New Beginnings

People say that a new year is a new beginning. A lot of people feel a stronger need of change during the holidays, perhaps because the new year brings a new chapter in our lives; but I suspect that often, the reason behind our need for changes and resolutions is that with each new year, we become aware of how time is slipping through our fingers and that we have less time to achieve our plans.

I truly believe anytime is a great time to slow down, dream, and plan how to make our dreams part of our reality. My last post was about the dreamlining process and I wanted to talk this time about career planning, but I’m still inspired by quotes, readings, and conversations that I have had during the last couple of weeks and I would like to invite you explore with me what is your true calling.

I don’t believe we’re in this amazing world to push papers (or as we say in Spanish, to drag a pencil) and although I don’t believe that there are jobs unworthy by themselves, I’m convinced that we need to run away from a job that doesn’t nourishing our souls. I believe we all have a higher purpose related to the gifts we received when we came to this life,  that we all have a piece to the puzzle of Life and that we won’t thrive as humankind until we work together and we share our gifts with everyone.

Of course, I understand the pressing needs of living in this world, paying rent and buying food, but I also believe that when we do what we love, we thrive.  We need to find our purpose in this life, and as Zig Ziegler said, if you cannot find your purpose, find your passion, and this will lead you to your purpose. 

LET’S WORK!

Finding our purpose is not an easy task. I, myself, still wonder what am I supposed to do with the gifts I received and the competencies I have developed.  However, when I followed the advice of teachers and friends, I was able to find my passion. Finding your passion could be done in different ways, but here are my suggestions:

-Ask yourself (and your family  and/or friends) what is what you loved to do when you were a kid. This is frequently a key to find our passion.

-Ask yourself, if money and financial responsibilities weren’t an issue, what I would like to do?

-Which activities do you find exciting?

-If you could only work 2 hours per day, what would you do? If you could only work two hours per week, what would you do?

Don’t forget to explore your vision, create your vision board and include your findings in it. Finding our passion is also a journey, where both, the journey and the destination are important. Don’t forget to enjoy this discovery process and don’t be afraid of the time this process will take.

Also, please share with us what else have you done to find your passion or your purpose, and feel free to ask any questions.

7 practices for Happiness

I’ve always being intrigued by Happiness. How some people can be happy regardless the situation they’re passing through and how some people cannot be happy even if they seem to have their lives resolved?
And this may actually be the key. As someone who was born and raised in a “third world” country and then moved to the “first world”, I have always been surprised by how happy people in my hometown seem to be, compared to the people in Montreal.   I have noticed that, in general, people are happier when they are with other people, when they’re focused on an activity, or focus on their loved ones. The key seems to be being Present, enjoy the moment, enjoy themselves, enjoy the life and blessings they’ve received.
Thinking about the blessings we have had through our lives brings us satisfaction, while thinking of what we don’t have yet will bring us dissatisfaction. Notice how different is to say: I’m glad I’m …. vs. I wish I were… 
When we’re kids, we’re naturally present. We enjoy the moment or we express our discomfort openly and we naturally try to be happy. We make an effort to obtain what will make us happy or we move on.
Later on in life, when we are not able to be happy, we tend to hold grudges, and as we’re unhappy, we tend to need drugs and anti-depressants. We’re not able to move on.  We tend to keep our eyes on the negative things.
If you have a conversation with a co-worker and praise her work for 5 minutes, then tell her 1 single little thing that she could do to improve, and all she will think will be that “negative” comment.
 
If we keep focusing on the negative things we perceive or are afraid of, we may soon enter in a mood of sadness, anxiety or anger, which, in turn may have an impact on everything else we “experience”, as emotions change the way we perceive or remember things.

If you want to have a happier life, we can:

1. Surround ourselves with positive people. Build a circle of friends to share the joy with us.  From what I have seen, in North America, people tend to be isolated. When we have a group of close friends and we feel taken care of, we feel supported and loved.
2. Be grateful. Count our blessings. You cannot be thankful and sad at the same time. We just need to remember that we came into this world naked and without anything. Everything that we have now is a blessing!
3. Be active. Regular physical activity keeps the body healthy and makes the spirit happy. Daily walks raise the level of happiness, the brain works better and so our bodies, so it’s a win-win situation.
4. Help other people. John A. Schindler wrote, “Live as a giving person. Those who give are happier than those who only take. Those who give to others discover the beauty in the world.” There are studies that prove that people who help other people feel better.

5. Take time to rest. Get enough sleep, relax.  Scientific research shows that relaxed people think more positively and are happier. Every hour of sleep missed lowers the positivity one can experience during the day.

6. Start our day with gratefulness, purpose and a positive attitude. I have noticed that the way I start the day, is the way the day goes. Gandhi said that he used to count his blessings for half an hour every morning.  If we focus on the positive things that surround us, we will notice more positive things. If we have a purpose for the day, we will be more present and it will be more likely that we accomplish what we want.

7.   Take ourselves less seriously. People who feel entitled to something, people who easily feel offended, and people who take themselves and the rest of the world very seriously won’t be as happy as people who can laugh about themselves.  Add some good humor to your life, see cheerful films, laugh often.

Do you have any other advice that can help us to be happier? Please, share it in the comments section and share the joy with more people.