Time for a little self assessment!
Are you happy right now? I’ve asked this question a thousand times, so I know the answer: I guess so! I guess so? Definition of guess: to estimate or suppose (something) without sufficient information to be sure of being correct. Wow! If you entered a room that didn’t have sufficient light, what would you do? Would you guess? Nope you would do what was necessary to see. You are either happy or you are not.
Now that we have crossed that short bridge, let’s jump on something a little more substantial. (Notice I didn’t say, “Jump off.”) Happiness is your most valuable possession. People live longer if they are happier, according to new research into the importance of emotional well-being. Even after taking into effect the impact of age, disease, and lifestyle factors on people’s happiness, researchers found that the happy folks lived longer.
Here is a little scenario: you get some bad news. To be clear, it can be any bad news, so I’m not going to innumerate what the bad news might be. But for argument’s sake, let’s say it is physical, and let’s say it’s bad. Let’s say it’s life-threatening. What do you do? Wring your hands? Get online and get information on survival rates? Text your friends and tell them how unfair this is? No, you get serious! You attack this with all you are worth, and you get a plan and put it into action. Right?
Now you get bad news, and it’s not life-threatening. “Well, I guess I would post to all my friends how I was done wrong!” Well, here is what I guess—I guess you are not happy! And I’m guessing you are not going to be happy! Let’s take a mind trip. Bad stuff is bound to happen! Some folks think bad stuff only happens to them. Bad stuff is like water: it covers the planet. How we attack bad stuff is really the secret. There’s a great saying that one of my fellow speakers, Dr. Jada Daves, used to say all the time: Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.
I speak, on average, to a couple hundred thousand people per year. I get standing ovations, accolades, testimonials, and referrals pretty regularly. But from time to time, I get negative feedback. Do I like it? Heck no! Do I dwell on it! Heck no! My good friend and speaker, Dr. Farris Jordan, told me a story that I love.
He said that while shopping in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, he found a quart mason jar (if you don’t know what that is, google it) that had little doll faces that looked like old people jammed inside. He thought it was cute, so he bought it and took it to his office (aside from being a motivational speaker, he is also a clinical psychologist). It was a conversation piece. But one day, he had someone come in his office and do a negativity dump directed at him (I think all of us have had one of these), and it left him thinking negatively about himself. He said,
“I was having a great day, and this one person caused me to worry about my purpose.”
He said that without thinking, he reached for the jar. He unscrewed the lid and mentally stuffed the negativity in the jar. It made him laugh. He said the people in the jar like being negative. It was a mind trap.
Have you ever watched NASCAR? Have you noticed there are no rear-view mirrors on the race cars? You see, what lies behind you has little-to-no effect on what’s in front of you, unless you wish to live in the past. Reliving bad stuff is a mind trap. Rip off your rearview mirror. Here are some ways to avoid mind traps:
Play the, “If I were happy, here is what I’d do!” game.
Whenever you have some negative feedback or thoughts, just say, “If I were happy, here is what I’d do,” and, as Nike says, just do it!
Keep positive company!
The old adage, “Be careful who you hang out with,” could not be more true! Sometimes you outgrow those around you. Find people who feed you positivity. Hanging around negative people will just make you more, well, negative.
Throw negatives away!
No, I really mean literally throw them away! Write them on a sheet of paper, crumble it up, and trash it. It is a spin on Dr Jordan’s act of putting them in the jar! Russian culture has a tradition of writing their wishes down on pieces of paper on New Year’s Eve, then setting fire to them with a candle or in a bonfire so that they will come true—in case you want to practice positivity, too.
Make some hot tea!
Ok, this is what I do. I find making the tea and enjoying it is a positive boost. It is my reboot. Whenever I get overwhelmed, I just say, “Time for hot tea.” I love this quote by Dr. Sukhraj Dhillon, “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”
Retrace your steps.
When you get lost, it is always best to go back to a familiar place. Some people call it a happy place. Regardless of where I am, I just think of my grandchildren laughing, and it grounds me. No matter how bad the situation there is always a place of joy.