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7 Things You Can Do To March On The Road to Happiness

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Our family went hiking in Myanmar last year. The hike went through extremely basic villages and it was the first time my kids saw villages that don’t have electricity, people drink from a well and local kids play soccer barefoot with a bamboo ball.

It was eye opening to see how little these local kids have and how happy they seem. “Mom, what’s happiness” my 5 year old asked hearing my comment. “Feeling of satisfaction, pleasure, cheerfulness, and enjoyment… “ I explained.  “So why when kids have so little they can be so satisfied and happy?” my kid insisted. She was right. Happiness above all is a DECISION. It’s a state of mind. We can decide to be happy and content or decide to be gloomy.

Many spend their lives waiting for happiness: Only until we get that job. Until we find love. Until we lose a few more pounds. Until we make more money. True happiness comes from within and needs to be actively pursued.

This is actually great news for everyone because with just a few simple changes to your daily habits – you can be a happier person. You don’t need much to be more successful at everything you do. You just need to decide to feel content, and happiness will follow.

Here are a few simple changes anyone can do to march on the road to happiness:

1. Understand you’re responsible

You are in charge of your own happiness. Don’t wait for others to make you happy or blame others for making you feel bad. Understanding that you are responsible is the first step.

“If you want to be happy, be.” – Leo Tolstoy

2. Fake it till you make it

I learned this one the hard way. When my mom was dying of cancer I had some of the worst days of my life. However, I did learn that when you smile even if breaking inside, the world smiles back and you start feeling better. So when things are rough, force yourself to smile. Think of something that made you feel great and visualize it. It will feel completely fake at first but soon enough you will simply feel better. 

 

3. Sleep is key

Sleep deprivation is a key reason for depression. You are much more likely to feel negative emotions with lack of sleep. So get yourself enough hours of sleep especially when you are stressed. Also positive thoughts before going to bed proved to help the overall feeling. You can use ThinkUp app or any other motivation and affirmation techniques to fall asleep. You will sleep better and wake up a more positive person.

 

4. Remind yourself of things you are grateful for

What are you grateful for? Remind yourself of things you are grateful for and things that made you happy each day. Look for the positives in every experience. You can use a journal or simply sharing them with a partner or friends. With my kids we used to play “Good news, bad news”. Each would need to tell something great that happened to them and something not so great and we would talk about both. I would start to get the conversation going. The bad news mostly turned out not so bad and the great news were many times a reason to celebrate so we all became happier.

 

5. Give more

Give more and be genuinely happy for others and you’ll see how well you feel. Compliment others on their achievements; help friends in need, offer a hand and your day will look better. I used to have a rule – one good deed a day. Whether I helped an older lady carry bags, assisted a blind man cross the street, volunteered for a great cause, helped a friend or even just gave a complement to a co-worker. I always felt much better afterwards. Try it!

 

6. Exercise

Even just a few minutes may be enough. Stretch with calming music or even add affirmations to the routine. Go on a hike or join a group exercise. You will relax and start the day on a high note.

“To enjoy the glow of good health, you must exercise.” – Gene Tunny

7. Cultivate optimism

Positive thinking is an important part of self-esteem and overall life satisfaction. Optimism also tends to make your personal and work relationships better.  It’s not only about expectations, it’s about how you interpret everything in life. For example instead of: “I’m going to fail the test tomorrow so I’ll go watch TV” an optimistic will say “I’m concerned from the test tomorrow but I’ll study and give it my best shot”.  Force yourself to an optimistic state of mind and slowly it will become more natural.

The road to happiness is long and windy with quite a few forks in the road. A positive mindset is key to make even the uphills feel great. Don’t worry about wrong turns, you’ll find yourself back on the road again. So smile and see the world smiling back. Enjoy the journey!

Have you found your happiness yet? Leave your thoughts below!

Ilana Golan is a serial entrepreneur, speaker and advisor. Currently Founder and CEO of Stiya - Storytelling platform through automation and AI and an active advisor to a few startups. Mentioned as top 40 women to watch in 2016.  Before that, she founded Quali US and grew it to $15M yearly revenue. Prior to Quali, Ilana served in various engineering and product roles in companies such as Intel and been part of a startup exit of $300M (Verisity). Ilana started her career as an F-16 flight instructor and became the first woman to become a commander and in-charge of training of all F-16 pilots in Israel. Connect with Ilana on her website: http://www.ilanagolan.com/.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Joel Sussman

    Oct 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    I totally agree with all your happiness recommendations, and your example of the poor, but happy children in Myanmar beautifully illustrates how happiness does not have to be dependent on external conditions. Being happy in our “advanced” society is actually more challenging because our lives are negatively impacted by the media, rampant consumerism, and a culture of competitiveness. So the net result of living in that environment is that most of us feel like we need to do, be, and have more (of everything) in order to feel fulfilled. One of the solutions, as you suggest, is to spend more time and attention appreciating the things we now have. I saw a saying in a Hallmark store which sums it up nicely: “If you want to feel rich, just count all the gifts you have that money can’t buy.”

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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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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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3 Psychological Facts That Can Unleash Your Inner Power

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Some people will achieve great things. Others won’t. But why is that? We’re all just “talking monkeys on an organic spaceship flying through the universe,” as Joe Rogan puts it. So why do some “talking monkeys” build 7 or 8 figure businesses, travel the world, and live the life of their dreams while the rest of us… well, wish we were living the life of our dreams. (more…)

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