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3 Keys To Happiness

3 Keys To Happiness

I got my degree in engineering because my brother was going to school for that and I couldn’t think of any other career paths that I wanted to do. After graduating college and securing a job at Westinghouse I was excited and ready to start my career.  I soon realized that I had made the wrong choice and that it wasn’t what I thought it would be.  The people I worked with seemed lifeless and passionless about their jobs and the feeling was contagious.  There always seemed to be an air of tension among people and the way they acted seemed fake and somewhat nervous.

This corporate world was not for me and it was resonating throughout my life in various negative ways; my health was failing, I felt empty inside, I drank more…

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1. Do What You Love

My first goal was to simplify my life so I didn’t need all of this income to exist. I sold my expensive sports car, moved into a smaller place, stopped going out so much, and focused on getting rid of anything that wasn’t mandatory. I started my own painting company on the side and was able to leave the corporate world for good within a year.  After a few years even this kind of freedom wasn’t enough, something was missing.  All throughout my life friends would tell me I was funny and I should be a comedian.  I finally took this to heart and tried a comedy course at a local comedy club.  Well, that was over a decade ago and I am more passionate than ever about this career in the performing arts.  It has opened my eyes to a new way of looking at life and reignited my spirit.

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You must find that calling that you were meant to do and go for it regardless of the pay.  If you get good at anything there will always be a sector of people who are willing to pay it.  This way you won’t be counting down the years left in your career, but counting up the years that you’ve been doing it and hoping for more. There is no retirement for me, I’ll do this till the day I die.  There is more to life than just getting by.

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2. Have What You Need

Things don’t make us happy, they may be exciting at first but once the thrill wears off you are just left with bills in the mail causing even more stress than before.  If you minimize and simplify your life one step at a time you will create more freedom and free time to do the things that you enjoy.  Money does not equal happiness, it is more just a tool to help you get the things you need.  Don’t just buy things that you want, it is a never ending cycle.  There is always another gadget to buy, another subscription to join, only causing you to fall further in debt and making it so you have to work more.

When I was a little kid I had food to eat, a place to sleep, and transportation to get around and I didn’t need to work 40 or more hours a week to have this.  My goal is to have that freedom back that I had when I was a little kid and it is possible to do.  It doesn’t take much to make you happy if you are doing what you love, that itself is fulfilling enough.  Think of the things you need to feel better;  exercise, sunshine, silence, passion, love.   Most of these things are either free or very inexpensive to have, make it a point to get more of what you need and you won’t want anything more.

3. Help Other People

They say if you want to be happy focus all of your attention on making other people happy, and if you want to be miserable focus only on making yourself happy.  We like to think we are independent but, in fact, we are interdependent beings.   If I put you on a desert island with nothing but your computer and Facebook “friends” you would end up being extremely lonely and very unhappy over time, we need each other.   Compassion, or concern for others, helps to humanize us and connect us making us feel like we are part of something bigger and, in return, making us feel better about ourselves and happier in the process.  Just start in small ways to care about others, it doesn’t happen overnight.  You can train your mind to become anything you want, it just happens slowly over time.  Set your intention to be a more compassionate and caring person and as time goes by you will become just that and end up a much happier person than when you began.

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More by this author

Dave Celestian

Philosopher and Humorist

3 Keys To Happiness

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

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.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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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.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning 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. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  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? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  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. And 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, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  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. But if you erect a wall, 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 say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But 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 guys, 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.”
  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, simply tell them: “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.
  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 — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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