I loved this article by Sam Wilder, publisher of Positive365 (http://www.positive365.com, a cool site where they are doing very good work). Great advice weaved together from very different sources. Something we can learn from…
A grandma and a group of researchers arrived at similar conclusions about what matters in life
Parallel perspectives from divergent sources arrived in my in-box this week but I found it interesting how both inspired me in a similar way.
One perspective is from a blog called “Marc and Angel Hack Life,” written by Marc Chernoff. It is handwritten notes from his 90 year-old grandmother Zelda’s ‘Inspiration Journal’. The other study is intriguing new research reported in Scientific American about how rituals contribute positively to our thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
A ninety-year old grandmother and a group of researchers arrived at similar conclusions about what matters in life. I’ve combined the two approaches into a list of six pieces of great advice:
1) Focus your attention for greater success
(Scientific America) Sharpen your productivity saw. Even with the best intentions, we seem to procrastinate when it comes to learning new ways of being productive and saving time. Because we have busy lives, we continue to function in unproductive ways rather than carve out some time to learn a new productivity tool. Devote a few minutes each evening to sharpen the saw.
(Grandma Zelda) Life CAN be simple again. Just choose to focus on one thing at a time. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it all right now
2) Forgiveness as a daily practice
(Scientific America) Forgive everyone for everything. A myriad of things happen during a day that are a vexation to the spirit. Establishing a daily habit of forgiveness. It enables us to walk away lighter, without the accumulated baggage of resentments that get heavier and heavier if they are not offloaded en route.
(Grandma Zelda) If you’re looking for a happy ending and can’t seem to find one, maybe it’s time to start looking for a new beginning. Brush yourself off and accept that you have to fail from time to time. That’s how you learn. The strongest people out there – the ones who laugh the hardest with a genuine smile – are the same people who have fought the toughest battles.
3) Forgive yourself/let it go
(Scientific America) Pat yourself on the back for anything you accomplished well, but also to forgive yourself for any mistakes you made, or problems you caused. Think of what you learned from what happened, capture the lesson and let go of the bad feeling. This helps you approach the next day with a clean slate. Every morning is a fresh start.
(Grandma Zelda) Breathe in the future, breathe out the past. No matter where you are or what you’re going through, always believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Never expect, assume, or demand… if it is meant to be, it will happen, or it will show you the next step to be taken.
4) Find ways to quiet your mind.
(Scientific America) There is more to life than making money and achieving recognition. Neuroscientist Sam Harris says, “Your mind is all you have … it’s all you have to offer other people.” We won’t extract the best of what life can offer if we cannot quiet our minds periodically.
(Grandma Zelda) Life CAN be simple again. Just choose to focus on one thing at a time. You don’t have to do it all, and you don’t have to do it all right now. Breathe, be present, and do your best with what’s in front of you. What you put into life, life will eventually give you back many times over. Read The Power of Now
5) See the greater good
(Scientific America) Being negative is heavy lifting. Research shows that we have, on average, three times more positive experiences than negative ones in any given day, but our mind’s innate tendency is to give more weight to the negative experiences. Researchers discovered that discussing positive experiences enhances our well-being and leads to increased life satisfaction and even more energy. Establish a tradition of appreciating the greatness of even the smallest things.
(Grandma Zelda) Be determined to be positive. Understand that the greater part of your misery or unhappiness is determined not by your circumstances, but by your attitude.
6) Put family and loved ones on the priority list.
(Scientific America) Honor your family rituals, no matter how busy you are. In our relentless drive to achieve success, it’s easy to slip in this area and devote less attention to those who matter more than the most important client on the planet: our loved ones. In the game of life, your loved ones are the Royal Flush.
(Grandmother Zelda) Pay close attention to those you care about. Sometimes when a loved one says, “I’m okay,” they need you to look them in the eyes, hug them tight, and reply, “I know you’re not.”