Can Faking it Bring You Happiness?

maskWe’ve been told that we can make ourselves happy and joyful by “faking” it until it becomes real.

A recent study published in Psychological Science found just the opposite to be true, at least when it comes to wearing fake designer sunglasses.

People wear fake designer items to build their self-esteem and appear affluent. This study showed that people wearing fake designer sunglasses not only feel less authentic but also influenced their judgment of other people’s unethical behavior.

The researchers, Gino, Norton, and Ariely, conducted four experiments in which participants wore purportedly fake or authentically branded sunglasses. The subjects who were wearing fake sunglasses cheated more across multiple tasks than those wearing authentic sunglasses, leading to the conclusion that the costs of counterfeits was deception.

Of course taking steps to make yourself feel happier is not quite the same as wearing fake sunglasses to give yourself status.

Those who support positive thinking believe that you can increase your happiness by repeating positive affirmations with conviction until you convince your own subconscious.

Positive psychology studies have found that there are many things we can do to increase our own happiness. Some of these are expressing gratitude, focusing on what is going on now rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past, and staying connected with supportive family and friends.

Then there are those in the mental health field who believe that repeating positive affirmations or focusing on the good in our lives, only delays us from confronting the imbalances that are causing us to be unhappy or depressed. They believe that our time would be better spent in receiving therapy or taking medication to correct the chemical imbalances.

Spiritual healers believe that our outer experience is determined by our inner beliefs, thoughts and vibrations. No matter what we do on the outside, we can’t fool our insides. They believe that everything is energy. Whatever we send out into the world in the form of energy is what we attract back to us. So, if we want to improve the outcomes in our lives we have to increase the energy vibrations we are sending out.

Throughout history we’ve been told we can alter our mood by putting on a happy face, singing in the rain and whistling in the dark.

Are we faking it when we are being proactive in creating and maintaining happiness?

What is your take on this?

It's About Time: Did You Sign Your Permission Slip?

schoolbusRemember elementary school field trips?

You couldn’t get on that bus until your parents had signed a paper verifying that they were giving the school permission to transport you and supervise you on some outing.

In elementary school you probably stood by eagerly waiting for your parents to affix that precious signature on your passport to a day away from school for something fun.

By high school, if you wanted to go on that trip desperately enough you forged your parents signature because you forgot to get the authentic one before you left home.

Now that you are all grown up you must still get permission before you can go on this trip called life. The only difference is you are the one who must sign that permission slip now.

No matter how much you want to pursue a given goal you won’t make much progress until you give yourself permission to do so. Here are five tips for getting your signature onto your permission slip:

1. Determine your destination.

You must know where you are going before you head out on any trip. This applies regardless of your goal.

It’s essential that you are specific, of course. Saying you want to make more money, for example, is not very useful since “more” is relative.

Set a specific intention, such as making $5,000.

2. Set a target date

Your goal to make $5,000 is a wonderful start, but you must set a deadline or time frame. Is your goal to make $5,000 by next Friday, per month or per year? The way you answer this will determine the actions you will take to get to the goal.

3. Check to be sure your goal is in line with your values and beliefs.

If you believe that it’s impossible for you to make $5,000 by next Friday you will not do what is necessary to reach that goal. Your subsconscious will be unconvinced that you are serious, so you won’t see the opportunities right in front of you that can help you reach your goal. Your actions are guided by your beliefs.

Then if you place a high value on spirituality and believe that desiring money is somehow evil, your values are in conflict with your goals and will thwart your efforts to go after your goal.

4. Do what it takes to reach your goal.

When your values and beliefs are in line with your goal, you will know that you deserve your heart’s desire. Now you will be free to take action to go for your goal.

Back to our example of getting $5,000 by your time deadline, you must be willing to use your skills to bring this goal about. If you are self-employed, it may mean taking on new clients; if you work on a job it may mean working overtime or taking on a second job. Perhaps you create a new project designed specifically to raise these funds.

With the first three steps in place your creativity with flourish with ideas for positive actions toward your goal.

5. Celebrate when you reach your goal.

You deserve congratulations for setting your goal, adjusting your mindset and taking the action that lead to your success. Celebrate to reward yourself and bolster your self-esteem. After all, this is something you did and can now do again.

To continue to enjoy success and happiness in your life now you know that all you need to do is sign your permission slip.

For more tips on managing your time and getting the life you want, click here.

Powerful Success Tips: 5 Tips That Will Propel You Toward Success

CB028161People who are having difficulty reaching goals labor under one big misconception. They believe that successful people move in one straight line from the inception of an idea to success.

On the contrary, successful people have strong beliefs that get them started, help them face difficulties and keep them going until they reach their goals.

Here are five of those beliefs.

1. I am worthy of success and deserve the best.

Successful people are able to go after what they want in life because they believe they deserve it. Your subconscious believes whatever you program into it and helps you get what you want. Trying to go after a goal you don’t believe you deserve is like driving west in an effort to go east.

2. I believe in my ability to handle whatever comes up.

Problems, adversities and challenges come up in everyone’s life. It is the belief that you can figure out a solution that is important.

3. There is a lesson I can learn from this failure

Many believe that failures are lessons designed to help us. When things don’t go your way, it’s helpful to reflect on what can use from the experience for the future.

4. I am responsible for my own life.

While we all can benefit from help from friends, colleagues and relatives, we must recognize that it’s the choices we make that create the lives we want.  Choosing what advice and paths to take is the most important of all.

5. I believe the sun will come out tomorrow.

This line from the musical Annie expresses how positive people feel. No matter what hard times they encounter, they believe that by continuing to move toward their goals, they will be successful.

How to Cultivate Happiness: Feed Daily

Posing with Uni and Joungmin on my patio

Posing with Uni and Joungmin on my patio

No matter how well you’ve planted the seeds for happiness and removed the weeds, you must feed daily to keep happiness thriving in your life. Here are five ways to do this:

1. Be curious

Stay open to new ideas by reading and listening to inspirational, entertaining and informative material. There is much material available to you online, in your local library and many other places.

One such place to spark new ideas is Springwise This company has 80,000 spotters around the globe looking for inspirational ideas for entrepreneurs. Maybe one of this ideas will spark a new venture in your mind.

2. Be sociable

Get off the Internet for a while and hang out with other people near you who share your interests and are engaged in activities you enjoy. One place to start is, the world’s largest network of local groups. Search for groups in your interest area and locale, or start one if you wish. I belong to several Meetups in my area and assisted my daughter in starting one.

3. Be giving

Donate to charities and agencies in need of aid, but also give of yourself. It feeds your happiness and spreads it to others. One way that some are giving of themselves is through, the largest hospitality exchange network in the world. Through CouchSurfing travelers make connections with others in the local communities they visit. You may participate by meeting a visitor for coffee when they are in your town or host them if you wish. The photo above shows a couple who stayed with us for three days on their long road trip from Canada back to their home in South Korea.

4. Be positive.

It is said that we have about 70,000 thoughts per day. If it is true that we attract what we think about, then we must selective about the thoughts that permeate our minds all day.

The thoughts in your mind won’t control circumstances outside of you, they just determine how you react to and are affected by those circumstances.

One way I stay positive is to talk to other positive people, listen to motivational and inspirational audio and live programs, and most of all, begin and end each day with positive affirmations and prayer. For weekly tips that will help you stay focused on positive, be sure to subscribe to the Color Your Life Happy Newsletter.

5. Be proactive.

Insist on doing things you enjoy. Don’t get so caught up in working that you neglect engaging in what you find enjoyable.

Be resourceful and creative about it. If you enjoy gardening, for example, but seem to be short on time once you arrive home, then bring live plants into your office or workplace. An added benefit according to some studies is that live plants help purify the air, create soothing effects and help reduce work stress.

Using these ideas daily will help feed and maintain your happiness.

How to Cultivate Happiness: Plant the Right Seeds

seedlingOnce our recent rain let up, I went to my favorite nursery to get some new flowers and potted palms to bring Spring to my patio. While I was there I took a look at the tomatoes and fruit to decide what else I would plant.

When I plant the tomatoes I fully expect to get tomatoes, not grapes, not peaches, not peppers.

It’s not hard to understand that whatever we plant in the soil is exactly what will bloom. It’s a simple and acceptable idea.

And yet, in the way we live our lives we act as if some other rule applies.

We plant negative talk in our heads, and then wonder why we get negative results.

We hang around people who complain and gossip, and wonder why we experience disappointing results in our lives.

Our minds are even more fertile than the soil. Our subconscious is a powerful thing. It has no choice but to move us toward whatever we put there.

The idea that positive thoughts and positive talk move us toward positive results is not the platitudes of positive thinking gurus. It’s fact.

On my radio show today, my guest Chris Gloss, motivational coach better known as the Possibilitarian, said that our words are the arrows that we send ahead of us. You can probably think of a time when you said of someone you know “He’s a pain in the neck,” and you did indeed experience neck pain.

Or after you experienced a letdown you said, “I knew that would happen.”

Whether we speak the words or think them, we are planting ideas and thoughts in our heads.

Is there any doubt what you need to do next?

Whether you believe me or not doesn’t matter. Just look around what’s going on in your life. If you don’t like what you see, change what you plant.

Plant what you want to grow in your life.