The Key to Creating More Joy in Your Work

“Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.” ~Sarah Bernhardt                        Ten years ago, when I first moved to China, I came as an English teacher at a university. I hadn’t the faintest clue as to how I would teach and I only had one year of experience as a teaching assistant in graduate school. At the beginning, I was completely out of my element. In fact, I woke up the following morning after arrival in my new apartment only to realize that I had no food, couldn’t say anything in Chinese, and had no idea where to get something to eat. For me, everything was uncharted territory, especially my new career. After settling in, I tried to do a good job of teaching, and I truly did care for my students. However, having hundreds of different students and seeing each group for less than an hour per week, I did not see how I could make much difference. Because of this, I lost my motivation and never really gave it my all. I could find no reason to excel at what I was doing because I couldn’t see how I could have any impact. I became apathetic about what could have been a wonderful occupation. I dreaded waking up in the morning and dragging myself to class. When making a lesson plan, I would just throw something together that I thought might be sufficient. In class, I just wanted to get it over with and move on with my day. I rarely stuck around to converse with my students and I often complained about my work. I did what was necessary just to get by. I gave very little of myself and got very little in return. My profession became a job to trudge through. You Get What You Give Years later I began to work on improving myself. Naturally, this included my own job and I began to search for a way to transform my work into something better, something more meaningful. And I found the answer. Fast-forward a few years, and everything changed. When preparing classes, I would construct course plans with meticulous care and would repeatedly practice how best to deliver them. I would wake up each morning at 5:00am to make sure that I was physically and mentally wide awake and ready to give it my all, every single day. Before each class, I would talk to myself and whip myself up into a state of excitement, determined to make every class a masterpiece. I started to feel genuinely excited on my way to class and felt great joy upon entering the classroom. I would stay afterward and speak with students, who were always full of questions for me. Increasingly, I was able to see through the eyes of the learner. And, by being able to put myself in their shoes, I knew what needed to be done and how to execute it. [...]

2018-11-27T18:08:54+00:00 By |

7 Ways to Make Your Workday Awesome

“When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” ~Wayne Dyer   I wish my first real boss had read the book Fish. It’s the story of Mary Jan Ramirez, a young widow who took a job managing the least productive and most negative department of First Guarantee Financial, in Seattle, Washington. In fact, the department was referred to as the “toxic waste dump” of the company. One day she had an epiphany as she observed workers in “Pike Place Fish Market,”—people who had smelly, nasty jobs of cleaning, wrapping, cooking, and serving fish to an overflow crowd. This team was having a great time and were the reason for the overflow crowd. She found the owner and began a several-month relationship during which she learned how to make the workplace both fun and productive. My first real job was when I was a student at USC, studying computer science and game/app design and minoring in media communications. I took a part-time job with a small local consulting firm that handled digital marketing campaigns for small businesses—maintaining their blogs and their social media platforms, user testing designs and specific strategies, and so forth. The owner of the firm was a sour man. He assigned tasks and deadlines to all of us, discouraged collaboration, and seemed only to come out of his office to “bark” at someone. While the creativity portion of the work was personally rewarding, the office itself was a bleak, stark den of unhappy people. Fortunately, he was gone quite a bit, meeting with prospects and managing current ones (I don’t know how he made any sales—perhaps he had a split-personality), and we were like those bad children who came out to play when he left. I was determined to make my workday more pleasant, and hopefully the days of my co-workers, so I began to add things to the environment. The result? We began to have some fun at work and, despite, the disapproving looks of Mr. Sour Man, he could not argue with success. Everyone was more productive. If you are in such a situation, I urge you to take a look at the suggestions below. They really do work. 7 Strategies to Help You Transform Your Workday You may actually like your work, and you may already feel that you are plenty productive; on the other hand, you may not really like your work that much and are the first one out the door when you workday is over. You can change that, however, by adding these seven easy elements. 1. Bring just a bit of fun to your workplace. In the morning, while you have you coffee, get online and find a great joke. Type it up, make copies, get in early, and put it on everyone’s desk—anonymously. If that’s not possible, post it on the inside doors of the restroom stalls or on the mirrors; post it in the lounge and by [...]

2018-11-27T17:17:08+00:00 By |

4 Things You Need to Know When Pursuing An Ambitious Dream

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” ~Christopher Reeve Have you ever decided to pursue something that excited you, that seemed really hard to do, and then had your will tested and almost crushed? I have, many times, most recently this year. As you may recall, I shared a blog post in January about the newly formed Tiny Buddha Productions, a film company I started with my fiancé, fellow screenwriter Ehren Prudhel. If you haven’t read that post yet, you may want to read that now. Go ahead—it’s here. I’ll wait. Welcome back! A lot has happened in the six months since we decided to make a short film about loneliness and connection. We’ve faced delays, and drama, and disappointment. We’ve questioned ourselves, our idea, and our potential. And we even considered scrapping the whole thing when it all seemed far harder, and success far less likely, than we once imagined it would be. But we’ve pushed forward, in spite of the fears and the discomfort. We’ve waded through the guck of insecurity and uncertainty. And here we are, about to start filming our first short film tomorrow. As I sit here with a goofy perma-grin on my face, I’d like to share a little of what I’ve learned over the past six months. If you’re pursuing a dream, and feeling overwhelmed, uncertain, self-doubting, and scared, perhaps some of my lessons will help. 1. There’s no shame in being green. I knew going into this there was a ton I didn’t know. Although I’d studied acting and writing in college, I didn’t study screenwriting, and I had no experience producing a film or working on a set. In addition to what I didn’t know, there was a lot I didn’t know I didn’t know—stuff about permits, and insurance, and securing locations. Every part of this has been a learning process for me, and that can feel incredibly vulnerable. It’s easy to feel insecure and embarrassed when you’re working with experienced people and you feel a little ignorant. But when I took my ego out of the equation and stopped worrying about what other people might think of me, I realized how fun it is to be at the beginning of a journey. It reminds me of when I was in college, and I felt excited about everything—being on campus in Boston, meeting new people, learning from them, getting to share my work, and imagining possibilities for the future. Would I feel more confident if I were an expert? Sure. But there’s nothing like the enthusiasm you feel when you’re just starting out. Some day I will be an expert, and I can only hope I’ll maintain this electric passion I feel right now. If you too are at the beginning, remember: This feeling won’t last forever, so soak up the best and don’t worry about the worst. No one loses respect [...]

2018-11-27T16:20:30+00:00 By |

5 Hidden Blessings in Failure

“Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck.” ~ Dalai Lama   Recently I received some “bad” news; after years of studying and a nerve-wracking exams’ procedure, I didn’t make it to the list of the lucky few selected for the upper level public administration job posts. Having always tried to keep up with a job that made good use of my law degree, while at the same time pursuing my career as a writer, there were times when I questioned whether a law-related job was actually my true calling. At the time, trying for the public administration exams had seemed like a “best of both worlds” scenario. So, having finally made the difficult decision to take a leap of faith and change my career path, the outcome was certainly not what I had hoped for. Thus, I was faced with two options: either shrivel up in a corner by the heater, bawling my eyes out for one more shattered dream, or finally establish these new neural pathways I’ve been striving to build this past year of awakening and see the situation for what it really was. The expected, rather self-pitying reaction was looking at me with tearful puppy eyes, begging me to indulge in it. But this time I chose the new way. After the initial disappointment, I took a deep breath and tried to focus on the truth of things—that I had done my best for this job opening, and the outcome I was about to fret over was out of my control. I recognized then that I could not change what had happened and I had to accept it. Not surrender, but accept. As I’ve navigated my recent setback, I’ve pinpointed five ways failure can actually be beneficial. 1. You come to terms with what you can control and what you cannot. In short, you get to have a first-class, one-on-one encounter with your ego. Because it is your ego, not your true self, that demands to control every single outcome of every single plan and effort you make. According to Jungian psychology, the ego is made of our own beliefs and ideas about ourselves, whether true or false. That’s why the ego’s very existence depends upon keeping these beliefs intact; it cannot allow them to come crumbling down. For example, you might think of yourself as the best at your job; so when you end up fretting for days over a mistake you might have made at work, this is your ego trying to control something that is out of its power. In my recent exams’ case, I too could have barricaded myself behind my belief that I normally perform well at academics, and allowed my ego to keep nagging me about my not attaining my goal—but this time I chose perspective, not ego. Preparing for a job interview or exam? You can minimize your potential errors by studying thoroughly and keeping yourself in good [...]

2018-11-19T15:21:46+00:00 By |

My Life Is Boring

“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   Are you bored? Or more specifically, is your life boring? Do you feel stuck in your life? Is it hard for you to actually have fun? Don’t worry because I know how you feel. It seems we do the same things every day. So, for most of us, life is busy. However, we’re certain that there are times when we’re stuck at home, bored. We’ve all been there, when all our work is finished, or maybe everyone’s away and you’re home alone and bored. Today, let’s do something new and different. I would like to share with you 10 things to do when life gets bored.   Go on a walk/run. Challenge yourself to leave your cell phone in your purse or pocket. Admire the view. Create a Vision Board. (Write down 5 things that you want to accomplish by next month.) Strengthen your brain (Read/Listen to books.) Become a member of a fitness gym. Provide service to others. (Help someone in your community.) Host a game night. (Invite your friends over for a fun night of board games.) Clean out your closet. (Make a trash pile, a donate pile, and a keep pile.) Challenge yourself. (Set some goals for yourself that you never really thought of achieving and set out to accomplish them.) Get out of the house and meet new people. (One of the absolute best ways to rid yourself of boredom is through stimulating conversation.) Cook for fun. (If you don't really consider yourself a baker, look online for some beginner recipes and you will surely find something easy and delicious.)   “Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours."  – Dale Carnegie   The world and life – both are small. Go and enjoy every bit of it. Don’t miss the good things in life, worrying about the undesired. Stop being bored, and start being creative.   When life is boring, I hope you'll use these ideas to help you get out of any slump.   #AlrightNow #BreakOut

2019-02-15T13:28:16+00:00 By |

How a Hobby Can Boost Your Motivation and Change Your Life

“If you want to be happy, be.” ~Leo Tolstoy   We’ve all hit a low motivational point in our lives at one time or another. I am completely aware of that feeling of having nothing to fight for. In those reoccurring periods of despondency, I couldn’t find a reason to get myself out of bed. It’s funny that I got the life-changing question at a job interview. It was a stressful situation, and the hiring manager made it even more overwhelming when he looked at me straight in the eyes and asked: “What motivates you in life?” I can’t remember what I answered, but I do remember the devastation I felt from the true answer I found in me: “Nothing, nothing motivates me.” That was the turning point. Lots and lots of meditations later, I realized where all that frustration was coming from: I didn’t have a single thing that made me happy. Why was I so incomplete? I couldn’t get a job that made me feel useful, and all my friendships were superficial. I’ll spare you from the details of my reasoning process. I didn’t read, I didn’t write, I wasn’t trying to learn anything, I didn’t have a special someone in my life, and I didn’t have a hobby. A HOBBY! The sole thought of it made me burst in laughter. I’d never had a hobby. I basically had nothing to lose, so I decided I would give this idea a try. Picking a hobby was all I needed to do, and that’s how I ended up making endless reading lists. I found different reasons why I needed a hobby: It helps people express their creativity. I had an office job at the moment, and I was a total slave of routine. I needed that ‘escape’ activity that left me alone with my thoughts. I was already meditating every day, but I couldn’t call that a hobby… it was more like a responsibility for me. And, to be honest, it was making me even more miserable: I knew I needed a and I knew I didn’t have the courage to leave my job. A hobby like gardening, jewelry making, painting, knitting, or anything else related to creating would allow me to keep touch with the inner artist. That special activity clarifies the mind. It doesn’t matter what hobby I would pick. My options included reading, yoga, piano playing, running, or walking—all these activities have a meditative effect on the thoughts. The entire awareness is focused on the thing we are doing, and we can shut out every negative thought that was present before. In a way, when the hobby merges action and awareness, it becomes meditation in motion. Most hobbies have a social aspect. They give us the opportunity to interact with people who share our interests, so we develop connections that are not shallow at all. Let me tell you a secret: I have great communication with the people I met through [...]

2018-10-25T19:06:46+00:00 By |

What’s Your Risk-Taking IQ? Research Suggests How Much Risk We’re Willing to Take is Pre-Wired

Tips on How to Be a Bolder You!   Have you ever wondered what drives people to take certain risks, such as going bungee jumping or risking a financial gamble? While a person’s tendency to take risks will often vary, a new study has proven that over time a stable general factor affects general risk preference. Swiss and German researchers have recently finished a study that looked into this general factor of individual risk preference, “which remains stable over time” and is similar to the general Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The study, which was published in two journals (Science Advances and Nature Human Behaviour) was based on findings that involved 1,500 participants. (Related: Preventable Lifestyle Risks Kill More Than One Million Americans Yearly.) Individuals often make life-changing decisions based on various factors, but we don’t really know the nature of the risk preference that significantly affects risk-related decisions. Does a person’s risk preference have anything to do with the context or is it mostly the same even in different scenarios? It looks like the answer to both questions is “yes,” and findings from a large-scale study done by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin and the University of Basel, which was accomplished with funding from the Swiss National Science Foundation, has the data to prove this. The Swiss and German researchers used three unique approaches to evaluate the risk preferences of 1,507 adults aged 20 to 36 years old: “self-reports on hypothetical risk scenarios,” “experimental behavioral tests involving financial incentives,” and “information on actual risky activities in everyday life.” Overall, the participants finished 39 tests in one day. The researchers then asked the 109 participants to retake the tests after six months to analyze the stability of the risk preference over time. Past studies on risk preference often relied on only one or only a handful of measurement instruments. Dr. Renato Frey from the University of Basel and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development shared, “Our findings indicate that risk-taking propensity has a psychometric structure similar to that of psychological personality characteristics. Like the general factor of intelligence, there is also a general factor of risk preference.” He added, “In other words, your willingness to take risks may vary across different areas of your life, but it will always be affected by the underlying general factor of risk preference.” To support this theory, the study’s results revealed that a person’s general factor of risk preference stays stable over time. The study also found that both the hypothetical scenarios and the reports on actual risk-taking behavior helped determine a similar analysis of a person’s unique risk preference. Meanwhile, a new picture resulted from the experimental behavior tests. Based on a comprehensive study of the differences, the researchers confirmed that for the different behavior test, participants used unique decision-making strategies. These strategies varied according to the type of behavioral task, like when risk was presented in the context of a game, or via a [...]

2018-10-09T18:52:11+00:00 By |

The Power of No

Learn How Saying No Can Be Liberating!   “Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   Is your need to please everyone getting in the way of your happiness? Exhausted. Empty. Enslaved. Do those words describe you? We have probably said “YES” more than enough times and it has caused us stress. Why is it that one of the most common words in the English language is so difficult to say? I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, there are lots of reasons I have a hard time with that one simple word. I want to please people. I don’t want to be mean or unhelpful. I don’t want to burn a bridge or miss an opportunity or miss out on something fun. I don’t want people to be mad or upset with me or to speak poorly of me. So sometimes I’ll say “Yes” to avoid that feeling.  Hmmm….. Does that sound like some of you? Why don’t we say “no?” We don’t have the guts to do it. We don’t want to ruffle anyone’s feathers. We’re afraid people will think that we’re not committed. We’re concerned that people will think we’re not team players. We’re concerned that people will think we are unwilling to sacrifice. And so, time and time again, we say yes when we shouldn’t. Often at the expense of something else. Does this sound like you? A yes comes out of your mouth before you have the chance to stop it and you are agreeing to something you don’t want to do. Believe it or not, saying yes to everything is also an addiction. Often times, our guilt, fear and anxiety rule our minds when we say no. Read this carefully Alrighters: Don’t feel the need to feel guilty about your decision. This will only promote anxiety and unwanted stress. Be confident when you say “NO.” Don’t always see saying “no” as letting down another person. See it as an opportunity to do something to make yourself happy and focus on your wants and needs. So, say goodbye to being a people pleaser and learn how to confidently say no to someone without feeling bad about it. Get rid of those who use you or take advantage of you. They never call you or think of you unless they need something from you – and they’re really good at persuading you to give in to them.   There’s another word for that kind of persuasion: it’s called mass manipulation. Do you feel like you’ve been manipulated, taking advantage of? If so, it’s time to WIN back your life!   “It’s only by saying “no” that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.” – Steve Jobs      DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY “NO” Never dwell on what people think about your decision. Walk away with peace of mind. Let it go!   YOU DON’T NEED TO [...]

2018-10-11T16:14:37+00:00 By |

Achieving Your Goals – Could You Be Sleeping Your Dreams Away?

Being Well Rested Helps You Get What You Want In Life!   Whether you’re fighting for weight loss, success at work, or you’re just working towards starting something new; achieving your goals is all about effort, right? But did you know that you could be literally sleeping away your success? Studies have found that there’s a huge (massive, really) link between sleep and things like weight or emotional stress. If you’re uneducated about what sleep should be like and how to achieve that, you could be ruining your goals and not even realize it; particularly, when you’re losing weight. It’s not just sleeping too little that could ruin your goals either – you could be sleeping too much! Studies found that with education alone, 100% of participants were able to improve their habits What does this mean? Simple, you can train yourself to sleep better. Better sleep, means better results when it comes to your goals.  When surveyed, 37 working women who were exhibiting poor sleeping habits were able to improve them with just 3-5 weeks of light educational training on effective sleep and good sleep hygiene. The three big effects poor sleep habits have and how they impact your goals There are three basic ways that have been proven again and again to disrupt your goals in terms of sleep problems. 1. Poor sleep hygiene has been linked to depression Studies have shown that if you have under 6 hours of sleep or over 8 hours of sleep, you’re at a much greater risk of depression. As someone who’s gone through bouts of depression, I’m here to say that this can and will definitely impact your motivation, will to keep moving, and overall energy level. 2.  Not getting enough sleep can dramatically affect our relationships When you’re trying to achieve something, a support system is fundamentally important. Medical News Today has reported that couples especially have been completely pinned each other against on another after even just one night of poor sleep when studied. 3.  Sleeplessness and oversleeping linked to diabetes and weight gain The international journal of obesity (IJO) has reported that there is a definite link between weight gain and sleeplessness. The truth is, gaining unwanted weight can be detrimental for your health; but what’s worse is the impact it has on your self-esteem, energy, and even your interpersonal relationships.  IJO reports, “The odds of obesity (BMI 30 kg/m2) was 3.7-fold greater (95% CI: 2.7–5.0) in men and 2.3-fold greater in women (95% CI: 1.6–3.1) who slept less than 5 h.”   What can you do to keep your goals from rotting away due to poor sleep? Your first step to making sure that you’re not impacted negatively by your sleeping habits is to educate yourself. It’s not enough just to think about sleep what can do. If you want to achieve your goals, you need to take actionable steps to improving your sleeping habits. Want to learn more about the steps you can [...]

2018-09-19T16:16:31+00:00 By |
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