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5 Powerful Lessons In Mindfulness We Can Learn From Puppies

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Life is hard. It doesn’t magically grant success when we want it and to achieve anything worthwhile, we have to work toward it relentlessly. Life doesn’t believe in handouts. It pulls you in conflicting directions and tests your determination to succeed constantly.

To top it all off, no two people have the exact same definition of success. Success is that mysterious unicorn we are all striving toward and yet, every single person you ask has a different idea of what it is and how to get there.

We get too caught up in meeting outside definitions of success. We judge ourselves by what our friends and colleagues are doing and try to adhere to those standards. The main problem with that is that their answer is often starkly different from ours and we get frustrated because our expectations aren’t met.

As with a lot of awesome things, effective lessons often come from unexpected places. It’s time to look at the one creature that lives in the moment and see how it’s done.

If puppies could talk, these are the five lessons they’d impart in their napping, face licking wisdom:

1. Enjoy the moment

Don’t be so focused on your goals for the future that you forget to live today. When you are working toward your dream career and your dream life the “now” often feels boring and petty. It’s just a long to do list, with endless tasks you haven’t done yet. “Now” is frustrating because you aren’t where you want to be.

Planning is great but, if you lose track of the present, you are in danger of missing out on some pretty wonderful stuff. Take a breath, drop that list for a second and be present. What are you grateful for right now? What’s amazing about your life today? This exact moment is never going to come back around, don’t miss the opportunity to revel in it.

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam

2. Take the time to do nothing every day

Our lives are busy. We are in a state of constant motion; going to meetings, checking our phones, answering emails and running errands. There’s always something competing for your attention. It’s exhausting. Puppies, on the other hand, spend about 30% of their day doing nothing.

They are onto something. Spending time being mindful and not doing anything helps us process what’s going on and quiets the noise in our minds.  According to a study by the North Arizona University, it decreases stress and depression and increases overall well being and happiness.

So, next time it feels like the walls are closing in on you, be like a puppy and truly enjoy a few minutes of just existing.

 

3. Do something goofy

Puppies roll on their backs, paws flailing above them, pawing at the air, mouth open, tongue rolling out, laughing.

Laughing often and consistently is pretty much one of the best things you can do for your health. It decreases stress and pain and makes the world seem like a better place. Laughing anchors us to a particular moment in time and allows us appreciate the small moments of joy.

 

4. Be fully present when you meet new people

My dog treats every other puppy he sees as a long lost friend he can’t wait to be with again and, most of the time, the response is incredibly similar. He doesn’t think about why that pup may not like him or might not be in the mood. He puts himself out there.

What does meeting new people have to do with mindfulness? Everything. We get into our own way when making connections. We bring baggage from past experiences and difficult encounters and unwittingly, create a protective barrier between us and the other person.

Focusing on the moment and on that new person gives a clean(ish) slate and allows for more honest communication.

“I love meeting new people; I think everyone has a story to tell. We should all listen sometimes.” – Kim Smith

5. Greet every day with excitement

When was the last time every new day felt like a fresh opportunity filled with countless possibilities? These days, it’s easy to let time roll in on itself as days become weeks and months and years. We feel constantly busy and overwhelmed and time flies by us until one day we look back and wonder and think, “Where did all that time go?”

The dawn of each new day is an opportunity to start again. To get closer to your goals. To forgive yourself for the mistakes you made yesterday and think about the difference you can make today.

What animal have you learned lessons from and what were the lessons? Share your thoughts below!

Sophia Dagnon is a content writer and marketing consultant. She writes sharp, fresh copy and tests a bunch of marketing techniques so you don't have to. Connect with her on twitter or through her blog.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Melisa

    Aug 29, 2016 at 2:02 am

    Hi Sophia! 🙂 Thank you for this wonderful post. I totally agree with what you said. How different our lives would be if we could learn some things from our best friends 🙂 Animals always teach us something, we only need to pay attention to them 🙂 If we could understand life as they do we would be much happier and we would be less stressed. Thank you for sharing this! 🙂

  2. Tim Denning

    Aug 17, 2016 at 3:22 am

    Sophia this blog post covers a very interesting topic. I love puppies and their enthusiasm for something as simple as a bowl of food is a powerful reminder to see the beauty in the simple things. Thanks for your post!

    • Sophia Dagnon

      Aug 17, 2016 at 4:18 pm

      Thanks Tim! I only have to look at my pup and everything gets a little bit better 🙂

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Life

How to Write a Personal Destiny Statement in 3 Steps

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We all have a God-given destiny to fulfill that we were each born with. I personally believe it is buried deep down within us. The number one secret to success is to let it emerge out of you and release it to the world. What is my destiny you may ask? It is the thing you would regret not doing before leaving Planet Earth. (more…)

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Life

Don’t Want To Feel Like A Failure Anymore? Stop Doing These 6 Things

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It’s pretty annoying isn’t it? All those great and accomplished people telling you that FAILURE is a necessity on your way to success. Yeah, that’s easy for them to say; they’re already ‘on the other side’! You on the other hand, are still struggling all day everyday to get your business lifted off the ground and are really not that sure if you’re indeed going to make it.

There’s that little voice in your head that keeps telling you that you don’t have the stuff to make it all happen. Not now and not ever. You feel like a failure…it’s holding you back and you don’t know how to deal with it. Well you could do yourself a favor and start dealing with it by doing the following things:

1. Stop Denying You Feel Like A Failure

Telling yourself things are going great when they’re not is one of the biggest, though most useless, coping mechanisms human beings deploy in rough times. Common denial signals among entrepreneurs: trying to regain more control by working even more hours and on the other side compensating this by letting go of all this control by partying and drinking way too hard.

What you’re doing is denying yourself the opportunity to actually feel what’s going on and acknowledge the problem; that both you and your business are in a bad place. Without acknowledging it, it’ll be pretty difficult to actually STOP feeling it. And remember, just because you feel like a failure, this does not mean that you indeed ARE a failure!

2. Stop Making It Bigger Than it Really Is

This is one of those other ‘fun’ things human beings do; we blow things way out of proportion in our heads! In business, when you lose that big client you’ve been working on for weeks, it feels like it’s the end of the world. You start doubting yourself, your strategy, your entire business model right up to the point where you barely sleep because you’re working on pivoting the whole thing.

But what if that customer simply didn’t have the money to go for your service anyway? Or what if they just decided to go for someone who is cheaper but who offers less quality? Does that mean there’s something wrong with YOU? Or that this was the ONLY customer out there and that you’re now doomed forever?

Of course not, it simply means that THIS CUSTOMER wasn’t a match. It’s a bit like dating actually…So if you take this into consideration, could it be that you just feel like a failure instead of really not succeeding in that what you want to at this point in time?

3. Stop Thinking You’re The Only One Who Feels Like This

You’re not! With the possible exception of the true sociopaths, that feeling you’re feeling is very normal to EVERYONE. It might not seem like it on the outside – because people don’t like to acknowledge this remember – but I can guarantee you that it’s true. But unlike 99% of the world’s population, YOU’RE not going to let this feeling stop you in your tracks. Are you?

4. Stop Thinking You’re Supposed To Be Superhuman

In fact, it’s very likely that you’re already doing, learning and succeeding at WAY more than most other people are. But for entrepreneurs, somehow, that never seems to be enough. You don’t just want to be successful after a few years of hard work (which is normal). You want to be successful after only a few months. Because you’re special…or at least you think you are…

Well, here’s the truth: you ARE special! But…it’s just not very likely that you’re one of those – very very rare – entrepreneurial superstars that – seemingly – just added some hot water and got instant business success as a result.

5. Stop Being So Incredibly Stubborn

Entrepreneurs are stubborn…almost by default. It’s what makes them push forward in the hardest of times. But…if you’re not doing the right things right you might just be hammering a square peg through a round hole. Which will only add to that frustrated feeling you’re already having. So why not stop being so stubborn for a moment, stop hammering away on that what obviously is not working and ask for help?

No matter who you ask – a business mentor or coach, a befriended entrepreneur – someone with a neutral perspective on you and our business will be very likely to see what’s going on with a lot more clarity than you can and can guide you to a place that will feel a whole lot more comfortable.

6. Stop Being Afraid Of Failure

I know, I know, you’ve heard this a million times before and you wouldn’t be in this pickle if you could do this. Right? I’m right there with ya!

But, if you get really rational about it, what’s the worst that could happen?

  • You might have to get a ‘real’ job for a while and start over on the side;
  • You might not be able to afford your rent anymore…but with Airbnb on the 1 hand and couchsurfing on the other, you should be able to work it out somehow;
  • You’ll have all the more experience to start over a whole lot faster;
  • You’ll be no less respected by anyone because it’s clear you gave it your all;
  • In a few years, when you’re an established and supersuccessful entrepreneur you’ll also have a cool failure story to tell;
  • None of your limbs will fall off;

Now that’s not too bad for a plan B is it? Failure is such a negative word. And the associated feeling is terrible and numbing. But really…how is giving it your all and not succeeding really the same as failing? Shouldn’t the definition of failure not be along the lines of ‘not even trying’ or ‘giving up when it gets hard’?

In other words: stop beating yourself up over this!

There’s really no need to feel like a failure at all because you’re sticking your neck out, you’re trying to make a difference and you’re still moving upward on that treacherous entrepreneurial mountain.

And that…is what success REALLY is.

Those Who Failed Their Way To Success

Quotes To Live By:

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

“If you don’t try at anything, you can’t fail… it takes back bone to lead the life you want” – Richard Yates

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie

“Success is stumbling form failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm” – Winston Churchill

“Don’t let success go to your head and failure to your heart” – Will Smith

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Life

Why You Never Have Enough Time and What You Need to Do About It

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how to manage your time better
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Has this ever happened to you? You had an assignment, and the deadline was far away. You didn’t work on it much, but in the back of your mind, that insistent little voice was always whispering, “I gotta get this assignment done.” (more…)

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Life

6 Unusual Exercises to Effectively Increase Your Creativity Faster Than Ever

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how to increase your creativity faster
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Although a vast majority of people think that creativity is something you are born with, the truth is a bit different. While we cannot deny that you need natural talent to a certain extent, stimulating creative thinking is indeed a matter of practice. If you give this thought a bit of thinking, you can realize pretty quickly that even the most fascinating and creative minds have faced the lack of creativity at some point in their lives. (more…)

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