The Difference Between Happy And Unhappy People

Want to know a major difference between happy and unhappy people??

Think about a situation that didn’t go your way. Perhaps it was a time you lost.

Maybe you lost a big sports bet, lost out on a job promotion or lost your way and got lost while driving.

As hard as it may be, take a second and go back to the very moment of the setback.

The first thing you thought was probably something along the lines of bummer, bull$h!+ or maybe another word or two that I shouldn’t write on this blog.

But I am not concerned with that first thought. I want to know about how you view that experience now.

When thinking of that experience, what is the first thing that comes to your mind now?

The way we think about our previous stumbling blocks can tell a lot about our happiness.

In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain explains that “the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives.”

“Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing (‘I was never the same after my wife left me’), while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise (‘The divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I’m so much happier with my new wife’),” Cain says. “Those who live the most fully realized lives – giving back to their families, societies, and ultimately themselves – tend to find meaning in their obstacles.”

Do you see setbacks as blessings or bothers?

When you lost a big sports bet did you feel that the betting gods were out to get you, or did you take the experience as a way to curb your tendency to bet more than you budget?

When you lost out on the job promotion did you blame your boss for having favorites, or did you turn your frustration into creating better work?

When you got lost while driving did you slam your hands on the steeling wheel and shout that you will never get to your destination, or did you realize that it was time to get a better app than Apple maps.

If you want to be happy, don’t blame your setbacks. Instead, find meaning in your obstacles.

Learn more about Quiet by Susan Cain here.

Be You

Last night I read a great blog post by Seth Godin and thought, “How do I come up with something that brilliant?”

Actually what I really thought was, “My blog is terrible compared to his.”

I began to compare myself to all of the great writers that I read. I looked through all of my future blog topics to come up with a post for today, but I immediately shot them all down because they weren’t “good enough.”

Anything I started to write didn’t to be “Godin quality.”

But then I realized something…

People don’t come to this blog because they want to read Seth Godin.

If reading Seth Godin is what they wanted, they would not need to come here at all. They would go straight to Godin’s blog.

I shouldn’t spend time comparing myself to other authors.

I know that I may never be as funny as Jon Acuff, as insightful as Susan Cain, or as devotional as Max Lucado.

And the best part is…I don’t have to be.

Those writers have been writing for years. I have been writing for days.

It is great to strive to be the same quality of a writer that they are, but it is silly to think that I should be where they are at this very moment.

If Godin is the big leagues of writing, I may be stuck in single A. But that is fine. My career has just begun.

Just because my post isn’t something Godin, Cain or Lucado would write, does not mean I shouldn’t write it.

I just need to be me. And my writing is “good enough.”

Hopefully that same message applies to you too! Just be you.

If you are a singer, don’t compare yourself to Taylor Swift. Her CD is already out. Just be you and sing your song.

If you are a painter, don’t try to be Michelangelo. You will lose that contest every time.  Just be you and create your own Sistine Chapel.

If you are a dad, don’t copy the older dads you see at the park. You don’t need their kids to love you. Just be you and love your own kids.

I may never be the best writer. And you may never be the best singer, painter or dad. But I can be the best me. And you can be the best you.

Fear Week – Biggest Fear

What is your biggest fear?

As part of fear week I started to wonder…what is the one thing that most people are afraid of?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find any comprehensive list that ranked the top fears in the world, but I was able to find a few articles on what are some of the most common fears that people have.

Here are some of the fears that showed up on every list.

  • Fear of Public Speaking
  • Fear of Flying
  • Fear of Spiders
  • Fear of Heights
  • Fear of Tight Spaces (Claustrophobia)

Are you afraid of any of those? If so, you are not alone.

Compared to the others I listed, public speaking is by far the least dangerous. But it is the one fear I’ve always had.

Spiders, flying, heights and tight spaces may actually be able to harm me, but I would gladly take any of those instead of speaking in front of a large group.

Just typing that sounds funny, but it is true for many people.

Comedian Jerry Seinfeld has a great line on this topic. He says, “According to most studies, people’s number-one fear is public speaking. ‘Death’ is number two! Now, this means to the average person, if you have to go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy.”

Speaking to people is something we do everyday. So why are people more afraid of public speaking than death?

One answer might be found in a great book by Susan Cain titled, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. In her book, Cain discusses one theory based on the writings of the sociobiologist E.O. Wilson that says, “when our ancestors lived on the savannah, being watched intently meant only one thing: a wild animal was stalking us.”

In other words, Cain says, “hundreds of thousands of years of evolution urge us to get the hell off the stage, where we can mistake the gaze of the spectators for the glint in a predator’s eye.”

I have never thought of it like this before, but I think Cain and E.O Wilson make a great point.

I guess, subconsciously I’ve always felt that it is better to be off the stage than on it because out of the limelight is where I feel safe.

Being watched intently is not a common thing for most people. We are no longer being watched intently by wild animals, but that doesn’t we like being watched.