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Richard Branson’s Secret Tips On Catching Happiness

Richard Branson’s Secret Tips On Catching Happiness

In a world of ever-increasing materialism, greed, and selfishness, it takes effort to be. To be happy, to be conscious, and to be yourself.

Perhaps early in life you were told you’d be happy if you walked a certain path. Follow that path and the happiness would flow forevermore, but deviate from that path and your happiness would cease to exist. But what if someone with a successful career and extraordinary wealth told you otherwise — would you listen?

According to Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group and multi-billionaire, happiness doesn’t come from success or money. Instead, his business success and wealth stem from his happiness. For Branson, happiness is all about finding the perfect balance between doing and being. Certain actions can make you happy, even if only for a moment, but when you combine those actions with genuine consciousness, you can create your own happiness, not dependent on outside influences.

Sir Richard Branson’s beautifully penned ‘Dear Stranger’ letter has given us some wonderful insights into being happy, and here they are, broken down into 11 bite-sized chunks.

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1. Think consciously about it.

Act, don’t react, to the happenings around you. To be happy is an exercise in consciousness and self-awareness. Are you making an effort to be a happy individual or are you letting life happen to you? Conscious attitudes and behaviors can turn your act of happiness into an actual state of being.

2. Allow yourself to be in the moment.

Ground yourself to this very moment — feel each step you take and each breath you breathe. Don’t be afraid to engage in your current situation — the worries of tomorrow will still be there tomorrow, so don’t bother yourself with them today.

3. Don’t stress about nominal things.

When the sun sets for the last time in your life, what will you look back on and remember most? Stop thinking about the trivial stresses of life and focus that energy in a more useful, fulfilling way.You will look back on the moments that matter and may regret all of the moments of worry.

4. Stop and breathe.

Take it all in. The sights, the sounds, the scents, and the feelings. Breathe in, and just be, breathe out, and just be. There is a lot to appreciate when you take the time to notice the world around you.

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5. Be healthy.

Take care of yourself physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. You cannot be there for others and take part in your own life if you yourself are in poor health. Your work product can actually be a direct reflection of your health.

6. Be around your friends and family.

Make the memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy the family dinners, the late night conversations, and the inside jokes. But most of all, enjoy the people you’re with and be grateful for that very moment in time.

7. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you.

Giving a piece of yourself and, in turn, allowing someone to give you a piece of themselves, is one of the most intimate things human beings can experience. These connections are what make life worth living. When the chips are down, show up for the people that matter the most to you.

8. Be bold.

Put yourself out there and be the you you’ve always envisioned within yourself. Sometimes the best happens when you take a leap of faith and be bold.

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9. Be loving.

Go out of your way to bring more love into the world. Even something as simple as a smile can make someone else’s day a little brighter. Take note of your coworkers, pass along that extra cupcake, or even smile at people you pass in the store to make a difference in people’s life.

10. Be grateful.

Finding gratitude, even in the smallest of things, is an act of happiness that can soon become a way of life. It takes practice and perseverance, but the payoff is absolutely worth the effort.

11. Be helpful.

Helpfulness can show itself in a number of ways, but simply asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing helpful in this very moment?” can turn you into a person that people admire and want to be around. Are the words you’re saying and the actions you’re doing helpful or harmful?

12. Just be.

Be yourself, living in this very moment. A bold, loving, grateful, and helpful individual who sees happiness for what it truly is — a conscious effort and an act of being.

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You can’t put life on hold while you take the time to find happiness, but you can find a balance between doing and being. So, in the words of Sir Richard Branson, “Don’t forget the to-do list, but remember to write a to-be list too.”

Featured photo credit: Happy School Children Playing And Looking At Camera/Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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