Archive for the Encouragement Category

Happy is as Happy Does : betterME_2.0

Posted in Encouragement, Fun, Happiness, Relationships, Social on November 16, 2011 by cklaslan
I apologize in advance for the random rambling of this blog, but hey blogs are meant to be random.  While it is all over the place there is one unifying theme behind all of it : Happiness.  Happiness has been on my mind the last few weeks.  If you follow me on Twitter you know that to be the case.  Also lots of things have been tying together and as a result I’ve been happier.
I saw a challenge today that was to identify my commandments for happiness.  The first few were easy and throughout the day I kept added to them and tweeting them as they came up.  I know there are supposed to be 10 commandments but I have 15.. for now.  I think this will be something I will add to over time.  These are not meant to be a series of rules or a to-do list.  I have a “happy list” that lists things I can do or think about to get back to a happy place.   Rather this is more the thoughts and process that guide me and direct me towards happiness.  They each could use their own detailed explanation but for now I will just list them.  Most should be self-explanatory.

  • Chances are temporary but regrets are permanent so remove the “what ifs” and live with no regrets
  • Enjoy the process
  • Be happiness, live happiness, & give happiness
  • Even though life is a journey, there is no road map, so enjoy the scenery
  • Smile, laugh uncontrollably, and have fun no matter who’s watching
  • There are no problems, just opportunities to learn, grow, & experience
  • It’s not the circumstances that matter, but how I choose to respond to them
  • Keep things in perspective and stay focused on what matters
  • Remember anything that made you smile and never, ever regret it
  • There is only love, so kiss slowly, love truly, and be passionate
  • Lighten up and enjoy the moment
  • Forgive, forget, and live as if it never happened
  • To be happier, you have to think about feeling good and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth
  • 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.
  • Happiness is not a mood, it’s a decision

Imaginary good is boring; real good is always new,
marvelous, intoxicating.
” ~ Simone Weil

All my life I’ve been an optimistic person.  I’ve always been very positive-minded, open, focused, and happy.  Those that know me, know that rare is the time when something gets me down, bothers me, or gets to me.  Does it happen? Sure!  I am human and I am an emotional person.  But it takes a lot, and even when it happens, I am usually over it very quickly.  I just don’t like being sad, or letting something negative get to me.  You see to me, it’s a choice.  Yes, bad things happen.  Yes sad things happen.  Yes things don’t go right.  But to me how I chose to respond is up to me.

Happiness and being happy is contagious.  Smiles are contagious.  I know people says it’s bad to rely on others for your happiness.  I tend to disagree with that on some levels.  I’ve found that I am happier when those around me are happy.  I’m an empathetic being.  I can sense the mood of those around me, and if it’s someone I’m close to my mood/feelings tend to match them almost immediately – it’s how I can tell something’s wrong.  So with me, I am much happier if others are happy.

I’m a caring, loving, giving, nurturing person and it just makes me happy to makes others happy, to make them laugh, and to make them smile.  I’m not saying I can’t be happy on my own.  I can.  There are plenty of times where I am quite happy and enjoyable on my own, alone, reading a book, listening to the rain, napping, thinking, planning, dreaming, etc.  However more often than not, I am most happy when I can share my happiness with others.  Yes, I know that’s a Catch-22, but hey, that’s me.

I’ve learned that happiness is shared in many ways and I adapt to my friends ways of receiving and giving happiness.  Some like a joke, others encouragement.  Some like a hug, and others just like for me to be a smart-ass with them.  A few just like to swap stories or share things/people that interest them and some just like to talk silly.  I also like my friends to share and show off their talents and creativity because that makes them happy.  Some of them like the little things I do and some just value my honesty.  All of them like a smile, and of course they like to feel important.  All my friends know that I am incredibly loyal, supportive, and always give honest advice.  I feel happy when they feel happy and they know I’ll do whatever I can to spread cheer and joy.

One of my best friends will soon be moving to NYC.  This person has been a great source of happiness for me, for he too is very much like me, very level headed, very loyal, and one of the most even tempered, calming, people I know. We had some similar life experiences that helped us bond and get along well.  While his moving is indeed a sad moment, I choose not to be sad over it as I know its a great opportunity for him so I choose to be happy and to be happy for him.  It would be incredibly easy to be selfish and bitter, but that’s just not me.  Sure, I will miss his sage advice, his calm spirit, and his knack for knowing when I want to talk and when I don’t.  But I’m happy for him and I know he’s happy.

“Do what makes you happy, be with who makes you smile,
laugh as much as you breath, love as long as you live”

I am surrounded by happy, loving, good, kind, positive, open people.  Most of my friends are that way, and well, that’s why they are my friends.  However, in all my life I don’t think I’ve ever encountered someone who was as optimistic, care-free, full of hope, and well, happy, as I am.  Until recently that is.

A few months ago I met an amazing person who’s come into my life who share’s the same outlook, philosophy, and is the most like me of anyone I’ve ever met.  You don’t know how cool that is!!  Words can’t describe how it is to be around someone who emits such a positive, happy energy that you just can’t help but smile in their presence.   Have you ever thought about someone then realized you’ve been smiling the whole time?  This person has been an incredible source of happiness, joy, and positive thoughts.  That in turn has made me even happier and in turn I think I’ve shared and given more happiness in return.  You see how this works now?  This person has become incredibly valuable to me and someone I care deeply about and someone I want to get to know even more.  I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m certainly enjoying the scenery.  The holidays are always a joyous, happy time for me.  But now I know it’s going to be even better!

When I think of the last time someone made me really feel good, made me really laugh, made me really happy… I was with you”  RAWR :3



Posted in Encouragement, Fun, Welcome on August 11, 2011 by cklaslan

So I know it’s been a while since I posted last.  Sorry about that.  I got busy with some out of town business trips and really wanted to re-focus betterME into something I could sustain.   I found that daily challenges are good, but to really be challenged I needed a better structure.  I will continue to do daily challenges as they pop up, but will also do challenges for longer periods of time, most likely for a week.

Here is the first challenge of  bM_2.0 : Someone asked me to tell them something about myself that no one else knows. To be honest this is really hard for me.  I am an open book and I tell pretty much everything to my closest friends.  So this is something I will have to think about for a day or two.  I won’t post the answer but I’ll let you know when I figure out what it is. 🙂

I am going to issue a challenge for the readers and here it is : Make a list of things that make you happy.  They can be small, little things that might seem silly.  Or they can be bigger more complicated things.  Just make a list so that when things don’t go the way you want, you can read your list and smile.

I made a “happy list” a few years ago and here are some of the items on them.  One of goals is to keep adding to the list.

  • Getting caught in the rain
  • Stargazing on a clear night
  • Watching the sunset
  • Picnics
  • Music
  • A broadway show
  • Walks in the park
  • Going hiking or camping
  • Taking a road trip somewhere
  • Skittles
  • Cooking
  • That line in “Princess Brider”… “Mawwridge is whut bwings us together”
  • Making someone laugh
  • Silly movies (Airplane,etc)

I don’t know if I will post daily, but I will at least post once or twice a week to update on the current weekly challenge.

Another reason for the delay in posting was waiting for the right timing and inspiration.  I’m a huge believer in fate and I think the time is right.  So here goes betterME_2.0 — More to follow tomorrow.

betterME Day 26 : That’s Outside My Boat

Posted in Comfort Zone, Control, Empowerment, Encouragement, Limits, Relationships, Self Improvement, Social, Stress on June 26, 2011 by cklaslan

Yesterday’s challenge was to list things that I could not control and start learning ways to accept that and be happy with them.

I’m not a control freak.   But I often do hold myself accountable for things beyond my limits.  Before my list, an explanation of the title of today’s blog.

Charlie Jones is a sportscaster who has covered several Olympic games in his long career. At the 1996 games in Atlanta, he was assigned to announce the rowing, canoeing, and kayaking events — a situation that left him less than thrilled, since it was broadcast at 7am and the venue was an hour’s drive from Atlanta. What Jones discovered, however, was that it ended up being one the most memorable sports events in his career, because he gained a chance to understand the mental workings of these Olympic athletes.

Preparing for the broadcast, Jones interviewed the rowers and asked them about conditions such as rain, strong winds, or breaking an oar. Each time the response was the same: “That’s outside my boat.” After hearing the same answer again and again, Jones realized that these Olympic athletes had a remarkable focus. In their attempt to win an Olympic medal, he writes, “They were interested only in what they could control… and that was what was going on inside their boat.” Everything else was beyond their control, and not worth the expense of mental energy that would distract them from their ultimate goal.

So, whats outside my boat? For the most part this is a fairly easy thing for me to do.  Those of you that know me know I am an incredible optimist and I am forever saying “stop worrying about things that aren’t in your control”.  And if it is something in control you shouldn’t worry about it either you should do something about it.

On the other hand, accepting that you can’t control something can be a different story.  One big thing popped into my mind immediately : I can’t control how other people react or treat me.  You see, I consider myself a good person.  I put other people first, I treat everyone well and I give my all for those I know.  At times I naively expect the same thing back and am often frustrated when that doesn’t happen.  For a reference point see the day 2 blog entry.

So in those situations I shouldn’t waste time wondering what I did, why they react negatively and what I could have done differently.  What I should do is realize I can’t control what and how they feel.  All I can do is be me and if they don’t like it then so be it.  Time to move on.  As a friend of mine says : “NEXT”.

So when you find yourself in situations where you can’t control the outcome, find a positive way to focus your energy and thoughts.  This is also a great way to keep stress down in your life.  It will put you in a better mood and those around you as well (yes most everyone can tell when someone else is stressed out).

Here are some other things I came up with that I can’t control and have to learn to deal with :

* Physical limitations : I can’t play basketball.  I just don’t have the skills or the height. And I’m ok with that. But what I can do I’m gonna do the best I can.

* Criticism/Rejection : Kind of like above, I can’t control when some likes or doesn’t like me or doesn’t like what I do or say, or even my body of work.  Again all I can do is the best I can and be happy with that.  However I will choose to surround myself with people that believe in me and will encourage me.  If someone doesn’t like you, accept it and NEXT them. 🙂

* Someone else’s choices : Not everyone has the same upbringing, morals, experience, and background.  Some people will make mistakes, over and over again, even when they ask for advice.  All you can do is be there for them and support them when you can.  If that doesn’t work then sometimes hard choices have to be made and it may be time to move on.

* As silly as it sounds, I can’t control traffic.  It’s part of living in Atlanta.  Sometimes a 15 minute trip turns into a 30 minute or 45 minute or even longer trip.  Getting stressed and complaining about it won’t make the traffic go away.

So what’s the purpose of this?  By realizing what I can’t control means I can focus my energy on things I CAN control and where I can make a difference.  That, my friend, is called EMPOWERMENT.  And that is what betterME is about — getting myself into a position where I make choices and put myself in places instead of relying on others.

So what’s on your list?  What can’t you control that you have to learn to deal with?  I wanna hear from ya !!  I challenge you to reply right now.  It takes less than a minute.  DO IT!  🙂

And for today the challenge is to have a day of rest!

And the weekly challenge for the coming week starting tomorrow is to Go Green where possible.

OK folks, heading into the last week and I feel good.  Thoughts?  Comments?  Other suggestions/challenges?

BTW, if you liked that “What’s in your boat” story check out the whole book.  It’s called “That’s Outside My Boat : Letting Go of What You Can’t Control” by Charles Jones.  You can get it at –

betterME Day 18 : A Stress Free day (NOT!)

Posted in Encouragement, Relationships, Social, Stress, Teamwork on June 18, 2011 by cklaslan

Sorry this post for yesterday is late, but it was a long day.  I’m at a client site for work completing a project and I was up till 3am and them back up at 9am this morning.

The goal for yesterday was to do what I could to relieve stress for someone else.  I’m not sure how to judge this one.  During the course of this project, of which there are several people are involved, many things went wrong.  Needless to say it could have easily been a panic situation for everyone, including the client.  There were hardware problems, database issues, network problems, and performance issues that deeply impacted the completion of the project (due by Monday morning).

Instead of wonking out, we all worked together as a team and divided up the problems so we could each research them.  We communicated often and effectively to let each other know what was going on, what we were about to do, and the results.  No one panicked.  By the time our minds were mush around 2:30am we had most of the problems resolved but there was a huge one we couldn’t find a solution for.  The result of that left the project limping along over night at 1/4th its capacity.  But everyone was happy with any progress.

We resumed this morning, put our heads to it, and we called in additional resources who provided us with a solution that not only worked, increased performance bu 30% over our previous tests!

So while I did help relieve someone else’s stress it wasn’t by direct actions but rather by team actions, working together, thinking level headed, not over reacting, and not panicking. So there you have it.  Those are the keys to relieving stress not only in yourself but others as well.  If you remain calm and focused, chances are others will be too 🙂

So the task for today is : to identify a weakness and seek ways to improve it.

That’s all for now.  I’ll try to post later tonight about today’s goal but it might be a day late as well.  And yup, probably a dollar short too!

Thanks for reading.  Comments please.  How about a challenge from the reading public?  I see the stats so I know you’re there.  Contributions to the challenge list are welcome.

Have a great Saturday !

betterME Day 7 : Randomness

Posted in Encouragement, Social on June 6, 2011 by cklaslan

So today’s challenge was a little strange.  The goal was to leave a random note of encouragement for someone to find.

I took this one to heart because I’ve always been one to be find encouragement in the randomness of the universe.  I know there is God and I know that He is in control, but I also know that there are some things that are in our control and left to our actions.  A smile here, a spoken thought, deja vu, reading something in a magazine or a card or some poster that bears meaning on your current situations.

So with that I created 9 little notes that had some of my favorite quotes and sayings on them along with a little note or question for the reader.  I left one in a coffee cup at Starbucks, a book at the bookstore, a magazine in Kroger, and on a pack of gum at QT. (no the image is not of any notes I wrote, just a stock image)

I still have some left and I will place a few tonight and I actually think this lifts my own spirits so I’ll continue this tomorrow as well since I stil have some left.

Will they be found? Will they have any bearing at all?  Was it a waste?  Who knows.  But I believe that the randomness pulls things together so yes I think if someone even smiles when they find it then it was well worth it.  Plus it kinda made me feel good just doing it, so if nothing else I benefited from it.

I also made progress on the weekly goal which was to smile and/or say “hi” to everyone I meet.  This one is kinda cool and already I’ve made a few observations however I want to continue this tomorrow to see if the same pattern continues.  I will go ahead and say that if you just walk around with a smile all the time you can’t help but feel happy 🙂  Give it a try!

RNG says tomorrows challenge is:

* to do something you haven’t done in a long time.

And of course I will continue the weekly challenge mentioned above.

OK readership — time for you to step it up.  Throw me a bone and send some challenges my way.  Those that know me it’s your chance.  Perhaps something for this weekend?

I leave you with one of the quotes I put on a note.  This quote comes from the former Pastor of the Church I attended in college.  If I had a mantra this would be it :

“It’s not your circumstances that determine your position and outlook in life, rather
it’s how you choose to repsond to them.”

Basically it says you and you alone are responsible for your mood and your attitude 🙂