Tip: Make their day, they will make yours!

May 11, 2009
Here is a simple way to make yourself happy. If you do it only once, you will be happy for a little while. If you do it on a regular basis, the feeling will get much more permanent.

All you need to do is to give positive feedback or a compliment to someone when they do something that you appreciate. Of course, this works only if there is a genuine reason and if the compliment is genuine as well.
Flattery or hypocritical compliments will not have the same effect. Although it probably makes the person who receives it happy, it will not provide you with as much fulfillment as it does when it is meant.
For instance, this week I wrote a recommendation on LinkedIn about a former colleague. His reaction was quite positive and a few good things have happened since then.
An other example was yesterday: I went to a drugstore to buy something that I had seen on ad in their flyer. I could not find it and I asked an employee for help. He went in the back to see if they had any in inventory, which they did not and he offered me to write a rain check. He did this with so much professionalism that I was quite impressed. When I left, I had to compliment him on how helpful he had been. The smile on his face just made me feel really good about myself, too.
I made their day, and their response made mine as well. Even if it was about rather mundane stuff, the return was above any expectation.

So, go ahead! Give good people around you the genuine positive feedback they deserve when they do something right! It does not matter if it is in your private life or at work. You will feel great about it, and I bet that you will repeat it in the future.

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.


Happiness and IQ

May 11, 2009

Is there a correlation between happiness and intellectual capacity? I had to think about this lately, as I had posted a poll in the Mensa Yahoo! group of British Columbia.

bulbIn my life, I have heard this question often and I also heard all sorts of answers, varying from one extreme to the other. Yet, there seems to be a majority of people who seem to think that intelligence is an impediment for happiness.
After all, even in the Bible, we can find a similar idea. One of the beatitudes says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
Then, is it easier to be happy for the less bright ones? I will let everyone figure the answer that suit them, but here are my thoughts.

First, I would like to get back to the Mensa poll. For those who might know what Mensa is, Mensa is an organization that gathers people who are among the 2% highest IQ in the world; its purpose is quite noble, as it aims at using the members’ intelligence to improve the world we live in. I am quite glad that I passed the test, and moreover I have been a happy person for most of my life. After some time in that group and getting slightly annoyed by the pretentious and condescending attitude of some of the members, I decided just as a tease, but also out of curiosity, to post that poll, asking:

“Do you think that having a high IQ makes it:
A. Easier
B. More difficult
C. Indifferent for you to be happy?”

 

I was not surprised to see that a majority answered B to the question, although my poll certainly has no scientific value whatsoever. And that brought me to wonder what the advantage would be of being smart if its cost is not being happy.
Fortunately, there is no correlation between IQ and happiness. One is happy if one chooses to be so.

Only the ones who want to question everything and see the glass half empty all the time will not find peace, because there are plenty of reasons to find imperfections. Maybe, what makes some think that the simpler minds are more easily happy, is just the fact that they may spend less time trying to analyze every little detail and just enjoy thing for what they are.
However, this does not have to be limited to simple minds. People with high IQ can just do the same, all it takes is the right mind set. Even if you analyze things, that does not hinder you from seeing the good and the beautiful when it comes under your eyes.
I came to the conclusion that the unhappy “brains” probably just suffer from negativity and maybe of a lack of self-esteem, that brings them to focus more on the negatives than on the positives.

How sad is that, to have a great brain and use it in the wrong way? Well, who said that intelligence and high IQ were the same?

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.


Can you save people from themselves?

May 11, 2009

This is one of the most fascinating aspects of personality. People tend to keep following certain patterns, even if it is clear to everyone else, and often to themselves, that their behaviour is playing against them.
ClearerJust as an example, I illustrate this with the warning on packs of cigarettes. You would think that the warning is crystal clear. Yet, it does not stop some from keeping on smoking, almost like it is a cure for cancer. They know it is quite unhealthy, but simply decide to ignore the warning.
However, I would not limit the description to just seriously addictive behaviors, because the “oops factor” covers many more areas.
For instance, there is the one who simply cannot keep his mouth shut when he should and end up saying something that will get him in trouble. Or the person in debt, who simply cannot resist buying more stuff with his credit card, while he should not. Or the daredevil doing silly stunts and ending up in the frequent patient program of the local hospital. We all know many similar examples of people not able to help themselves from getting in trouble.
So, what causes this? And how can we help others to break their patterns, thus bringing a positive change?
The cause very often lies in the inability of the individual to recognize the pattern he follows, and the consequences of it, or because the person thinks that it will all come out well in the end. This is very clear in the case of serious addictions such as drug abuse, alcoholism, smoking or gambling, but even the more mundane behavioral “masochism” we can find quite a few similarities with addictive urges. This lack of awareness, and sometimes denial of the problem, is quite difficult to tackle, because such a behavior is deeply rooted in the person’s unconscious. In most cases, this behavior is the result of habits that have been taken a long time ago without anyone acting by then to correct them. Over time, they have become part of the individual personality and considered “normal” by this person. Unless these people will come to the conclusion that they have a problem, they will not see any reason to act on it.
Just like with serious addictions, it will take a lot of patience and many hard facts to make the person realize what pattern he follows, and in some cases only a major shock such as an accident, a disease or the death of a close friend will be able to shake him enough to really decide to change.
It really is quite amazing how much easier it is to save someone from someone else, or from something, than it is to save them from themselves.

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.


The meaning of life

May 11, 2009

Some subjects have the ability to keep you busy for a while. The title of this article is one of them.
The problem with it, though, is that the answer is really difficult to find and cannot be verified for sure. Depending on whether you are a scientist, a theologian, a philosopher or a hockey fan, the way you will answer this question will vary quite substantially.

The Meaning of Life

Therefore, this question remains mostly an intellectual exercise, which can be satisfying, but it lacks practicality.
Instead of tormenting oneself with the absolute answer that no one can find, maybe because there is no such absolute answer, this topic can be dealt with in a much more stimulating and practical way.
All you need to do is to slightly change the question, from “What is the meaning of life?” into “What meaning do I want to give to my life?”. This simple shift of scope can do wonders, and quite rightly so, because it now offers you the possibility to become your own Creator, thus shifting the scope of another difficult quest for absolute truth that has kept mankind busy for eons.

There are a few simple steps and simple things can help you creating a very meaningful life:

  • Identifying which values are really important to you.
  • Identifying what makes you feel alive.
  • Taking the initiative, instead of letting your environment make the decisions that will shape your life.
  • Persisting when you meet resistance.
  • Always identifying the positive signs and remaining enthusiastic.
  • Taking the opportunity to learn and improve.
  • Venturing out of your comfort zone.
  • Not being afraid of setbacks, as they are part of life anyway.
  • Making decisions and keeping moving on.

Giving a meaning to your life is all about pursuing fulfillment and finding gratification in your activities, and this as much in your personal life as well as in your professional life. If it happens to fill a universal significance, too, then that will be a nice addition. However, you must build your life for yourself first, because all that counts is that your life means something to you.

The worst thing would be a meaningless life, wouldn’t you agree? But that can happen only by waiting and not taking action. So, live, experience, try and share!

Copyright 2009 The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.