Want to be Happy? Always Finish Strong

Always Finish Strong

I recently watched a speech given by Daniel Kahneman at TED in February 2010. It discussed how what we actually experience and the memory of what we experienced often differ greatly. In other words, there is a difference between your “experiencing self” which is experiencing life as you go, and the “remembering self” that handles the memory of what you’ve experienced.

Perhaps an example might help demonstrate this idea. Continue Reading…

Pause, Reflect, and Act: A Key Lifestyle Concept

Hit the pause button, reflect, and actThose of you who have been following my posts this summer know that I’ve read a large quantity of books these past two months. Because of my daily commute that takes up three hours of my day, Monday through Friday, I have gotten more reading done this summer than any other period in my life prior.

In these sorts of circumstances, I find it very necessary to dedicate a period of time to pause, reflect, and act on everything I’ve read.

In the month of August, I’m going to stop reading new materials and instead focus entirely on reflection and putting what I’ve learned into action. I strongly believe that periods of sustained learning should be followed by periods of reflection and action to reinforce that knowledge within you and in your life.

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

-Edmund Burke

Failure to reflect can often result in quickly forgetting what you’ve learned. Continue Reading…

Are You Reading to Learn or Reading to Finish?

ReadingWhen you have a stack of books in front of you that you want to finish within a certain time frame (by the end of summer, for example), it’s tempting to try and read through each book as efficiently as possible. If you are planning to read anything related to personal development or achieving your goals, this is the wrong approach. It’s the same effect as cramming for a final in college and then quickly forgetting everything you were taught during the semester because you’re done with the course. I call this reading for the sake of finishing. You’re reading something with the end goal of being finished with it. Rather, you should aim to be reading to learn, which usually involved re-reading chapters twice, taking notes, and reading certain passages slowly to let it all seep in. Last year, I detailed best practices to optimize learning and retain what you read in this blog post.

Want to know if you’re retaining what you read? Try this exercise: Continue Reading…

How to Attain Happiness… And Keep It

This video does an amazing job of explaining the philosophy behind happiness in a way that anyone can understand.

Watch the video (only 5 minutes long) and then see my comments below the video for an activity to help you work with its recommendations.

Update: This video has gone private as of July 16th. Hopefully the creator will open it back up to the public soon! In the meanwhile, the exercise below is still valuable.

The video concludes with the recommendation that the infinite pursuit of knowledge is what keeps a person happy. “Knowledge” is a such a broad term, so here is an activity to help you figure out what sort of knowledge resonates stronger with you.

1) Write down a goal on a Word document or piece of paper. (e.g. – To get a promotion at work)

2) Underneath that, write WHY you want to attain this goal. (e.g. – So I can make more money)

3) Underneath that, write WHY you would want to attain what you wrote in step 2. (e.g. – So I can save up for retirement.)

4) Keeping asking yourself why you want what you wrote down in the previous step until you reach the conclusion: “To be happy.” See the example below to understand what the result of this activity might look like:

I want to have 1,000 Fans on the Living For Improvement Facebook Page.

(Why do I want this?)

So that a community develops where people can learn from each other and share their views on the topics I discuss on the blog.

(Why do I want this?)

So that my blog becomes better known throughout the country.

(Why do I want this?)

This will allow me the possibility of becoming a full-time blogger and author.

(Why do I want this?)

This will allow me to have a career that I truly enjoy, help people better their lives, and make a decent living doing it.

(Why do I want this?)

So I can make a positive impact on society, have the freedom to experience the world and all it has to offer, and never regret my path in life.

(Why do I want this?)

Because this would make me happy.

I did this activity a few months ago and it helped me realize that what makes me most happy is knowing that I am making an impact on the world through a job I love and experiencing as much of the world as possible through travel and trying new things. To continually grow in these areas requires me to learn about blogging, marketing, travel, new languages, different cultures, the various areas of personal development, and much more. This is the type of knowledge that gives me happiness.

Try this exercise and see if you can find your source of happiness. I’ll be glad to help you with it, so leave a comment below if you have any questions. I’m also curious to know how well this exercise works for you, so consider leaving a comment below on how well it worked for you!