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How to Be Happy Today

ways to be more happy | BIGG SuccessIn her wonderful book, The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want, Sonja Lyubomirsky tells you how to be happy today.

She shares twelve simple activities to attract happiness. We’ve listed them here for you along with our thoughts on each one.

1) Expressing gratitude

If you haven’t done so already, start today building a habit of gratitude. Be thankful for all your riches. Research has shown that gratitude leads to reaching your goals.

2) Cultivating optimism

We all have a tendency one way or the other. Listen carefully to yourself. If you tend to put a pessimistic spin on things, break the habit. Optimism brings many benefits.

3) Avoiding overthinking and social comparison

Comparing yourself to others will cost you now and in the future. If you stack up favorably, you may get overconfident. You may not push as hard. If others are doing better than you, you may feel disheartened.

Stop looking at others. Look only at your personal and professional progress and take action accordingly.

4) Practicing acts of kindness

When you help people, you help yourself. It’s like a drug. In fact, the term “helper’s high” has been coined to describe the endorphin rush experienced by acts of kindness.

5) Nurturing social relationships

Life comes down to two things: relationships and experiences. Sure, you can experience things alone. Some of the time, you should!

But wouldn’t you rather share your invigorating experiences with people you love? Building relationships is one of the most important activities if you want to reach BIGG success.

6) Developing strategies for coping

The single, biggest difference between people who reach BIGG success and those who don’t is perseverance. Everybody runs full-speed ahead into a wall from time to time. Everyone has bad days.

All of us feel discouraged at times. The most successful find ways to deal with it.

7) Learning to forgive

It’s not easy to forgive someone who has seriously wronged you. It is necessary, however. As long as you don’t forgive them, you hold on to them. You’re stuck in the past.

Move on. Get rid of this mental clutter.

8) Increasing flow experiences

Flow is when you get so caught up in an activity that the world goes into suspension. Time passes without a care. You are completely immersed in the task at hand.

If you can’t find this flow in your work, get a hobby. In fact, get a hobby anyway. It’s what the most successful people do.

9) Savoring life’s joys

While this one is closely related to the first one, there is a reason to include it separately. It emphasizes the importance of moving out of the complex world to see things more simply. It will help you rediscover your creativity!

10) Committing to your goals

Losers make promises; winners make commitments. We discussed this a little bit under the sixth point. But the key here is to understand the link between your goals and your vision.

11) Practicing Religion and Spirituality

You are a three-in-one: body, mind, and spirit. You need to feed all three if you want to achieve the most happiness. Believe in a power greater than yourself. And realize that peace on earth begins with you.

12) Taking Care of Your Body

We get busy. We often fail to take care of our bodies the way we should. The two of us struggle with this one as we press for our own BIGG success.

But then we remind ourselves, that it only takes five minutes. It may not be ideal, but it’s better than nothing!

We like the fact that these twelve activities were all framed in the active tense. The song tells us, “Don’t worry, be happy.”

The better way of thinking is: Take action. Be happy today. Now that’s BIGG success!

What makes you happy?

Image in this post from stock.xchng

These People Just Do Not Get It

optimists There is a group of people that most people just don’t understand. They face the same problems we all face …

… but they just don’t get it. They don’t get how bad these problems are this time around.

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When they listen to the news, it’s the same news we all hear.

But they just don’t get it … how bad the news really is.

They have the same concerns for themselves and their families that we all have. But there is one difference between this group and the majority of people …

They think their lives are going to get better this year! The future is bright. So bright, they probably wear shades! They think the economy will turn around.

And there’s a startling number of Americans who think this way. In fact, according to a recent survey, more than one-third of all Americans are in this group. And only one out of five people said they worry about the economy on a daily basis.

Are they tuning out?

So what do you think? Are these people who think their personal situation will improve this year nuts? Or do you think they’re onto something? Or maybe they’re on something?

Here’s what they may not be on … they may not be reading, watching, or listening to the news! Bad news does seem to be good news to the news media. We’ve spoken with a large number of people over the last month or so who say they’ve tuned out the news.

Sometimes that’s a good coping mechanism. If you’re tired of hearing gloom and doom, it might be more productive to focus on something more positive.

Challenge spells opportunity

We put ourselves in this group of optimistic people. We think things will get better this year. That’s not to say we won’t still see some hiccups, but it appears that there is significant strength just below the surface.

While we face some major challenges right now, that spells opportunity for bigg goal-getters. But don’t expect to win a spelling bee if you spell it that way!

Getting real

The article we mentioned earlier cites some of the benefits of being an optimist. On average, optimists get sick less, live longer, and appear to have a higher quality of life.

This is consistent with other research we’ve seen on the benefits of being an optimist. Seeing the glass half-full does seem to pay off. But while it’s important to look for the silver lining in any dark cloud, and we don’t think it pays to be pessimistic, we also think that we should be realistic.

We have to sort through all the information in front of us to try to determine what the objective reality is. To make sure that our perceptions aren’t creating a bias as we look at a particular situation.

Because we’re more likely to make mistakes if we’re overly optimistic. We’ll see opportunities that aren’t really there. And unfortunately, we must admit that we’re speaking from experience here.

But pessimists miss out on opportunities because they either don’t see it or they don’t act on what they see.

Bigg goal-getters are an optimistic group. While one-third of the people in this survey said they think things will get better this year, we bet that the overwhelming majority of our community would put themselves in that category.

And that’s a good thing … as long as we filter our optimism with a healthy dose of realism. Be positively real. That’s the recipe for bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Join us next time when we discuss why you should stop trying to fit into the world. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today’s post by lusi)

Do You Make Your Friends Happy?

happy_people A recent study of happiness showed that the birds you flock with make a bigg difference. Nicholas Christaskis with the Harvard Medical School and James Fowler from the University of California at San Diego found that the more connections you have with happy people, the more likely you are to be happy.

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It cuts both ways

They likened it to a quilt. If the person in the patch next to you is unhappy, it increases the likelihood that you’ll also be happy by seven percent.

If the person next to you is happy, it increases the odds that you’ll be happy by fifteen percent. It’s interesting to note that we seem to have some resilience to unhappy people since happy people tend to rub off twice as often as unhappy people.

But the good news is that is doesn’t stop there. If the person who knows the person next to you (i.e. the person two patches away) is happy, the probability that you’ll also be happy increases ten percent. So happy people one step removed still increases the odds that you’ll be happy more than that unhappy person next to you!

In a quest to find out how happy we could be once we get to Kevin Bacon’s patch (six patches of separation) on the quilt, the researchers found that if the person three blocks away is happy, your chances of being happy increase six percent.
Happiness is contagious!

4 questions to discover if you spread happiness

To determine if someone was happy, the researchers asked four questions. During the past week, how often …

  1. Did you enjoy life?
  2. Were you happy?
  3. Did you feel hopeful about the future?
  4. Did you feel that you were just as good as other people?

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marylynnI feel blessed because I have positive responses to each and every one of these questions. I guess I’m a happy person.

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georgeI think I’m a happy person as well. In fact, if I remember right, I was voted the “Happiest” person in high school! But when I look closely at these questions, it makes me think. Like the first question … I enjoy my life, but how often do I stop and recognize it?

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This study was released recently, but imagine how you might have responded if you were asked the third question at the height of the financial crisis. Uncertainty creates fear, but as these questions show, it’s important to remain optimistic in any environment. That’s where happy people come in – they’ll help you have a brighter outlook no matter what the situation!

There’s one more benefit to hanging out with happy people. The researchers reference a study done in 1984 that showed that having an extra $5,000 increased a person's chances of being happy by about two percent. Based on those results and the results of this study, the researchers conclude that a happy friend is worth $20,000!

They say a happy friend is worth $20,000. We’ll borrow from MasterCard – we think having a happy friend is … priceless!

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We really appreciate you checking in with us today. Join us next time when we discuss the three categories of spending. Keeping them in mind will keep your budget in line! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
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(Image in today's post by merala)

3 Strategies Small Businesses Can Use to Gain an Advantage in Bad Times

A recent study by Intuit, the software giant behind QuickBooks, Quicken, and TurboTax, found that three-fourths of small business owners expect to grow this year, in spite of all the talk about a recession, corporate layoffs, and consumers cutting back.

Now, it’s probably safe to say that small business owners are a relatively optimistic group. Part of their optimism, though, comes from that fact that two-thirds of the people surveyed said they had survived a recession before. They’ve done it by putting their customers first and focusing on their finances.

georgeWhen I first started studying entrepreneurship, my perception was that large companies created the jobs. Our colleges train us to work in bigg business. It’s true that large companies tend to hire a lot of people during boom times, as do small companies. But during tough economic times, large companies cut back. Interestingly, small companies tend to pretty much hold their own.

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marylynn If you’re keeping an eye on the news, you see that a lot of large companies are cutting marketing and even customer service. They’re cutting jobs and even entire departments. They’re streamlining.

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As numerous studies have shown, the net effect of this is that, over the course of the business cycle, almost all new jobs come from small businesses.

Opportunities created by large businesses for small businesses in bad times

As large companies make cuts, astute small businesses can gain an advantage by using any or all of the following three strategies:

#1 – Turn bigg companies into your customers.
They’re reviewing their operations. If what they cut is what you do – it’s your service – market to them! They may still need that service in some capacity … take advantage of it!

#2 – Recruit their talent
A lot of the people they’re laying off are very talented. These are people that you may have never been able to get before. Recruit that talent. Provide them with a nice place to fall.

They may look for something more stable or some place where they feel more of a sense of ownership. Your business could be the answer they’re looking for!

#3 – Go after the large company’s small customers.
With the cuts they’re making, they have few resources to take care of their customers. It’s the old 80/20 rule – they’re likely to super-serve the 20% of their customers that constitute 80% of their sales. Then they may cut back on service for all the rest.

Go after these customers that are facing reduced service. They may be a small account to a large company, but they may be one of your biggest customers!

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How to Get Noticed in Job Market 2.0

Today on The Bigg Success Show, we welcomed Phil Rosenberg. Phil is the founder of reCareered, a career coaching service that helps job searchers get past the biggest challenge in today’s competitive jobs market – to get noticed.

 

Phil, what does reCareered mean?

 

 

It means someone who is seeking a job change, or trying to revitalize their career, or someone who is between jobs and wants help with how the job markets have changed in the last eight years or so.

 

How has the job market changed?

 

 

Eight years ago, the majority of resumes were delivered on paper. Around 2000, it changed to where most resumes were delivered digitally.

 

And how does that change the resume itself?

 

 

It changes it completely. The paper-based resume had to be static. The only way to customize it was by a cover letter. A digital resume can be searched. It also increased the number of resumes that went into most companies, by as many as ten-fold.

 

We always hear about search engine optimization and how you want to rank at the tops of the pages for Google. But apparently you can do the same for your resume … it can be optimized?

 

You bet, and it’s especially critical in today’s world. Most major employers get thousands of resumes for each job, but they only staff to look at twenty to thirty. That’s two to three percent. So your goal, in submitting your resume today, is getting to the top two or three percent. Through resume search optimization, you can manage that process rather than have it be random. My strategy with my clients is to make a resume a single-use document – to have it infinitely customizable so that you’re gaming the search engine and forcing it higher up the search page.

 

How do we make a good impression right upfront?

 

 

There’s been research from the University of Toledo and Stanford University that states that interview decisions are made within the first two to thirty seconds. That blew me away. The rest of the interview is just somebody justifying their initial decision. So it’s a “gut feel” decision that may occur even before you shake hands. It’s all about preparation. Learn about your client – how they communicate (verbally and non-verbally), how they dress, how they look. If you want a job, go to a place that’s close to their office and sit there during lunch. Talk to people from that company who are getting lunch there. On a Friday night, go to Happy Hour at a bar close to their office and talk to people from that company. When you talk to them, watch their body movements. What’s the tone they use? What’s the speed they use to talk? You can also do that with their written communication – their web site, annual reports, press releases. The key to all this is communicating to your audience that it seems like you already work there.

 

It reminds me of the book, Guerilla Selling. It’s all about learning about your customer, in that case, but in the case the employer you’re going after – getting as much information as you can, wherever you can. It’s amazing how much information you can gather.

 

Sure. That’s also an effective way to use LinkedIn, Facebook or your own personal network. Chances are you have contacts within that company. A lot of people only use those contacts to see what jobs are available and to ask them to pass their resume along. They leave out some of the greatest uses of a network – talking to people within an organization to find out what an organization is like and what the communication style is like. Listening for how they’re answering questions rather than just what they’re saying.

 

This is fantastic advice because you do want to fit in. It’s all about mimicking. When you’re at an interview, should you sit up straight and lean forward or should you try to have your body language be similar to the body language of the interviewer? From what I’ve read, you should try to mimic that person.

 

That’s exactly what you’re doing – it’s called mirroring. You’re trying to show that you fit in. You speak the same language. You’re really trying to act like you already work at the company. It takes a ton of preparation. A lot of people aren’t willing to put that preparation in, but the people who do get a huge, almost an unfair, advantage.

Phil's links

You can get free daily job tips from Phil at his blog or visit his main site, reCareered, the place for resume search optimization and job search 2.0. 

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