Alexandra & Associates
Power Bytes
March 2009

Many of us would say that what we really want is to be at peace and enjoy our lives - to be happy.  And many would agree that happiness doesn't really come from all that we've accumulated - although I have to admit that when I get something that I've always wanted it "does" make me feel happy for a little while. 


I can remember when Bob & I bought the home we're living in.  I was happy when we signed the deeds, I was thrilled when the new bedroom set came in and it looked great.  I was delighted when we got the pictures on the walls and I looked at all the beauty surrounding me.  I could be found smiling, even laughing out loud, at what an amazing life we had.  Well, the house, the bedroom set and the paintings are still here, and I still think they're lovely.  But, unfortunately "that" happiness was short lived to be quickly upstaged by the next challenge.  It's amazing how there are always next challenges.


I imagine if you look back at the moments in your life when you've received beautiful things, many will recall feeling light hearted and happy.   And what about the moments of absolute joy when your children were born, if indeed you have had children?  There is not one person that I worked with that couldn't look back and recall moments of happiness.  And, when we look back we can recall and recreate those feelings and feel a smile pushing it's way onto our faces.  Oh to be able to be in those experiences regardless of the challenges of the moment. 


But we're human beings - and being a human being affords us the extreme privilege of having to discover ways to master the challenges that come our way so that we can be happy regardless of the circumstances - or as Marci Shimoff would say, "Happy for No Reason".  Some things are just not in our control.  Our attitude about those things "is" in our control - and experiencing joy and happiness - well we have something to say about that too.


There were some men who lived in concentration camps and made it their business to comfort others, giving away their last piece of bread.  Sure they were few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the freedom to choose his attitude regardless of the circumstances.


With that in mind I have some ideas - or tips that will help you to avoid worry and be happy.


  • FOCUS on solutions, don't dwell on problems.
  • STOP reading the newspaper and watching the news.  They are full of evidence that things are dreadful and reasons to be horribly concerned.  If you truly believe that being informed gives you access to happiness and well-being, keep reading and watching. More likely you will discover that being informed is having you experience more stress and unhappiness.
  • CHANGE the things you can and accept the things you can't. Remember the Serenity Prayer: " G-d grant me the serenity to accept the things I can't change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
  • DON'T hang out with people who are negative and constantly complaining. They are happiness crooks.  If you have spent any time with people like that you know you can't help but be brought down.  They are just looking for agreement for their point of view.  They are just wanting to bond with others that see how horrible things are.  Release them and let them find others to bond with.
  • IN THE WORKPLACE don't hang out at the water cooler (so to speak) whining about how horrible everything is, how unappreciated you are, and  how ineffective management is.  You'll notice that after the whine fest you are not inspired nor empowered to get out there and "make things happen".  Have the courage to walk away and find problem solvers to hang out with.  Yes things are changing.  It's true that those leading are not always effective.  Given that and other challenges,what can YOU do to be happy?  USE your intelligence and your creativity to see possibilities that you may not have seen before.
  • STOP BLAMING yourself and others.  Take charge of your happiness.  Take responsibility and make choices that will support what you're committed to.  Don't spend even one moment focusing on why you can't.  Instead spend time focusing on how you can.
  • PRACTICE FORGIVENESS.  Harboring grudges, and holding onto resentment, ensures suffering.  Why would you want to give up even a little bit of your happiness holding onto negative thoughts about someone who has "done you wrong" in the past?  They did it to you then and you have given them permission to continue to do it to you until now.  They are living in your head and in your heart rent free.  Kick them out!!!!
  • STAY AWAY FROM movies, no matter how great they may be, that are painful and cause you to spend your time experiencing sadness and despair.  I know how compelling some of the great movies that are a slice of life may be.  Yet, why would you choose to pay money to "get into" pain, no matter how brilliantly the movie was made or how fabulous the actors have performed?  Give me a good comedy any day.
  • SURROUND YOURSELF WITH the music that makes you feel good.
  • ELIMINATE EXPECTATIONS.  Unfulfilled expectations are the source of great upset.  We expect people to behave a particular way, to treat us a particular way, to respond a particular way.  If they were you, perhaps you could expect that.  You would be wise to remember that they are "not" you and having any expectations about how they should be is an invitation to upset and unhappiness.  I have often heard people saying, "How could they possibly do that?"  Here's how.  They are them and they see things differently and do things differently.
  • If you do have any expectations about how people ought to be, or what you want them to do, it would be wise to inform them up front - and be as clear as you can be about what you want.  Don't leave anything to chance.  Check out their understanding about what you've asked for to be sure you are both on the same page. 
  • ELIMINATE all negative thoughts.  Replace those thoughts with positive affirmations.  Remember thoughts become things. Think of this as an exciting adventure.
  • TELL jokes, laugh out loud, spend time with people who laugh out loud and people who are committed to being happy regardless of the circumstances - happy people.

"A positive attitude really does mean everything.  Your mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter, except by your permission."
                                                                                 - Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Make a game of finding something positive in every situation.  Ninety-five percent of your emotions are determined by how you interpret events to yourself.
                                                                                  - Brian Tracy
"Nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving their goals.  Nothing on earth can help the person with the wrong mental attitude.
                                                                                   - Thomas Jefferson


Complain: to express dissatisfaction, announce that one is sufferng from, state a grievance concerning, make a mournful sound, groan.
I don't know about you, but I am not inspired by a complaint. In business we always said, "Don't come to me with your complaints.  Come to me with solutions."  I would suggest that many people are turned off by those people who choose to complain.  It's also true that some people are not looking for solutions.  They really just like to complain.  I say, that may be what they need to do, but I don't have to take part in their conversations.  I usually ask if the person is looking to change the situation and if they'd like some suggestions that may help them to do that.  Their answer is my cue.
To discover how you feel about complaints, I am attaching a very interesting piece.  See what you think.
Attached is a little song which you probably have heard before.  I believe it's more timely now than it was when it was first released.  If you remember to play it when you find yourself caught up in concern and worry, it may remind you of what you're really committed to.
Be Happy 
If you are unsuccessful at transforming your worry to happiness by yourself:
                              Let's Talk
                     Let's Talk about Worry
                     Let's Talk about Happiness
  Let's Talk about Whatever you want to talk About.
Together we can change your talk and change your attitude.


Alexandra Marcovitch
Alexandra & Associates
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