage, Health, and Hope

Because what we think about matters.

And by visualizing peace, courage, health and hope, it is easier to battle anxiety, lack of confidence, the emotional price we pay for stress and the loss of hope.

It is possible to change the daily diet of destructive thoughts that plague all of is at this moment in time.

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Buy a Ticket to Happiness

Arthur Brooks does great writing for The Atlantic on the process of happiness – note that I say process because if we expect happiness to visit us rapidly, it may feel like a long wait.

“There is an old joke about a man who asks God every day to let him win the lottery. After many years of this prayer, he finally gets an answer from heaven: ‘Do me a favor,’ says God. ‘Buy a ticket.’ If you want happiness, reflecting on why you don’t have it and seeking information on how to attain it is a good start. But if you don’t use that information, you’re not buying a ticket.”

Like everything else in life, a plan is required otherwise even happiness is just an accident.

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No Such Thing as Good Advice

There is no such thing as good advice.

Even when someone outwardly asks for advice, they really don’t want it – they want to listen instead.

A better question:  “tell me more”.

Gathering information from all sources – those jaded and with a secret motive to those who want you to do what worked for them – can be helpful.

You are always the decider which means outsourcing your ability to make a decision to anyone else even if they seem to be or claim to be more knowledgeable is useless.

Music is as Addictive as Fast Food

It’s essentially one-third filling and sounds great.

A new McGill University study indicates music can be as addictive as fast food, alcohol or money.

And it’s hard to overdose on it, does not require a prescription and perhaps I am not telling anyone what they don’t already know except this.

Use only as directed every day, every time you want to improve a mood or steady your feelings.  Other studies indicate music can relieve depression.

Sometimes we look too far for something that is right next to our ears – that firing up the neurons in our brain can create happiness and dousing these same neurons can make us  feel down.

Adversity’s Advantages

For the most trying times in history you can find political leaders who met the challenge which is why they are often referred to as great.

On the Republican side, there was Lincoln.  FDR for Democrats – it’s true here and worldwide that hard times breed successful people.

It’s also true in our everyday lives.

A rough patch is often a chance to shine when challenges are met.

A crisis is never the end, it’s always the beginning for those who meet them.

How long we continue battling tells us how badly we want to succeed.

If we can change the way we look at bad luck, hard times and while overwhelming, we will see instead an opportunity to shine.

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The Power of Yes

Can we agree that the words “no” and “can’t” litter our lives in a negative way?

Changing “no” to “yes” can be transformative.

“No” is best useful when used to defend boundaries otherwise “yes” can be empowering when we give ourselves permission to be optimistic instead of pessimistic, happy rather than sad and confident as opposed to uncertain.

If we are willing to become more aware of when we say or hear the word “no”, change will follow.

There is a direct connection between the reducing the number of times we say or accept the word “no” every day and increased confidence.

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Smartphone Stress & Anxiety

There’s a new dental study from Israel that illustrates in another way the high price people pay for owning a smartphone.

  • 54% wake up in the middle of the night compared to 20% who use a phone without an internet connection.
  • Half feel a moderate to high degree of stress due to a cellphone and 22% without internet.
  • The fear of missing out (FOMO) drives the addiction to social media.

Here are some useful ways to take control from the Center for Humane Technology. 

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Moderna, Pfizer or J&J?

It almost seems that we’re beginning to identify ourselves by our COVID vaccines.

I’m J&J, you’re Pfizer?

You see it on social media or perhaps someone asks – which vaccine did you get?

Some people identify by political persuasion and wear it proudly.

Beyond vaccines, how do you self-identify?

Mother, business executive, friend, son, problem-solver.

All are best worn proudly.

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Confidence is like Food

Confidence is perishable.

Without food the body dies.

Without confidence dreams die and self-esteem withers away.

When things are going great, we seem to have an abundance of confidence.

But when they’re not, we become starved for it and the harder we try to get more, it eludes us.

That’s why confidence ebbs and flows and is best fed with positive thoughts of past accomplishments and future successes.

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Permission Happiness

One of Seth Godin’s best books is Permission Marketing, a term he uses as a type of advertising that allows the consumer to opt-in to receiving promotional messages.

Happiness could take a page from Godin’s concept because it is available to all of us every day and yet it requires a similar opt-in.  We can reject it, remain unhappy, discouraged, without hope or we can choose a more productive path.

Opting-in is the key.

Harold Kushner wrote a book called When All You’ve Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough in which he mentioned the useless pursuit of happiness.  Being docile to it – allowing it to happen – is key.  Kushner’s compared the chasing happiness to trying to catch a butterfly – the more you chase it, the more it evades you but when you allow it to land, it is yours to enjoy.

Happiness is not an entitlement.  It’s a choice.

If this resonates with you, feel free to forward to others.