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The Comparison Trap

Your neighbor is driving the car of your dreams. Your friends are always conveniently sharing the latest restaurants they have dined in. Your coworker is yet again taking a week vacation to visit the next island on her bucket list. Wow! These pictures of these beautiful people on social media looking so fabulous and ecstatic in their relationships can leave you dissatisfied with your own reality.

You do not care for facts, that has been proven with countless research, but you have to realize that the perceived social media reality: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, you name it…social media… is conveying distinctly one’s hallucinations about who she wants to portray to her circle of influence and the world. There is no way you can account for the truth in these portrayals. Nor should you care.

Why You Compare

What is it with you…feeling better about yourself and your situation only when you can find those who are doing worse than you. Take this, real estate professionals suggest that people seek an expensive community and buy the smallest house there because it will appreciate tremendously faster than the biggest house on the block. But, that does not make people feel good, so, they buy the biggest house in a less expensive and downward neighborhood because it makes them feel good and happy.

You like to compare down because you want to feel as if you are doing something right. When you compare up with someone who you think is doing better than you or looking at a more upscale community than your own, you tend to feel unhappy and dissatisfied. You might believe that these people who seem better than you are keeping a secret from you. How come they have more money than you. Why do they wear better clothes? How can they afford this or that? You work harder than they do.

Unrealized Goals

You compare yourself with others because what they remind you of the unrealized goals in your life. You had a plan three years ago to upgrade from renting an apartment to buying a house. Life happens, so you are still renting while all your friends seem to be buying beautiful houses right before your eyes. So, you may think that the universe is on their sides and not yours. Perhaps, they have better jobs and more money than you. You let these things get you down not understanding that your are projecting…you are overestimating what people may have and underestimating what you can do to realize your goals.

Flawed Perception

Another reason why comparing yourself with others is not positively productive is because you have a flawed perception. You assume too much. You assume that your neighbor can afford your dream car because he has more more money than you. He may be eating can beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to be able to afford the payments for that car. Maybe his car is the only thing in his life that makes him feel significant for the moment. So, keep in mind that all of these things you assume about the person who might be doing better than you is a concoction of your imagination to justify why you are not in a better situation or have more expensive things. Know this, your assumption is not the truth.

Lack of Gratitude

Dissatisfaction in life can be a good thing; it can help you get motivated to take action towards changing your life. It is an energy that can be utilized to create the life you want. It becomes negative energy when it is derived from comparing yourself with others. You have more than you can ever use in this life. Why don’t you count your blessings when you feel like taking a turn at comparison road. Say out loud what you are thankful for. Write a list of things that makes you smile. Keep a gratitude journal and record the things that keep you ground, happy, and joyful. These activities will help you focus on your blessedness not other people’s things.

Finally, research has shown acquiring things only keeps you happy for a moment, because once you achieve a goal, it no longer seems important. The next goal is just around the corner. That is why you should spend more time investing in your growth and development rather than on comparing yourself to others.

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I AM THANKFUL FOR TODAY

Today is a wonderful gift from God, 

an opportunity to stretch my comfort zone,

knowing that is the only way

I will become more like him.

__ Guerline Jasmin

 

I am thankful for…Thankful for Today 1

  1. I am thankful for my salvation– Knowing Jesus changes everything.
  2. I am thankful for my family — Caring and loving them infused my life with passion and purpose.
  3. I am thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly — Understanding that my transformation from the temporary to the eternal depends on my appreciation of what they have to offer.
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Happiness Habit 3: Be Generous

Becoming a happy person is not as difficult as it appears. It can actually be fun if you enjoy being generous. That is giving and sharing freely without expecting anything in return.

Our happiness is affected when we keep count of what we give. We expect people to return to us equal or greater to what we have given to them.

What we need to be concerned with is planting the seed of generosity and let God be responsible for the returning aspect of giving.

Here are 10 things you can give generously today.

  1. Say please and thank you.
  2. Give compliments often.Generosity 1
  3. Give your money to people and causes you believe in.
  4. Give your time generously where it matters most.
  5. Have a big heart and be compassionate.
  6. Share all resources generously.
  7. Forgive each fellow human at least 77 x 7.
  8. Give plenty of hugs and kisses.
  9. Lend your ears without passing judgement.
  10. Love covers it all.
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Happiness Habit 2: Be Teachable

Be Teachable 2

On any given day, I have an abundance of opportunities to learn new things in books, through people, and by listening to what’s going on around me.

I don’t know about you, but I never have enough time to learn everything that interest me. The opportunities are ubiquitous, so boredom is rarely an experience I entertain.

In this way I developed an attitude of learning. Just like I learned to do math, I can learn to be happy.

Happiness is something that we learn from our family, friends, and our environments. It is not something you achieve with certain status in life.

To change along with life we have to be teachable.

Be Teachable 1

Are you teachable?

Which one of the following will help you develop a teachable attitude?

To be teachable…

  1. Observe: Make the practice of observing the people around you. Watch their behaviors, how they speak to each other, the words they use, and their nonverbal behaviors. Sometimes you can learn more about a person just by watching their behavior. You can easily spot genuine happiness and unhappiness.
  2. Be Humble: Realize that you don’t know nearly as much you think you know. Be willing to listen to others. Ask the right questions and listen intentionally. The better you listen, the more you learn.
  3. Appreciate the people in your life: The more appreciation you show for the knowledge, tips, and experiences they share with you, the more encouraged they will be to pour more into you in terms of their time and resources.
  4. Be Available: How can anybody teach you anything if you always have something better to do? Schedule time in your schedule to be teachable, engage with others, and to practice being available to others.
  5. Reflect on learning: Take a bit of time in your schedule to think about the things you’ve learned, how you applied them to your life, the results you experiences in your life and business. Also consider who you learned from and how the learning took place. It might benefit you as well to think about who you would like to sit and talk to for your future learning. Consider how you can be more available to share your knowledge and experience with others.

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Happiness Habit 1: Be Thankful

Thankfulness 1

Is there a secret formula to living a happy life?

So many of us buy into the myth that we have to accumulate certain things to be happy such as a luxury car or home, a high paying job, and certain brands of clothing, furniture, etc.

Things can positively affect our happiness for a short time. It has been suggested that we buy experiences not things, which can help create memories that extends for a longer period of time.

To make happiness a daily experience, we have to be intentional about it.

Throughout the next several days, I will share a number of practices to help you activate happiness on a daily basis.

The first happiness habit is thankfulness.   Thankfulness 3

You have to understand that to be thankful for life, food, shelter, employment, health, and relationships in our lives is a choice. You can be thankful in good times and not so good times.

Authentic happiness is not dependent on your circumstances. Imagine if it did. It would be like a roller coaster.

Some people practice thankfulness by

  • Keeping a journal
  • Meditating on what they are thankful for
  • Writing a list of things they are thankful for daily.
  • Praying

So, activate your happiness today by practicing thankfulness. You will see that you have more than you need and your heart will become bigger with joy.

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7 Simple Keys to Help You Enjoy Work Every Day Part II

Enjoy Work 4

Work is what you make it. Our attitude determines whether or it work is going to be a place of many blessings or a place of many curses. Understand that what we focus on expand, what we invest in grow, and what we plant, we harvest. Therefore, we must intend to focus on, invest in, and plant the specific benefits we want to enjoy

2. Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Colossians 3:23

When we understand that we are working not to please people but the Lord, we develop a different perspective toward our place of employment. Any job that we do can become a form of worship, giving thanks for being able to contribute to society by serving others.

3. Develop a new way of thinking about work.

When we develop a new way of thinking about work, we will realize that work is one of the most important places in our lives where we can focus on building our character. It is a place where we can take on tasks and projects to help us test out what we really enjoy doing. Adding on a new skill and learning more about ourselves can be strategic tools for career advancement or change.

4. “Whatever you do, do it with kindness and love”.I Corinthians 16:14

Enjoy Work 5

Everything we do is about people. We cannot escape not working with them one way or another. We are here to serve each other, which is at the core of our existence here on earth. So, loving the people we work with is a tremendous opportunity to share our love and to treat them with kindness. In return, we will enjoy a more pleasant work environment.

5. “If anyone requires you to go one mile, go two miles with him.” Matthew 5:41

When we value and enjoy our work, we make it a point to do more than what is expected of us. We don’t have to be asked. Success does not only come with caring for people. It also comes through proving how valuable we are to the company. So, it should be our intention to exceed expectation as often as possible.

6. If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success. Ecclesiastes 10:10

Sharpen Your Axe 1

“If you want to get ahead, you must fill your head.” Decide to make continual learning part of your every life. Working on improving skills that can potentially help to gain a promotion or an increase in pay can be worthwhile. In this way, we will not have to apply much strength to bring success to our lives.

7. “Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

It is good to know that we’re never on our own. Our work may be difficult or it may be easy. It does not matter what issues we may be facing at work, knowing who we are working for makes a very big difference. Putting everything in God’s hand is a sure way to grow and achieve success.

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7 Simple Keys to Help You Enjoy Work Every Day Part I

Enjoy Work 1

Work is a place the majority of us spend most of our waking hours either loving every minute of it or killing ourselves slowly. It is a place that provides many opportunities to build character, to learn new skills, and to discover the phenomenon of working with others. Above all, that seems to be the hardest part of working.

I don’t know about you but I would rather love every minute of my work than to allow it to ever placidly suck the life out of me. You can begin to incorporate a few simple steps in your daily habits to help you make the most out of work. Here are seven simple keys that can help transform your working life from a boring and insignificant one to an enjoyable and important one.

1. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart.” Colossians 3:23

Being in the present is a great thing, that includes being enthusiastic about the work you are doing right now. So, WHATEVER you do –making a presentation, taking out the garbage, answering phones, writing the needed reports –put your entire heart (100% +) into it.

Every job is a preparation for the next job. It is an opportunity to develop you in ways you may not be aware of. Luke 16:10-12 states, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much…If you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own.”

Enjoy Work 3

It is helpful to keep in mind that is a test of not only your skills but your attitude as well. Your attitude towards life and your work in particular determines your level of enjoyment. A negative attitude that encourages continuous griping and complaining does not facilitate the creation of joyful moments.

Proverbs 12:24 provides that the “diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work.” One of the ways to facilitate enjoyment in our work is to determine to add value to the organization, its people, and its daily mission. When you feel that you are making a difference, it does something inside you–it makes you feel needed and significant.

You are needed. You are important. You are significant. That is why your work cannot be haphazardly put together. That is why your work cannot remain undone.

So, let’s show some enthusiasm.

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When Was the Last Time You Saw a Fish Climbing a Tree?

The fish does not climb a tree because it was not created to climb a tree. It has its special intelligence that equips it to navigate its environment with ease. The water environment and the skills necessary to thrive there is empowering not self-defeating.

So, why do we belittle ourselves and hinder our progress on the basis that we are not intelligent enough. Let’s be reminded that “God does not create junk.” The problem occurs when we place ourselves in the wrong environment and engage outside of our skill set.

We don’t have to spend our lives thinking that we’re stupid simply because we are in the wrong environment, doing something we are not prepared to do.

Remember, we have the potential to learn and become better at anything we put our minds to. According to Merriam-Webster, intelligence is defined as the ability to learn or understand or to deal with difficult situations.

Some people naturally possesses or are drawn to a specific type of work. That is wonderful. That does not in any way diminish our ability to learn that type of work or skill.

Einstein says it best, the measure of our intelligence has very little to do with where we are right now. Our ability and our flexibility to change makes all the difference.

We can improve our intelligence on a daily basis by:

  • Reading widely
  • Take a workshop or a seminar 
  • Spend time with people we want to learn from
  • Take daily action toward change
  • Feed our minds everyday
  • Be nice to ourselves–often

So don’t decline that promotion, we will be surprise to see that we know more than we think we know. Knowing that there is nothing new under the sun, we can find people and resources to help us no matter what we may face.

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When Was the Last Time You Gave Your Attitude a Check?

INTELLIGENCE. HARD WORK. EDUCATION. TALENT

That looks like the recipe for success in life, work, and business.

Surprisingly, these are myths. They do no weight as much as we think they do.

The experts and researchers have affirmed that the number one thing that holds people back from success is their ATTITUDE.

DEFINITION: a way of thinking or feeling about something, someone, or an event that is usually reflected in one’s behavior.

As trivial and insignificant that may sound, our attitudes has much to do with what we do in life and how we do it.

This is awesome, very encouraging, and literally life transforming.

According to Charles R. Swindoll, attitude is everything: Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

We certainly have little control over what happens to us in life. We can take precautions to decrease the likelihood of something hurtful, damaging, or devastating from happening to us, but we cannot guarantee it.

What we can be certain of is that we have the power to react in positive, uplifting, and life changing ways. We can choose our responses. We can learn from the experience helpful lessons and throw away the rest. From that experience we can begin anew with a different skill set.

John C. Maxwell, the very successful New York Times Bestselling Leadership Expert  is one of my many mentors. From him I learned that we learn best from EVALUATED EXPERIENCES.

It is not enough to say “I learned a lot from this experience.” We must break the experience down and study it to determine lessons worth learning. In that way, the experience will become an asset rather than a hindrance.

So, let’s check ourselves to see how our attitude is holding us back from:

  • Taking that critical first step to pursue a goal
  • Seeking the help that can change our lives
  • Asking for what we what we need
  • Taking the necessary risks

Even in the business world,

There are a few jobs where straight

up skills are all we ask for.

Perhaps in the first violinist in a string quartet.

But in fact, even there, what actually separates

winners from losers isn’t talent,

it’s attitude.

Seth Godin

The bottom line is people like to be with, work with, and do business with people they like. If our attitudes are constantly negative, who in their right minds will want to spend time with us?

Please leave a comment and tell me about your experience.