If you want to achieve happiness and live your life to the fullest, the first step is to accept where you are and who you are, right now. This is where change  begins.

All too often we look at a situation, decide how we think it should be, and then act on our perception of it. The problem with this approach is that it is based on pure fantasy. If all we do is wish things were different, we will wind up being constantly frustrated. How many people are in relationships that are not working, telling themselves everything is fine when, clearly, it is not? Instead of living in denial, face the reality of what is happening, accept it, and decide do something about it. Perhaps your relationship would benefit from seeking a marriage therapist or maybe something as simple as scheduling special time together.

We must learn to accept circumstances as they are, not as we would like them to be. How many times have you said, “If only it wasn’t raining, then I would be happy”? A happy person will accept the rain and go on with her life.

You cannot change the fact that it is raining, but you can change how you react to it. It is important to know the difference between these two viewpoints.


We must also learn to accept ourselves as we are in the moment. We sabotage ourselves  by saying things like, “If only I had more money” or “If I were ten pounds lighter, then….”  We cannot change what is. We can, however, accept everything about ourselves, warts    and all, right here and right now. Only then can we begin to make the changes we desire  and become the person we are capable of becoming. By accepting ourselves right here and right now, we will be less likely to allow occasional setbacks to divert us from our   goals.

Once we have learned to accept ourselves, we can then identify those areas we want to change. For example, if I am fifty pounds overweight and telling myself it’s because I have “big bones,” I am living in denial. If I am overweight, it’s because I probably eat too much and don’t exercise. Once I accept the fact that I have a weight challenge, I am empowered to begin taking action to change it. Until I get out of denial, I am stuck. Acceptance is the first step in making any change.

A good exercise to assist you in developing acceptance is to take a personal inventory. This is similar to a grocer who, when she wants to know the state of her business, will take an inventory of the store’s contents. She will count and itemize the good, sellable merchandise, then separate out the unsellable merchandise and get rid of  it.

We can do the same, metaphorically, to determine our personal state of affairs. Here is an exercise to help you do just that.

Handbook to a Happier Life—A Simple Guide to Creating the Life You’ve Always Wanted – Jim Donovan
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Choose Your Words Carefully

Our primary means of communication, with ourselves and with the outside world, is words, spoken and unspoken. We use words to interact with others as well as in our “self-talk” — the internal dialog we are constantly running in our  heads.

Why then are we not more careful in our choice of the words we use?

A couple of years ago, I read an article about how we can use our vocabulary either to enhance or to weaken the effect of any experience. The concept is called “transformational vocabulary.” This is really a fancy way of saying that, by changing the words we use to define a situation, we can change the effect it has on our lives. If you want to try out this technique, the next time someone asks you how you are feeling, instead of automatically reacting with “fine,” try answering “great” and see how it makes you feel. Say it with enthusiasm and feeling.

We can change the words we use to increase the good feelings we want and, at the same time, reduce the effects of the not-so-good feelings. If, instead of saying, “She makes me really angry,” you were to say something like, “I am a bit perturbed at her,” it would change the effect the situation has on your emotions. With our words we can lighten the impact of the less-than-wonderful circumstances in our lives while greatly enhancing our good  feelings. The next time someone asks, “How was your day?” instead of your usual “Okay,” try saying “Fantastic” and notice how much better it feels. If you’re feeling a bit under-the- weather, instead of saying, “I’m miserable, my head’s stuffed, I can’t breathe, I feel like I’m going to die any minute now,” a response that is almost guaranteed to make you feel  worse, you might just say, “I’m not quite myself  today.”


Rather than using negative terms to define people in your life, like your spouse, instead focus on their good points and use them when referring to the person. You may even notice their behavior change in a more positive direction as a result of your doing this. Words are powerful!

I should mention an additional benefit. It is called “fake it till you make it.” I have noticed that when I answer “great” to the question, “How are you?” I feel better. Somehow the sound of the word great, as opposed to fine, makes me feel more upbeat. The reverse is also  true.

When I use less powerful words to describe negative feelings, it weakens their impact. Try this for the next few weeks and see for  yourself.

Handbook to a Happier Life—A Simple Guide to Creating the Life You’ve Always Wanted Jim Donovan
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It’s OK to Give Up

You know how you sometimes hear stories about people who have failed their driving test 35 times? Much as you admire  their persistence, don’t you sometimes wonder why they don’t just give up? These are clearly people who just aren’t cut out  to drive big, heavy, dangerous lumps of machinery around streets full of children and old people and dogs and lamp posts. Even if they do finally pass, there’s a feeling that it’s probably a fluke, and you probably still wouldn’t want to be a passenger on their next trip.

Actually, if these people held their hands up (as some do) and said, “You know what? This isn’t me. I’m going to get a bicycle and a bus season ticket,” I would applaud their ability to see what was staring them in the face. I wouldn’t call them quitters or criticize their lack of determination or drive.* They’d simply be getting the message loud and clear and having the good sense not to ignore  it.


Sometimes we head off down the wrong path in life, often with the best motives. Maybe there’s no knowing it’s the wrong path until we try it. There’s no shame in admitting it once we realize it’s not getting us where we want to be. When you realize this college course isn’t right for you, or that you don’t have what it takes to do this job well, or that your move to a new city isn’t working out, or that  the  hours  you  put  into being on the local council put too much strain on your family,  it takes guts to say so. That’s not quitting. That’s  courage.

Quitting is when you give up because you don’t  want to put in  the effort, you can’t be bothered, you don’t like hard work, you’re scared of failure. We Rules players don’t quit. We harden our resolve, and we get on with the  job  without  com- plaint.

However, good Rules players know when they’re beat. If the world is telling you that you took a wrong turn, you can admit it honestly and put yourself on a different track. No one can   be brilliant at everything, and sometimes you have  to  try things to find out whether you can do them. And maybe you can’t.

Rules of Life: Richard Templar
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Creating a home you both love

Our homes are fundamental to our happiness. They’re where we rest, play, sometimes work and generally where we spend a large amount of time. They are where we live and where we love – the backdrop for your togetherness. So   it’s vital for both of you and the way you get on to be happy in    the home you share.

Fortunately, this Secret of love and life doesn’t mean having loads of money. You can have a home you love however humble or grand it is. Three of the basic needs for happiness are a roof over our heads, warmth and love. Given the  first two, with the right attitude you and your partner can build a haven where your love can  flourish.

Attitude is everything. What to one person might seem small and lowly might to another be sheer luxury. Any home, with love and the right attitude, can be a piece of heaven. So this Secret is all about recognizing the potential of your home, if you don’t already, realizing the joy and contentment it has to offer you and together lovingly looking after it.

Ah – but you may have such different tastes and thoughts about the nature of ‘home’? That’s fine. No matter how diverse your opinions you can find compromise or work out the best way to resolve them so that home is still an oasis  of comfort and pleasure for you both. Couples do this in all kinds of ways – we’re all different and as with all the  Secrets if you wish to make it work for you it  will.

Coming home to each other is a refuge from the outside world, a place where you can totally relax, be yourselves, and simply enjoy each other’s proximity and company. Filled with your love the atmosphere is replenishing and uplifting, soothing and healing. It’s a safe place to ‘hold’ you as you live through the experiences and resultant emotions of the years. It’s home – the dwelling place of your bodies, your spirit and the love you share.

Your home is your sanctuary, your partner’s and your relationship’s – and it’s yours, blissfully,  to create.

SECRETS OF HAPPY RELATIONSHIPS – 50 Techniques to Stay in Love – Jenny Hare
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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There’s no payoff to worry. If you’re worried about something you can change, then invest your energy doing something about it. If you’re worrying about something you can’t, change you’re engaged in a counterproductive and unhealthy activity.


Worrying is a complete waste of time. Indulge yourself in worry, and you will become immobilized.

Mel Gibson: “The only way to maintain a moderate sum of happiness in this life is not to worry about the future or regret the past too much.”

Dr. Wayne Dyer: “It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.”

101 BEST WAYS TO GET AHEAD – Michael Angier & Sarah Pond


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Don’t Gossip

If there’s one topic necessary in a book about the workplace, it’s gossip. For whatever reason, offices, stores, factories, and almost every other location where people gather to work are riddled with people who seem to have nothing better to do than gossip about their coworkers.

While gossiping has always been portrayed in movies and television shows as a “woman’s thing,” the truth is that men are just as guilty of engaging in this pointless and destructive habit.

Gossip can ruin working relationships and undermine the most productive businesses. It can lower morale, create a difficult work environment, and even cause good people to leave the company.

Spreading gossip not only harms the reputation of the person it is directed toward but also is destructive to the person spreading it. While I’ll never totally understand why people gossip, I believe it has to do with their lack of self-esteem and a feeling that since there’s nothing of consequence going on in their own lives, they may as well trash-talk other people.


My suggestion regarding gossip is simple — don’t do it! Refuse to engage in gossip, and avoid being around those who seem to make it their life ’s mission. The last thing you want is to become known as someone who spreads gossip about your coworkers, or for that matter, anyone else.

What if you’re the target of the gossip? If someone is gossiping about you, take the person aside and talk privately with him. Explain to him, as calmly as possible, that you will not tolerate his spreading false and hurtful rumors about you. Let him know, in no uncertain terms, that if it continues you will bring the problem to management. And, if it does continue, do so.

If you hear a coworker spreading gossip about someone else, let that person know you’re not interested in hearing such things, and go about your own business.

Of course, it goes without saying that gossiping is one of the worst career moves you can make. Not only does it make people not want to be around you, but once top management learns of it, it will block your possible advancement within the organization.

How do you deal with people who gossip at your job?

happy@W”ork – Jim  Donovan
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Learn to Deal with Difficult People

No matter how nice a person you may be or how easy you think you are to get along with, in any organization there will be people who, for whatever reason, do not like you. There are people in many companies who just seem not to like anyone, for that matter.

No one says you have to like all your coworkers; however, you do still have to work with them. Sometimes this means having to work closely with people you’d just as soon not even be in the same room with. While you do not have to like your coworkers, you all have a job to do and are expected to do it. You have to find a way to get along, or the tension may become a detriment to the entire organization.

A concept I learned many years ago is “principles before personalities.” I learned this in a recovery program, a situation in which someone I did not particularly like might just be the person to say something that could save my life.

In the context of your work environment the idea still holds true. While what a coworker says or does may not be lifesaving, it may well be what you need to hear to successfully complete a job, and it could be the difference between career advancement and termination. It is therefore imperative that you develop ways of dealing with people you’d just as soon avoid all together.

One of the best ways of learning to work with people, regardless of their personalities (or lack thereof ), is always to treat them with respect. No matter what you may think of another person, he or she deserves respect. We all do.

Another practice is to look for what you like about people with whom you don’t resonate. There is always something. Just as you can focus on what’s working in a situation, as described above, you can always look for, and find, the good in another person. Does he handle his job well? Is she particularly good at a specific task? Look beneath the surface of an abrasive personality and see if you can find the real person. We are all human beings, and we all have at least the potential to be great.

Often when a person is difficult to get along with, there is an underlying cause. Many times they do not like themselves and reflect that to everyone they meet. Often, trying to see a situation from the other person’s perspective can enable you to better understand their position.

To make working and communicating with people you do not get along with easier, focus on what you have in common rather than on your differences. For example, if you notice that a colleague likes old movies, as do you, ask him about his favorite old film. This will establish a topic you can both relate to and make working together easier. You may even be surprised to learn that you actually like your coworker!


Often if you take the time to get to know those difficult coworkers, you will find that they are decent, kind people who perhaps were simply shy and only appeared unfriendly. Learn to listen. Often all someone wants is to be heard. We all want to be recognized as human beings, and, given the opportunity, we can all learn to connect with one another as people, putting aside our differences and learning to work for the common good.

If you want to be happier and more effective at work, learn to set aside personalities and focus on the task at hand while at the same time treating everyone you encounter, in and out of work, with respect.

happy@W”ork – Jim  Donovan


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