Monday, April 30, 2012

If you can't say anything nice . . .

 . . you are doing it wrong.

A while back a federal task force met in Detroit to discuss violence and children.  The findings were that pervasive violence has become a norm in some communities and when children grow up with violence as the norm it becomes easier to increase that level.  Communities are destroyed.   The task force went on to describe ways to counter that violence early.

The low-level negativity about people's lives is similar.  In situations where people describe how they dread Mondays or their job or their family or how they are tired of the same ol' thing for lunch (when they pack it themselves).

The best counter to that attitude is to . . . . counter it.  It's not about countering the comment (something I do and need to control better) but to counter the attitude.  there are so many good things that happen every day in our lives.  Talking about good things has it's own power.

Making today a good day is more than *not* saying anything when you can't think of something nice to say. Making today a good day is about going above and saying something nice.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Compare and Contrast

One of the staples of primary school writing assignments is the compare and contrast paper.  The student take two things and has to writ how hey are alike and how they are different.  The complexity changes as the children grow up.

Judging if today is a good day is also an exercise in comparing and contrasting.  Deciding what you are going to compare and contrast with may be critical to how good your day is going to be.

If you want to be unhappy today, compare your life to the best life you can possible have.  Don't compare it to the best thing you've ever had, compare it to the best possible.

Compare your breakfast, and your job, and your vacation, and your bed, and whatever you else have to the best of those things you have ever seen or imagined.  Your life will fall short and you'll be unhappy.  Congratulations.

On the other hand, while not focusing on "worst first" thinking, contrast your life to what it might have been had you made other choices.

If you are dreading your work on Monday, imagine your life without a job.  If you are tired and don't want to make dinner, imagine not having a choice of food or food at all.  If your family is driving you crazy, imagine your life without them.  Maybe now is a good time to watch or re-watch "It's a Wonderful Life".

So next time you feel that your life is not what it should be, don't compare it to that magical world where everything is perfect, contrast it to what it might be and be grateful for what you have.  And, for bonus karma, do something kind for someone who does not have everything you have.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It's all about perspective

There was a study at Purdue University that showed that golfers that overestimated the size of the hole when golfing sunk more putts.

Further, when using an optical illusion in the lab, golfers sunk shots better there too.


Perception matters.  And positive perception matters if you are trying to have a good day.

What we see and how we choose to perceive things can make a huge difference in how we do and how we feel.  
If you go into a situation at work (or school, or home) and expect that whatever happens is not a bad thing; not an attack against your happiness or your peace you'll see and hear it differently.  You will react to it differently.

In the same way, if you assume that Mondays will be Mondays or that every day not the weekend is less than the weekend it is likely that you will make it so.

None of this is a surprise.  But making a choice to see things differently may have surprising effects.

What's the worst thing that can happen if you change your views?  You'll make today a good day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Holding on.

Take a moment and think of the last argument or fight that you had with you spouse or sibling or child or friend.  Think about how it started . . and how it progressed  . . . . and how it ended.

Did you hold on to it after it was over?  Did it color what you did with that person for the next hour . . or day . . or week?  Is it still affecting you?

Now let's go the other direction.

Take a moment and think of something that you did with a friend or spouse or parent or child.  Try to find something that was equally as powerful as the argument above.  Do you have it in you mind?  Are you smiling?

How long did those feelings last after the event was over?

Sadly, I'll bet not as long.

People seem to value anger and hurt more than happiness if we look at how they act.  And, while anger and hurt have value, they aren't more valuable.  The longer you hold on to them the less worth they have too.

Today is a good to to remember that good thoughts and happiness are worth holding on to.  The longer you hold on to them the better off you are and the people around you are.  Further, if you are holding on to hurt and anger and unhappiness today is a good time to ask yourself if they still have value to you or if they are stopping you from making today a good day.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Are you looking?

Good days and happiness are everywhere around you.  They are not, however, going to spring out of a cake when you most need them to (most of the time).

Good days and happiness need to be coaxed out sometimes.  They need to be hunted like some wascally wabbit.

So, ask yourself, "How am I looking for happiness?"
Ask yourself, "Where am I looking for happiness?"

I'm not going to tell you that making or having a good day is inside you.  It won't always be there.  Further, it may not be with your family or with your friends either.

Your happiness may be in some random act of a stranger or it may be on a walk in the park.  It may be on a billboard or on a web page.

But if you aren't looking for happiness I guarantee that you will not find it.

If you are trying to lose weight and you are looking in the all-you-can eat buffet and not at the gym . . you are not going to lose the weight.
If you are looking to cut back on drinking, the beer aisle at the grocery isn't going to be the place to be.

Look for happiness if you want to be happy.

Look for good days to have good days.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Special needs

Last week, a very special girl got a very special gift from some very special ladies.  Take a moment and go read her story and then come back here.  I'll wait.

Back?  Good.

Parents of special needs children are amazing people.  The amount of love and energy they expend is awe inspiring.  I can only hope that I could do what they do; day in and day out.

The thing though, is that we all have special needs.  We all have our special needs and we all know someone that have theirs.

Today is a good day for thinking about your own needs are and letting someone know.  Giving them enough knowledge to lift you up when you need it.
Even more though, today is a good day for finding out the special need of someone you know, or even a "consequential stranger" like the cashier or teacher,and fill that need.

For extra karma, or blessings or what-have-you, find a friend that has a real special needs child and find some way to do a kindness. Everyone wins again.  Make today a special day.

Virginia Saussy/ Muses

Sunday, February 26, 2012

“Happiness, not in another place but this place...not for another hour, but this hour.” 
― Walt Whitman

Friday, February 24, 2012


Don't live in darkness.
Choose to see the light.
Choose to BE the light.
Make today a good day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New things

New things make me happy.
Sharpening a pencil for the first time.
Cleaning a counter off before cooking.
Shoveling snow that has not been tracked through.
First days of work (for me or others).
New notebooks.
A new operating system on my computer.
A box of crayons and a coloring book that has not been colored in.
A hardback book, fresh from the book-store.
Packages on my doorstep (and even envelopes in my mail box).
New things can be wonderful and they can remind us that every day is new and that we only have so much time with the day before it's old. . and gone.

Take some time to look at the new around you.  Really pay attention to everything that's available.  It will become easier over time and it will make your days better.  It will make today a good day.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rituals help.

Finding things that make you happy isn't always easy. And when being happy is hard for you, it's even harder to spread the joy around to other people and help make today a good day for them.

Rituals can make the process easier. 

Find something that makes a day better and do it everyday. Your ritual can be something you do, or something your eat, or something you think.  It just has to be yours, it has to be repeatable, and it has to make you happy.

If you don't have a happy ritual yet make one today.  Pick something you are going to do and do it with a purpose; do it with the goal of making today better. If you have coffee in the morning or walk the dog, that could be your happiness ritual.

Nike had the right idea, "just do it".  Doing it on purpose makes it better.  It makes today better.  It helps make today a good day. 

 Photo via Plinkk via Flickr Creative Commons

Friday, February 10, 2012

Don't delay the happy.

Some things are worth waiting for;  although true love is all I can think of right now . . and even then, "mostly true love" can usually get you through the night and might become true love.

Being happy though? You should do that right away.  You should take what you have in your life right now and be happy about it.  It doesn't have to be AMAZING happy either.  It can be small happys.

The important thing is not to create an attitude of "something in the future is going to make me happy."  That future may never come or that thing you need to be happy may never happen.  Perhaps it won't live up to your expectations.

Find something today, right now, that you can be happy about.  Think nearer term and make that happiness happen.

Make today a good day . . starting now.