Are you happy?

What does it take to make you happy? Friends? Family? Acquaintances? Money? Vacation? Retirement?

I would raise my hand to all of the above. However, they do not put me in a state of happiness because all of those can go away. Might I suggest those are all external paths that can be fleeting. Happy secretWhat impact does your externals world have on your happiness?

That last question leads to some other ideas. If happiness is on the opposite side of success we will never get there because we keep moving the target, according to TED speaker Shawn Achor. He also contends that when we teach to the average student we are lowering the average. His goal is to move the average up, to change the lens.

If we talk about the positives in life, if we dwell on them, things begin to change. Watch the TED video with Shawn Achor and ask yourself if you are ready to change, ready to be happy.

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What would you give away?

Have you ever thought about what giving is really about? What would you be willing to give to someone who is a stranger without expecting anything in return? What does that say about you?

I write here about giving first as a theme. That means many different things to different people. This video probably defines it better than I can ever say in words.

Giving to someone else without expecting anything in return is about helping someone have a better life in a small or big way. Sometimes I think the small giving is more important. When there is a huge gift others will often know about it or you will receive lots of accolades for doing the giving.

Giving video

Giving something small will probably not garner you pats on the back or certainly not give you lots of publicity. Why do it then? Because YOU will be a better person for having done it, not the mention the other person who receives the gift.

Try it out. Don’t tell anyone. See if you change. Try it again…and again…and again and see if you don’t become a more giving person.

Giving it away

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Giving during adversity

Have you ever been through financial hardship, be it personal or business related? How did you handle the circumstances? Were you helped by anyone else? Did you help anyone in similar circumstances?

Watched a video today about how a business owner handled his adversity. His restaurant burned down and he kept paying his employees for the six months it took to rebuild. He told them to go volunteer in the community as their “work” during the time they were without a job. The owner said, about his business that burned, that it was just a building. The business is the people. Great sentiment.

Do you have employees? Are you an employee? As a business owner how to you care for your employees? As an employee, what kind of work ethic do you have? Thinking about those employees of the restaurant mentioned above, bet they love working for their boss and love working for him. There must be a mutual respect for it to work. How did the community react? Although it is not mentioned in the video, bet the business increased after the building was rebuilt.


We have only one life to live. If you live it with the attitude of giving to others you will be happier and so will all the people around you. Watch the video and see a slice of how it can be for you too.

Watch the video here

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Celebrate our country

Have you ever paused on the 4th of July to think about what freedom means? Are you thankful to live in America? What does it take to keep a country free and a land most of the world envies?

Put aside the politics for a moment and think about who has sacrificed so that you have the freedoms you enjoy. It can take a lifetime of focus to continually overcome what life throws at you. There is a series of failures to face. Will you overcome?

America was born as a nation through struggle and there are still struggles to overcome every day. Still it is the best nation in this world where a lot of people continue to sacrifice to reach and be citizens of, either by birth or immigration.

Think about the people who have impacted your life to help you along the way. We don’t navy sealdo it on our own. Others come along side. Strength of character comes through sacrifice. Think about the number of people you might influence in your lifetime. Who has done that for you? Who will you help along their path?

Watch the attached video to hear how a Navy SEAL defines sacrifice and having a positive influence on others during your lifetime. Take time today to be thankful if you are an American. Video on influence

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Giving without expectation of reward

Have you ever given something to someone without expecting something in return? How did it make you feel? Was the reaction of the recipient its own reward?

It can become a mindset if you give in to giving. Let me say it again, if you give in thesafe_image reward is tremendous. It feeds your soul. It helps you focus on others and not yourself. Have you ever witnessed someone giving to someone else and watch with amazement as it happened? Bet you smiled.

Next time that feeling of wanting to help someone you know, or don’t know, hits you, give in! Watch this video about a lady who did just that without thinking about a reward. It will make you smile!

Now go help someone! And smile!

Video of giving

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How to influence others

How do you think you can influence others? Do you convince them, called hard sell? Do you stand by and hope they will ask you some questions? Will your smile win them over?

The answer is: yes, but… Selling sometimes works, treating people nicely works sometimes and that beautiful smile you have will win them over…sometimes.Maxwell

Years ago, we joined Business Network International (BNI) where we learned the Givers Gain (R) philosophy. In short, it means what goes around comes around. Treat others with dignity and help them achieve their goals and refer business to them and it will come back to you over time. We built a great real estate career and eventually bought a BNI franchise. Wonderful organization.

Another way to look at this concept is called going from Me to We, a concept that comes from motivational speaker John Maxwell. Click on photo to watch his one minute presentation. His concept is about how to influence others by giving them a vision. When you are trying to influence others you have to give them the vision, they have to take ownership of it, and once you incorporate them into the vision it becomes theirs as well.

“None of us is as smart as all of us,” says Maxwell. “Some of my best thinking has been done with others.” That means all knowledge is not within one person, but collectively solutions are greater when more than one person is working on the outcome.

Who have you given something to lately?

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Lessons in giving

How do you decide to give to others? Out of guilt? Because others are watching? Out of a good heart? Because it is the right thing to do?

I could go on, but let’s break it down. When do you decide giving is the right thing to do? Is it when you see a homeless person? Do you decide if the homeless person will spend your Dogsmoney on alcohol or not? Where do we draw the line?

I was pondering those questions when I watched a video of dogs being rescued…by another dog.  Did the two dogs need rescuing and why would another dog come to help? What was the motivation of the rescuing dog? Did he just see the two other dogs in need of help and just jump in without considering the consequences for himself? Or did he do it because his master told him to go do the rescue? Why would the dog owner send his own animal to help and possibly put three dogs in jeopardy?

Now we’re getting somewhere. The point being motivation. When humans  look to help other humans there are many levels. First, there is physical safety. Maybe the welfare of the other person. And motivation can come from how one is raised, to care for others.

My conclusion goes to the heart of man, individually, and collectively. I have observed people who I would call givers and others who do thing out of the selfish gain possible for themselves. At some level we all have a selfish gene. We do things because it will benefit ourselves. The transition to giving for itself is when there is real joy in seeing the result for someone else and it puts a smile on your face and warms your heart.

So, do you already give or are you about to discover the joy that awaits you? Now watch the video with new eyes and see if you discover something about yourself that needs nurturing.

Saving a dog


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