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happiness

Live Honestly, Live Better | Practical Weekly Advice by Andy Core

If there was one piece of advice I could give everyone it would be to live honestly.

This concept works on multiple levels.

The first is in regards to yourself. 

Self improvement takes honest reflection. You won’t make significant progress if you gloss over your problems or if you are overly critical. Learn to see yourself in a positive, humble light, and growth will occur.

This requires you to frequently take stock of your behavior, your life and your emotions. Don’t judge yourself too harshly, but do learn to prune your thought patterns and behavior actively. To do this, incorporate journaling, meditation, long walks and yoga into your daily habits. This will give you time to mull over your thoughts and behaviors and then therefore make better choices in the future.

The second is in regards to others.

Taking this a step further, be yourself. Don’t try to conform to how you think other people want to see you. The more genuine you are, the more likely you’ll be to find others who accept you for you. This is obviously a tough thing to accomplish, but once you realize that everyone else is looking for the same acceptance you’re searching for, you’ll realize that we’re all on the same level. Those who judge are insecure and need love. Those who don’t judge will accept and nurture you into the person you should be. Seek these people out and try to be one of them. This freedom will decrease the self-concious pressure we all feel, therefore making you a happier person.

The third is in regards to society in general. 

Dishonestly will make you have anxiety and shame, both of which are poisonous emotions to deal with. Dishonesty will also make others dislike you and feel hurt or offended. Therefore, to be the best member of your community, act in such a way that values yourself and your relationship with others. Refuse to lie. I’m not suggesting that you behave with no filter and say whatever you want to say. Few people actually like Howard Stern. What I am suggesting is to live with a sense of integrity that takes responsibility for your actions and words.

The fourth is in regards to the world at large. 

This might be a stretch for some, but once you’ve accepted yourself and found a community of people who accept you, the next logical step is to incorporate a conscious behavior regarding nature. This means that other creatures, both plant and animal, deserve the same respect you give to yourself and your community. This might be as simple as reducing, reusing and recycling, or it might be as active as joining a group of people who are calling for the protection of the environment. Get involved with ways of thinking that call you to a better lifestyle, and make others do the same.

If you learn to live honestly on all of these levels, you’ll have found a real sense of peace and purpose. Your conscious, free behavior will prevent guilt and anxiety from controlling your perspective, and your humble sense of self will allow others to be who they are, thus providing room for not understanding their behavior, yet accepting them anyways.

I’m not the first to come up with this perspective. Many religions uphold the same goal. Be it the golden rule, the Noble Eightfold Path or the way of Tao. All of these teach how to live honestly within your community in such a way that encourages you to find peace and happiness. No matter your religion, these sources can help you find your own truth, live honestly and become your best, happiest self.

 

Five Steps to Achieve Real Work-Life Balance

“The less that I differentiate between my “personal life” and my “work”, the less that I make the two compete with each other for my time and my energy, the less guilt I feel for spending too much time on one or the other, and the more “balanced”, well-adjusted, and happy I feel.”

I read this in an article today about finding true work-life balance, and I really love this perspective. I’m lucky. I love what I do. I love to exercise. I love my family. But it didn’t used to be that way. When I was young, I often struggled to do what I wanted. My work self was a stark difference from who I was at home. I loved to hang out with my friends and family and there were times that working was the last thing I wanted to do.

So when work took over my time, my life started to suck. I didn’t want to spend all day in an office working for someone else’s dream. I had a vision for helping people live their lives (including mine) better. I knew that the old way of doing life didn’t work, and I wanted to figure out how to encourage change.

So that’s what I did. I now work to make the lives of other people more energized, productive and positive. I knew I liked to write and talk to other people about their life, so that’s what I started doing. Pretty soon, my experience and research mixed with my passion, and I started to enjoy my whole day. Work was my life and I loved it.

Here is some advice for all of you pursuing that same reality, which I’m guessing, is all of us.

1. Pay Your Dues.
Sometimes you have to do things that don’t make you automatically happy. I had to go to school, do research and work for someone else before I could be my own boss. This took time, years even. And sometimes I hated it. Sometimes I was really hard. But in the end, it got me to the place I am today, and I wouldn’t take back that work because that work made this life possible.

2. Keep it simple.
You can’t achieve all your goals at once. You have to take things slowly or you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged. You may have a whole host of things you need to accomplish before you can reach your goal, but all you have is today. All you can do is make this day better than yesterday. That means adding better habits slowly into your life, that means reading good books overtime, that means exercising a bit on a regular basis. Just do what you can with what you have today, and find the balance you’re searching for.

3. Be intentional with your community.
It doesn’t matter who you are, people need people to be successful and happy. Prioritize those people who love and support you. Spend time with inspiring people. Prune those relationships that are more toxic than helpful. Train your perspective to be one that provides a silver lining. Friends and family make your life good or bad depending upon who they are. Invest your time into a community of people who are good to themselves, to the world and to you.

4. Value your Health.
Do not. I repeat, do not run yourself into the ground. Take breaks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Sleep. Eat well with thoughtfulness. Don’t consume too many things that you know are bad. Take walks. Spend time outside. You don’t have to be perfect, but keep in mind that if you don’t care of yourself, your life will never be what it should be.

5. Take risks.
Life is scary and change can be even more so, but the simple truth is that if you don’t take new opportunities and do things differently, then nothing will ever change. Pursue new experiences, take leaps of faith, make mistakes, rediscover a childlike perspective people, and most of all don’t assume that you have the answers.

 

Creating a Daily Vacation

mister-rogersIt’s January, and the holidays are officially over. For many, the next months will be dedicated to work without the hope of a vacation and may be the hardest part of the year to enjoy. To stay motivated, some may focus on when the next getaway is, but it’s more beneficial to develop a daily habit of renewal.

In the article, “Recovery, Work Engagement, and Proactive Behavior: A New Look at the Interface Between Nonwork and Work,” the study found that if you practice recovery rituals on a daily basis, your work engagement and productivity levels will increase. Therefore to maintain positive motivation both at work and home, we must create a mini vacation on a daily basis. Forming this habit is a simple exercise that requires three easy steps.

1.)    Evaluate

Recovery will be different for each person, but the first step is to recognize your current pattern when you leave work. Do you have a coming home ritual that allows you to unplug? Do you mentally leave work, or do you instead stay connected to technology and the stress of your job? Do you exercise or plop on the couch with your dinner and remote in hand? Can you talk to those who matter in your life,  or are you distracted and irritable?

2.)    Envision

After you’ve contemplated what your day looks like now, decide what needs to change. One important step is to “bookend” your day. Some call this the Mr. Rogers method because as we all remember, every time he entered his doorway, he put on his cardigan and slippers. Take this a step further, and instead of putting on your old man apparel, put on tennis shoes and go exercise. Yoga is also a great way to engage in recovery because it melds fitness with centering yourself in the present moment while it purges out your stress through breathing. Think of exercise as a stress filtering tool rather than a chore, and remember that it doesn’t have to be intense, it just has to be consistent.

3.)    Engage

After you’ve relieved your stress, then you can enjoy those around you who make your life what it is. Whether it’s your spouse, your child, your dog or your journal, truly participate. I often am greeted by daughters inviting me to dance when I enter the house. This ritual releases me from work and allows me to appreciate my family, my home and my life.

Also, eat your evening meal with intention. I know that every night can’t be a gourmet experience, but you can do better than fast food from a chain restaurant or your microwave every night. The experience of cooking is good for community building, health and happiness, and try sitting at the table rather than your couch. Doing so will support communication much more deeply, and connecting to your food will help you eat the proper amount and be satisfied.

Practicing the habit of gratitude will also increase your motivation. This is because being thankful for the bright spots in your day make it worthwhile. If you take time to reflect and appreciate, your gratitude will reframe your mindset into a positive outlook. Also, rather than worrying about work or dreading going in the next day, contemplate what you actually enjoy about your job. Choose something that you’re thankful for and say it audibly. Attitude is by far the most important factor in maintaining happiness.

In short, figure out what habits make you feel mentally at ease and positive. If you get home and do things that make you feel grateful for the life you’re living, you’ll more motivated and energized on a daily basis. These mini vacations are necessary to recharge your perspective and prepare you for work the next day.

So again, recognize your current status, decide what small habits you can change in your day to develop a pattern of recovery, and practice those changes. Doing so will change your mindset and give you a better sense of balance in both work and life.

 

 

 

Is Expecting Workplace Happiness Expecting Too Much?

Employee HappinessIf you’re like most working adults, you have a Linkedin profile that connects you with other professionals. This month, one particular article caught my attention.

The article, “Four keys to happiness in your job” by Gary S., a CEO of oDesk spoke on what a person needs to thrive in their career. To me, all the factors were pretty self-explanatory and even common sense: impact, growth and development, financial reward and work-life balance.

What got my attention wasn’t the content of the article itself, but the comment a man named Kevin Rockwell left in response. “Nonsense to your 4 points…Most people could care less about what kind of impact they’re going to have on the world, their growth and development within the company, or for the flipping work-life balance. Geez, that last one is ridiculous. People want to pay their bills… Here’s a suggestion, Gary – one night this week sit down with your family to a dinner of noodles with cream of mushroom soup as a sauce and a side of pinto beans. Then get back to me about how important your four points are.”

Regardless of who I agree with, this debate sparked my curiosity and caused me to ask some questions around the office. One coworker in particular surprised me when I asked him if he cared about the impact his job made on the world. The man I asked is one of those fit, All-American men with a cheerful disposition, a happy family at his remodeled home and a job that he’s good at. But when I asked him my question, he stared at me with a stumped look. He said he had never thought about it. He said that as long as his impact and integrity at home were positive, he didn’t care about his job.

Hmm…

Why are the two not intertwined, I asked. Well, I guess they are, he said. He then went on to describe a past job at a large corporation you’re quite familiar with where he made lots of money but he hated every second of it. For you Harry Potter fans, he compared his workplace to Azkaban and his coworkers to dementors. He was literally drained of happiness.

Obviously we work because we need to pay our bills, but beyond that, shouldn’t we work because we enjoy it, we’re good at it, and we care about what we produce? From serving tables to protecting the President, we all have a role to play and when a person is doing his or her best at all hours of a day, expressing fully his or her values and beliefs in a consistent manner, a habit is forged that produces character. Life becomes integrated. What is held to be true, good, and virtuous in one setting . . . is true, good, and virtuous in ALL settings. There is no switching from “work mode” or “work values” to “home mode” and “home values.”

What do you think? Have you thought about these keys to happiness before? Do you care about how your work and home life integrate with each other?

 

Never Waste Your Time Trying to Impress Others | Leadership Advice

Gotta love The Breakfast Club

Andy Core is an expert in Work-Life Balance, Well-being, and Peak Human Performance.

Each of us only has so much energy and time in a day, and for most of us, wasting this energy and time is the last thing that we want to do.

As a speaker who works to make others more energized and productive, I want to express that it’s a huge waste of time and resources to impress others. Instead of caring what other people think, we should reflect on each day we have and make every day better than the one before.

You should prioritize and remember what’s really important to you in your life so that you can be happy with yourself. No one really cares what kind of car you drive or how big your house is and if they do, they don’t matter.

If you choose friends based on their bank account and assets, you’re likely missing out on getting to know many quality people. Appreciate your accomplishments, love the good people in your life, do as much as you can with what you have and be kind to everyone you meet. If you make every day about this rather than what other’s think, you will find peace and success.

To learn more on Andy’s programs

 
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