Category Archives: Attitude

Let Go of Comparisons

Nankeen Kestrel, size comparison

 “Comparison is the death of joy.”

~ Mark Twain


How much do you hold yourself back or sabotage your own feelings of happiness by comparing your life or your progress to others?

Comparisons can be deadly.

I have known people that have very full, blessed lives that spend most of their time dwelling on the blessings in the lives of others. If you have a roof over your head, good health, enough to eat and a person or two to love, you have a pretty full life. But if your neighbor has a much bigger house, a much newer car and the ability to take exotic vacations, you may feel like the blessings in your life are somehow not enough.

The problem in this case isn’t that you don’t have enough. It’s that you are focusing on what others have and using it as a gauge to make you think your blessings aren’t enough.

Comparisons Can Drive You or Distract You

Of course, in the case of athletes, comparisons can be the driving force that makes them excel. Those who make it to the top are often driven by their competitive spirit, their desire to prove that they really are the best at what they do, or that they can be just a little bit better than their competitors.

On the other hand, dwelling on what your competitors are doing can distract you from your own goals.


What you focus on expands. So if you are focused on what others are doing, especially if you are focused on the chance that you might lose, there’s always a chance you won’t be able to focus on your own goals. Comparisons can distract you from attaining your own best possibilities.

Comparisons Can Be Disabling or Motivating

Comparisons can cripple you, or they can be used to your advantage. As long as you are comparing yourself to those who seem to have more than you do, or to people who seem to have accomplished more than you have, you are probably going to feel bad.

But there are also always those who have less than you do. You probably have more than those who are homeless or those who don’t have the ability to read. If you have a job, you have more than someone who is struggling with unemployment. If you live in a free country, you are more blessed than someone who is living in a war-torn area.

If you came in at fourth place in a race, you did better than the person who came in fifth or last place.

The best way to use comparisons is about your own progress. If you ran faster or swam faster than you did in your last race, you are making progress

You Are OK Just as You Are

Imagine if every tree spent its life comparing itself to the tree next to it. Fortunately for us, trees don’t do that.

They just grow.

Each simply displays its own beauty and its own uniqueness. Each carries out its own unique destiny without being held back by larger trees or showier trees.

You can notice and admire the beauty in someone else without questioning your own or feeling like you have been shortchanged.

You can find the courage and the grace to be your best self.

Michelle Parsons said, “Don’t compare yourself to others…that’s a battle you can never win.”

You are where you are supposed to be, and you are ok exactly as you are.


Rising Above Negative Messages and Criticism

Light escape

“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”

~ David Brinkley

Most of us have heard the childhood chant “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.”

The words of others do sting at times though.

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I hear negative messages or critical remarks from other people and I take it to heart.

Believing the wrong messages from others or yourself can ruin your day.

Or your life.

Other People’s Opinions

The opinions of other people are just that – their opinions.

There is no reason for you to believe negative messages from other people. They don’t know everything, and they don’t know more than you.

Motivational speaker Les Brown was given the label “educable mentally retarded” at a young age. But a person crossed his path who changed his life and taught him a very important lesson – that he didn’t have to believe that message.

He could choose to believe in himself whether or not others believed with him.

As Les says, “Don’t let someone’s opinion of you become your reality.”

Learning that lesson allowed Les Brown to transform himself from a young man that some thought of as slow to a very successful motivational speaker, writer and former politician. These are goals he would not have accomplished if he had believed the opinions of those who didn’t see the greatness and tremendous potential in him.

There is greatness and potential in you as well. It’s time to shrug off anyone who tells you anything else.

Hold your head up. You can rise about criticism and negativity.

Maya Angelou said, “I can be changed by what happens to be me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

Believing the Right Things

The thing is, we all choose what messages we choose to focus on.

If someone tells you that you are unintelligent or ugly or too fat or too clumsy or too anything at all….so what?

It’s only their opinion.

You can have a different opinion. You can believe that you are someone who is unique and special, someone who has plenty to offer the world.

No matter what anyone else says.

Throughout your life, some people will be in your corner and some won’t.

Each time someone says something negative, critical or discouraging about you, it’s like you are standing at a fork in the road. You can choose to listen and be bothered by it. Or not.

The late Muhammed Ali said, “I know where I’m going and I know the truth, and I don’t have to be what you want me to be. I’m free to be what I want.”

What a great way to approach life.

It’s time to expect the best of ourselves and the universe.

If people throw negativity your way, hang onto the positive, wherever you can find it.

Let your light shine.

Making Dreams Come True

Dreaming ...“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

~ Eleanor Roosevelt


What is your most heartfelt dream? Small children don’t hold back when they imagine what they might have or who they might someday be. Whether they think about someday being a firefighter, a doctor, a famous musician or president, they don’t hesitate to imagine that they can and will someday attain their deepest desires.

At high school graduation, young people are expected to choose a path, and by choosing a path, they are saying goodbye to all the paths they didn’t choose, at least for now. Reality begins to set in, and many people lose that childlike belief that they can have or be anything by the time they are adults.

Some even stop dreaming altogether.

Keep Dreaming

It’s so important to keep dreaming and to keep imagining that you can attain whatever you hope to attain. The formation of a vision as to where you intend to be in the near or distant future is the first step to getting there.

Take the time to picture yourself meeting your goals. Are you hoping to run a marathon someday? Do you want to travel to Hawaii or the Caribbean? Do you want to pursue a completely different career?

Who says you can’t?

If you’re like many people, the person standing in the way of your dreams is you. In the movie “Creed”, an aging Rocky Balboa pointed out to young Creed that the toughest enemy he is ever going to face is the man in the mirror.

It’s time to get out of your own way. Allow yourself to envision your best life and make a plan to get from here to there.

You can do it.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “You can have it all, Just not all at once.”

Get in Touch with What You Want

If you have gotten into the habit of ignoring or pushing aside your own dreams, you may have lost touch with even knowing what you want.

It’s time to figure it out.

Spend some time envisioning yourself living the best life you possibly could. Although there may be things that aren’t in the cards for you, there may be things that you could attain if you set your mind to it.

Spend ten minutes every morning sitting quietly and imagining that you can have exactly what you want. There is nothing holding you back. Can you put your finger on what is missing from your life and what steps you need to take to make your dreams come true?

My Own Dream

I have always dreamed of being a writer. Ever since I was a very young girl, I imagined that one day I would make my living by writing stories, articles and books.

The problem was I lacked faith in my own ability to make that happen. I was a college dropout who became a single parent at a fairly young age. I struggled to support myself and my daughter on barely over minimum wage for years.

In my late 30s I remarried, and within a few years, my husband began having major health problems. Once again, my focus was on simple survival and being the head of my household.

I set my dreams aside.

Over the last few years, I have been dabbling in writing again, and even though I’m nowhere as successful as I hope to someday be, I am getting in touch with what I want to be doing with my life.

I am writing and getting paid for it. So far it’s not my only means of income, but my dream is that it one day will be.

This week I have released a book on Kindle for the first time. It’s called Happiness for the Clueless: 7 Simple Tips for a Happier Life, and it offers a simple roadmap to a happier life.

It will be available for free for five days beginning June 14. I’d love for you to download it, read it and leave a review.

My dream is to have other books published on Kindle, and I already have other books in mind.

What is your dream? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.”



Break the Habit of Worrying

 “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

Worry. Can you think of anything that burns up so much of your life for no real purpose?

I admit I can be a worrywart myself. For example, if one of my daughters is late coming home, I may start to imagine that she has been in a car accident or that some other catastrophe has happened.

It’s silly, and I’m very conscious of that silliness.

I’ve been working on breaking the habit of worrying. So much of what I worry about hasn’t happened and isn’t ever going to. I know I’m not alone in having this bad habit.

Can you relate? How much of your unhappiness is caused by the habit of worrying? Of all the ways you can spend your time, worrying is one of the least productive.

Worrying is a sense of uneasiness, often accompanied by imagining or expecting the worst. When you are worrying, you think that something bad may be about to happen. Your mind continually returns to a dreadful, imagined scenario in your mind, and you can’t seem to let it go. You might stay stuck, completely focused on this figment of your imagination. Your thinking might become obsessive and intense.

As Erma Bombeck said, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

Why Worrying is so Bad for You

 A sense of impending doom can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. When you are caught up in worrisome thoughts, your anxiety level rises. You may feel threatened and out of control. When others tell you to snap out of it, you don’t feel any better. In fact, the more you’re told not to worry, the more worried you may feel.

If you worry frequently, the hours you spend worrying are being wasted rather than being spent on something more productive. But that’s only a small part of the reason worrying is bad for you. You may feel so anxious that you may turn to medication, alcohol, cigarettes or food.

Some people are so consumed with irrational thoughts that they are unable to focus on their job or other responsibilities. Worrying and anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches or muscle tension. It can even lead to dizziness or a fast heartbeat. It can make you a lot less productive.

Replace Worrying with Better Habits

It’s clear that spending a lot of time worrying about things that may not happen, or things that are inevitable that you can’t change isn’t doing you any good and doesn’t lead to a happy life.

Use the energy and increased alertness you feel to do something productive. Scrub your kitchen, weed the garden, walk around the block. Work out with weights or do any form of exercise.

Worrying about something far in the future is wasting the gift of this present moment. Bring back your focus onto today. Try to picture a positive outcome rather than a negative one.

In life there are things you can control and things you can’t. While you may not be able to eliminate the worrying habit completely, you may be able to reduce the time you spend worrying. Try telling yourself that you are only allowed to worry for five or ten minutes and then you are going to have to do something else.

As Mark Twain said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles….by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

Worrying often makes things look worse than they are. You might not be able to simply tell yourself to stop worrying, but see if you can replace the habit of worrying with something better.

John Lubbock said, “A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work.”

Let’s find something better to do.

Share a Smile Today

Keep smiling“Remember even though the outside world might be raining, if you keep on smiling the sun will soon show its face and smile back at you.”    ~ Anna Lee


A week or so ago, the husband of an older woman that I work with suddenly passed away. He hadn’t been ill for very long, so I thought she might be devastated. I wasn’t really sure what to say to her. I am a widow myself, but my husband was sick for many years, so I had plenty of time to prepare mentally for his eventual passing.

I spoke to her today to express my sympathy and she replied that she had so much admiration for me because during my husband’s illness I was able to keep showing up to work. “You always managed to keep smiling,” she commented. She told me that I had been on her mind, that my ability to keep smiling had given her courage.

How and Why I Kept Smiling in Hard Times

There were very difficult days during my husband’s illness. For month after month, year after year, I was juggling work, family responsibilities, taking care of his round the clock care and financial struggles. As his illness progressed, I got less and less sleep. I was tired to the bone, and kept putting one foot in front of the other.

According to my friend, I kept smiling.

What I knew during that time was that feeling sorry for myself didn’t do any good. It didn’t change what was going on outside. It didn’t change that there were large, painful circumstances beyond my control. It didn’t change the fact that my husband was dying.

I was taught years ago to say The Serenity Prayer when I feel weak and vulnerable. God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

I couldn’t change my circumstances. I couldn’t make my husband’s illness go away.

I had control over only one thing and that was my own attitude.

There was an even bigger reason that I kept smiling. I learned a long time ago that if you act as if something is true, it sometimes becomes true. If I pretended to be happy, confident and self-assured, I was a lot closer to being just that.

Smiling is Contagious

 Did you ever notice that most of the time, if you smile, other people smile back? Although this isn’t true 100% of the time, it is true quite often.

A warm smile from a loved one, a grin from an acquaintance, even the curled corners of the mouth of your dog may be just the thing you need to lift your mood.

Even if you are hurting inside, smiling at others because you know it makes them feel good is the right thing to do. Spreading misery and negative energy doesn’t make your problem go away, and it may increase the burdens of other people.

Find a reason to smile today and find someone to share a smile with.


A New Year of Possibilities

Sunshine Lotus


“In this moment, there is plenty of time. In this moment, you are precisely as you should be. In this moment, there is infinite possibility.”

~ Victoria Moran


When a new year begins, it is a reminder that anything is possible. Whatever resolutions you have failed to keep in the past, whatever disappointments you have experienced, today is a reminder to pick yourself up and try again.

Anything is possible.

Just because you haven’t attained your heart’s desire up to now doesn’t mean you won’t.

Isn’t that exciting? The future lies ahead and can be so much better than anything that has happened up to now.

Mistakes don’t have to repeat themselves. Today offers the opportunity for a new beginning.

You are closer to success and happiness than you think you are.

This year, there will be enough time, enough money, enough possibilities. You are exactly where you are supposed to be, surrounded by the people you are meant to have in your life. The events of your life are unfolding exactly the way they are supposed to.

As Randy Pausch taught in his Last Lecture, the brick walls you have encountered are there for a reason. They are there to develop your persistence and perseverance. They are there to remind you to take a leap of faith.

You can do it.

Today is a blank page in an unwritten book. It’s up to you to fill the blank pages with good thoughts, positive attitudes and upbeat reactions.

Letting Go of the Past

Do you find yourself looking over your shoulder at mistakes you have made, goals you may have failed to attain or things you haven’t done quite right?

Let it go.

As Oprah Winfrey said, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Your mistakes don’t have to define you. Just because you have failed in the past doesn’t mean you will always fail.

You are closer than you think to happiness, unlimited possibilities and becoming the best person that you can be.

Today is a new beginning, the start of a new year and a new chance to do the right thing. Starting now you can strive toward meeting your potential and know that the best days of your life are ahead of you.

Embrace the present and the chance to start over and try again. Believe in the possibilities that are all around you today.

This can be your best year ever. All you have to do is believe.


Spreading Happiness When We’re Feeling Sad

Broken Flowers
“The greatest gift we give to someone who loves us is simply to be happy.”
~ Robert Brault

Some days it’s easier to be happy than other days. We suffer disappointment and loss and it shows all over our faces.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could have our way all the time? In a perfect world, we would always have plenty of money and be surrounded by love. We would be free of aches and pains and have no memory of hurts or disappointments. All the traffic lights would be green. It would never be cloudy or rainy or too hot or too cold. Cars would never break down, strangers would never be rude. There would be no illness or death or unemployment. We wouldn’t have to be afraid of not getting what we wanted.

It’s not a perfect world.

When we choose to dwell on what isn’t perfect in life, we allow our inner peace and contentment to slip away. Worse than that, when we carry an aura of gloominess or sadness, our negative energy quickly spreads to others. Frowns can be as contagious as yawns to everyone we run into, including strangers and those we love the most.

When people we love see us frowning or scowling, it may be hard for them to hang onto their own good mood. Suddenly their smiles become frowns too.

Hanging onto what is good

Life is like an hourglass and the sands are slipping through imperceptibly. In spite of today’s imperfections, there is still plenty to be happy about in this one day.

What is good in your life today? Did you have the opportunity to listen to your favorite song or to walk through the park? Did you enjoy a good meal or get a hug from a child?

Hang onto what’s good.

And remember to smile.

When our hearts feel wounded or sad, we can remind ourselves that the people we love need to see our strength and courage. Even if we feel gloomy, we can practice pretending to be happy.

Can you find the strength to smile at a dozen strangers today?

Can you bring some positive energy the people who love you?

Sometimes pretending to be cheerful can make us feel a little more cheerful.

Whatever bad times we are experiencing, they are temporary. They aren’t the end of the world.

Better days are coming. And everything is going to be ok.


photo by:

Seeing Life’s Blessings

Stars“Two men looked out from prison bars,

One saw the mud, the other saw stars.”   

~ Dale Carnegie, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living


So much of happiness in life depends on our perspective. Some people lead easier lives than others – there’s no doubt about that. Yet there are those who can manage to find something to be positive about, even in the worst of times.

It’s all a matter of what you choose to focus on.

For example, if you have only one true friend, you might feel like you have been short-changed because you don’t have several friends. Your one friend doesn’t seem to fill all your needs…you think everyone around you has more than you.

But to someone who has no friends at all, you would seem to be extremely blessed to have that one friend.

If it rains for seven days in a row, you might feel gloomy, wishing it would stop, wishing the sun would come out. Or you can be grateful you have a roof over your head or an umbrella. You can be grateful that you have the ability to see the rain, the freedom to run out and dance in it.

What good does it do to dwell on the things that you wish were different, especially if they’re things that can’t be changed? It’s wasted energy.

Use your energy to find something positive to focus on for this one day. Even if you can find 200 things wrong with your life or your day, I bet you can find one thing that is beautiful, one thing to be grateful for.

Don’t take the good things or the good people in your life for granted. Notice them. Savor them. They could be taken from you when you least expect it.

Look for the good in today.

Look up at the stars.


photo by: robin_24

The One Sure Path to Cheerfulness

SmiLe - Born To be HaPPy“The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.”  ~ Mark Twain


Do you ever feel like you just wish someone would cheer you up? Nothing creates such a sure path to unhappiness as looking outside yourself for someone or something to make you happy. People sometimes expect their spouses to cheer them up….single people often search tirelessly for a “significant other” to complete them…elderly people may look for their children to make them feel better….sometimes people even expect coworkers to pay attention to their moods and strive to lift them up if they’re feeling gloomy.

You might even expect strangers to bring you happiness. You want the waitress to be friendly, the cashier to smile and the doctor to have a warm bedside manner.

The simple truth is that you alone are responsible for your happiness.

No one- absolutely no one – can make you happy but you.

Looking for happiness outside yourself is setting yourself up for disappointment. Expecting other people to cheer you up may hurt both you and them.

As Mark Twain said, there is a simpler solution.

Put that energy into looking for someone to help, not for someone to help you.

The world is full of lonely and hurting people, and you have more power than you think you do to spread positive feelings.

If you set a goal each day to bring happiness to others rather than looking for cheer to come from others, you would lift your own spirits in the process.

Look for someone to smile at. Look for someone that needs a helping hand, a phone call, a bag of groceries carried, a door opened.

There is always room for improvement. Follow in the footsteps of those who have perfected the art of spreading happiness.

As Mother Teresa said, “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier.”

And you will feel more cheerful in the process.

photo by: PHOTO ♥ BOOTH

The Duty of Being Happy

Ellen DeGeneres“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”  

~ Robert Louis Stevenson


If you were told that it was your job to be happy today, could you do it? Is happiness something that we choose or something that happens to us?

So often people think of life events as being outside their control, and it’s true that a lot of them are.

The only things we can always control are our reactions and our attitude.

Robert Louis Stevenson refers to being happy as a duty. We owe it to ourselves and to those around us to try to find something, however small, to be happy about each day.

Moods can be contagious. If you are sitting next to someone who is perpetually yawning, before you know it, you will be yawning too. If you’re sitting in a long lecture and someone starts coughing, you may suddenly find yourself with the urge to cough.

But what about being happy or sad?

If you are around someone who is determined to be grumpy or hopeless, you probably feel your own mood start to turn to gloominess or despair.

Likewise if you’re around someone who is upbeat and cheerful, there’s a good chance your mood will improve.

I know if I turn the Ellen DeGeneres show on, I am always fascinated at the way she can almost always get people to smile and dance.

Ellen DeGeneres is a walking good mood. It’s pretty hard to be gloomy around her. She deliberately spreads happiness on a daily basis.

What kind of energy are we spreading?

We have to give some thought to the effect we are having on other people with our moods and our attitudes.

Maybe it really is our duty to try to be happy, if for no other reason than to spread joy to those around us.

Smile. It’s contagious.