“As we grow older, real beauty travels from the face to the heart, appeal turns to charm, hurt to wisdom, and great moments to shared memories. The true beauty of life is not how happy you are now, but how happy others are because of you.”
Image from Unsplash by Logan Weaver
How old are you?
When was the last time you took a good look in the mirror?
How does your self-appraisal compare when you view yourself from the inside versus the outside?
Without question, entropy is having its way with all of us and many of us are grasping desperately for our younger days.
Today’s quote can be a wonderful way to re-frame our perspective on the aging process.
It helps us see what we’ve been given and gained with all the days gone by.
How can you more fully embrace the process of aging and look to the happiness you have fostered in the lives of others along the way?
“Empower me to exercise the authority of honesty, and be a participant in the difficult ordinariness of now.”
—Ted Loder, Retired Methodist Minister
Image from Unsplash by Marek Studzinski
Before putting pen to paper, I read today’s quote a few dozen times to grasp its depth and significance. After exploring it in detail, I asked myself three questions:
- Who is doing the empowering?
- How can I better exercise the authority of honesty in my daily efforts?
- Where am I a full participant in the difficult ordinariness of now?
How can you apply the wisdom of this quote and strengthen your capacity to live a happier, more fulfilling life?
Feel free to reply to this post with your thoughts.
“To be happy you must let go of what’s gone, be grateful for what remains, and look forward to what is coming.”
Image from Unsplash by Towfiqu barbhuiya
How would you rate yourself on a one-to-ten scale of happiness?
How has this number varied over the last several years due to personal, professional, and global events?
Consider how today’s quote offers significant wisdom to level up your score with small mindfulness adjustments.
How can you more completely let go of what’s gone?
How can you more fully appreciate what you have?
What are the small and big things that you look forward to in the future?
“Contemplation often makes life miserable. We should act more, think less, and stop watching ourselves live.”
Image from Unsplash by Lucas Vasquez
Ed Kotch was the mayor of New York City from 1978 to 1989. In his efforts to be a good mayor and serve the city well, he would often ask How am I doing? to gain feedback and enhance his efforts.
How often do you evaluate your own efforts and contemplate how you are doing? Where are you judging yourself and making comparisons to others to see how you stack up? Where is this habit causing you misery?
How would taking yourself out from under your microscope of judgement free you up to simply act more and think less about your life?
How would assuming that you are doing just fine at being who you are help you be far happier and satisfied with your life?
“Out of moderation a pure happiness springs.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe, 17th Century German playwright, scientist, & statesman
Image from Unsplash by Aziz Acharki
Where did the concept of moderation go out the window over the holidays? Consider the following list and add some of your own:
- Food and drink
- Gift giving/spending money
- Staying up late and missing out on sleep
- Staying in bed and too much leisure
- Excessive media consumption
- Lack of physical activity
Where did getting out of balance present a cost that you regret? Where was the payoff worth it?
How and where might you pursue the happiness found in moderation as you settle into the rhythm of the new year?
Image from Unsplash by Sincerely Media
As we enter the new year, I hope that you are blessed with good health, happiness, and the opportunity to make a positive contribution to those around you.
Whether Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, the Solstice, or another year-end celebration, may these final days of 2022 bring you peace, joy, and hope for a healthy and prosperous new year.
“Happiness is like jam. You can’t spread even a little without getting some on yourself.”
Ella and Weston, Barry’s grandchildren
For the past few years my wife Wendy, our daughter Rachel, and I engage in a multi-day peach preserve project. With 75 pounds of Georgia’s best, we blanche, peel, chop, can, and seal over five dozen jars of this sweet precious goo.
Doing our best to avoid cuts, burns, and keeping our relationship intact, we always feel very satisfied when the job is done. Given Wendy’s generous nature, about four dozen go out as gifts to sweeten the lives of others throughout the year.
What are some ways that you plan to spread a little happiness around this holiday season and into the year ahead?
“So many conditions of happiness are available. You don’t have to run into the future in order to get more.”
—Thích Nhất Hạnh, late Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk
Image from Amazon
As part of my coaching process, I introduce my clients to a concept called “creative tension” coined by Robert Frisk in his book, The Path of Least Resistance from the early 90’s.
The idea that an envisioned or expected future has the power to excite and pull us toward it has been a classic and useful tool in leadership training and enrolling people in new opportunities for millennia. It turns out that people tend to be pretty happy and engaged when their efforts lead to progress toward a desired future.
This means of generating a sense of happiness is, however, not the only condition available to us.
How can you use your amazing memory as well as your mindfulness capacities to examine the past and present to bolster your ability to seek and find more happiness?
“Look beyond yourself, see a need and meet it.”
Image from Amazon
There seems to be a continuum between selfish and selfless tendencies for most of us. On one hand, sustainable happiness and life satisfaction are rarely seen by focusing solely on ourselves. On the other, the complete focus only on the needs of others — although noble — has been demonstrated to also have a down side, including burnout and health challenges.
Where do you see yourself between these two poles?
How do you meet your own needs to have the capacity to serve and support others in your communities?
Where and when is it appropriate to be SELF-ISH to meet your own needs, or to be OTHER-ISH to meet the needs of others? How would doing so meet your own need for purpose and a more meaningful life? Consider checking out Joshua Becker’s new book, Things That Matter, for additional ideas on this subject.