Happiness

Happiness Isn't About How Much You Have, But How

Much You Enjoy Life

 Sheba Leung

A passionate sport-lover. Full Bio

Many of us believe that the more we have, the happier we are. But is it really the truth?

As economy develops, we seems to be able to live a better life. Earning money to buy the things that we desire, that’s how it goes. But do these material possessions always guarantee long-lasting happiness?

There might be a time that you have been saving money to buy yourself something, like a new gadget, a luxury car, or a grand apartment. Yes, you might be uplifted at the moment but the delight never lasts. The happiness recedes after a day, a week, a month, a year, or a decade. The new gadget will become old, the luxury car will depreciate, the grand apartment will become boring.

The truth is that although we have much more than the previous generations do, we are not happy as we are supposed to be.

Probably we have fallen into traps which keep us away from the long-lasting happiness that we have been chasing for throughout our lives. Check if you have fallen into one of these 3 traps and try to get rid of them:

We play hard but become slaves of desires

There is a kind of people who always play hard and sometimes we call them the hedonist. The hedonists always strive to maximize pleasure and hunt for excitement to satisfy their desires without realizing the negative side of their behaviors. They only look for pleasure and try to escape from pain. It is not uncommon that they would gradually become the slaves of desires with only vanity left after the excitement fades away.

We work hard but suffer from the pain

The busy bee is the exact opposite of the hedonist. They work hard in exchange for more material possessions. They look for the pleasure that comes in the future but suffer from the present pain. They do not realize that they are just running on a treadmill, running hard but only marking time. Ironically, the material possessions that they work hard for can only give them temporary happiness.

We do nothing hard but lose the passion of life and the hope of future

Then, you might think that it is better not to play hard or work hard. However, being a nihilist can neither guarantee you long-lasting happiness. Being a nihilist is the worst case because the nihilists believe that life is meaningless. They do not enjoy what they have got at the moment, nor do they have any hope for the future. Without passion and hope, one can hardly have feel any kind of happiness.

We spend years living our lives on this planet and it would be a pity if we cannot get a taste of what it is like to be truly happy. Easy come, easy go. The long-lasting happiness that keeps us living our lives passionately is something that worth us spending time to build. There is something we can do to pursue the happiness that lasts a lifetime.

  1. 1.   Capture and collect positive emotions

To put it simply, the more positive emotions you capture in a day, the more likely your happiness sustains.

Positive emotions are not limited to joy and excitement. Psychologists say that positive emotions also include joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. 1 These positive emotions can broaden and build our long-lasting psychological, intellectual, physical and social resources which increase our well-beings.

Try to capture and collect your positive emotions every day. Keep a diary or take some photos. Instead of recording what happens, describe how you feel is rather more important. This will build your psychological resource and one day it will remind you what kinds of positive emotions you have experienced.

2. Engage with what you do

Wanderers with no goals often feel unhappy. They disconnect with the world and tend to be over-absorbed in their emotions or abstract, unexplainable thoughts. They are on a road to nowhere.

But instead, if we are more present in our lives and feel engaged with whatever we do or say, we can feel more grounded and happier. Being engaged prevents your mind from wandering and stops you from overthinking too much. On the other hand, when you are engaged in something, maybe your job or your hobby, you work for improvement and accomplishment. The pleasure of eventually achieving something gives you the feeling of pride and also makes whatever you are doing meaningful.

3. Derive meaning from everything you do

If we can’t find any meaning in what we do, we tend to have a sense of loss, thinking that we have wasted our time and energy. It is just like the nihilists who think life is meaningless and a waste of time.

Frankly, there are some times that we really find something meaningless. Those things that are supposed to disappoint or frustrate us are exactly what keep us from the long-lasting happiness. Try to derive meaning from them and think in the other way round. Losing a competition might be a chance for you to realize your room for improvement; failing in a interview might be a chance for you to look for a better opportunity.

4. Build in-depth relationships with others

We always need some kinds of connections with people, friends, families, and lovers. But what makes us feel satisfied from relationships is not the quantity but the quality.

Some might be satisfied with the fame but it is only the vanity. An in-depth relationship is a totally different story. It allows you to open up your mind fearlessly. You can have deep chats with your friends, hearing their stories and telling yours. You do not only gain practical support but also emotional supports from them. There is nothing better than being deeply known by someone who knows you better than yourself and speaks your mind.

5. Broaden your definitions of success

Success is not only about winning a game or trumping others. It can mean completing things you want to do or should do. It can be small or big, which does not really matter. It can be as simple as finishing a small task on your work. Sometimes people judge and they define the meaning of success as numbers. But bear in mind that you are the only one who can define your success.

And by celebrating your accomplishments, even the smallest ones, every day can make you happier. Just because of finishing a small task on your work, you can celebrate it by giving yourself a little treat. It is the mark showing that you are capable of achieving something and giving you a sense of pride.

Be happy and shine like a diamond

Happiness is sometimes a very abstract idea and we might be lost on the road to the long-lasting happiness. The pursuit of happiness is a lifelong lesson that we all have to take. But once you and I get the clues, we will all shine like a diamond, with an everlasting shiny light that everyone would admire.

 

 

Success

People Don't Succeed by Luck, They Succeed by Doing a

Lot of Self Reflection

Eloise Best

How often do you set aside time to really think about yourself?

If you’re like most of us, rarely.

Self-reflection is the process of looking at yourself, your life and your experiences.

It’s been shown to strengthen your emotional intelligence, help you act with more integrity, and boost your self-confidence. 1

Even if you’ve never deliberately practiced self-reflection, you probably have at least some experience with it.

Here are some examples of self-reflection that you’re probably familiar with:

  • New Year’s Day. Most of us spend some time reflecting on each year as it comes to an end, and making resolutions to improve ourselves in the future.
  • Birthdays. Many of us use our birthday as a time to reflect on our lives so far, and think about what we still want to achieve.
  • Job applications. Applying for jobs forces us to lay out all of our skills and experiences in a clear and linear way, which can be an eye-opening experience.

But do we have to wait for the new year’s day or birthdays to review ourselves? If we really want to improve ourselves, why can’t we have such self-reflection every month, or every week, or even every day?

Are you ready to start improving yourself with a deliberate self-reflection practice?

Great!

Just follow the simple tips below.

Questions to ask during self-reflection

To do self reflection effectively, the best way is to ask yourself questions.

What are my strength and weaknesses?

Identifying where your strengths and weaknesses lie helps you solve problems and make good decisions.

For example, if you know that you’re great at organisation, you might volunteer to help put on an event at work and get on your boss’s good side.

If you don’t work well under pressure, you’ll know not to take a job as head chef at a busy restaurant.

However, remember that your strengths and weaknesses aren’t set in stone. Want to change something about yourself?

You can.

Put together a plan, set measurable goals, and take it one small step at a time. There aren’t many problems you can’t solve this way.

What have been my greatest achievements?

Identifying your biggest achievements shows you where your values lie. Are you most proud of something to do with work, family, or education? Do you want to focus future efforts in the same area, or shift to something new?

What have been my biggest failures?

Failures can be a wonderful learning experience. Gently acknowledge a time something went wrong, and ask yourself why? Low self-confidence? Lack of planning? Fear?

Now consider what you could do differently to ensure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

What skills do I have?

Making a big list of your skills is a great way to see how you’re doing. Are your skills where you want them to be? If not, commit to learning something new, taking a course, or trying out a new activity.

Are your skills equally balanced. Divide them into categories, including:

  • Work
  • Hobbies
  • Spirituality
  • Health
  • Exercise
  • Social

Are the lists equally balanced, or are you lacking skills in certain areas of your life?

What problems do I have right now?

Self-reflection deals with good and bad. Ask yourself what the biggest source on unhappiness is in your life right now.

It could be:

  • Your job
  • Your partner
  • Your living environment
  • Your finances

Once you’ve identified the biggest problem, you can start looking for ways to solve it.

How could I improve my life?

Writing a short passage describing your ideal day is a great way to generate ideas for this question. Focus on all the small details, like your home, what you’re eating, your hobbies, your routine, etc.

Then compare your ideal day to an day in your current life, and think about how you can bring the two closer together.

Common challenges during self-reflection

You might encounter some of the following problems when practicing self-reflection:

  • You forget to do it.
  • You’re not sure what to reflect on.
  • You’re afraid to be honest with yourself.
  • You feel embarrassed.

How to stay committed to self-reflection

To ensure you stay committed to self-reflection, try the following techniques:

  • Add a weekly or monthly ‘reflection date’ to your calendar.
  • Write a few sentences about why you want to keep up with self-reflection. Read it when you start to lose interest.
  • Be kind to yourself. Self-reflection isn’t about being too hard on yourself, it’s about helping you to be the best you can be.
  • Keep self-reflection private. It’s hard to be honest if you’re worried about the opinions of others. Don’t feel you need to share your practice.

Ready to stop moving through life on autopilot? Start your self-reflection practice today.

 

Rapport

The Art and Science of Rapport

Daniel Goleman

What Makes a Leader? Emotional and Social Intelligence

What’s Rapport and Why Does It Matter?

Ask someone what rapport is and you’re likely to hear “a close connection” or “I can’t explain it, but I know it when I feel it.” Beyond social ease, rapport describes a sense of harmonious connection with someone. Both are tuned into the other person’s feelings. Each person feels truly in synch, fully seen and heard.

Most people recognize rapport, and they also know when they lack it. You’ve probably been there: The team meeting with people talking over each other or staring distractedly out the window. The choppy conversation peppered with silences that go a bit too long.

Rapport feels nice, but why does it matter? People experiencing rapport can be more creative together and more efficient in making decisions. For management teams mapping a business strategy or a marketing group planning a new product launch, rapport can mean the difference between an okay result and a great one. In their article, “Rapport-Building Behaviors Used by Retail Employees,” Dwayne D. Gremler and Kevin P. Gwinner recognize that rapport relates significantly to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and word-of-mouth communication.

Three Ingredients of Rapport

What makes the difference between rapport and interactions lacking that connection? Robert Rosenthal was my statistical methods professor when I was a psychology graduate student at Harvard. Years after that, Bob (as everyone called him) and his colleague Linda Tickle-Degnan published a landmark article describing the three essential ingredients for rapport.

The three elements Bob and his colleagues found are:

  • mutual attention,
  • shared positive feeling, and
  • synchrony or coordination.

Rapport doesn’t exist when only some of these elements are present. A physical fight includes close physical coordination, but no positivity. Walking past a stranger on a crowded sidewalk may include mutual attention and coordination, but no sense of caring for the other.

How Does It Work?

Attention

The first essential ingredient is shared attention. Two people attending to what the other says and does generate mutual interest and a joint focus. Such two-way attention spurs shared feelings.

Mutual empathy is an indicator of rapport, where both partners are aware of being experienced. That’s a difference between social ease and rapport. Social ease is comfortable, but we don’t feel that the other person is tuned in to our feelings. Fully attending to someone, seeing eye to eye, opens the possibility of empathy.

Positive Feelings

You need more than attention for rapport, you also need positive feelings toward each other. Such feelings are often shown nonverbally, through tone of voice and facial expression. Skillful managers can give their staff critical feedback while showing warm feelings nonverbally.

When that happens, someone is likely to feel more positively about the conversation than they would without the connection. That’s an example I used in my book Social Intelligence: The Revolutionary New Science of Human Relationships, based on a 2002 study by Michael J. Newcombe and Neal M. Ashkanasy. Current research by Ashkanasy continues to explore the connection between positive feelings and their impact in exchanges between leaders and staff in organizations.

Synchrony

Coordination or synchrony is the third element. When we are in rapport, subtle nonverbal cues coordinate the pace and timing of conversations and body movement. We become animated, our eyes meet often, the flow of our conversation looks almost like a choreographed dance. Synchronies happen throughout the natural world when one process oscillates in rhythm with another. When ocean waves or sound waves are in synch, they amplify. When they are out of synch, they cancel out each other.

How does synchrony work between two people? In Social Intelligence, I explained,

“Whenever we find ourselves in harmony with someone else, we can thank what neuroscientists call ‘oscillators,’ neural systems that act like clocks, resetting over and over their rate of firing to coordinate with the periodicity of an incoming signal. That signal may be as simple as the rate at which a friend hands you the dishes she’s washed so you can dry them, or as complex as the movements in a well-choreographed pas de deux…. Any conversation demands that the brain make extraordinarily complex calculations, with oscillators guiding the continuous cascade of adjustments that keep us in synch. From this microsynchrony flows an affinity, as we participate in a slice of our conversational partner’s very experience.”

How to Build Rapport

What can we do to intentionally build rapport with another person or within a team?

Listen.

That’s the first step, to listen well and give someone our full attention. Put down the phone, look away from the computer monitor, and tune into what the person is saying. Ask questions to understand the background situation. For that time, focus on the other’s feelings and needs, not your own preoccupations.

In Social Intelligence, I said, “Full listening maximizes physiological synchrony, so that emotions align. Such synchrony was discovered during psychotherapy at moments when clients felt most understood by their therapists. Intentionally paying more attention to someone may be the best way to encourage the emergence of rapport. Listening carefully, with undivided attention, orients our neural circuits for connectivity, putting us on the same wavelength. That maximizes the likelihood that the other essential ingredients for rapport—synchrony and positive feelings—might bloom.”

How can you improve your listening skills? While there are many strategies for developing better listening habits, a key step is to become aware that you aren’t listening well. Poor listening is often an unconscious habit and as such is governed by the part of brains that handles automatic tasks. Before we can change a habit, we need to become aware of it. That type of awareness can be developed through mindfulness, the secret ingredient in habit change. Once we’re aware in the moment, we can choose to step away from distractions and focus attention on another person.

Recommended Reading:

The Chemistry of Connection

Emotional Self-Awareness: A Primer

Engaging the Whole Person at Work

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Resilience

How to Build Resilience to Survive in This Difficult

World

Eloise Best

I'm a full-time freelance writer based in the UK. Full Bio

Why do people fail?

Surprisingly, it’s not usually down to a lack of talent, ability or motivation.

In fact, plenty of very intelligent people fail for one simple reason: they lack resilience.

If you want to enjoy life, be successful, and cope well in a difficult world, you need to build up resilience.

Read on to find out how.

What is resilience?

Simply put, resilience is the ability to deal with whatever life throws at you without giving up.

Being resilient means being able to bounce back, even after something really bad happens.

One key characteristic of successful people is that they aren’t afraid to keep trying after they fail, and that’s because they’ve learned to be resilient.

Here’s an example:

Two people go to interviews for their dream job. Neither of them get the job.

Person 1 is resilient. He doesn’t let a small setback knock him down, and he keeps applying for other jobs. Soon enough, he gets one – and it’s even better than the original job!

Person 2 isn’t resilient. When he doesn’t get the job, he loses all confidence. He thinks he’s a failure, that he should never have bothered trying, and that he might as well give up now. He stops applying for the jobs he really wants, and sticks with a career well below his ability level.

Want to learn more about how resilience can make you successful?

Read this article: Why There Are So Few Successful People in the World: Talents Are Overrated

How to become more resilient

Ready to start your journey towards resilience?

Here are some great places to start.

Learn to overcome trauma

Had a bad experience in the past that’s put you off trying again?

Maybe you fell off a bike while learning, and got too afraid to get back in the saddle?

Learning to overcome difficult memories is the first step towards building resilience.

Here’s an idea of how to get started:

  • Accept what happened, and how it affected you.
  • Don’t feel like you shouldn’t be upset because ‘other people have it worse’.
  • Don’t set a strict timeline – let yourself overcome issues in your own time.
  • Ask for help. This could be from family, friends, or medical professionals.
  • Practice acceptance. You can’t change what happened, but it doesn’t have to take over your life.
  • Meditate and focus on all the things you have to be grateful for.

Want to read more about overcoming trauma?

Read this: How to Overcome a Trauma and Be Even Stronger Than Before

Look at how fear rules your life

Do you make decisions to avoid what you’re afraid of, rather than to move towards what you want?

Many of us live our lives ruled by fear – and this means we miss out on great opportunities and new experiences.

It takes time to overcome fear, but it is possible.

Start by identifying your fears, and trying to get to the root of them. Maybe you’re afraid of the unknown, of criticism, or of being rejected by others.

Try to imagine the worst case scenarios in each situation – often you’ll realize that they really aren’t that bad.

Want to learn more about how fear could be damaging your life?

Read this: How Fear Is Deep-Rooted in Our Everyday Life and Controlling Us

Learn to overcome fear

No matter what you fear, overcoming it is a worthwhile goal.

Try a targeted approach to overcoming fear with this challenge:

30 Days Without Fear: A Plan That Will Make You Feel So Carefree Like Never Before

You’ll practice and develop fear-busting skills like:

  • Keeping a fear journal.
  • Creating more ‘me’ time.
  • Speaking in public.
  • Exercising daily.
  • Visiting new places.
  • Communicating in a more confident way.
  • Trying new, scary activities
  • Resolving conflict.

At the end of the 30 days you’ll feel like you’re ready to face anything.

Is resilience the same as optimism?

No. This is a common myth.

Of course it’s good to try and be positive – but blind optimism can actually do a lot of harm.

When something bad happens, do you brush it off, acting like you don’t care at all?

Suppressing your emotions in this way can be really harmful, and is actually the opposite of resilience.

Resilience means allowing yourself to experience difficult feelings and working through them in a healthy way – not pretending they don’t exist.

Optimist can also blind us to important things.

If you feel bad about a job, it could be a sign for you to move onto to something new.

If you’re unhappy in the place you live, maybe it’s time to relocate?

Listening to your emotions can help you to make decisions that change your life for the better. Ignoring them could lead to missed opportunities for positive change.

Want to know more about how optimism differs from resilience?

Read this: Why You Shouldn’t Aim at Being an Optimistic Person

Take the resilience test to track your journey

So, you’ve started taking steps to become more resilient.

But how do you know that they’re working?

As well as looking out for benefits in your day-to-day life, you could trying taking this resilience test.

Be sure to make a note of your score and keep retaking the test to see how much you’ve improve.

Want to be strong enough to deal with whatever life throws at you?

Start developing resilience today.