One Small Action to Make Everyday A Better Day

If you drive to work, you’ve no doubt experienced a little bit of road rage. Or maybe if you take the bus or walk, you’ve heard the horns blaring as people cut one another off and become furious at other drivers. If you’ve ever felt that particular rage, you know how quickly it can torpedo your day. In the midst of your commute to work, you might not think of Mother Teresa, but she has some wisdom for times like this.

Mother Teresa spoke about love and peace often. With this quote, she offers instruction on how we can find peace within ourselves, and offer it to others as well. It’s as easy as smiling. Smiling can make you feel better just by doing it. Seeing a smile on your face will also help others feel more positive. 

Smiling is something Mother Teresa spoke about regularly. She has another quote about the affect a smile can have. She said “Peace begins with a smile.” Whether you’re facing friction with a coworker or getting a growing feeling of road rage, remember that showing your smile can help you find peace.

It’s not always that easy though. When someone cuts you off in traffic, the last thing you’re thinking of doing is smiling at the person. While it may not be your first reaction, finding a way to smile at these things will being you peace. After all there’s no telling how much good a simple smile can do.

“Don’t listen to what anybody says except the people who encourage you.” – Jake Gyllenhaal

A positive environment is the best thing you can give yourself to ensure success. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal knows this well. His advice to shut out the noise and focus on those who encourage you is smart. Just be careful you don’t take it too far. 

Beware of tunnel vision

When we aim to listen only to those with positive things to say, it can end up that we only listen to those who agree with us. We want everyone to tell us how right we are, and how well we’re doing. This can lead to tunnel vision and a disregard for helpful thoughts. It can lead to us shutting out helpful and constructive advice because we disagree with it. 

Encouragement comes in many forms, and from many people. Friends, family and colleagues can all offer a pat on the back, an encouraging word or a point in the right direction. What it really comes down to, and Gyllenhaal points this out, is what you let yourself listen to. 

The negative stuff can be hard to shut out, because often we worry it’s true. It rarely is. Get rid of those who only have negative things to say, keep those who are filled with encouragement. Figuring out what is helpful and what is harmful can be tricky, but it’ll get easier the more you do it. Negativity has no place in your life, just make sure you don’t throw out constructive criticism at the same time. 

What Will You Stop Trying to Do?

In Star Wars Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back, Luke Skywalker is stuck. His ship, an X-Wing, is sunk in the mud and he’s trying to get it out. Yoda is instructing him in the ways of the Force. It’s when Luke says he’ll try to use the Force to get the X-Wing unstuck that Yoda shares this wisdom with Luke. 

The message is kind of harsh. “Give it a try” is common turn of phrase. But Yoda rebukes Luke for not having more confidence. To try is to see how it goes, to test the waters and see what’s possible. Yoda wants Luke to do away with the thought of trying, and to do something.

Trying, failing and giving up is not doing

When you think about it, there’s a deeper truth to what Yoda is saying. In all things, you either do them, or your don’t. Compare setting out to just try with setting out to do and do again until something is done.  In trying, there is a suggestion that if you don’t attain your goal, oh well, you tried. When Yoda tells Luke that this is only do, or do not, he’s telling him that you either accomplish something or you don’t. Trying, failing and giving up is not doing. Trying, failing and trying again until you succeed, that’s doing something.

Yoda’s message is don’t be satisfied with an attempt. Keep on going until you have done what to set out to do.

The First Step Is The Only Way Forward

The First Step Is The Only Way Forward

What will happen if I reach out to the contact my friend supplied as a possible mentor? What if they don’t want to talk to me? Or they’re not the right fit and it’s a waste time for both of us? I’m not qualified to work with them. They’ll probably be angry about the imposition.


How many times have you let the things you worry about or the conversations you have in your head deter you from taking action?


You decide to wait a little longer while you think about possible outcomes some more. Tomorrow you promise yourself, you will take the first step.


The longer you wait the harder it is to take action

The problem with waiting until tomorrow is, you’ve established for yourself that it’s okay to wait. You waited one day and the sky didn’t fall. It won’t fall if you wait a little longer.


The sky might not fall, but gravity will definitely get stronger. The longer you wait the harder it becomes to move. Whatever reasons you had for holding back magnify because you haven’t done anything to provide evidence against them.


Don’t get stuck in the grips of inaction

What is the worst that can happen if you follow through with that contact? They can say no. At least you have an answer. And the sky still didn’t fall. You can try again with another person.


Or maybe they say yes and it really isn’t a good fit. So you can figure out why it wasn’t a good fit and use that to find a better fit next time.


Maybe the best will happen. They’ll be a great fit. You’ll learn tons from them and create a relationship with will benefit both of you in the future.


Don’t let yourself get stuck in the grips of inaction. Make a point of being the sort of person who strides ahead. Who takes action when an opportunity is presented. A step, even if it leads somewhere you don’t want to go takes you somewhere. From there you can plot a new course. Standing still takes you nowhere. Somewhere is better than nowhere.

Your Future is Now

Your Future is Now

When you think about your future how often do you think of it as some far away time that’s a long way off? How often do you think that the future is after you’re done school, or once you finally get that next promotion? We tend to think of the future as something to look forward to and maybe even plan for, all the while thinking it’s not coming any time soon. Miles Davis has a different idea. The future, he says, is right here, right now, every single morning. 


The future is now

Miles Davis is considered by many to be one of the best jazz musicians of all time. In this quote, Davis points out that while you can spend all your time thinking of the future as some distant time, it’s really right here. Miles started playing music around age 13. It would have been easy enough for him to say he’d start playing when he was done school, or once he found a job, but he didn’t. 


Don’t spend your time waiting for the weekend, or the summer to start your future. Start it today. From working on your resume to starting a new hobby, there’s no better time than now to begin. We know there’s not a lot of time to get to things, and that you’re waiting for a block of time big enough to tackle it, but that might never come. Start small and grow bigger. The future is now, don’t wait for it to pass you by.


“The harder I work, the luckier I get.” – Samuel Goldwyn

Samuel Goldwyn facebook

Wouldn’t winning the lottery be nice? Who doesn’t sometimes daydream about how easy life would be and what they would buy with a couple million dollars. Or, forget the lottery, wouldn’t a quick promotion or a great inventive idea be helpful? Maybe you wish that book you’ve been working on would just write itself and become a bestseller! Is it too much to ask for a little luck now and again?


This particular quote is similar to another, “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” This quote is often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, though there is no mention of it in any of his writings


Samuel Goldwyn, a pioneer of film andone of the people responsible for shooting the first movie in Hollywood. He’s the Goldwyn of the studio Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, or MGM, still producing movies today. 


No matter who said it, or how they said it, the truth is that luck often comes from hard work. You can’t work hard at winning the lottery, but you can work hard at things you’re passionate about. Be it professional or personal, the best way to catch a break is to work hard for your goals. Sitting around and waiting for something great to happen is a guaranteed way to make sure you never get a lucky break. Even when it comes to the lottery, you have to buy a ticket to have even the smallest chance. 


Don’t feel bad about daydreaming what you might spend the money on. Just make sure you follow up those dreams with dedication and hard work. The breaks will follow.

Time Is Not As Concrete A Thing As We Like To Think It Is

Time Is Not As Concrete A Thing As We Like To Think It Is

Time is an interesting concept. We know that each hour is made up of sixty minutes and there are twenty-four of them in a day. We also know, not all hours are created equal. Some fly by in five minutes. Others drag on for days.


None are as concrete as they might seem when we glance up at a clock. That’s because time isn’t always where it’s supposed to be. Sometimes we lose it. Very often we waste it. Worst of all, we kill it.


How you treat your allotted time

So often when we have something pressing to do, we spend inordinate amounts of time dreading it. Or putting it off. Sometimes we will do absolutely anything else to avoid getting on with the thing we want to do. All that putting off and dreading and avoiding makes us feel like  we don’t have enough time to finish. And because of it sometimes we don’t.


Time spent thinking about doing a thing

When we think about doing something, rather than simply getting on with doing it, the time allotment required magnifies in our imaginations. Dreading, putting off, doing other make-work projects all waste time we could have spent on the dreaded task.


Make action your new go-to plan

It is said the way you do one thing is the way you do all things. Make a pact with yourself to stop putting off. We’re not talking about the big projects you are dreading. We mean everything.


If you have decided you want to keep a dream journal by your bed then go locate that journal and put it by your bed. If you don’t have a journal handy get a piece of paper.


Put your plan into action when you think of it, not later, not tomorrow, not when you have time. Make action your new habit – for all things (within reason of course). Instead of planning on doing things, do them. You will be amazed at how much more time you have!

Where Do You Choose To Swim?

Where Do You Choose To Swim?

Safety is the killer of exploration


We all like being safe. We all enjoy being comfortable. However safety and comfort aren’t always good things. If you’re currently in a job you don’t mind, even if you don’t like it all that much, you can still take comfort in being safely employed. That comfort and safety might just be keeping you from exploring other opportunities.


If you work and live in a city you know well, your knowledge about that city might hold you back from exploring a new one and checking out other options because your lack of knowledge about the new city scares you.


The shallow end vs. the deep


The shallow end of the pool is a safe place to play and splash around. There’s no worry about keeping your head above water because it always just is above water. The ocean though, is a vast and unexplored wonder full of obstacles and unexplored territory. It can be a little daunting to swim out from the safety of the shallow water into the unknown abyss of the ocean. However, as this quote from Christopher Reeve says, if you want to grow, it’s a choice you’ll have to make sooner or later.


Find yourself by losing yourself


For all of the unknowns in the ocean, one thing is certain: the best way to find yourself and find your own way is to explore. The shallow end is safe because it doesn’t challenge you and it doesn’t offer much opportunity. The possibility of failure is much higher out in the ocean, but so is the chance for great success. The shallow end of the pool is filled with what ifs, while the ocean holds the answers.


Safety and comfort can keep us stagnant, happy in our current role or position when there are greater possibilities out there. So make the choice to leave the shallow end of the pool and swim to the deeper waters out in the ocean.


Set Your Sights On Your Destination

Set Your Sights On Your Destination

When you’re first learning how to drive the instructor tells you to look where you want to go. Why does the instructor have to say that at all? Where else would you be looking?


Well you could be looking at something happening at the side of the road. A car swerving dangerously close to your lane might catch and hold your attention. A deer suddenly leaping onto the road can certainly divert your eyes.


Look beyond the current moment

Where you set your eyes is where you will end up steering the car. If you’re not careful, the could be directly into a swerving car or leaping deer. That’s why it’s imperative to always focus on the road ahead. Not what’s immediately in front of you, but further ahead. In the direction you are heading. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to end up.


Where you set your sights is where you’ll end up

The idea of setting your sights where you want to go applies to many aspects of your life. Things that have nothing to do with four-wheel drive. Goals for example. All of us have goals, lessor or greater things we want to accomplish with our lives.


In going after your ambitions you cannot predict how successful you will be. Some of your success will come down to experience and expertise. Some of it will come down to luck. A great deal of it will come down to attitude.


In order to have the greatest chance of success you have to aim for the top. You may not come out on top, but you will have given it your absolute best shot. If you decide from the outset that you will never be number one your efforts will be substandard. You won’t put everything you’ve got into your endeavors. As opposed to stretching beyond what is comfortable or easy you will settle for good enough. Because you aren’t aiming for the top anyway.


Set your sights on your ultimate goal then do everything you can to achieve it. Regardless of whether you succeed or not, at least aiming for the top you will have gotten as far as you could!

Fooling Yourself Is Worse Than Getting Fooled By Others

Fooling Yourself Is Worse Than Getting Fooled By Others

When noble prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman said a person should be wary of fooling themselves he was most likely talking to other scientists about assumptions in their work. However, his words should be heeded by all of us. We’ve all met sweet talkers under whose sway we’re tempted to believe almost anything. What we may not realize is, the sweetest talker of all can be the one who lives in our head.


Don’t ride on the shirttails of tomorrow

How often have you promised yourself that you’ll do something tomorrow? Or said as soon as X  happens you’ll get on with Y?


By always looking ahead to after something we are fooling ourselves into believing our lives are contingent on things other than what we can focus on now.


No matter what you’re waiting on you can always do something else in the interim. Even if that means starting something new or parallel to your long-term plans. By doing what we can today, rather than waiting for tomorrow we are moving ourselves forward. No fooling.


Hold yourself accountable

If things aren’t going your way you might tell yourself you are doing your best. Or that things are out of your control. When you hear yourself justifying your actions or your efforts it’s important to stop at regular intervals and determine the truth of your words.


Are you really doing your best? Or are you lulling yourself into complacency with soothing words? Is there anything more you could be doing?


If you’re not entirely sure, ask someone you trust for their opinion. Listen with an open heart and mind. Sometimes we need another perspective to pull off the blinders we’ve placed on our eyes.


Reassess constantly

In order to keep yourself on track and ensure you’re not fooling yourself make sure to reassess your actions and accomplishments on a regular basis. Don’t listen to your own silver tongue. Sit down are compare your progress with your goals. It’s not about what you want or hope, it’s about what you’re doing to get yourself there.