Success: Why Everyone is Not Happy About Yours

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We all seek success, whether openly or secretly.

But there is one thing most of us are not ready for when it comes.

The backlash.

When you finally get the job you trained for, the house you dreamed of, the relationship you attracted, you can bet that everyone will not be happy for you. Some will even hate you and speak evil of you.

Others will even go so far as to praise you one week and be a willing party to your crucifixion the next.

What causes this reversal?

1. You had to make choices.

When you make choices, you invariably leave behind the choices not made. Mixed in among those choices are people who are still back there at the crossroads you left behind.

In a television interview Whoopi Goldberg once shared how surprised and saddened she was by the friendships she couldn’t hold onto once she became famous. She remembered when she was a struggling comedian beset with many life challenges, she and her buddies always said they would treat each other to a fantastic dinner and invite each other to their mansions when they became wealthy. Once Whoopi became successful, however, some of her buddies from the old days would not allow themselves to enjoy her success, so they declined her invitations.

2. You took action.

People who are unwilling to take the actions that lead to success often feel betrayed by you.

Many years ago I took a writing class that was offered free as part of a community services program. In one class session the teacher offered us leads to magazines that were looking for writers. The next morning I called the editor and got a writing assignment. As soon as I finished talking to the editor, I got a call from my teacher congratulating me, not for getting the assignment, but for following up on the lead. She indicated that she always followed up on the leads she gave her students. I was the only one in that class who followed the lead.

3. You changed.

Those who want to keep the status quo are afraid of how your changes will affect your relationship with them.

A number of my returning college students shared stories of marital upset brought on by their return to school. One doctoral candidate, for example, indicated that her husband was supportive of her the first semester, but by the second semester began to withdraw his support. He was so threatened by her determination to complete her degree that he threw up as many roadblocks as he could. First he refused to babysit their two children on the evenings she was in class. Increasingly he withdrew more and more support. Eventually he threw out the ultimatum: “It’s either the doctorate or me.” She chose the doctorate, and successfully completed her degree three years later.

The backlash that can follow success is not about you at all. It’s about the inner turmoil of those who wrongly believe that your success in some way diminishes them. It doesn’t, of course.

Even though the weak and fearful will not be able to share your joy, continue to progress toward your goals, make good choices and enjoy your success. Some people you will never meet will be inspired by you, and that makes all the difference in the world.

Have you had something similar happen to you? Share your experience.   Click Leave a Comment right under the title.

Thanks for helping me choose my book cover

2ndEdition-Thankyou

 

Everyone wants happiness, but most of us experience only small snatches of short-term pleasure, while longing for lasting inner joy. Drawing from findings of positive psychology and ancient truths, I packed each chapter with a unique mix of practical advice, creative activities, poetry, anecdotes and colorable cartoons.

Color Your Life Happy is not a one-size-fits-all approach since each of us experiences happiness in our way. It offers hope for those who feared that they would have to go through a major life overhaul to be happy. Without requiring that we get rid of personal flaws or fix weaknesses, it gives ways to build on our strengths to make the choices that lead to a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Color Your Life Happy is based on the premise that the average baby is born equipped to be happy and joyful. Depending on our upbringing and circumstances, as we grow up this inborn joy is developed and flourishes or is discouraged and buried. Color Your Life Happy makes the reader aware that this inner joy is within reach and is a matter of making choices. No major life overhaul is required to carry out the suggestions and activities offered to meet challenges and cope with the inevitable obstacles and adversity. Change begins with one step.

Color Your Life Happy 2nd edition will soon be available. Sign up above to get pre-order information. Help spread the word by sharing with your friends on social media.

Want Success? Decide the What, Let the How Take Care of Itself

riskLife is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.
~John Lennon

When you go after a goal, it’s important to have a clear vision of what you want or where you want to be when you succeed. But you don’t need to be overly concerned about how you will get there. The details of  how to reach your goal will unfold as you go. Even if you listed every single action step, unexpected results, people and events will occur along the way causing you to alter your course.  If you’ve ever have to take a detour from your carefully charted route or GPS guidance, you know what I mean.

Here are five ways to proceed that have worked for me and others.

  • Learn from people who have already accomplished what you want to achieve.

Just one conversation with another mom who was working on her doctoral degree gave me the courage to begin my own doctoral studies. It’s best, if possible, to have a mentor or supportive group with whom you can exchange ideas and get encouragement. It’s fortunate if you meet in person, but when you can’t, grasp the wealth of encouragement available from books, movies, and information exchange on the internet.

  • Be willing to concentrate so hard on what you are doing that time seems to stand still.

In his book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls this optimal experience “flow.”  He described flow as

The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.; the experience itself is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.

When I’m engaged in writing an article, for example, I sometimes get so caught up in what I’m saying that my fingers seem to fly trying to capture the thoughts rushing out of my head. At these times I reach such a peak of exhilaration and joy that I forget to eat. When this period subsides, my stomach growls, reminding me of my negligence.

  • Be willing to do what it takes to reach your goal.

This may sound too obvious to even mention. But it’s true. Many years ago when my kids watched Mr. Rogers, one of his popular songs was “You’ve Got to Do It.” The gist of this seemingly simple song was that you can make believe, wish or daydream about what you want, but for something to happen you’ve got to take action. You have to know every single step to start. Just take the first one and the second one. The remaining steps will become apparent as you progress.

  • Be willing to be alone.

I love having dinner parties, travel, and going to live theater. But I also love my own company. It’s only when all outside stimulation is silenced that some of my best ideas surface.

Some of the activities you’ll need to complete on the way to your goal must be done alone. If you feel the need to have a buddy, helper or ride-along with everything you do, you’re going to slow down and maybe even derail your progress.

  • Be willing to fail or quit.

The unwillingness to fail or be rejected is what causes us to procrastinate or stick with things longer than we should. We keep holding back waiting for things to be perfect or cling to a failing project long after it’s dead. It’ s wise to research and think things through, but you must let these ideas, projects, or activities be born, no matter what the outcome.

I decided long ago that when I’m sitting in my rocking chair stroking my gray Afro, recounting my life story, I’d much rather talk about the many things I had tried that didn’t work out than about what I wanted to do but never had the courage to try.

In his book, The Dip, Seth Godin points out that successful people quit many times. The key is knowing when to quit before you spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy on a goal or task that’s not going anywhere.

When Jia Jiang’s plan to create a to-do list app fell through, he was crushed. Not only did his major investor let him down, but now Jia had to disappoint his four employees and ask his wife to keep supporting the family while he pursued his dream. He was angry, plagued by fear,  and felt sick at the stomach. He decided that if rejection is part of success he should build up resistance to it. That’s how his 100 Days of Rejection Therapy began.  The plan was to make outrageous requests, video the response and blog about it. On Nov. 15, 2012 his began by asking a security guard for $100. The answer was “no” and although Jia was nervous, he continued his project. Check out his many requests and results on his blog at www.entresting.com.

You may not be brave enough to stare rejection in the face as Jia did, but don’t hesitate to start a project for fear of failing.  Instead of thinking of failure as the end, think of it as the cost of succeeding.

Set your vision and be willing to do what it takes to get there. The “how” will unfold in wonderful and amazing ways.

Share about a time your plans changed for the better as you moved toward a goal. Have you asked for something outrageous? How did that work out?

Choose Happiness Even If It’s Raining Crap and You Can’t See the Sun

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Everywhere you look there seems to be upset, conflict and events that threaten your peace of mind and happiness.

How can you remain upbeat and content under such circumstances?

Research, such as that done by David T. Lykken, noted geneticist, famous for the Minnesota Twin Study and author of Happiness: The Nature and Nurture of Joy and Contentment, discovered that about half of your sense of satisfaction with your life stems from your genetic makeup.

Your mother was right

Yep. Your mother was right, at least in part, when she said you’re just like your father.

But what of the remaining half?

According to Lykken, eight percent can be attributed to circumstances in your life such as your upbringing, education, marital status and income.

The remaining forty percent is a reflection of your attitude and the choices you make.

There is good news

In other words, you have control over a huge chunk of your happiness.

“Happiness is not, except in very rare cases, something that drops into the mouth, like a ripe fruit. … Happiness must be, for most men and women, an achievement rather than a gift of the gods, and in this achievement, effort, both inward and outward, must play a great part.” Bertrand Russell

The happiness that emerges from the research is not that giddiness that comes over you while skipping through the meadow.  It’s the well-being and sense of satisfaction you create as a by-product of your choice of thoughts and outward actions.

Happy people have their share of troubles, problems and heartbreak. What sets them apart and enables them to enjoy happiness are the choices they make.

Dance teacher, Adrianne Haslet-Davis, 32, suffered the unimaginable loss of her left leg in the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. But three weeks later, on May 1, 2013 she appeared on the TV show, Dancing with the Stars, did ballet stretches and vowed to dance again, according to this Sun article.  Although the host and several of the contestants were in tears, it was clear that Adrianne has made a positive choice in the face of a personal tragedy.

Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, is best known as a Holocaust survivor who showed us by example that even though we cannot control all circumstances, we can choose our attitude toward what happens to us. His book, The Search for Meaning, chronicles his experiences as an inmate in a concentration camp. He discovered that the inmates with the best chance of surviving those horrible situations were the ones who found a reason to live.

In this 22 minute interview, Frankl explains how having a meaning to live brings about happiness.


From a large body of research conducted by psychologists such as Martin Seligman, Jon Haidt, Edward Diener, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Sonja Lyumborisky,  people who describe themselves as happy

  • Engage in meaningful work
  • Believe in a higher power
  • Trust their ability to overcome adversity
  • Express gratitude
  • Build on their strengths
  • Discover their weaknesses and get help for them
  • Surround themselves with nurturing relationships
  • Restrict the amount of television and news they watch
  • Eat healthy diets
  • Get physical exercise
  • Feed their minds with uplifting and enriching thoughts
  • Avoid brooding over their mistakes and failures
  • Focus on the present and what they can do here and now

Everyday-Happiness-Cards-FrontBack

Happy people use tools and strategies

Most of all, happy people identify tools and strategies to restore balance, harmony and positive feelings.where-is-happiness-set

To encourage you to awaken the power within you to create a life of mindfulness, meaning, gratitude and joy,  I created Everyday Happiness, a set of inspirational cards designed as gentle reminders to take and keep control of your happiness.

Add these cards to your happiness arsenal and consult them daily for inspiration. Each card presents a cartoon on one side and words of advice or inspiration on the reverse side. Read through all the cards, noting which ones resonate with you. Or pick a card at random, letting that message speak to you.

The cartoons and messages are based on my book, Color Your Life Happy: Create the Success, Abundance and Inner Joy You Deserve, available in paperback and Kindle versions.

Once you get your own deck of cards, you’ll want to get them as gifts for the folks you care about in your life.

If this sounds exciting to you, grab your Everyday Happiness cards at http://florabrown.com/products-classes/everyday-happiness-cards now.

 

What Do Our Reactions to National Tragedies Say About Us?

Image from CreativeDonkey on flickr

Image from CreativeDonkey on flickr

When a national tragedy occurs such as the recent Boston Marathon Bombing and the Newton shootings before that,  many of us are tearful, angry, confused and frightened. We struggle to cope with and quell our own anger as well as offer comfort to children and loved ones.

With our sense of safety and security shaken, it’s natural to seek plausible explanations and quick resolutions to bring the guilty to judgment.

Twitter becomes key source of news and reactions to it

To learn of the senseless shootings, bombing and other tragedies is traumatic enough. Since the wide use of smartphone cameras and other recording devices, however, we not only witness the tragedies and reactions as they happen, but we get exposed to them over and over as they are replayed, and as they are analyzed and evaluated on Twitter.

Because of the marathon, Boston was already in the news on April 15th. When the bombings occurred,the Twitter mention of Boston increased 20,000% according to Mashable. This article points out that when something happens we hear about it perhaps first on Twitter.

Paul Sturdivant, senior executive editor of Publishing Executive magazine shares in his article, Twitter’s Self-Balancing Act Proves Its Value, the views of newsmakers in the publishing industry.  While one points out that Twitter is the best and worst place to get our news, another decides that even though Twitter shows us the ugliness of the news, it should stay the way it is.

What do our reactions to these national tragedies tell us about ourselves?

Christine Cavalier of PurpleCar.net put her observations of people into categories in her article, How People Grieve Online When National Tragedies Strike
  • Newsers feel more comfortable by tweeting and retweeting everything they can learn about the incident. It gives them a sense of control in a situation where they have none.
  • Extreme Newsers don’t create their own news but curate what others are reporting, similar to what I’m doing here.
  • Carry-on-ers who keep tweeting their normal topics without mention of the incident.
  • Backlashers go immediately into the blame game.
  • Mourners express their sadness and leave words of compassionate.

Examine Christine’s full list to determine where the following tweets fit on her list. Then share in the Comments where you fall on her list.

 

 

Whichever group you fall in, I expect that psychologists would say that it is healthy to speak about how you’re feeling. It seems offering words of comfort and aid are beneficial to the giver and recipient as well.

Lashing out with unsubstantiated blame or worse, offering violent solutions, seem less helpful and maybe even problemmatic.

We have expectations during these times

  • We expect  major companies, our leaders and news channels to  pause to make comment and extend condolences to families and praise to first responders.
  • Even though we know that Twitter is full of reports from common citizens, we put some trust in these witnesses on the scene who also provide visual and very graphic first images often before the professional news reporters can even get to the site. Even major news sources urge eyewitnesses to send their photos and accounts.
  • We search for accounts of what police investigations have uncovered even when the first few minutes before we’re even clear about what has happened.

Do you follow breaking news on Twitter? Do you tweet your reactions to your friends? What do you think our reactions to these tragedies say about us? Share your thoughts in the Comments.