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Two Proven Keys to Happiness

happyThere’s a rising call for developed countries to track happiness, rather than just income and wealth. Economists say that the goal of a “rational actor” is to maximize his or her “utility” – their fancy term for happiness – over the course of his or her life. Perhaps governments are trying to catch up with the economists!

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Leicester University in England has tracked happiness for the past 30 years. Consistently, Denmark – not Disneyland – has topped their list as the happiest place on earth.

We wondered why … why are the people in Denmark so darn happy?

Is it the weather?

Average temperatures in Copenhagen are about 68 degrees in the summer and around zero in the winter. We don’t know about you, but that’s not our idea of great weather!

Is it the taxes?

Like her sister Scandinavian countries, Denmark has some of the highest taxes in the world. Now, granted those taxes are matched with some of the highest benefits for any citizenry.

Is it their lifestyle or their habits?

Danes are some the heaviest drinkers and smokers in the world?

Is it their diet?

One of the staples of the Danish diet is herring – this is a country that eats a lot of herring!

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marylynnSo it can’t be the diet, because … maybe it’s just my personal taste, but ick!

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georgeNow there a lot of theories about what makes the Danes so happy. One of my theories is that they drink so much, they don’t remember whether they’re happy or not!

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Seriously, theories are fine, but we thought we should look at what the research shows is driving this happiness.

Professor Kaare Christensen at the University of Southern Denmark found that Danes have low expectations. Because of this culture of expecting less, the people are happy when good things happen.

This made us think of something Tony Robbins said – if you’re not happy, you have a choice. You can either change your conditions or your expectations. But what if you don’t want to change your expectations?

Tal Ben-Shahar, who teaches the most popular class at Harvard University, found that the single most significant predictor of happiness is close relationships with friends and family. We found it interesting that 92 percent of Danes belong to some sort of social club.

Maybe that’s why social media has become so bigg! What do you think?

Sources

University of Leicester Produces the first ever World Map of Happiness

Why Danes are smug: comparative study of life satisfaction in the European Union

Denmark: The Happiest Place on Earth

Denmark ‘happiest place on earth’

The REAL Happiest Place on Earth

And The Happiest Place On Earth Is…

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Ben Franklin Got It Wrong

Change. A word that sparks fear in many people.

We work to get to that comfortable spot, and we want to stay there.

“Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”
Ben Franklin

We think he got it wrong, not in the message, but in the semantics. We think he should have explicitly included change as something that is certain, rather than making it implicit in his quote.  


Will you lead or follow?

Even when it’s change that we’re creating ourselves, it can be scary. But it’s especially frightening when it’s a surprise.

For example, picture Jane telling her boss that she’s accepted a new position. She’s going to experience change. But isn’t that more comfortable than Jane’s boss telling her that her job is being eliminated?

It’s better to be a leader of change than a follower.

Who’s in control?
However, you can’t always control change. What you can control all the time is how you choose to respond to it.

You can also try to anticipate it. For example, as technology continues to develop, change is occurring more and more rapidly. Isn’t it safe to assume that this will continue?

So you have a choice to make. You either develop the skills to anticipate change so you get ahead of it or you just respond to it, after the pain becomes too great to do anything else.

Bigg action item – Separate the change into fads and trends
There are fads and there are trends. Fads come and go, so don’t worry about them. Trends are long-term. Get on board with them.

Divide a sheet into two columns – one called “Fads” and the other called “Trends”.  In your chosen career, think about the things affecting your industry. Now start putting those changes into the appropriate column.

What will affect your future income? Something will – for good or for bad!

Is it a short-term phenomenon? Or is it likely to continue? You can position yourself properly by seeing the change coming.

What opportunities will be created? What skills will be important? Do you have them? Can you get them?

Develop a plan for what you need to do to position yourself to take advantage of the trends.

Where do I get this information?

We’ll look at two examples. Search for the name of your industry followed by the word “association”. For example, “beauty salon association” yielded a half-dozen or so associations in Google.

You can also subscribe to magazines for your industry, or just about any industry you’re interested in following. They’re often free, supported by the advertisers. Amazon has an excellent resource that lists magazines by industry. It’s an extensive list!

So there are a number of ways to get the information you need so you can embrace change rather than begrudge it.

 

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A Story about 1 Father and His 2 Sons with 3 Lessons for All of Us

By Bigg Success Staff
06-11-08

Life Skills

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There’s an old story about two boys who had a father who was an alcoholic. They grew into young men.

One son became an alcoholic. “What choice do I have?” he said. “My father is an alcoholic.”

The other son never touched a drop of alcohol. “How could I?” he said. “Look what it did to my father.”

From this simple story, we see three lessons:

We are all role models.

Like it or not, other people look at how we behave and model their lives after us. John Wooden, the great basketball coach, wrote a wonderful poem that goes like this:

A careful man I want to be,
A little fellow follows me;
I do not dare to go astray,
For fear he’ll go the self-same way.

It’s something that we need to keep in mind for all the people we care about and influence.

We can learn from others.
It’s much better to learn a lesson from someone else’s experience than to have to experience it ourselves. And that even applies to our parents. They aren’t perfect either. We can look to them for an example – in some cases it may be a positive one; in others it won’t be. Either way, we can take away direction in how to live our lives.

We all have the power to choose.
We don’t always get to choose what happens to us or around us, but we can choose how we respond.  We can’t control the circumstances, but we have total and complete control over our reaction.

These two sons started in the same place, with the same circumstances. However, they chose completely different paths as a result of their situation.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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3 Action Items to Increase Your Productivity

In a new study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a group of researchers surveyed 58 random people in a shopping mall. These researchers asked the participants to recall the decisions they had made that day. Then the researchers asked the participants to solve some simple math problems. They found that the more decisions a participants had made, the less likely they were to solve the problems.

 

There appears to be a price to making decisions – we become less productive as we make more decisions. And boy, do we have to make a lot of decisions today!

A six item grocery list
Picture yourself in a grocery store holding a list with six items – orange juice, bagels, Philadelphia cream cheese, Crest toothpaste, Coke, and lettuce.

In 1970, with that list you would have had a choice of 50 items. By 1998, you would need to filter through 250 different products just to get all the items on your list.

This comes from the spectacular book, Simplicity Marketing: End Brand Complexity, Clutter, and Confusion by Steven M. Cristol and Peter Sealey.

Think about it – that was 1998. Do you think it’s any better now?

3 bigg action items to simplify decision making

#1 – Make a list that’s specific.

So specific in fact, that you could send someone else and get exactly what you want. Studies show that people who shop with a list don’t buy as many impulse items so they tend to spend less money.

More importantly, it saves you time and mental fatigue as the studies showed.

#2 – Set a time limit when you’re making a major decision.

Before you begin doing research for a bigg decision, set a time limit. Once you’re satisfied with your findings or once you reach your time limit, make a decision.

As an example, we recently set up the web site for Bigg Studio, a sister company to Bigg Success, for audio production services. We needed to decide on the design for the site. There were an endless number of possibilities. We chose one that fit our criteria and moved on.

Here’s another tip that we love – get out your magic 8 ball. Ask it if you made the right decision. Look at its answer and see how you feel about it. This taps into your intuition about the decision which makes getting to the decision you’re most comfortable easier.

If you like this idea, here are a couple of links you might find helpful:

  • 400 Get Out Your Magic 8 Ball to Make Your Next Important Decision]
    This is one of our articles that explains why this works in more detail.

#3 – Become a partner in stress relief for the important people in your life.
Get to know the preferences of the people who depend on you, like your customers, your co-workers, your boss, and your significant other. Weed through all the options and present them with just a few.

The authors of Simplicity Marketing make the point that

“the next generation of positioning successes will belong to those brands that relieve customer stress.”

So there’s a significant opportunity in the future for people and companies who are able to simplify things. This applies not just to your company brand, but also to your personal brand.

This is one of the things we try to do here at Bigg Success. We try hard to sort through all the information out there and deliver to you those few things we’ve found to be the most important.

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Can You Read People?

By Bigg Success Staff
05-07-08

Test Yourself

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Test your instincts about people by with these short videos. In each video, you’ll meet a person who tells you a little bit about themselves. Once their story ends, you’ll be given a multiple choice question. See if you can get the right answer!

Click here to see the videos

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Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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