Gratitude for Things We Take for Granted – Day 155 of 365 Days to a Better You

There are million little things we take for granted every day that make our lives work. We’re not, nor could we be, constantly cognizant of them all.

  • You take for granted the sun comes up each morning.
  • You take for granted all the systems in your car are functioning as they need to be to allow you to safely drive down the highway at 70 miles per hour.
  • You take for granted that the cook at the restaurant is taking health precautions in preparing your food.

There are just so many. Perhaps the most vital thing we take for granted is the next breath. We take over 17,000 breaths a day. We’ve been doing it all day every day for years or decades. It’s easy to take it for granted.

Unless you do certain kinds of meditation practice, you probably only notice your breath when you are out of breath or having trouble breathing.

For instance, April and I were on a late flight from Chicago to Boston the other night. I didn’t know it until yesterday, but I had bronchitis developing. As some of you know, the pressurized cabin in a plane exacerbates symptoms like that.

I was having a terrible time breathing on the flight. For two hours, I was practically having to consciously force breaths in and out. April was AWESOME, as she always is, helping me. It was quite frightening. It took all the Zen I could muster to stay focused and make it back to Boston.

It reminded me how something I don’t notice most of the time can become so important.

Power Hack: These forgotten things you take for granted fill in the gaps and make your life work. As I said above, it’s humanly impossible and not even productive to pay attention them all. However, you can develop a strong sense of gratitude for these little miracles that lay the foundation on which you can build your big dreams. Without the sun, the next breath, or those systems in your car, where would you be?

Stay in gratitude, my friends, and thanks for reading today.

Ray

 

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Define Your Own Happiness – Day 97 of 365 Days to a Better You

Can you define happiness for you?

What makes you happy? Do you know?

The vast majority of people say they want to be happy in life. For a topic so important, many go through life without ever really defining what it means for them.

The Declaration of Independence enshrines happiness in the American consciousness.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

You probably are among those pursuing happiness, but have you ever really taken the time to determine what makes you happy? Some of the all-time greats have tried to define happiness. Their definitions may guide you on the path, but you are the only one who can truly decide what makes you happy.

Here are a few of my favorite definitions of happiness and descriptions of the pursuit of happiness. Give them a look and really think about this question. What would truly make you happy?

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
~Mahatma Gandhi

The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.
~Socrates

The myriad things are complete in us. There is no greater joy than to reflect on ourselves and become sincere.
~Mencius

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
~Henry David Thoreau

Happiness depends on ourselves.
~Aristotle

There is no path to happiness. Happiness is the path.
~Buddha

What can you glean from these quotes? Happiness, it would seem, is something that is aligned with being your true self, aligning with your true path, basically being authentically you.

How are you doing that right now? How are you not doing that right now? How could you do more of it?

Happiness may be that elusive butterfly, but you, my friend, are born to attract it.

Ray

Just a reminder. Tomorrow begins our 10-Day Detox. I’ve had a couple people share what they are giving up. Beginning at midnight tonight, no soda (especially by beloved Dr. Pepper) will touch my lips for 10 days.

This, by the way, falls very much in line with John Stuart Mill’s quote about happiness.

“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.”

 

 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – Day 15 of 365 Days to a Better You

Stop comparing yourself to others.

We humans are comparison shoppers. It’s probably some kind of a survival mechanism that we’re always weighing, ranking, and judging ourselves and everything around us.

  • “She’s so much prettier than me.”
  • He’s so much more successful than me.”
  • “They’re so lucky.”
  • “I wish I had that life.”
  • “I hate rich people.”
  • “I’ll never be that smart.”

These are a few of the millions of ways we judge, compare, and become jealous of what other people have. There is nothing productive in any of this. The time we spend doing this is time better spent working on ourselves.

One of the sure keys to success and happiness, though, is to stop doing this and run your own race. Masters, gurus, and weekend motivational teachers galore have offered some version of the only person you need to be comparing yourself to is you yesterday.

Get in the habit of being so into doing you that you don’t have time to worry about what others were doing. You’re in a one-person race, but if you’re consciousness is in everyone else’s lane, you’ll never run your best.

Every flower is beautiful in it’s own way. So are we!

Aloha from Kauai!

Ray

Power hack: If you have trouble doing this, try “tick-marking.” Have a sheet of paper handy throughout the day. Each time you catch yourself comparing yourself to someone else, stop, make a tick mark on your sheet. Consciously stopping and awareness of how much you do this are great ways to reduce it.

For tons more motivational content, please visit the TAS website and YouTube channel.

Down Time on the Beach

Loving decompression time at the beach this week. Hope you are enjoying some down time as a part of your holidays. I sometimes think we were meant to just live on a beach and watch the ocean weave it’s tale. Then there’s that return to reality or what we call “reality,” Ah, but not yet!

Bliss Affirmations – The Affirmation Spot for Wednesday Septemeber 14, 2011

Today’s Thought

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”

~ Joseph Campbell
Bliss is a powerful concept and one that this famous quote by Joseph Campbell has caused to resonate in the minds of the current generations of humans living on planet Earth. How to define bliss? Well, this is one of those words where dictionary definitions are simply inadequate. Your bliss is where you feel at home. It’s your sweet spot. It’s those moments and situations where you *know* you are aligned with your purpose. It’s that life that wakes you in the middle of the night and says, “Come live me!”

Today I am sharing a few bliss affirmations to help you live your bliss.

  • As I follow my bliss, my bliss starts chasing me!
  • Prosperity and happiness are mine when I find the courage to truly follow my bliss!
  • Following my bliss can pay the bills as well any job.
  • Today and every day my bliss is my compass for success and happiness.
  • I never miss when I follow my bliss!
  • I do what I love and find my bliss. I keep doing what I love and I live my bliss. I give myself completely to what I love and I become my bliss!
  • Bliss builds in my world today with every conscious decision I make!
  • Today I find my bliss in the sweet spot where my talents and my passion merge.
  • Following my bliss creates magic in my life.
  • I am a bliss magnet!
  • I follow my bliss! I experience my bliss! I become my bliss!

Stay inspired! You are the engine of your dreams!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams. He is author of the ebook The Power to Be You and the forthcoming The Power to Be You 2: 1001 Power Thoughts for Daily Life.

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Who Determines Your Happiness or Success? – The Affirmation Spot for Thursday August 12, 2011

Thought:Whoever or whatever controls the criteria for your happiness and success, controls your happiness and success.”

raised_arms_horizonThink about that statement for a moment. Now consider who or what is setting the criteria for your success and happiness in life? Is it you?

Giving up control of your happiness and success has become a common trap in our society. People allow institutions, other people, or their own rigid beliefs to limit or squelch their happiness and success. The barriers become so many and so high that hardly any happiness or success can be enjoyed. Sadly, many people do not even realize they have done so.

Advertisers, politicians, and religious institutions are often active players in asking people to cede their happiness or success to the criteria they set. They set a standard and rely on fear, base instincts, and subconcious/unconscious programming to embed their controlling messages. We can have tremendous reason to be happy or feel successful, but someone is telling us that we cannot be, until we…[fill in the blank].

Here are a few examples of the conscious or unconscious criteria that begin to impact our ability to achieve and enjoy happiness or success. Sometimes these criteria even have noble purposes or great goals behind them, but they are not reason to put your enjoyment of life on hold.

  • “I drink beer brand A because I can only be happy if I have the attention of attractive women.”
  • “I can only be happy as a size 4 because when I look in the magazines that’s who gets the attention.”
  • “I can only be happy when I have a bigger house or more clothes.”
  • “I can’t be happy because I’m an imperfect sinner and not worthy.”
  • “I can’t be happy until all poverty is wiped out.”
  • “Success means having a foreign sports car and a summer beach house. I’m not a success until I have those.”
  • “Success means having a championship ring. All my accomplishments are nothing without that.”

Sometimes we give other people the power to set the criteria for our happiness or success. Sometimes they will it away from us as a means of control.

  • “I’ll never be happy until I’m one of the popular kids.”
  • “I can’t be happy until my son is married.”
  • “I cannot be happy as long he is the president.”
  • “I can only be happy when my husband or wife approves of me.”
  • “I cannot be happy until I have my dad’s approval.”
  • “I’m not be a success until I prove to “them” that I am a success.”

Our words have power! And when we place preconditions on our happiness and success or allow others to, we lose. Our lives pass by unfulfilled.

All of these things are worthy goals when you choose and pursue them on your own accord. It’s fine to work to change who is president, to make your spouse as happy as possible, to purchase clothes that you like. What’s not OK is to allow these things to be criteria for your success or happiness.

There is no secret, objective happiness gained from being a size 4, a millionaire, or having your dad’s approval. Of course, the easy proof of this is that there are plenty of unhappy size 4s and happy size 18s, there are miserable millionaires and happy janitors, and there are just as many unhappy people who have dad’s approval as don’t.

Goals are fine. Aim for the size 4 or the million dollars. Just don’t make it prerequisite for enjoying a satisfying life. When you do you are placing your hope for happiness or success in an external, future condition that does not even guarantee the success or happiness when achieved.

You are allowing your experience of happiness or success to be held hostage to these criteria. You are placing your happiness and success at the mercy of subjective criteria and circumstances set and controlled by others. Why? Your happiness and your success are right here for you to access and enjoy right now.

Thought: “Happiness and success are not matters of fate, faith, or circumstance. They are states of mind that we choose or reject.”

The keys to owning your own happiness and success are fivefold.

  1. Identify – recognize the areas of your life where you have allowed someone or something outside of you to set the criteria for your happiness or success. Make a list if it helps you organize your thoughts.
  2. Reclaim Control – take responsibility. Your happiness and success are yours. That entails some responsibility and it is one reason many people give it away to begin with. Recognize that you gave control over your success and happiness away and you can take it back. When other people or institutions have had their control over your success or happiness for a long time they may fight to keep it through guilt or other means. The fact is your happiness and your success belong to you not to them. Claim it!
  3. Lower Barriers – some of us have a difficult time accepting and claiming our happiness and success. You may not feel worthy of these feelings. Even when you gain back control you may establish impossibly high barriers for yourself or continue to use the criteria established for you by others. This gains you nothing. Become friends with the idea of you having success and happiness in your life. If there are hidden emotions or thoughts that are preventing you from enjoying them, get some support or use techniques to identify and handle what is holding you back.
  4. Experience and Enjoy – when you are in control of your own happiness and success and you have an easy, comfortable relationship with them; life is good! Experience your happiness! Celebrate your successes! Share and spread your happiness and success with others.
  5. Help Others – when you experience the emancipation of owning your happiness and success you will want to help others do the same. You will become easily aware of the ways in which people let these influences rob them of their best moments and achievements. There is no reason for us to live in bondage to other peoples’ expecations or criteria. We are as able as they to determine what makes us happy or successful and far more entitled!

Follow your bliss! Experience your bliss! Become your bliss!

Ray

Ray Davis is the Founder of The Affirmation Spot and focuses on empowering minds to think positively, achieve goals, and live dreams. He is author of the ebook The Power to Be You and the forthcoming The Power to Be You 2.

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Perspective – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday July 17, 2010

Today’s Thought:

How small the world we share. How great our foolishness not to see that.

Our disputes can seem so all encompassing. We can become focused on the immensity of our problems. We are obsessed with our differences. Yet, from a distance, we are all spinning around on a very small bluish ball in a very large black vastness. What an important thing to remember.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Perspective: