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How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

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How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

Here it is, another day gone and another series of disappointments. How is it that life got so, well, disappointing?

It wasn’t like that before.  When you were a kid you hated to go to bed at night. You didn’t want to miss anything. You couldn’t wait for summer vacation or a trip to Disneyland or having your best friend sleep over. When did your life go from happy anticipation to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning?

How can you change your life from disappointment to happiness?

The simple answer is viewpoint. How we view something, whether we dread it or look forward to it with bright anticipation determines the actual outcome. The life wrecking viewpoints have snuck in on us so quietly that we didn’t even see them come in and yet here they are, like unwelcome guests that never know when it is time to leave. And here we are, wondering how we got so negative.

There is a way out of it. There are ways to change your viewpoints and thus your actions which will allow you to experience happiness. Here are some simple steps to help you get started.

1. Go into life with less expectation and more exploration.

If you expect life and situations to be a certain, set way no matter what happens, you are doomed to disappointment.

A good example of this is a wedding. Many young girls have a certain view of “Their special day” This is the day where everything must be absolutely “perfect”. There must be no hiccups. The bride’s dress must be perfect, the bride herself will have to lose 20 pounds so she looks her best. The band must perform exactly the right songs at the right time, the caterers cannot step one foot out of line and then maybe, just maybe, everything will be “perfect”. These weddings are almost never “perfect” in every way. How can they possible be? And the bride feels that the day is completely ruined.

How many young ladies have been stressed out of their minds and had melt downs on their wedding day because everything wasn’t “perfect”?

What if a young bride went in with the idea “Whatever happens, it will be perfect!”

She could then plan her wedding without stress. If she were to have that idea, everything that happened that day would be a delightful surprise! Everything that occurred would be meant to be and everything will have been perfect.

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Surprise is what makes life so much fun. If we try to avoid surprises, life becomes like reading the end of the murder mystery and finding out who dunnit before we start reading the beginning. Boring and disappointing!

The most fun I have ever had has been the result of happy accidents that I or someone else, somehow turned into amazing experiences. Life is full of curve balls. Catch them and learn how to turn them into something new and amazing.

2. Learn to trust yourself to handle any situation.

I know that if you feel your life is disappointing you have been through some pretty tough times so far. A lot of people who have been around for awhile have been through some really hard times, but guess what, we are still here! We are still breathing and carrying on. Somehow or other, we got out of it and got ourselves back on track.

It is unrealistic to think that we will never have tough times but it is empowering to know that whatever happens in life, we can and will figure out how to handle it. We all know people who have survived something we are sure that we, ourselves would never survive and yet here they are.

Think back to a really tough situation that you had some time in the past. Perhaps you can even think of many. Well, you got yourself out of all of those didn’t you? It is really amazing how many scrapes we have gotten ourselves out of. When things get tough, think back on the things that you handled and handled well. There are probably more times than you think.

Life has no guarantees and we will go through tough times that try our confidence in ourselves. Just know during those times, that you have found your way this far, you will find your way again.

3. Don’t relive moments in the past and kick yourself over how you handled them.

We live in the present and we all make mistakes. The bigger the spirit of the person and the more active he or she is, the more mistakes they will make. Mistakes are part of the learning curve of life.

It is ok to look back and say to yourself, “How could I have handled that differently and gotten a better result?” That is legitimate as long as you don’t kick yourself for your handling in the first place. If you knew how to handle it correctly, you would have done so.

Give yourself a break and move on. If there is someone in your life who constantly reminds you of your mistakes and criticizes you, get them to knock it off or get rid of them! They are no friend to you and can be quite harmful.

4. Treat yourself as though you were someone else.

When you love someone, you cut them slack, don’t you? You forgive them, don’t you? Yet, there is no one harder on us than we are on ourselves. There is also no one else’s criticisms that are as harmful as the criticisms that we level at ourselves.

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We will eventually become what we think about ourselves  Here is a good rule of thumb: Never say something to yourself or think something about yourself that you would not say to someone you love.

Have you ever said something unkind to someone you cared about and were filled with regret? It was painful to see that you had hurt that person. You probably had trouble getting over it. Why then is it ok to say unkind things to yourself? It is supremely destructive! Resist the impulse to think negative things about yourself.

5. Don’t let the external influences of others distract you from getting what you want.

Here is one thing to remember: whatever someone else thinks of us or says to us has no effect on us until such time as we start to believe it ourselves.

When you start out after a goal, chances are there is someone in your world that will disagree that this is what you should be doing especially if it goes against the ideas that our society has with regard to how everyone should live. It is amazing some of the things you will hear from people.

There are people who will tell you that they know you and you will fail. Others will tell you that you can’t make a living doing (blank). When someone comes to you with that nonsense (and it is nonsense) just know that you are dealing with jealousy or with the person’s own knowledge that they could never achieve the goal you are now going after. Either way, that is in their universe, don’t let it become a part of yours.

All through my life, I have had some pretty wild and different goals. At the same time I have had many people come out to tell me that I should not pursue them. There were many reasons but they were not my reasons. As long as I refused their reasons, I was ok. I got what I wanted. No one, including you, knows what you are capable of until you do something spectacular.

6. Seek out the unknown and embrace it

The world is a great and wonderful place. There are so many people and cultures out there creating beauty, traditions, art and magic. When you go out and open yourself up to experiencing these things, nothing is ever the same. The more you interact with people, the more you find out that we have so much in common. People create these beautiful things and experiences for the enjoyment of others.

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's

    Chefs create amazing meals, artists create beautiful things to look at and experience, families and cultures create amazing traditions, all so that others can enjoy them. Let them give you that gift. Let them show you their worlds.

    There is nothing that fills you with childlike wonder like seeing new and amazing things. Go out and find them. They could be in your neighborhood. There are unusual restaurants, there are museums and natural wonders. Go experience them!

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    7) Turn off bad news

    Bad news has a very negative affect on us when we hear it and, if we hear it day in and day out, it creates an idea in our minds that the world is a dangerous and hostile place. I used to have this idea until I started travelling. I have ended up in some crazy situations in different parts of the world and have been awestruck at the kindness and generosity of people whose only desire was to assist me. I have friends all over the world and they are all good, honest and kind people.

    Here is a news flash: People are good! Sure there are a few bad apples but the good and great apples outweigh them greatly! If you listen to the news, you get the idea that there are people everywhere out to harm you. This is just not true. Turn off the bad news an listen to music instead.

    Tune into shows that focus on the good in people and not the bad. Try it for a week and see how you feel.

    8) Focus on what you have accomplished and not what you haven’t

    Sit down with a piece of paper and write all of the things you have done that turned out ok or good. Keep writing. You will be surprised at how well you are doing in life.

    Another question you might want to ask yourself is “Is there someone in the past or present who would be disappointed in me?” Association with people who are critical can be very harmful to the way we view ourselves. Is  it possible that your disappointment with yourself is not your disappointment at all but someone else’s?

    If you find this to be true, understand that their disappointment is not yours. They created it, let them own it. It has nothing at all to do with you. Shrug it off and start seeing how well you are really handling your life.

    9) Stop focusing on what Is wrong with others and start looking for the good.

    Not only is focusing on the negative extremely damaging to yourself and destroys your happiness, but it is very damaging to the people you do it to.

    When your son cleans his room, bite your tongue instead of pointing out that he failed to clean the window sills. Praise him for what he did do. Chances are he will do better next time. Be an example for those around you but don’t focus on the ways you feel that they don’t measure up. You will all be happier.

    For a long time I was this way with my kids. I tried so hard to get them to be good and responsible adults. the more I focused on the negative, the more they resisted and the more upsets we had. When I completely stopped looking at the negative and started looking at and pointing out what was right with them, our relationship magically mended and they stepped up. In short, I didn’t make them do the right thing or be the right way, I allowed them to figure out what was right and how they wanted to be. They are now happy and productive and, best yet, I don’t have to worry about them in life. I know they will be fine.

    10) Plan a vacation, go to Disneyland or have a sleepover!

    Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying life. If you are enjoying life, it doesn’t mean that you are not doing it right. Being serious sounds virtuous but it is NOT! You are actually more productive when you are having fun!

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    Sit down right now and figure out what special treat would make you happy. No matter what it is, plan it out step by step and start putting it into action. Then plan several more.

    When you have a lot of cool things on your calendar, instead of looking at life as a series of burdensome chores, you start thinking of it as a series of cool vacations or fun things that happen to have some work and some chores mixed in. Nothing gets you through a tough week at work like knowing you are taking off on a ski vacation or even a camping trip. Plan them and go!

    I know I promised you ten things but I can’t resist giving you this FREE BONUS THING!

    As you do these steps, you will see patterns emerge in life. You will see other ways you can be happier just by changing the way you look at things.

    The best way to change your life and your viewpoints is to look at your own ideas toward the various aspects of life. A good start is to decide what the absolute best and ideal you is.

    Several years ago I wrote a short story entitled “The Holy Man”. In the story, the Holy Man is strong, courageous, honest, compassionate, loving and persistent. In fact, he is the embodiment of all of the best qualities that I most admire in a person. He accomplishes great things.

    I had a lot of soul searching to do when I created that character and I wondered long and hard where he had come from. How could little old me come up with someone so perfect?

    After much reflection, I realized that this Holy Man was me. No, not the me who lives on this earth and makes mistakes and has done all of the above things that have made me unhappy, but me at my most perfect. It is who I am when I embody all of these admirable characteristics. I must have them in me because I created this character.

    And If I have them in me then I know you have them in you.

    The question you should ask yourself is “Who is my Holy Man?” Everybody has one.

    What would your Holy Man do? What would he or she think? How would they react? This Holy Man would be the ideal you, the you at your most beautiful, your most powerful, your most intelligent, your most fearless and your most compassionate. That is the real you. Get to know your Holy Man. Ask yourself what viewpoint would that person have? Adopt that viewpoint and do what he or she would do. You will know it is correct.

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    Good luck!

    More by this author

    Chris Ellis

    Successful Author, Life Coach and Musician

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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