5 Ways to Live an Authentic Life

"Something does not did feel right to me." That’s often the feeling we get when we are being inauthentic — or acting in ways that aren’t congruent with our values, preferences, abilities. We feel out-of-sync and out-of-sorts, even if things on the surface appear to be ideal. You feel inauthentic.

What does it mean to be authentic?

“Authenticity,” as defined about 13 years ago by psychologists Brian Goldman and Michael Kernis, is “the unimpeded operation of one's true or core self in one's daily enterprise.”
At its root, authenticity requires self-knowledge and self-awareness. Authentic people accept their strengths and weaknesses. They are accountable. They are connected to their values and desires and act deliberately in ways that are consistent with those qualities.
Authenticity is about being genuine and real, says Mike Robbins, a corporate trainer and the author of Be Yourself, Everyone Else Is Already Taken. It allows us to connect deeply with others because it requires us to be transparent and vulnerable.
“It is important because it liberates us from the pressures of always trying to be something else, always trying to be perfect,” Robbins says.
Robbins began exploring authenticity and his own sense of self nearly 15 years ago, after an injury derailed his major league baseball career.
“It was a sad and painful way to learn to appreciate what I have,” he says. “I had to discover who I was if I was no longer a baseball player.”

Self-awareness is the cornerstone of authenticity

Authenticity starts when you set the intention to be genuine. Then, there must be an awareness of what that looks and feels like, and a willingness to act in accordance with your genuine nature even when it feels vulnerable.
When you live with this kind of self-awareness, decisions are easier because you are free to choose things that move you closer to your values. You are able to stand in the presence of your imperfections, because you can accept your humanity. You can also embrace your talents and abilities.
Authenticity may also require you to make unpopular decisions or to acknowledge aspects of yourself that you’d rather hide away, but in the end it allows you to live a more open, honest and engaged life.
This seemingly intangible quality of authenticity, then, has very tangible outcomes. Authentic people feel better, according to research by Kernis, Goldman and others. They are more resilient, less likely to turn to self-destructive habits for solace. They tend to be purposeful in their choices and more likely to follow through on their goals.
If, instead, you find yourself feeling fragmented, unhappy, bored, stressed, stuck or uninspired, it could be a sign that you aren’t acting authentically. That’s something you can change right now.

Creating an authentic life

Here are five ways to get started:

1. Redefine your values. It’s hard to behave in an authentic way if you do not know what you value and desire. Often, we hold tight to the same values we grew up with, when we need to reevaluate what feels right to us now and align our actions around those things. Get clear on what you care about and authenticity will take hold.

2. Foster an open mind. Authenticity flourishes when we experience the world wholly, from every perspective. Rigid, good/bad thinking keeps us trapped in judgment and limitation, which causes us to shut down our vulnerable, authentic self. Challenge yourself to look at all sides of the situation. Be open.

3. Fill in the blank: If you really knew me you’d know this: ___________.This is a prompt Robbins gives to seminar participants. Not only does it prompt introspection and allow people to reveal essential aspects of themselves, it also builds trust, credibility and confidence with the person you are sharing it with. Authenticity does sometimes feel scary and vulnerable, but it also builds intimacy.

4. Notice when you are being inauthentic. Robbins suggests that you pay attention to those times when you are insincere in your speech, or when you are acting in a way that doesn’t align with your core values. Then explore the fears and beliefs that may create those barriers to your authenticity.

5. Trust your intuition. Often, we feel out of sync when we are acting inauthentic. Things just don’t feel right. Pay attention to those hunches, physical sensations and impressions. They can be your instincts telling you that you are not being genuine. When you are on track and authentic, you’ll feel that too.

I’m still learning how to live authentically. That journey is ever-shifting as I learn more about myself.

“Who we are evolves and changes,” Robbins says. “This is a dynamic process and one we can keep moving into at deeper levels. Feel that, pay attention to that. This is less about a destination than a journey of going deeper to keep discovering and unfolding new pieces of ourselves as we go.”


10 Things You Must Give Up to Be Successful

When we think about how to achieve success, we often focus on the skills and habits we should add to our lives.  But sometimes the key to success actually lies in our ability to give up certain habits and behaviors.  So starting today…
  1. Give up the habit of waiting. – The way you spend your time defines who you are.  You don’t get to choose how you are going to die, or when; you can only decide how you are going to live right now.  Trust me, a year from now you will wish you had started today.  
  2. Give up the excuses. – Sooner or later you will come to realize that it’s not what you lose along the way that counts; it’s what you do with what you still have.  When you let go, forgive, and move on, you in no way change the past, you change the future.
  3. Give up trying to be perfect. – Sometimes we try to show the world that we are flawless in hopes that we will be liked and accepted by everyone.  But we can’t please everyone, and we shouldn’t try.  The beauty of us lies in our vulnerability, our love, our complex emotions – our authentic imperfections.  When we embrace who we are and decide to be authentic, instead of perfect, we open ourselves up to real relationships, real happiness, and real success.  There is no need to put on a mask.  There is no need to pretend to be someone you’re not.  You are perfectly imperfect just the way you are.
  4. Give up doing things you know are wrong. – Nothing is more damaging to you than doing something that you believe is wrong.  Your beliefs alone don’t help you grow and thrive, your behavior and actions do.  So always do what you know in your heart is right, for you.
  5. Give up feelings of entitlement. – Nobody owes you anything.  When you approach life with the false sense that you are owed things, you will naturally become less productive and constantly find yourself disappointed by reality.  When you are grateful for what you have, and see positive things as bonuses, versus owed entitlements, you will earn great successes gradually as you grow.  Read The Road Less Traveled.
  6. Give up relationships that want you to be someone else. – The best kind of relationship is the one that makes you a better person without changing you into someone other than yourself.
  7. Give up letting others decide what you can and can’t do. – In order to live your own authentic life, you have to follow YOUR inner GPS, not someone else’s.  When others say, “You can’t do it!” or “That’s impossible,” don’t lose hope.  Just because they couldn’t doesn’t mean you can’t.
  8. Give up being a helpless victim. – Yes, it is unfortunate that sometimes bad things happen to the best of people.  Life can be unfair, unkind and unjust.  However, being stuck in a victim mentality does not nurture your ability to move onward and upward.  You’ve got to stand back up and take positive steps to heal and grow.
  9. Give up worrying about past failures. – Accept your past without regret, handle your presence with confidence, and face your future without fear.  You are today where your thoughts and actions have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts and actions take you.  Read How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
  10. Give up blaming everyone else. – Either you own your situation or it will own you.  Either you take responsibility for your life, or someone else will.  Blame is a scapegoat – it’s an easy way out of taking accountability for your own outcome.  It’s a lot easier to point the finger at someone or something else instead of looking within.  Blame is not constructive; it does not help you or anyone else – nobody wins in the blame game.  The amount of energy and stress it takes to place blame elsewhere takes away from your ability to move forward and find a real solution.
And remember, the road you are traveling may be the more challenging one, but don’t lose faith.  Don’t listen to the doubters, don’t let setbacks keep you down, and most of all, don’t give up on yourself.
It’s okay if you don’t know how much more you can handle.  It’s fine if you don’t know exactly what to do next.  Eventually you’ll let go of how things ‘should be’ and start to see all the great possibilities in front of you.  This is your life – grab the wheel with both hands and keep steering yourself in the right direction.


How to Find What You Love to Do

This article was inspired by Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at Stanford University. In it, he says the advice we’ve all heard a thousand times:
“You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”- Steve Jobs
Well then, the question naturally arises:
How do you find what you love to do? 
It’s such a big question.
What ABSOLUTELY BOILS MY BLOOD is that we hear we should be doing what we love to do all the time, but there’s not any step by step advice out there on HOW to find what you love to do.  The advice that is out there helps to a certain degree, but it’s just a bunch of pieces thrown together with no coherent logical structure or order.
A perfect example is this.  In order to find your passion, we are told to ask ourselves:
“What would you do if you had a million dollars (tax free)?”
The typical answer ensues:  “Well gee, I would put it in an account that yields high interest and live off the interest each year.  Then I would move to Hawaii, buy a house, sip margaritas all day, play video games, go to the beach, swim, travel around the world, taste all the cuisines, read the books, play the sports, and on and on and on.”
Does this really help?  Not really.  Sure, you figured out what your lazy butt likes to do, but it doesn’t really answer the question that’s hidden, which is “How do I make money doing what I love to do?
What’s the result?
People working in jobs they hate, feeling trapped because they can’t quit as they rely on that sole source of income to finance a lifestyle tailored to escape their grim reality, drifting aimlessly in life, in short, leading lives of quiet desperation, as so eloquently put by Henry David Thoreau.
Why don’t they just quit their jobs and pursue what they love to do you ask?
Two Reasons.
Reason #1:  They don’t know what they love to do.
Reason #2:  Fear.  They’ve got a lifestyle to uphold, bills to pay for, families to take care of, fear of no steady source of income, fear of what other people might think or say about them, etc.  Fear.
Conquer indecision in Reason #1 and ACT, and you will most definitely conquer all fear in Reason #2.
The very fact that you are seeking to find what you love to do (by the very fact you came across this article and started reading it) is a BIG step believe it or not.  Many people in their lifetime avoid or do not even seek to find the answer to that question.  They hear the question in their head but have become extremely adept at silencing it.
It is extremely important to answer the question on how to find what you love to do.
You must decide what destination to steer your life in.  Otherwise, you leave yourself wide open for others to direct your life, as well as at the mercy of the winds and storms of life.  If you know where your destination is, the rest is easy.
You will find once you know what you want to do, all uncertainty and burden will be lifted off your shoulders and you will have clear vision as to what your journey is and that journey will truly be joyful.
By the time you finish reading this article, I sincerely hope you experience that.
What about how to make money doing what you love?
The question of how to monetize doing what you love is certainly a valid one.  There are bills to pay, stomachs to feed, families to support, etc.
Don’t worry about that for now.  That will be covered later in this article.
First things first, you’ve got to find what you love to do.
Why is it so hard to find what you love to do?
The answer is:
It’s not hard at all.
You read right.
It’s not hard at all.
Then why are so many people having difficulty finding what they love to do?
Because they’ve never truly asked themselves.
What amazes me is that there seems to be a stigma attached to spending time with oneself.  You have to constantly be doing something, whether it’s going to the game, drinking beer with the buddies, going to that hot party or club downtown, etc.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with doing all that, but I suspect the vast majority of people who engage in this “I have to be doing something every minute because I can’t be by myself” mentality are just putting up a front to show people how satisfying and fulfilling their life is, when in reality, it’s just the opposite.  The irony here is that spending time with oneself is EXACTLY what you should be doing to lead a satisfying and fulfilling life.
People think you have to travel around the world, experience new things, etc to find what you love to do.  No.  You just have to sit down and decide. The answer is already within you.  You just have to dig it up and avoid procrastinating.  Your brain has absorbed all sorts of information and experiences and it has the answer ready to be unraveled.
Just let it out.
Be honest.  Have you actually sat down by yourself with no distractions, with your sole focus on asking yourself what you love to do without picking up your cell phone, surfing the net, watching TV, chatting on AIM, listening to your favorite song, playing solitaire or minesweeper, checking your email, returning a call, getting a drink of water, going to the bathroom, looking at the clock, reading a magazine article, I could go on and on but you get the point.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say you haven’t for the sole purpose of you reading this article.  Why is that?
Fear of what the answer will be if you ask yourself what you love to do.
The answer is:  I don’t know.
But that is exactly why you MUST find out.  You’re avoiding the question because you know the answer is you don’t know, but that’s ok.  Admitting you don’t know is perfectly fine.  There’s nothing wrong with it.  You’re way ahead of a ton of other people who learn to quiet the voice within that asks the question of “What do I love to do?”
And let’s say you’re one of the few people who actually specifically know what they love to do.  The next thought that pops in their head is “Oh, I can’t make any money off of that.” The seed that was planted never grew.
I hate vague answers. I want clear, logical, definitive answers to questions.
So let’s do this.
Step 1:  You WILL find the answer.  No doubt.
You will find the answer.  You will find it.  No doubt.
Approach the question with this mentality and you are sure to find it.  How long will it take?  It doesn’t matter. Bottom line, you will find the answer.
By doing this, you automatically instill an anti quitting mechanism within yourself, because you know you will find the answer.  If you know what you want to do, then you will do it.
For example, if you know you want to arrive in New York, you’ll find ways to get there.  You’ll hop a train, bus, or plane going to New York and will arrive in New York.
If you don’t have the cash, you’ll borrow it, or get a job and save up, or get a job as a flight attendant to get there for free.  It doesn’t matter how long it will take or what you need to do because you know you’re going to New York.
All your actions onward from the decision that you want to arrive in New York will revolve around getting to New York.
Read that last sentence again.
All your actions onward from the decision that you want to arrive in New York will revolve around getting to New York.
Finding what you love to do = Deciding to arrive in New York.
Step 2:  Make a list of your skills and interests in two columns and WRITE THEM DOWN (I’ll explain why you must write things down later):
KEY is to WRITE THESE DOWN!!!  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Don’t think you can do it all in your head.  WRITE IT DOWN.
When I mean by skills is any skill.  It could be an intangible skill.  Empty your clip here, list EVERY skill you have.  It could be programming, making web pages, talking, listening, persuading people, typing, flirting, analyzing, giving speeches, making things easy to understand, whistling, blowing bubbles with your spit, it could be anything.  Don’t be bashful. List everything you perceive your skills to be.
On your other column, lists your interests and don’t be shy here as well.  List EVERY interest you could possibly think of.  Spiders, shoes, hair, makeup, basketball, tennis, thinking of ideas, babysitting, walking, hiking, fireworks, helping people, making fun of people, fishing, tai chi, karate, seashells, seaweed, can openers, anything goes.  Yes, I did say can openers.  Your interests can also include subjects you are knowledgeable about as well.  Computers, economics, biology, basketball plays, football plays, magic tricks, etc.
To help you write down more interests, think of what you were interested in at your previous jobs and write them down.  Also, think of what you were NOT interested in your previous jobs and write the exact opposite.
Asking yourself the following questions may shed light as to what skills and interests you possess.
If you went in a bookstore, which section do you naturally gravitate toward?
Ask friends for any skills and interests they see in you.  You’ll be surprised at how much insight they have on you that you’ve never thought of before.
What do you spend most of your time doing?  What do you look forward to doing?
Go back and think of your accomplishments as a child.  What kind of skills and interests revolved around your accomplishments?
What did people praise you on doing?
What did your teachers or parents say you had a skill or knack of doing?
Why am I emphasizing skills and interests here?
Skills:  Because you’ve got to leverage what you’re strong with.  And don’t say you don’t have any.  Everybody has skills.  You’ve just never sat down and thought about it and wrote it down.  By using your skills, you’ve got a head start, a catalyst.
Interests:  Simply because you’ve got to love what you do.  By including interests, you include another form of an anti quitting mechanism.
Focus on generating as many skills and interests you can possibly think of and WRITE IT DOWN!
You may find that your skills are gravitating toward one or two particular skills.  The same may hold true for interests.  Keep that in mind for step 3.
Step 3:  Set aside some TRUE alone time with no distractions to focus and figure out what you love to do by asking yourself the right questions.
It amazes me how people set aside time for taxes, cooking, watching movies, reading, but when it comes to their own personal future, they NEVER set aside any time.  How much MORE time should you set aside to figure out the path that will make you happy?
Ok, you’ve set some private alone time with no distractions; now what?
You must ask yourself an extremely clear question.  Clarity is key here.  The clearer the question, the easier the answer will be.
For example, if I ask you what 12 times 12 is, the answer comes easily, 144.
However, if I ask, what is some even two digit number times some other even two digit number?  Guess how long it’ll take you to answer that question?
Clear questions lead to clear answers.
Another key thing is to WRITE it down.  I know you’ve heard it a billion times and it’s so cliché but there’s a reason.  Writing things down allows you to easily make connections you’ve never thought of before because you see it on paper.  It also allows you to “free room” in your brain for other thoughts because they are put in another container so to speak.
If I ask you, what’s 257 times 852, try doing that in your head vs. writing it down.  When you write it down, the answer comes out easier, not to mention more accurate.
If you haven’t already wrote down your skills and interests in the previous step, STOP and DO IT NOW.  It won’t do you any good having them in your head.
So, let’s use your alone time to ask yourself a clear question in writing.  What is the question you should ask yourself?  Is it: “What do I love to do?”
That question is a bit broad, so let’s narrow it down a little.  Try asking yourself:
What would I love to do on a daily basis utilizing both my skills and interests that will add significant value to people?
See the difference here?  The more detailed and clearer the question, the easier it is to answer it.  Why did I add the add value part?  Because that will lead you to find a way to make money doing what you love.
By incorporating the question of how to add significant value by utilizing your skills, you automatically filter out all the “common answers” that people come up with when asked what they love to do.  Common answers such as:  “I love to watch TV.”  Or “I love to play video games.”  Answers such as that discourage people because they see no way of making money from it.
Adding to that, many people tend to make the mistake of focusing on how to make money.  A lot of people fail to realize that money is just a byproduct of adding value in the form of a product or service to people.
When you know how you can add value to people, you’ll know how to get money.
Open up Word or get out a blank sheet of paper and write that question up at the top.  Here it is again in case you don’t want to scroll up.
What would I love to do on a daily basis utilizing both my skills and interests that will add significant value to people?
The KEY is to WRITE YOUR ANSWERS DOWN!!!  I cannot emphasize this enough.  Don’t think you can do it all in your head.  WRITE IT DOWN.
Looking at the two column list you made in the previous step, start writing down a list of answers.  Just write.  It doesn’t have to be perfect and it doesn’t have to make sense because sooner or later, you will connect the dots.  Here’s a story to illustrate what I’m talking about.
There was a story about a small town with a ski resort which attracted a lot of tourists, which in turn helped the town’s economy.  However, when it snowed, the snowfall collected on the power cables, until the weight was enough to collapse the cables, resulting in several power outages.  Slowly but surely, tourists stopped coming, so the town held a meeting to discuss how to solve the problem of having snow collect on the power cables.  Solutions were tossed out for quite some time.
Then somebody shouted in a loud voice from the back of the room and said “Let’s hang pots of honey on the power cables to make the bears climb up.  When the bears climb up and get the honey, their movement will shake the snow off the power cables.”
The audience laughed and somebody else deciding to play along said “How will we refill the pots of honey?”  “We’ll use a helicopter”, another person said.
Then the answer dawned upon them.  By having a helicopter fly by the power lines, the wind from the propellers would shake the snow off.
The main point here is that answers, no matter how ridiculous they may seem, should not be feared because more often than not, they lead to results.  It’s all part of the process.
Even if an answer seems ludicrous, write it down.  Write down all your answers.  Do it until you have 20 answers and look them over.  You will find that as you write down answers and look at them, it will in turn propel you to think of new creative answers that you would not have come up with before.
You will be amazed at all the things you wrote and the different solid creative ideas that come about.
Now the time comes for focus.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the sun and magnifying glass analogy pertaining to focus but I’m going to say it again.  If you try to do a bunch of things at once, nothing will get done.  If you wave a magnifying glass around on the hottest day, you won’t burn anything.  You’ll dissipate all your energy among the trivial many.
By focusing and harnessing all your power, energy, time, focus, thinking, etc. on one goal, you will be amazed at how deep and quickly you can accomplish that.  Just as you steady a magnifying glass on a single object, with the hot burning sun rays analogous to your desire, focus, power, energy, time, etc, you will make an impact.
The notion of focus is so important that I’m going to use another analogy.  Imagine you’re a cheetah and you see two juicy gazelles grazing in the grass.  Spending your time chasing both = no food = death.  Hunt one down.  It might take time to catch it and kill it, but when you do, you’ll be recharged.  You will soon start collecting information on how the gazelles run, which direction they run, where they like to graze, etc, which will help you catch more gazelles in the future, thereby putting you in a favorable cycle.  Case in point, focus on one.
So look over your list you just made and choose one idea that seems the most appealing to you.  You may find you can combine a few ideas into one idea.  Nevertheless, choose one idea that you will garner the greatest satisfaction not just for yourself, but to other people.
You might want to zero in on the ideas that combine your skills and interests that you’ve listed in the beginning.  The reason being, psychologically speaking, you’ve probably listed your greatest skills and interests first and then as you started listing them downward, so did your degree of skill and interest.  This might not be true.  You might have 20 different but equal skills and interests, which if you do, I congratulate you.  Just a tip I thought I would throw out.
How will you know you’ve found what you love to do?
Does it make you feel good?  If you feel it in your gut that you’ve hit the jackpot, you’re right.
If your friend were to bring up the idea you picked, would you be all over it talking about it?
You have to have no reservations about it.  If you feel the slightest doubt that it’s not your passion, then it’s not.  You must hunger to overcome any obstacles to pursue your passion.
Once you have that, your search is over.
That, right there is what you love to do.
As for how to make money off of it, you might have already found ways when you wrote down your answers.  If you still want to find more ways to make money doing what you love, just follow the same steps.
Step 1:  Know you will find the answer.
Step 2:  Write a clear question, write down the answers, and you will be amazed at the many ways you can make money from it.
I’ll leave the money making question up to you, but it shouldn’t be hard to do.
Now that you know what you love to do and how to make money from it, you must ACT.
That’s a whole other story.  Most people get to this stage but don’t act and it doesn’t make any difference in their lives.



22 Things Happy People Do Differently

There are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a homeless person could be right outside, walking around with a spring in every step. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.
The question is: how do they do that?
It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do things differently. Ask any happy person, and they will tell you that they …

1. Don’t hold grudges.

Happy people understand that it’s better to forgive and forget than to let their negative feelings crowd out their positive feelings. Holding a grudge has a lot of detrimental effects on your wellbeing, including increased depression, anxiety, and stress. Why let anyone who has wronged you have power over you? If you let go of all your grudges, you’ll gain a clear conscience and enough energy to enjoy the good things in life.

2. Treat everyone with kindness.

Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that being kind makes you happier? Every time you perform a selfless act, your brain produces serotonin, a hormone that eases tension and lifts your spirits. Not only that, but treating people with love, dignity, and respect also allows you to build stronger relationships.

3. See problems as challenges.

The word “problem” is never part of a happy person’s vocabulary. A problem is viewed as a drawback, a struggle, or an unstable situation while a challenge is viewed as something positive like an opportunity, a task, or a dare. Whenever you face an obstacle, try looking at it as a challenge.

4. Express gratitude for what they already have.

There’s a popular saying that goes something like this: “The happiest people don’t have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.” You will have a deeper sense of contentment if you count your blessings instead of yearning for what you don’t have.

5. Dream big.

People who get into the habit of dreaming big are more likely to accomplish their goals than those who don’t. If you dare to dream big, your mind will put itself in a focused and positive state.

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Happy people ask themselves, “Will this problem matter a year from now?” They understand that life’s too short to get worked up over trivial situations. Letting things roll off your back will definitely put you at ease to enjoy the more important things in life.

7. Speak well of others.

Being nice feels better than being mean. As fun as gossiping is, it usually leaves you feeling guilty and resentful. Saying nice things about other people encourages you to think positive, non-judgmental thoughts.

8. Never make excuses.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Happy people don’t make excuses or blame others for their own failures in life. Instead, they own up to their mistakes and, by doing so, they proactively try to change for the better.

9. Get absorbed into the present.

Happy people don’t dwell on the past or worry about the future. They savor the present. They let themselves get immersed in whatever they’re doing at the moment. Stop and smell the roses.

10. Wake up at the same time every morning.

Have you noticed that a lot of successful people tend to be early risers? Waking up at the same time every morning stabilizes your circadian rhythm, increases productivity, and puts you in a calm and centered state.

11. Avoid social comparison.

Everyone works at his own pace, so why compare yourself to others? If you think you’re better than someone else, you gain an unhealthy sense of superiority. If you think someone else is better than you, you end up feeling bad about yourself. You’ll be happier if you focus on your own progress and praise others on theirs.

12. Choose friends wisely.

Misery loves company. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with optimistic people who will encourage you to achieve your goals. The more positive energy you have around you, the better you will feel about yourself.

13. Never seek approval from others.

Happy people don’t care what others think of them. They follow their own hearts without letting naysayers discourage them. They understand that it’s impossible to please everyone. Listen to what people have to say, but never seek anyone’s approval but your own.

14. Take the time to listen.

Talk less; listen more. Listening keeps your mind open to others’ wisdoms and outlooks on the world. The more intensely you listen, the quieter your mind gets, and the more content you feel.

15. Nurture social relationships.

A lonely person is a miserable person. Happy people understand how important it is to have strong, healthy relationships. Always take the time to see and talk to your family, friends, or significant other.

16. Meditate.

Meditating silences your mind and helps you find inner peace. You don’t have to be a zen master to pull it off. Happy people know how to silence their minds anywhere and anytime they need to calm their nerves.

17. Eat well.

Junk food makes you sluggish, and it’s difficult to be happy when you’re in that kind of state. Everything you eat directly affects your body’s ability to produce hormones, which will dictate your moods, energy, and mental focus. Be sure to eat foods that will keep your mind and body in good shape.

18. Exercise.

Studies have shown that exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft does. Exercising also boosts your self-esteem and gives you a higher sense of self-accomplishment.

19. Live minimally.

Happy people rarely keep clutter around the house because they know that extra belongings weigh them down and make them feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Some studies have concluded that Europeans are a lot happier than Americans are, which is interesting because they live in smaller homes, drive simpler cars, and own fewer items.

20. Tell the truth.

Lying stresses you out, corrodes your self-esteem, and makes you unlikeable. The truth will set you free. Being honest improves your mental health and builds others’ trust in you. Always be truthful, and never apologize for it.

21. Establish personal control.

Happy people have the ability to choose their own destinies. They don’t let others tell them how they should live their lives. Being in complete control of one’s own life brings positive feelings and a great sense of self-worth.

22. Accept what cannot be changed.

Once you accept the fact that life is not fair, you’ll be more at peace with yourself. Instead of obsessing over how unfair life is, just focus on what you can control and change it for the better.

5 Steps Toward A Better Life

When it comes to finding happiness, many of us seem to be looking for it in all the wrong places, wasting time and energy, not realizing that the root of happiness is within each and every one of us, in our hearts. Allowing ourselves to experience genuine happiness is to become happiness, it is wanting happiness to be a part our lives with all our hearts and being open to receiving it no matter what form it might take.
Today I would like to share with you the five steps that will help you on this journey toward experiencing the real happiness you have been searching up until this very moment

1. Surround yourself with people who love and accept you

Surround yourself with people who allow you to be you, for who you are, not for what they want you to be.
You know those people who are always eager to help you change, even if you don’t want to change? I believe in change, I embrace change, but when a person doesn’t want to change or is not ready to change, forcing her to do just that is quite disturbing. You simply can’t “help” somebody who doesn’t want to be helped.
I can tell you from my own experience that, when you accept and love people for what they are, and you treat them, not as if they aren’t complete or whole, not as if they are inferior to you, that is when you are in fact helping them.
Goethe said it so beautifully, that “When we treat a man as he is, we make him worse, but when we treat a man as he should be, as he could be, we promote him to what he should be and could be, we help him grow, and you help him become more than he already is.” and this is what I call THE POWER OF NON-INTERFERENCE!

2. Cultivate new, positive and empowering habits

It is said that negative habits are easy to form but hard to live with, while on the other hand, positive and empowering habits are harder to form but a lot easier to live with. Just think about how easy it is to form the habit of procrastination for example, which is a negative habit, in case you thought otherwise.
Now let’s try to cultivate a new and positive habit. We want you to wake up every morning an hour earlier to exercise, meditate or I don’t know, you could pick whatever positive habit you want. You will tell yourself that you must do it, you want to do it, you have to do it, and in the morning, when the alarm clock rings, what do you do? You turn it off and you continue sleeping saying to yourself: “I will wake up earlier tomorrow. Yes! Tomorrow I will definitely do it!” Is that O.K.?

3. Invest in yourself

The way I see it, there is no greater investment than the investment you make in yourself, because, just like Eckhart Tolle said it “you can lose something that you have but you can never lose something that you are.” You are your most precious treasure, and if you choose to dig without instead of digging within, you will never find real happiness, you will never find long term happiness, only short and superficial happiness. Learn to see yourself as your most valuable possession, work on doing just that.

4. Lighten your load

You know how people always complain that they don’t have enough, and that they need more, they want more, they must have more? Well, let me ask you this question: Right now, do you really need more? More clothes, more shoes, more money, more stuff, more of everything? I mean, do you really need more than you already have, right this very moment, not in the future, not in an hour, not in a week, a month or a year, but now!
Take time to think about it, if you need it, but chances are that the answer will be NO. According to the 20/80 rule, we only use 20% of the things we have, only 20% … and even so, we always complain that there isn’t enough and that we don’t have enough.
I am not against having money, I am not against having beautiful things, stuff, etc., but the idea is to look over those things you no longer need, to look over those things you no longer use, and give them away, make room for new things, better things to come your way. I am 100% sure that you feel better now, knowing that you don’t just have to give stuff away just to lighten your load, but because you need to make room for new stuff to come your way, right?

5. Take time to recover

People nowadays work way too much and whenever they take a break, that is if they take one, whenever they take a vacation, some time off, instead of enjoying themselves, instead of being present in whatever it is that they are doing, they are thinking about what needs to be done at work, what they should do when they go back to work, whether it was a good idea to take a vacation or not, whether they should go back to work earlier, etc. And of course, this isn’t only about those people who have a job, but for all those people who are always so “busy”.
I want you to read these incredible words that came from no other than Leonardo Da Vinci, who clearly understood the importance and power of resting and recovery, the importance of taking some time off from your work: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
You see, if we could all take some time and think about what truly makes us happy, we would come to the conclusion that our own happiness is not something that depends on how others treat and look at us, but rather on how we treat ourselves, how we love ourselves and how we treasure and work with the time we have been given here on this amazing planet.