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10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

10 Everyday Moments Only Truly Happy People Would Understand

It is often said that life is enjoyed in the everyday, small moments. It is also said that for happy people the small everyday moments are as abundant as the oxygen we breathe. Yet, many of us struggle to live in the moment and savor the many, many enjoyable, available and repeating events in our lives. Let’s take a moment and try to find some of these everday things and relish in them.

1. The moment that your dog jumps up to hug you.

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” – Josh Billings (a.k.a. Henry Wheeler Shaw; humorist and lecturer)

Many of you may who have a dog, probably seen this phenomenon. You wake up with your eyes barely open and you feel two pairs of paws reaching up at you. It seems like your dog has not seeing you in a year! To them, it might as well have been a year. Dogs are extremely social and loving animals and their affection is genuine towards their owners, and even visitors or guests.

It is an everyday moment that must not be ignored or minimized. It is worth every second to kneel down and give your dog a hug. It is a moment that you can savor everyday, and each time it happens. In fact, the more you do this, the more it will become a routine with your dog and who could not use a hug everyday? Hugs are warm, simple, and easy, so get on those knees and embrace your dog with all your might. Savor this moment and recognize how much this simple activity will put a smile on your face and warm your heart.

2. The moment a stranger unexpectedly says hello and smiles at you

“Yellow circles are friendly. Especially smiley faces.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Ah, the power of a smile and a hello. When I moved from California to Indiana, I was completely shocked by something. My wife and I started searching for a home and we’d drive through countless neighborhoods looking for “for sale” signs. As we would drive around, complete strangers would wave and wave. I would turn to my wife every time and ask, “do you know them? why are they waving at you?” She would say, “I don’t know them. They’re just being friendly.” For me, it was shocking every time. After four years of living in Indiana, I am still not used to it. I still get confused when someone says hello at the local coffee shop.To make it even more complicated, they smile too! I have actually had a couple of experiences where someone paid for our dinner and our coffee at the local Starbucks.

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There is beauty and innocence in the act of smiling and saying hello to people. I would even say it’s a custom that is disappearing. Please don’t let it disappear from your life. Make it a challenge every day to smile and/or say hello to someone. It does not have to turn into a conversation or into a commitment of any kind. It is simply a way of extending some friendliness and also receiving some back! Try it, and enjoy it!

3. The moment that you miss a friend, a family member, or a spouse.

“Can miles truly separate you from friends…. If you want to be with someone you love, aren’t you already there?” – Richard Bach

I know this one through and through.. If you don’t have anyone to “miss”, then you need to work on that! Although it is not by default a pleasant feeling, it feels so wonderful to want to talk to or be with someone that you love. For many years, I lived close to my family in California, but over the last four years, I have learned to value “missing” them. That let’s me know that I truly love them and value them. It is not that I didn’t love or value them before, but distance does make the heart grow fonder. Now, I look forward to planning my trips out to California, plus purposefully calling them and video-calling them has become a priority.

Missing someone could also happen when someone is close to you. Missing someone means you see the value that person has in your life. They mean more than just another body, another voice in your household, or another voice at your job. It’s another set of experiences, another set of thoughts and laughs that they add to your life. When you get that feeling of missing someone, let it remind you that you value something about that relationship and then let them know how much you are missing them!

4. The moment that you realize you can sing like Mick Jagger – in the shower.

“If you’ve got nothing to dance about, find a reason to sing.” – Melody Carstairs

You have sung in the shower before. We all have. It’s like admitting we’ve all pretended to be Michael Jordan on the basketball court at one time or another. Although all of us could use some singing lessons, there is an absolute flow of happiness and joy from singing your favorite song, either in the shower, or in your car. Hey, maybe even at a party or with a karaoke machine. My wife tells me all the time she wishes she could sing. I know she can, actually. She can carry a tune pretty well.

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So, take your favorite song, and simply sing along to it. Yes, you probably won’t sing it perfectly, but let your voice ring and let your heart sing. You are Mick Jagger in that moment singing “I can’t get no satisfaction”, all the while getting some satisfaction.

5. The moment that you see the neighborhood birds hopping along your sidewalk without a care in the world.

 “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I see this one often. My wife’s family loves watching birds. I grew up chasing pigeons away from our porch because they would eat the grass seed my dad would put on the grass. I have to admit, though, that watching birds is truly peaceful. Here’s why: we can absorb their peace and their pace. I watch birds as they walk along the sidewalk, not in a hurry, not in an impatient cadence, but in a calm and curious demeanor. They hop, they look around, hop again, and then they fly to a nearby branch. Then they repeat that sequence. Sometimes, they’ll chase each other around. I like to guess what they’d be saying to each other.

It’s truly magnificent. I especially love to watch falcons as they glide over the trees and the meadows, seemingly without a worry. There is an absence of frustration. There is an absence of doubt. But, there is a presence of confidence and patience. We could all use more of that in our lives!

6. The moment that you feel that warm coffee or latte in the early morning on your taste buds.

“As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” – Cassandra Clare, City of Ashes

This is my favorite. Since I was a child, my family has the tradition of drinking coffee as a way to relax and enjoy the day. I have a very vivid picture in my mind of my mother sitting at the kitchen counter just sipping on her morning coffee – without a care in the world. I guess I picked that up from her. It may seem counter intuitive, but drinking a well-prepared cup of coffee is the best way to start my day. It’s the warmth of the coffee and the taste. I personally like mine with a good amount of cream and sweetened. Some people say I like coffee with my sugar, and that’s okay. It works for me. Some people love their tea in the morning. That’s good as well!

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Here’s the point: it’s more about enjoying the simple act of sipping on a warm, great-tasting beverage and taking the time to enjoy it. I also like to look at the steam rising from the cup. Like my mom, I drink coffee to think and to simply be. I like to drink coffee while I drive somewhere, or while I read a book because it is a reminder for me to relax and slow down. No, you definitely do not need Starbucks every day of the week, but a simple cup Folgers does it for me.

7. The moment that you finish your workout and feel truly empowered.

“You would be surprised what two hours of daily exercise and five hundred stomach crunches can do for you.” – Justina Chen, North of Beautiful

I remember walking into the Fontana boxing gym in Fontana, California. I had researched this boxing gym online and I had talked to the trainer about what training would involve. If you have ever dared to try boxing for a workout, then I congratulate you. My trainer told me that the reason boxers look the way they do is that they are the best trained athletes in the world. It is 100% true. I dared myself to enter the lion’s den and train like a boxer would. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I almost decided not to go. Yes, I was scared all over again – every time I went!

But, here’s what happened. I felt so empowered and confident once I survived the first training session. Not only did I learn how to push myself beyond what I ever thought was possible, I also learned to shut off the negative thinking that kept telling me I couldn’t throw any more punches, or that my legs couldn’t take another lunge. I was wrong every time. My body could take it and outperform itself every time. That did wonders for my psychological health. Plus, it didn’t hurt to have my trainer yelling at me not to “pitty pat” his punching bags. That made me into a real boxer, even if only for that one hour.

8. The moment that you open a book without knowing where it’s going to take you.

“You’re never alone when you’re reading a book.” – Susan Wiggs

Beginning to read a book is like opening a present. You never know what it’s going to be! I’ll admit I haven’t always been a voracious reader. Lately, I’ve been increasing my reading appetite by recognizing that I can learn so many wonderful life lessons by reading books. I have even started to listen to audio books on YouTube. If you are wondering what kind of books you like to read, try several kinds. You might be surprised that you enjoy reading self-help books, or that you enjoy reading political books. I would recommend buying used books, which sometimes are literally discounted almost 90% off the new list price. You have nothing to lose, except the endless possibilities of what you could learn, experience, or imagine.

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Don’t try to read for too long, if you cannot stomach it at first. Start with one page, and keep that up as long as you can. Then, move up to two pages and so on. Give yourself this gift of stimulating your mind. Television can be great, but reading makes your mind decipher, use it’s creativity and imagination. It’s a much better diet than having everything created for it with television.

9. The moment that you realize you have stinky feet.

I like to walk around with bare feet and I don’t like to comb my hair.”- Beyonce Knowles

This one probably has you scratching your head. Why would stinky feet be a moment happy people appreciate? Well, it points to the reality that you are not perfect – and that’s a good thing! First, it’s a healthy perspective to see yourself as less than perfect. It will also help you realize that other people aren’t perfect either. As my uncle used to say, if you really like a girl and want to ask her out, imagine her stinky feet. She’ll seem less intimidating and more on your level. It definitely worked on several occasions! I would invite you to laugh and smile at your stinky feet because it takes you back to the time when you were a little boy or girl full of innocence and simplicity.

10. The moment that you see your spouse walk through the door.

“Your spouse is that special person God provided to walk with you until the game of life ends.” – Christian Maciel

I’ve read a Men’s Health article that explained one explicit trait of an awesome wife. One of the most striking concepts of the article was that when your wife walks through the door and it makes you nervous – that means you have an awesome wife. I could not agree more. If you feel that slight nervousness or excitement when you see your wife or husband, then you have something there that maybe most relationships do not have. One of the most beautiful experiences that human beings can enjoy is an awesome relationship. If you feel your marriage or relationship is lacking in this regard, seek some inspiration, or even help.

Marriage is something to protect, build and to enjoy. If you are not doing one of these three things, then you could be missing out on an awesome marriage. The next time your spouse walks through the door, think back to the time when you first saw them and your breath was taken away. What was it that attracted you about them? If you have forgotten that traits, or qualities, do your best to remember. It’ll bring back some wonderful feelings of nervousness and excitement.

Featured photo credit: Happy beautiful woman playing outdoor, trying to catch snowflakes with her tongue via shutterstock.com

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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