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The greatest gift is to give people your enlightenment, to share it -- Buddha

>> 27 February 2009

Have you ever had an a-ha moment?

You know, a moment when suddenly little bits and pieces of life fall together and make you realize something?

I had one yesterday.

I was at work, in a good mood, smiling. I felt like I was in a bubble; a positive, happy bubble that allowed me to work easily and get things done.

I noticed that my mood, attitude and intention seemed to change the way things were happening and people were reacting around me.

One colleague seemed particularly stressed and in a bad, sighing and complaining mood. I knew what was coming: complainers come in, tell you their horrible story, complain and expect you to join in.

I was not going to have any of that.

I smiled. I kept hold of my happy mood. I listened.

And then I said "You know, I can feel that you are in a terrible situation and what happened really bothers you. If you cannot change the situation around, you can always change your attitude and reaction towards it. You decide whether this bothers you. You decide whether you complain or instead do something about it. You always have the choice."

This colleague is one of the many I never really discuss anything other than work. And he first looked at me funny. Then he smiled and laughed and said "You know, you are right... It's just that this and this happened and I have been through this and this...". He still managed to continue his complaint thread.

"Calm down," I said. " breathe. Let it go. If you want to hold on to it, than that is your decision not the other person's." - Pause - "You're right, you're right." he said and laughed, wandering back to his office - with a smile on his face.

Whether this smile was due to what I had said and made him realize, or whether he just thought it was weird and astonishing that I, who never had more than professional conversations with him, would all of a sudden give him personal advice, I don't know. And I don't mind either way. For either way is positive.

I still had my good mood and my smile and did not let myself get dragged into the complaining habit.

Many people rather complain than ask for what they want. Complaining keeps them in the problem rather than getting them towards the solution. They feel their ego increasing because they make someone or something wrong, hence elevating themselves to a higher, better level. It becomes a habit and a vicious circle.

14 ways to be and stay happy and have a positive effect on other people:

  1. Get up ever morning saying "Today is going to be a great day."

  2. Set powerful intentions for the day: I will be happy, inspiring, encouraging, creative etc today.

  3. Smile. It's contagious. It creates an atmosphere. It makes a good impression. It is worth more than words. It's a free facelift...If you are sad or angry, force your smile and it will start changing your mood.

  4. Decide to go complaint free. It is very difficult. But you can start by refusing to join in other people's complaining. And ask yourself each time "Can I change this?" If the answer is yes, then change it. If the answer is no, then stop complaining about it for it's not going to change.

  5. Be a radiator instead of a drain. Not the most common English language metaphor, but very much to the point here: be someone who radiates energy, dynamism, who is positive instead of someone who is negative, a drain on other people's energy, always criticizing.

  6. Move instead of brood. Say you were humiliated. Will you let this control your life, will you brood endlessly and remain stuck in this moment or feeling? Or can you set it aside and keep moving towards something better?

  7. Stop living a life of quiet desperation.

  8. Encourage others to be brilliant.

  9. Share your knowledge. Do not use 'knowledge is power' to justify a reluctance to share information because some form of advantage can be gained through the use or manipulation of knowledge. This seems to be a big issue at many workplaces. Start with giving information yourself and you will see that it is reciprocated.

  10. Have a positive influence on your colleagues. Prevent colleagues from taking offense to your intervention, thinking that you are telling them how to do their job or believing that you see them as incompetent and take that personally.

  11. Talk about it before it gets too big and starts leading a life of its own. Sometimes problems that seem big are actually really small. It is our emotions that change our perception. Whenever a problem appears, tackle it right there and then. Talk about the feelings you have, encourage others to do the same. Bring in a mediator if emotions get too big.

  12. Change your perspective. By creating new perceptions, you can actually create new realities. When entering a situation or meeting a new person, you may have preconceived ideas or feelings. You may have the whole thing figured out already. Take note of this (don't judge) and consciously change your perspective. Try to look at it from a completely different angle. Say you're a homeless person. How would that change the situation or meeting this person?

  13. Don't try to stop the negative. Just start doing and seeing the positive. We all have our negative thoughts and actions. We all have a tendency to complain, to not feel worthy. Instead of trying to change this negativism, try to focus on the good. This bad situation or problem may give you the opportunity to start something completely different. If you don't feel worthy, start by looking at little things that are positive.

  14. Don't judge too quickly. Many situations are not always what they seem at first glace.

"Most folks are about as happy
as they make up their minds to be."

--Abraham Lincoln


Sheila @ Dr Cason.org 27 February 2009 at 11:41  

I was 18 years old when my father sat me down and explained this philosophy. I was shocked and intrigued and since have been interested in my role in my so-called unhappiness.

Great article!

Mindful Mimi 27 February 2009 at 21:37  

@ Sheila: Wow, what a great dad to explain such philosophical profoundness to an 18 year old girl. You can be proud of him. I think it is a message we should convey to our children from an early age on. If we live by this ourselves, I am sure it is passed on to them. I also think that no matter at what age someone tells you this 'secret', you have to come by this knowledge yourself at the point in time of your life that is right for you. Some people 'get it' early, for some it takes years. And it is not something you just 'have' even though you understand the principle. It is something you work at (I prefer to call it 'create') every day.

Anonymous,  27 February 2009 at 23:43  

Happiness and a lobster. Hey, wanted to say hello. Hreb from new jersey, author of " The lobster and the chicken" a fable for adults in search of enlightenment.I found you because I get "enlightenment" and "lobster" alerts on google. I like your Abraham Lincoln quote " Most folfs are about as happy as they make up there minds to be. My book is a spiritual relationship book and the journey were on to enlightenment and finding our "inner lobsters" and "inner chickens" Enjot the journey, in the end that all we really have. Herb www.lobsterandchicken.com

Mindful Mimi 1 March 2009 at 09:34  

@ Hreb from New Jersey: it always amazes me how people find certain pages via the web :-) It is great that you wrote this fable and I sure will check it out. Wanted to point you to an interesting initiative of a children's book bazar.
Thanks for stopping by.

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