The secret to feeling fulfilled and happy

July 16, 2014          Comments (4)

Before you read this post, please watch this awesome video of John Mayer talking about what it takes to succeed. It’s absolutely worth the 13 minutes.

I’ll wait…

Seriously, this post will be a lot more enjoyable and make more sense if you watch it.

Okay, now that you’ve watched it (really good right?) let’s get to it.

It’s interesting. We all hear (and sometimes even preach) this advice. “Start with the end goal in mind.” “You can’t reach the finish line if you don’t know what/where the finish line is.”

After watching this video it made me realize 2 things:

1) Ultra successful (of course success in itself is a very subjective word) people don’t necessarily know a lot more than us. What they do know is how to apply their knowledge. (The application is the hard part.)

2) Successful people aren’t successful by accident.

[Side note: I was never a fan of John Mayer. I liked a few of his songs but that’s about it. It’s interesting how this candid talk made me like and respect him. I think it’s because vulnerability is a key to likability.

It’s like when you go to a concert and afterward all your favorite songs sound even better. They mean more to you. Because you know the person behind the songs. You feel a connection.]

So, we know to start with the end goal in mind. But do we really do that? Do we really know our finish line?

And is our finish line what we REALLY want? Or is it an ego driven finish line?

Something he said really resonated with me:

“Defining success is the difference between people who walk this Earth happy and people who walk the Earth constantly unfulfilled because they never defined the finish line. I know artists who’ve sold 2 million records. It’s not enough. Because they never said what making it was going to be.”

Setting the end goal. Defining exactly what success looks like. That’s the key to feeling fulfilled and happy.

After all, happiness is the end goal right?

The challenge for me is knowing exactly what I want.

I wrote about this 5 years ago. I call it “The interior decorator problem.”

I haven’t read that post in years and it still resonates with me. (The more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s just on a different and bigger scale now.)

I think the most successful people know EXACTLY what they want. They have one mission. They are laser focused.

I’m very fortunate to know that I love helping people look and feel great through diet/exercise.

But what does that look like? Do I want a company that serves 1,000,000 people. Do I want a company that serves 10,000 people?

What is enough?

Another challenge for me is this:

I’ll set a goal for myself. I’ll define “success” and the finish line…

…and then…when I reach it, I’m already looking at the next goal.

Here’s the challenge we wrestle with: the very thing that makes people successful (let’s call it ambition) is the very thing that makes people want more. And that’s what causes people to feel unfulfilled.

How do we know when enough is?

As we progress and become more and more successful, we’re constantly looking at the next mountain to climb.

This is known as the Hedonic Treadmill.

It’s something I’m very aware of. We quickly become used to our new way of life. Our new way of living.

I look at some people I know who appear (and by I appear I mean they clearly work very hard on crafting this image of success by consciously signaling how amazing their life is) and wonder if deep down they’re truly happy.

What do they really want? What are they really after?

Perhaps they don’t know? So, in the meantime, they’re racking up accomplishment after accomplishment and showing off the lifestyle their ‘success’ affords them – but it seems like that’s playing in quick sand. It’s like chasing fame.

How do you define fame?

How do you define success?

How do you define happiness?

How do you define enough?

There aren’t right or wrong answers to these questions. To each his own. And the answers to these questions are going to change as we all (hopefully) continue to progress in life.

I think the only right answer to these questions is to keep asking these questions…

##

BTW: It’s good to be back! The last post I wrote here was on September 20, 2011. I’ve been very busy with MyBodyTutor and have been writing over at the MBT blog. A lot has changed since then (thankfully all good things) and I look forward to sharing some of those things with you in the near future.

Don’t miss any new posts! At the top left of this page is a box with my picture in it. Under it, there is a box that reads, ‘Don’t miss a thing! Enter your email address for free updates.’ Enter your email in that box, click ‘subscribe me’ and you’ll get an email to confirm your free subscription. Go to your email and click the link, and you’re done. You’ll never miss another post again, and it’ll take 9 seconds.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

My Thoughts on Happiness – My Interview with a #1 NY Times Best Selling Author

July 29, 2010          Comments (3)

happiness

As you know, I’m very interested in the subject of happiness.

Here’s a question for you: What is your goal in life?

When I ask people this question, I get a lot of different answers. Whatever your goal is, think about the answer to the next question: Why? And then keep asking yourself why.

What’s so fascinating to me is that if you keep asking yourself, “Why?” enough times, you’ll arrive at the same answer that most people do. We’re all doing what we do because we believe it’ll ultimately make us happier.

I think the end goal of anything we do is: happiness.

As Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

However, I think happiness is a very ambiguous term. Instead, I’m very interested in how I can become happier (and how I can help other people become happier). Not that I’m unhappy. I’ve always been a very happy person. But why not be as happy as I possibly can be?

These questions and thoughts are what led me to write all of these posts.

So I was very flattered (and very excited) when #1 NY Times Best Selling Author Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project interviewed me on her blog. As you know, I’m a huge fan of her work. Her book is a must-read.

You can read the full interview on her blog by clicking here.

I hope you enjoy it!



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

The Art of Signaling and How to Possibly Do What You Really Want to Do

June 14, 2010          Comments (5)

bling

Along with envy comes the desire to stand out, and on the contrary not wanting to stand out (read: keeping up with the Joneses).

This leads to signaling and conspicuous spending which is a fascinating art.

Here’s the problem with stuff: when the people around you have stuff, you want more stuff. (We’ve learned that humans are wired to do this.)

However, if you look at charts of happiness by culture, we see that there’s no correlation between stuff and happiness.  In fact, there’s a reverse correlation because if lots of people in your culture have stuff, you might be unhappy because you don’t have as much stuff as they do.

I own therefore I am.

In the post-World War II era, when the suburbs were becoming both a place and a way of life, it was called “keeping up with the Joneses .” If one driveway on the street suddenly had a new station wagon on it, a fleet of station wagons was sure to follow.

If the most popular and perceived-as-sophisticated mom in the neighborhood wears x, drives x, enrolls her child in x and I do the same, I am as sophisticated as she. Ownership equals being. That’s what signaling and conspicuous spending is all about.

Rich people will always indulge the desire to stand out.

Although some women may find them to be “a work of art” if everyone else had the $1500 handbag they wanted, it wouldn’t be as appealing.  Many car lovers may find a Ferrari to be a gorgeous car; however, it’s even more attractive because they are rare.

Scarcity creates value and rich people want scarce things.

In every city there are expensive restaurants that aren’t all that good. The very act of paying extra to go there ensures that you’ll be surrounded by others just as interested in proving how wealthy they are.

Inconspicuous spending is about concealing your wealth. Conspicuous spending is about revealing it.

If you’re honest with yourself, one of the biggest reasons why you may want to make a lot of money is simply to display that you have a lot of money in order to prove that you’ve “made it big!”

The clothes you wear, the watch you have, the car you drive, the size of your house, all are all signals. The social power of a house is enormous. If you buy a mansion you are making a big statement.

But what happens if you don’t care about ‘stuff’ and proving how much of it you can buy?

It seems to me that many people are willing to do what they hate for a living, just so they can surround themselves with stuff – in order to prove to everyone else how ‘successful‘ they are. The reward is the stuff they have for doing what they hate.

Here’s a thought experiment: what if the reward was getting to do what you loved every day? Or doing something that you were really interested in or passionate about?

Let me be clear: I’m not saying I don’t like nice things or want nice things. It’s just fascinating to me what people are willing to do in order to be able to display their ‘wealth.’

[Some interesting comments over at BrazenCareerist.com]



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Relativity and How it Can Make You Unhappy

May 12, 2010          Comments (3)

gapinvoid

Relativity helps us make decisions in life. But it can also make us unhappy.

Ever wonder why top executives and CEO’s of public companies make so much money?

In 1993 federal securities regulators forced companies, for the first time, to disclose details about the pay and perks of their top executives. The idea was that once pay was out in the open, boards would be hesitant to give executives ludicrous salaries and benefits. The purpose of this was to curb the rapid rise of executive compensation. Regulation, legislation, nor shareholder pressure had been able to stop it so they thought this was the perfect solution.

Check this: in 1976 the average CEO was paid 36 times as much as the average worker. By 1993, the average CEO was paid 131 times as much.

But guess what happened? Once salaries became public information, the media regularly ran stories ranking CEOs by pay. Rather than suppressing the perks, the publicity had the CEOs in America comparing their pay with that of other CEOs.

In response, executives’ salaries skyrocketed. The result?

Now the average CEO makes about 369 times as much as the average worker (about 3x the salary before executive compensation went public)!

It has been proven repeatedly that the link between amount of salary and happiness is not that strong. In fact, it’s rather weak. Yet, we keep pushing for more money and higher salaries. Much of that can be blamed on sheer envy.

John is happy making $1,000,000 a year as the CEO. But if he finds out Bill is making $1.1 million, he’ll be unhappy.

Pretty sad, indeed.

A study quoted in the book The Paradox of Choice gave participants hypothetical choices concerning status and asked for their preferences. For example, people were asked to choose between a) earning $50,000 a year with others earning $25,000 or b) earning twice as much, $100,000 a year but being surrounded by people earning $200,000. More than half the respondents chose the option that gave them the better relative position. That means earning $50,000 to $100,000 because they were, at $50,000 earning more than others, while at $100,000 they were earning less than others.

This means the guy buying the 911 Turbo Porsche may be doing so only because others at work have a Boxster.

Although we’re hard wired to compare, it’s who you compare yourself to that can make or break your happiness. Ideally, you wouldn’t compare yourself to anyone. Really!

But if you must compare your orange self, only compare yourself to other oranges. Are you completely self-made? Well, comparing yourself to those who aren’t is just silly.

A wise man once said, “Never compare your inside to someone else’s outside.”

Along with envy comes the desire to stand out, and on the contrary not wanting to stand out (read: keeping up with the Joneses).

This leads to signaling and conspicuous spending which is fascinating, and one that I’ll explore in my next post.

In the mean time, why not subscribe via email or by rss, so won’t miss a post.

###

I’ve become friends with some very cool people doing very cool things via my blog and company. One of them is Adam McFarland. His blog is a must-read if you’re an entrepreneur, and if you’re a sports fan check out his latest venture; LockerPulse.com – I think they’re onto something.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

The Happiness Project – Why Happiness is Cool and Why You Should Buy the Book (Plus a Fun Chance to Win the Book!)

December 17, 2009          Comments (7)

Book Cover

I did it all for the happiness!

Almost 3 years ago, I quit my full time job to pursue my passions of health and fitness, writing and helping people and married it with entrepreneurship to make myself happier.

It worked! (In fact, helping people get the body they want never gets old!)

However, one of the most worrisome sentiments I hear from clients, is that for some reason, many feel guilty pursuing their health and fitness goals. They feel as though it’s selfish and self-centered as they should be focused on their spouse and/or kids.

As I practice a very holistic approach with my clients, I learn about other areas of their life too. Sadly, many feel the same way about pursuing other interests as well.

When there is disconnect between our desires and actions, unhappiness ensues. And if we’re unhappy, we’ll be way more likely to eat emotionally.

However, for many people, being out of shape is what is making them unhappy! And even after having identified the problem, many people still feel guilty for making time to exercise and to prepare healthy meals.

Here’s why Gretchen Rubin’s, The Happiness Project is so important: She has made it cool to pursue your happiness! If it’s going to make you happy, you should invest in yourself because…

One of her 4 splendid truths is: One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy; One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself. (That’s worth reading again. Don’t let the simplicity of it mask its brilliance.)

Gretchen eloquently encourages us to pursue our own happiness project as she has done so herself. I’ve been a huge fan of her blog for more 2 years now!

Why?

Well, who doesn’t want to be happier? One of the reasons why I am such a health and fitness fanatic is because in 4th grade I discovered how great exercising and eating right made me feel. This is why I’ve made this my life’s work.

To me, happiness and fitness equals one in the same. They go hand in hand.

However, we all know this! We all know the transformative potential of eating right and exercising.

A lack of knowledge (for the most part) isn’t the problem. The real problem is a lack of consistent action. Actually doing it!

Sadly, most people don’t want to change. Instead they rather read blogs and books and buy ridiculous exercise videos and contraptions that make them feel like they’re changing.

Let’s face it. If it were easy to change, people would do it! (It’s the accountability and the pushing and the coaching and the guidance and the inspiration and the daily expectations that help the change occur.)

However, there are many things we do (and don’t do) that affect our happiness significantly that don’t require all that much effort or change and Gretchen has extensively researched all of this for us.

I’ve read a few of her other books and she is maniacal with research. But, she has an incredible ability to synthesize complex ideas and readings into very bite size and juicy nuggets.

Rubin has proven to me, as I’m a long time follower; it is possible to change your life in many areas, without actually changing your life.

I must confess. Just writing that sentence makes me uneasy. Last night I was watching a ‘random’ person on an infomercial tout an exercise product that “was so easy, she didn’t feel like she was exercising!” Then I watched another one (I’m fascinated by them) with a woman preaching, “You can truly eat whatever you want and still lose weight!”

Finally, last Friday 20-20 had a segment about trick photography in the diet and weight loss industry which made me even sicker.

Sadly all of this makes people believe real change is possible without any real change. It’s not! If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten!

However, and I say this very carefully, Gretchen actually provides extremely actionable tips that don’t require all that much change. For example, an extra hour of sleep can do more for your happiness than a $60,000 raise!

The Happiness Project might be one of the few things you can read that changes your life – without really changing it.

So why do I care if you buy this book? Well, I truly and sincerely believe that if you read it, it’ll make you happier. And that’s exactly why I do what I do. Because I know that when you feel and look as good as you can, you’re more productive, confident, energized, and of course, happier!

And helping people become happier is sure one heck of a way to become happier yourself!

***If you’d like to win a copy of The Happiness Project tell me in the comments your happiest memory. I’ll pick the winner and I’ll mail you the book. We’ll make Sunday the 20th at 2 P.M EST the cut off. Check back here for updates!

[Update: Book Winner. Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed reading all of your happiest memories! Unfortunately, there can only be one winner and it was a very tough decision. I’m going to pick Michelle because I loved the simplicity of it and also that it was different from the other 3 entries. I wish I could send you all a book but I only have one copy. Michelle, if you can email me at GuruGilbert at yahoo dot com with your address, I’ll mail the book out to you tomorrow. Thanks, guys! 🙂 ]



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

What Makes Us Happy? What Are the Keys to Living a Good Life? (I’ll tell you!)

October 7, 2009          Comments (3)

what-makes-us-happy1

Some might argue, the ultimate question, we’re all trying to figure out is what will make us happy? After all, everything we do is in the pursuit of happiness, right?

You could even argue that someone who acts altruistically is making them self happy too. But even so, what if there was a formula for living a good life. Would you follow it?

Well, George Vaillant has been trying to figure out this very answer as the longtime director of one of the most extensive projects in history. Known as the Grant Study researchers tracked the lives of 268 men who entered Harvard College in the late 1930s through war, career, marriage and divorce, parenthood and grandparenthood, and old age for 72 years!

And for the first time he’s granted access to what he thinks are the “keys to Fort Knox”. Most undertakings like the Grant Study falter because the funders expect results too quickly. W.T. Grant was no exception. After holding on for about a decade he gave in too.

Lucky for us, as a young man, George Vaillant fell in love with the longitudinal method of research, which tracks relatively small samples over long periods of time – so when he came across the Grant Study he wanted in. “To be able to study lives in such depth, over so many decades,” he said, “it was like looking through the Mount Palomar telescope,” then the most powerful in the world.

The findings of the project have made their way into a 17 page fascinating article in the June issue of The Atlantic which has been getting a lot of much deserved attention. The article offers profound insight into the human condition which I’ve become fascinated by.

I’ll share what I found to be the most interesting nuggets:

Vaillant’s central question is not how much or how little trouble these men met, but rather precisely how – and to what effect – they responded to that trouble. His main interpretive lens has been the psychoanalytic metaphor of “adaptations” or “defense mechanisms”.

We have unconscious thoughts and behaviors that can either shape or distort our reality – depending on whether we approve or disapprove of it.

By age 50, almost a third of the men in the study had at one time or another met Vaillant’s criteria for mental illness. Underneath the tweed jackets of these Harvard elites beat troubled hearts.

What is mental illness anyway? Vaillant believes much of what is described as mental illness is the use of unwise deployment of defense mechanisms. If we use defenses well, we are deemed mentally healthy, conscientious, funny, creative and altruistic. Yet, if we use them inappropriately we’re deemed misfits by society and mentally ill.

Essentially, everything we do in life is trying to adapt to what happens and that’s what determines our ability to live a good life.

Defenses are a basic biological process.  They can either save or ruin us. When we cut ourselves, for example, our blood clots – which is an involuntary response that maintains our homeostasis. Similarly, when we encounter a challenge large or small such as a parent’s death or a broken shoelace – our defenses float us through the emotional swamp.

4 Categories of defenses, starting with the most unhealthy:

“Psychotic adaptations” – like paranoia, hallucination or megalomania can make reality tolerable for the person – but seem crazy to everyone else.

“Immature adaptations” – which include acting out, passive aggression, hypochondria, projection and fantasy. These aren’t as isolating as psychotic adaptations but they impede intimacy.

“Neurotic defenses” – are common in “normal” people.  These include intellectualization (mutating the primal stuff of life into objects of formal thought), dissociation (intense, often brief, removal from one’s feelings), and repression – which can involve naiveté, and memory lapse.

The healthiest are “mature adaptations” – which include altruism, humor, anticipation, suppression (a conscious decision to postpone attention to an impulse or conflict, to be addressed at a later time) and sublimation (finding outlets for feelings, like putting aggression into sport, or lust in courtship).

Many of the “psychotic” adaptations are common in toddlers and the “immature” adaptations are essential in later childhood, and they often fade with maturity (hopefully).

Humans when confronted with irritants engage in unconscious but often creative behavior although sometimes the creative behavior can be destructive.

7 major factors that predict healthy aging, both physically and psychologically:

(more…)



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

How bliss is ignorance? The dark side of entrepreneurship

August 4, 2009          Comments (6)

thedarkside

I get so many emails from aspiring entrepreneurs of all ages who want help with their business. But is starting a business all it’s cracked up to be?

Here’s the problem: Starting a business won’t necessarily make you happy.

And most people believe it will. Why do you want to start a business? If your answer is money then you’re in the wrong field.

I’m not saying you can’t make a lot of money from owning a business, but there are easier ways. If money is your sole motivation, then you’ll probably never make a lot of it anyway.

But even so, let’s say you do make a lot of money. Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Swarthmore College focuses on how people make choices. And when it comes to career choices, Schwartz recommends going a safe route, if you can find one. “I believe that security is more important to happiness than wealth,” he says.

I don’t know about you but my ultimate goal is happiness. That’s why I study it so much. Why not live the happiest life you can live?

In my opinion, the only time you should start a business is when you have to. When you must! When there is so much pressure in your head, that you if you don’t – you feel like it’ll explode.

Otherwise, you’re going to start a mediocre business and that’ll help you become one of the staggering numbers of businesses that fail. And that’s not going to make you happy.

For example, a big part of what I do for my clients is ignite fires under their butts. But once I do that – I try very hard to keep them burning. Because after all, fitness (and business) is about starting and keeping on going! The magic lies in the keeping on going part, which looks 1000x easier in words, without any emotions, than it is in reality.

So, since February of 2007, I’ve written an inspiration 3 to 4 times per week. It’s like writing a blog post. And clients always ask me if I ever get writer’s block.

Not once in 2 years. The daily inspirations fly onto the screen. Actually, I have to hold myself back. I have to write them. If I don’t, I feel off. It’s as natural to me as sand between my toes. It just feels right.

Let’s talk about how ignorance is so bliss for a second. Once you know something – it’s hard to ignore it and not care. Well, when you truly believe you have created the best solution in the world for helping people reach their health and fitness goals,  it’s hard to ignore that. I feel as though I have a responsibility to share it with the world.

In fact, I’m constantly thinking about it. My mind is always wondering. When I’m relaxing, I’m not really relaxing.

If I’m not thinking about one of my clients, I’m thinking about one of my tutors. If I’m not thinking about one of my tutors, I’m thinking about how we can help more people.

One of the reasons why I hated being a student was because you can always be doing more. You can always prepare more for a test. You can always be reading and reviewing. And because of that I drove myself absolutely crazy.

I couldn’t wait to get into the working world so that when I was done with work for the day – I was done with work for the day.

Of course, owning a business is like school. You can always be doing more. And that feeling is not very satisfying. The same drive that makes someone want to start a company is the same drive that makes someone not appreciate any milestones they may reach.

It could make you insane if you’re not emotionally mature. But then again, I think you have to be nuts to start a company in the first place.

At least a company that you believe will change the world. Or else, it’ll be mediocre.

And then you certainly won’t be happy.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Age really is just a number

February 10, 2009          Comments (2)

When I was a little kid I always thought adults had it all figured out. That they didn’t think about the things kids do. You know. They were adults. Everything is all good!

I think every kid believes this. I can vividly remember dreaming about what I’d be like when I was 26. Kids believe adults are more refined than children.

What I’ve learned is that adults are children with more responsibility…and maybe perspective and insight…and maybe not.

I think we become who we are at a very young age. Curious people will for, the most part, be curious their entire lives. Warm people will be warm. Trusting people will be trusting. Assholes, for the most part, will be assholes. Ambitious will be ambitious…

But as we grow up many of us lose our idealism. We forget about our dreams. We forget what we really want for ourselves.

“Reality” sets in. I’ve realized that reality is an illusion. You can make your reality whatever you want it to be. But unfortunately, as an adult fear becomes a dominant part of our life.

When you’re a kid you don’t think about reality. You’re fearless, for the most part.

For some, what other people might think plays an even bigger role and drives us in directions we never even wanted to go in.

But when when we’re young, we all think we’re invincible.

I think about how I used to drive as a high school and college student and I can’t believe how much of a maniac I was. I was fearless. Nothing can happen to me! Nothing can happen to my friends!

I look at my brother in law who just bought a quad. For his birthday my sister got him this awesome remote control car. He will always be a kid at heart. And I love that.

So what happens to so many of us? Why do so many people tense up? Harden up? Lose our ability to have fun? Become numb?

And ironically, when we’re kids we’re always looking to the future. We can’t wait for it!

So, as I turn 26 today, I think there are two important lessons that I want to remind you (and really myself) of:

One: The grass is always greener on the other side. The problem with always looking on the other side is that you never appreciate what you have on your side! I think being grateful is extremely important to your happiness. After all, it’s impossible to be grateful and unhappy at the same time! This is exactly why I ask my clients to tell me 3 things they are grateful for every night. (Although it has nothing to do with their health and fitness it has everything to do with it!)

Two. Happiness (which is what it’s all about) is right now! Not later! When we’re kids and even adults, many of us live for that person or thing or event to make us happy. “I’ll be happy when…”

But if you’re not happy now, what makes you think you’ll be happy later? And when you’re looking to the future to make you happy, you’re not living life now!

And before you know it, you’ll be an old man or woman wondering where the heck your life went…

And that thought makes me act like the idealistic and fearless boy I always want to be!



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Creating anticipation will help your happiness and productivity!

January 12, 2009          Comments (3)

Recently, I sold a domain name I owned.

After 6 weeks of negotiating, the person interested in buying the name said something like, “Let’s wrap this up already!” Even though I got the price I wanted, I was the one delaying the closure of the deal because I was enjoying the negotiations!

It wasn’t about the money.

There was something thrilling about writing an offer via email and waiting for the response. The back and forth was so enjoyable! It was, of course, the anticipation.

The same thing happened with my new website for MyBodyTutor.com. A very tiny part of me didn’t want it to be completed so I could say ‘my new website is coming soon…’ This way, I could just think about the potential of it because thinking about the potential is very exciting.

Anticipation can absolutely make your life better. And sometimes, I enjoy the anticipation of an event more so than the actual event I’m anticipating!

Whether it’s planning trips or figuring out your fun plans for the week or weekend, setting things up for yourself to look forward to will absolutely make you happier.

I try to create anticipation as often as possible. Even in odd ways.

For example, if I get an email from one of my friends that I know is going to be funny and filled with plenty of banter (I can never get enough banter) or any sort of message, sometimes I’ll actually wait a while before I check it. If I get a package in the mail I might not open it for a couple of days. Or if there’s a book or a blog post I’m excited to read, I won’t read it for a few weeks or hours.

Even just waiting 30 minutes to check a text message or an email from someone you’re looking forward to hearing from can work wonders for your happiness and can also boost productivity!

Anticipation and curiosity is a form of tension and when there’s tension you’re going to want to relieve it.

It’ll make you extremely focused if you set boundaries like I have to finish xyz before I check it.

Here are some other examples of odd things I do to create anticipation to get things done:

One. After I cook dinner, and my food looks all beautiful on my plate, I’ll clean all the dishes right then and there (besides, the plate of course). The anticipation of eating my deliciously healthy and warm home cooked meals forces me to get the dishes done. If I want dinner…I have to clean the dishes!

Two. Sometimes, I relent and leave the dishes for after dinner. I drink a lot of water and am constantly peeing. After dinner I usually have to pee badly but before I let myself pee I’ll clean all of the dishes. If I want to pee…I have to clean the dishes.

Three. While I’m using mouthwash, I’ll quickly clean my room. The tension and anticipation of getting the minty burning sensation out of my mouth, forces to me focus on the task at hand! If I don’t want to be in minty pain…I have to clean my room quickly!

How can you use anticipation to make yourself happier and/or more productive?

Try it. It works wonders!

[This post made it to the front of BrazenCareerist.com. Check out the comments by clicking here!]



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!

Lessons from the happiest 81 year old waitress I’ve ever met

May 8, 2008          Comments (2)

Last week I was in Florida enjoying the gorgeous weather. We also celebrated my Nanny’s 85th birthday! No birthday celebration in Florida is complete without a visit to Verdi’s which I wrote about last year because I couldn’t get over their singing waitress Adriana.

[This entire story is crazy. I first wrote about Verdi’s on May 6th, 2007 just because I wanted to. Then in late July of 2007, I got an email from Nancy and a comment on this blog from Linda (Adriana’s daughters) about how they came across my story.]

I’ve been writing about happiness lately because I believe that is the point of everything we do. In fact, writing this blog makes me happy whether 1 person reads it or 5000.

I also believe that the pursuit of happiness is flawed. True sustained happiness can only come from with in.

Adriana is one of a kind. Never in my life have I had a waitress that sings while she’s serving, is always smiling, tells hilarious jokes, never misses a beat, goes that extra mile, has a great voice, loves what she does, has faced a ton of adversity, is truly happy and is 81 years old.

She really is incredible. She is a superstar in life.

Adriana instantly remembered me as did Nick and Josephine (the owners of Verdi’s) because of my blog post and I spoke to Adriana a lot more in depth this year about happiness.

She shared 3 things with me that I really liked:

1. Life is too short to be unhappy. Some people choose to be unhappy and only focus on the negative things in their life while others choose to happy and focus on the amazing things in their life. The choice is simple.

2. The best things in life are free. This is so true. If you think about your most enjoyable experiences you’re not thinking about money, clothes and material possessions. Adriana believes that most people don’t realize this. I agree.

3. It’s all in your attitude. Adriana, who should be on Broadway, has been a waitress for 31 years at Verdi’s (I think that’s what she said) and I’m sure she has seen it all. I was a waiter (for only 5 months) and I saw a lot. She says she always tries to out happy someone.

If someone is miserable she’ll kill them with kindness. She won’t ever stoop down to their level. She always laughs at how people go ballistic when they spill something on themselves. It’s only a piece of clothing.

She also told this story of how a little girl told her class that her favorite activity while in Florida was going to Verdi’s and seeing the singing waitress. Adriana, has a lot of fans (myself included, obviously!) as many of the regular customers tell her they go there just to feel good. Her positive attitude is contagious.

Adrianna said making people happy, makes her really happy. It’s a gift she has and she loves every second of it.

I, too, love making people happy and writing this will hopefully make Adriana happy.



If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to the RSS Feed!
Craving more Guru Gilbert? Read more »