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A Letter To My Daughter: You’re Way More Powerful Than You Imagined

A Letter To My Daughter: You’re Way More Powerful Than You Imagined

Dear daughter,

I drove home from work feeling like nothing I did matters. You were waiting for me on the porch, happy to have me home. Just seeing your smiling face made the rest of the tedious day become what didn’t matter. And then I realized, even as a little girl, you’re way more powerful than you could ever imagine. As you are growing up, touching more and more people’s lives in this world, it is even more important for you to understand that and embrace it.

You have the power to make other people feel like they matter

Everyone has days when they feel like they don’t matter. Sometimes, the days can stack on top of each other and nothing seems to matter. You have the power to change this mindset in others.

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Remember the time you made presents for your teachers, your bus driver, and the lady in the cafeteria? You didn’t want anyone to be left out. They all mattered to you. You showed them with kindness that they all mattered equally. You didn’t skip anyone.

You have the power to build people up or tear them down

Unhappy people like to make others unhappy, and you may see this more as you spend time with more kids. It is true even for adults. You can spend your time with these people just so you won’t be alone. You can find someone weaker or sadder and tear them down. But, you can also choose to change this.

You can change the conversation. You can find better things to talk about and use your words to build up the people around you. You can go your own way and do good things. The easiest thing in the world is to tear people down, but you have the power to build people up. I hope you make that choice, no matter what the people around you say or do.

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You have the power to make a difference

I love that trash makes you angry. I love that you love animals and nature. I will support you however I can when you want to make a difference.

You were the one that wanted us to take trash bags with us on our walks. Now, you have the whole family gathering trash and recycling it, ensuring it won’t hurt any animals and putting it in its rightful place.

You wanted us to plant flowers for the pollinators because we need more bees and butterflies in the world, so now we have a great big garden of them. You wanted to walk to the farmer’s market and buy fresh fruit and vegetables. Now we do it every Saturday. It is because of you.

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Your family is the first group of people you changed to make a difference. Take that power, go into the world and find more ways to make a difference. You have that power.

Your words, as well as your action, have power

People leave words behind them like breadcrumbs. Everywhere there are words that will be picked up by the rest of the world. We pay way too much attention to some words and little attention to others.

Don’t ever convince yourself that what you say or write doesn’t matter, even as the world is crowded with comments and commentary. Your world will be built up or torn down with the words you let inside your heart and mind. Other people’s worlds may be built up or torn down with the words that come out of your mouth. Remember to give people hope and inspiration always, and this will also give you hope and inspiration.

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Daughter, you have already taught me so much by just by being a presence in my life. I can only imagine what you could do given purpose and motivation. So with that, I just want to remind you one last time: you’re way more powerful than you realize. You can change the world in significant ways.

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Last Updated on December 16, 2018

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

12 Simple Ways You Can Build A Positive Attitude

We all look for a better and happier life, but somehow we realize it’s our attitude that makes it hard to lead the life we want. How can we build a positive attitude? Grant Mathews has listed out the things (from the easiest to the hardest) we can do to cultivate this attitude on Quora:

1. Listen to good music.

Music definitely improves your mood, and it’s a really simple thing to do.

2. Don’t watch television passively.

Studies have shown that people who watch TV less are happier, which leads me to my next point…

3. Don’t do anything passively.

Whenever I do something, I like to ask myself if, at the end of the day, I would be content saying that I had spent time doing it. (This is why I block sites I find myself wasting too much time on. I enjoy them, but they’re just not worth it when I could be learning something new, or working on projects I care about.)

Time is incredibly valuable.

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4. Be aware of negativity

A community that considers itself intelligent tends to be negativity because criticizing is seen as a signaling mechanism to indicate that you’re more intelligent than the person you corrected. This was irrationally frustrating for me – it’s one of those things you’ll stay up all night to think about.

5. Make time to be alone.

I initially said “take time just to be alone.” I changed it because if you don’t ensure you can take a break, you’ll surely be interrupted.

Being with other people is something you can do to make you happy, but I don’t include it in this list because nearly everyone finds time to talk with friends. On the other hand, spending time just with yourself is almost considered a taboo.

Take some time to figure out who you are.

6. Exercise.

This is the best way to improve your immediate happiness.

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Exercise probably makes you happy. Try and go on a run. You’ll hate yourself while doing it, but the gratification that you get towards the end vastly outweighs the frustration of the first few attempts. I can’t say enough good things about exercise.

Exercising is also fantastic because it gives you time alone.

7. Have projects.

Having a goal, and moving towards it, is a key to happiness.

You have to realize though that achieving the goal is not necessarily what makes you happy – it’s the process. When I write music, I write it because writing is inherently enjoyable, not because I want to get popular (as if!).

8. Take time to do the things you enjoy.

That’s very general, so let me give you a good example.

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One of the things that has really changed my life was finding small communities centered around activities I enjoy. For instance, I like writing music, so I’m part of a community that meets up to write a song for an hour every week. I love the community. I’ve also written a song every week, 37 weeks in a row, which has gradually moved me towards larger goals and makes me feel very satisfied.

9. Change your definition of happiness.

Another reason I think I’m more happy than other people is because my definition of happiness is a lot more relaxed than most people’s. I don’t seek for some sort of constant euphoria; I don’t think it’s possible to live like that. My happiness is closer to stability.

10. Ignore things that don’t make you happy.

I get varying reactions to this one.

The argument goes “if something is making you unhappy, then you should find out why and improve it, not ignore it.” If you can do that, great. But on the other hand, there’s no reason to mope about a bad score on a test.

There’s another counterargument: perhaps you’re moping because your brain is trying to work out how to improve. In fact, this is the key purpose of depression: Depression’s Upside – NYTimes.com

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I can think of examples that go both ways. I remember, for instance, when I was debating a year or two ago and my partner and I would lose a round, I would mull over what we had done wrong for a long time. In that way, I got immensely better at debate (and public speaking in general – did you know debate has amazing effects on your public speaking ability? But now I really digress).

On the other hand, there’s no way that mulling over how dumb you were for missing that +x term on the left hand side will make you better at math. So stop worrying about it, and go practice math instead.

11. Find a way to measure your progress, and then measure it.

Video games are addictive for a reason: filling up an experience bar and making it to the next level is immensely satisfying. I think that it would be really cool if we could apply this concept to the real world.

I put this near the bottom of the list because, unfortunately, this hasn’t been done too often in the real world – startup idea, anyone? So you would have to do it yourself, which is difficult when you don’t even know how much you’ve progressed.

For a while, I kept a log of the runs I had taken, and my average speed. It was really cool to see my improvement over the weeks. (Also, I was exercising. Combining the two was fantastic for boosting happiness.)

12. Realize that happiness is an evolutionary reward, not an objective truth.

It’s easy to see that this is correct, but this is at the bottom of the list for a reason.

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