motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Zig Ziglar

Some days you wake up motivated and ready to go.

On some days things feel heavy and it is hard to get going and find that inner drive.

And there are often roadblocks, plateaus and valleys along the way towards what you want where you can fall into a slump. Or get lost in a rut.

And you feel like your motivation has flown away.

So today I’d like to simply share three of my favorite and in my experience most effective ways to find that motivation again.

1. Do the 10 minute recharge exercise.

Here’s how you do this motivation exercise.

Sit down in a quiet place. Close your eyes.

Ask yourself these two questions:

How will my life look in 5 years if I just continue to stay on the same path as now?
How will life likely become worse for me and maybe even for the people around me?

It may be uncomfortable but try to see the negative consequences as vividly as you can in your mind to kickstart your motivation to get going for that positive change.

Then ask yourself:

How will my life look in 1 year if I stick with it and I keep going with this change? How will it look in 5 years?
How will life improve not only for me but for the people that I love if I stick with it?

With these two sets of questions try to not just to see the future as detailed and as vividly as you can but also find your own very personal reason(s) for making the change.

For example, getting into better shape could help you to become more optimistic and more energetic. That’s great. But to really find the heart of your motivation keep looking for a few more minutes for the more personal answer.

The answer could be that you want to make this change in your health because if you don’t then you might not have the energy to have fun and play as much as you want with your son while he is young. And as he grows up you may be too tired from work to give him quality time each day.

If you want to make a change in your money habits then it could be because you always dreamed of seeing the pyramids of Egypt or visiting the Maldives with the person you love most in the world.

Write down those deepest reasons on a piece of paper and put that note where you cannot avoid seeing it every day.

2. Let the motivation sparkling in other people flow over to you.

Another great way to recharge your motivation is simply to tap into the motivational energy and perspectives of other people.

So talk to the people in your life about their dreams and what they feel most motivated to achieve and to do in their lives.

But don’t feel confined to just the people you know in real life.

I often recharge my motivation by listening to a small part of an audio book by Brian Tracy or Wayne Dyer. Or I may read a chapter from one of my favorite personal development books. Or a new article on a blog I really like.

Spending just 5 or 10 minutes with doing that can, in my experience, very often turn your mood and mindset around and ignite your motivation again.

3. Just get started and let the motivation catch up with you.

Sometimes the two tips above might not work that well even though they are very powerful. What can you do then?

Well, you can take a break and recharge your batteries because that is sometimes simply what is needed.

Or you can do what I quite often do when I am having an uninspired morning.

I get started anyway, despite the lack of motivation within.

I do so by taking a small step forward and by just focusing on taking that one step. I may for example tell myself that I will work on a new article or on editing a part of a new course for 3 minutes.

When that is done then I take another small step and I focus only on that until it is done.

At first doing that task may not feel fun or interesting but it is just a small step that I need to take so it feels acceptable.

Things don’t stay that way though.

The next step tends to be a bit easier and maybe even a bit enjoyable.

And by the step after that one the motivation is catching up with me and I am starting to have fun and to truly enjoy what I am doing.

You will most likely not feel motivated every day. That is OK.

You can get going step by small step anyway and soon the motivation will start to catch up with you.

Image by Nomadic Lass (license).

Practical Happiness & Awesomeness Advice That Works | The Positivity Blog

Dec 30
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Feel, Tips, Unmotivated, “Favorite”

You Are Enough. Right Now.

You Are Enough Right NowThis thought hit me like a ton of bricks this morning.

I get daily emails with guided meditation videos. I usually delete them. But the subject of this morning’s email struck a chord inside me.

You are not broken and you don’t need to be fixed.

I discovered a few years ago that one of my core beliefs about myself was that I was inherently broken, not made right. I spent a very long time trying to make up for and/or fix that perceived brokenness. And then I uncovered, acknowledged, and let go of that old belief.

Or so I thought.

Really old, deep beliefs tend to be like the bamboo that plagues my front yard. You can dig them out and burn them away, and then years later they pop up again seemingly out of nowhere.

The good news is, having wrestled with it before, I know exactly what bamboo sprouts look like and I can pull out the new stragglers before they take over the yard again.

I also recognize that old “you are broken on the inside” lie.


I’ve been working on a lot of goals over the last few months and learning brand new skills as I market my book and get more requests to speak. That’s exciting and exhilarating, but somewhere along the line I started thinking of myself as an incomplete project.

As the list of things I needed to do, learn, and master grew, more of my attention shifted to the future. My perspective got off balance.

enough at birth

This morning’s meditation video snapped me back to center, back to the here and now.

We are not unfinished projects not yet worthy of approval.

We come into this world whole and complete and already worthy of love and acceptance.

As we grow and evolve, we continue to be constantly worthy of that love and acceptance.

At no point do we enter some limbo state that renders us not yet good enough.

We are already enough.

You are always enough.

I am completely enough, right now.

I can be a work in progress and a perfect work of art all at the same time. Tweet: I can be a work in progress and a perfect work of art all at the same time.

Light bulb.

Join the conversation at You Are Enough. Right Now..

If you liked this post, you’ll love my book, An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Dec 27
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Enough, Now., Right

How to Get a Great Start to Your Day: 7 Simple Tips

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Marcus Aurelius

“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

It’s still dark as your alarm bell goes off. You pull up the curtains and the cold winter is waiting for you outside of the window.

As you stumble out of bed and into the shower a new day begins.

So how can you make it more likely that it will be a good or even great day?

Well, in my experience, what you do early in the morning often sets the tone for the rest of the day.

So let me share 7 simple tips that have helped me to create both better mornings and days.

1. Plan the night before.

Put down just 1-3 of the most important things you want to get done on a to-do list.

By keeping the list very limited it becomes easier to actually get the most important thing(s) done. And to not start procrastinating by doing a few of the less important and often easier tasks that I know I always used to add to a longer to-do list.

2. Prepare the night before.

Reduce the stress during your morning by getting the simple details out of the way the night before. Pack your bag. Prepare and pack your lunch. Put your keys, wallet etc. in their “home” if they are not already there so you can quickly find and grab them before heading out the door.

3. Keep a simple reminder on your bedside table.

What you see during your first minutes after you have woken up can in my experience have quite the effect on the morning and as an extension of that the whole day.

So try putting a small note with a reminder on your bedside table.

Three things you could put on that note are:

One of your favorite quotes. A powerful and timeless quote is one of the easiest ways to charge the mind with positive emotions and to find a helpful perspective. So write down one of the own favorite quotes. Here’s a list of 101 of them about happiness if you want some help.
Set a low bar for happiness. I love this simple reminder. I tell myself: “Today I will set a low bar for happiness”. And then I keep that thought in mind for the rest of the day as best I can. It helps me to feel grateful for the little and everyday things that I too often take for granted like having a roof over my head and all the tasty food I have available. It makes it easier to stay positive and to find a simple happiness throughout the day.
Write down your most important whys. Last week I described a quick exercise that I use to recharge my motivation again. It involves finding your deepest and most personal reasons for why you want to make a positive change in your life. Keeping these most important reasons written down on your bed side table can give you a powerful start to your day and make it easier to stay on the right track from the moment you get out of bed.

4. Go slow.

When I start my day slowly and keep doing things at a slow pace then it becomes easier to keep the stress away. It becomes easier to focus on what I am doing and keep my priorities in mind.

When I go slow I stay in the present moment more of the time and so less negative feelings come my way and I appreciate the everyday things in life more because my attention is focused outward and not aimlessly inward towards what happened in the past or may happen in the future.

When I start my day slowly I sometimes get worried that this slow pace will mean that I get less done during my day. But at the end of the day I most often discover that I got more done. Because I did things well the first time and because when I go slow I tend to spend less energy on draining feelings and on having my attention bouncing around between many things.

And so I have more energy during the last few hours of my workday to spend on things that matter to me.

5. Get some positive information into your mind over breakfast.

Start your day with something that does not depress you or makes you feel powerless to change your life or the world in some small or bigger way.

Add inspiration and optimism by for example:

Reading one or a couple of new posts from positive, funny or uplifting blogs or websites.
Listening to a podcast that boosts your motivation.
Reading a chapter from a book that inspires you.

6. Start your workday with the most important task.

Find the most important task on the very limited to-do list you created. Do it first thing when your workday starts.

This task is in my experience often quite hard so it is easy to fall for the temptation to procrastinate. If you feel that urge, then just be still and do nothing. The most powerful part of the impulse to procrastinate by checking email or Facebook passes pretty quickly.

When the worst is over then go easy on yourself instead of trying to push yourself hard.

Tell yourself that you will only work for 1-3 minutes on this important task. Then you can stop if you like. But you may not want to do that once you have gotten started. This seems to be the case for me most of the time.

Because getting started is most often the hardest part.

7. Build a right thing string.

Doing what you deep down think is the right thing will make you feel good. It will boost your self-esteem and put a spring in your step for an hour or more.

One way that I like to do that is by creating what I like to call a right thing string.

Here’s what you do:

Do something that you deep down think is the right thing. Do it right now.

Give a genuine compliment to someone at work or in your life. Help someone who seems lost with directions. Unclutter your work space for 2 minutes. Go and work out.

Then add another thing that you think is the right thing to do.

Have an apple instead of an unhealthy snack. When you feel like judging someone in your life or on TV or in the newspaper try to find a kinder and more understanding perspective. Smile and ask how someone’s day is going (and really listen to the reply).

Then add another thing. And another.

Build a small string of doing the right things during for example 10-30 minutes to boost your energy and the positive feelings you have about yourself and your life.

Continue the string during your day as best you can.

After you have added a right thing to your string – no matter how small it is – make sure to take a few seconds to pause and to appreciate the good thing you did.

I usually think one of these things to myself:

Well done!
That was a good thing to do.
That was fun! (and then I smile to myself).

This boosts the positive mood within and ups the motivation to add another thing to your string.

If you break the string, no worries. Don’t beat yourself up.

Take a deep breath and then start a new string instead.

Image by Infomastern (license).

Practical Happiness & Awesomeness Advice That Works | The Positivity Blog

Dec 24
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Great, Simple, Start, Tips

Let Yourself Be Instead of Pushing to Get Things Done

Just Be

“When you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing. Sometimes you just need to relax, breathe, let go and live in the moment.” ~Unknown

Recently I went to an annual fall retreat for my graduate program. This was exactly what my heart was longing for up until this point. I felt overworked by school and overwhelmed by the busyness of the city and suburban life. I needed something different, something that would help me feel more grounded and at ease.

We went out to Middle-of-no-where-on-top-a-mountain, California where the only sign of civilization was the four-way highway down below. I’m originally from Middle-of-no-where, Illinois so being in nature felt like home to me.

I’m very familiar and comfortable with nature, and I felt I had been greatly neglecting that deep desire to connect with nature once again.

This was not the first time I felt disconnected. During my eighteen months living abroad in Korea I hardly spent time in nature. With so many buildings, cars, and people, I felt easily overwhelmed with other people’s energy and completely out of balance.

Many of us feel this way in our modern day technology and go-go-go lifestyles. We tend to feel drained, tired, easily irritated, and stressed.

Because of this imbalance, I noticed it was common to have fleeting thoughts like:

“Agh, why the heck can’t I find a parking spot?!”

“Darnit, I’m going to be late. People, get out of my way!”

“Why on earth does this line have to be so long?”

Though I noticed that many of these thoughts come and go rather quickly, the energy produced from them would “stick” and make it harder to be present.

These types of thoughts are very common because our habitual minds (or egos) want things done now rather than to simply be during the experience and get things done in our own time.

Our ego is the part of us that likes to reject the moment and focus on the future rather than accept what is in the present so we can experience joy.

So rather than being anxious and frustrated about not finding a parking place, we accept the moment and trust that, regardless of this minor obstacle, everything is wonderful and as it should be.

Although my intention for the retreat was to feel relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed, by the end of the day I didn’t quite feel this way. I felt my time there wasn’t long enough. I wanted to spend time being present with the sound of the crickets and to marvel over the smells of nature so much more.

Despite my inner longing for more time to connect with nature, I felt my responsibilities were forcing me to go back.

However, once I returned to suburban life, I didn’t fall into typical morning and day routine. I kept feeling my body pushing me to do something else. I woke up and went for an early morning walk. This time, without my phone—just my keys.

As I walked, I noticed and marveled over the large evergreens outside of my apartment. I noticed the maple leaves on the ground with beautiful fall colors. I listened closely to the sound of water fountains and allowed myself to feel peace from the sounds.

This peaceful feeling carried into the afternoon where I avoided watching television or doing any work. Rather, I simply did yoga—and not in a structured, routine video kind of way but simply a “do the move I feel I need to do right now” kind of way.

I realized I didn’t need an escape from the city; all I needed was an escape from myself—my own mind. All I needed was to just sit back, relax, and just be without any motive or push to do things.

In our society we are hardwired to always be doing something. We tell ourselves that we have to go grocery shopping, do laundry, take out the trash, exercise, work, study, watch TV, and so on. How often do we do things without the pressure to do but rather to be?

Why don’t we simply be when we take out the trash? Why don’t we simply be when we exercise? Why don’t we simply be when we clean our house or apartment?

To “simply be” means to be connected. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what we are doing but rather the feeling behind the action. In other words, what thoughts are you having during the activity?

Are you in your mind, rejecting the moment, or accepting what is? Are you complaining about having to do the activity or are you making the most of it? Are you all preoccupied with all the other things you need to do today or are you simply being present with what you are currently doing?

When we reject, complain, or are preoccupied with thoughts about the past or future, we create this inner pressure within ourselves that causes the symptoms of stress. However, if we simply accept what is and choose to enjoy and really take in what life has to offer, at that moment, then we can be stress-free.

When we let go of the need to push and “get things done now,” we can actually enjoy ourselves. When we choose to accept the present moment, we can then experience a sense of peace, calm, and joy of life. We can enjoy the moment for what it truly is.

Think of all the various things you need to do today, tomorrow, or this week. What tasks can you shift yourself from “pushing to get it done” into simply allowing yourself to be so you can simply enjoy the moment?

Perhaps you can focus on the present while…

Cleaning the kitchen floor
Doing dishes
Watering your plants
Feeding your pet
Walking in the morning
Driving to work

When we choose to let go and just be in the moment, we can fully enjoy what life has to offer us right now, with no formal nature retreat required!

I challenge you to choose a daily task this week where you are going to try to simply be while doing it. What can you start doing today to help you be more present?

Photo by Hartwig HKD

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About Jennifer Twardowski

Jennifer is a self and relationship life coach and teacher. She helps 20-something women overcome codependency and people-pleassing so they can create fulfilling relationships and live empowering lives. Learn more about Jennifer at You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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The post Let Yourself Be Instead of Pushing to Get Things Done appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

Tiny Buddha

Dec 21
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Self Help
Done, Instead, Pushing, Things, Yourself

7 Assumptions Happy People Make


“Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.” ~Marshall McLuhan

But are all assumptions useless? I know, I know, I still remember my 6th grade teacher telling us what happens when we assume (Hint: It makes the first three letters of the word out of “u” and “me”).

Still, is there nothing we can assume in life? Is there nothing we can take for granted? Are we to truly see each and every experience as if it were wholly unique unto itself, unrelated and unrelatable to any other past or future experience?

It turns out that some assumptions are quite helpful as we navigate the rough waters of life. In fact, I make the following 7 every day of my life and have for the last couple decades, at least. The effect has been greater emotional health, deeper levels of happiness and more meaning and direction in my life. Try them on for size to see if they do the same for you.
7 Happiness-Inducing Assumptions
1. I assume there is a God Who loves me.

All expressions of faith are, in a way, spiritually informed assumptions we make about eternity, about religious or spiritual principles, about what exists beyond the realm of the scientifically provable. But such assumptions have a profound effect on what we think about the meaning and purpose of life, why we exist and what we’re doing here and what’s next.

They are more significant to an individual’s life and how it’s lived than laws of gravity or theories of evolution. They give substance to the decisions we make and elevate the context and meaning of our choices.

By assuming a God and assuming His love for me, I have a hard time undervaluing myself. Or others. My worth (and yours) is eternal, inherent and sublime. That’s not a bad position from which to face the choppy waters of life.
2. I assume what I do matters.

Whether I keep at it or give up matters. Whether I cheat or cut corners matters. Whether I’m honest in my dealings with others matters. It matters to me. It matters to them. It matters to my family. It even matters to humanity and the collective cause of human decency. And it certainly matters to God. And it matters to our happiness as well.

My honesty at work, my integrity at school, my faithfulness at home, what I do in the light of day or under the veil of night, in solitude, behind closed doors, all matters profoundly because it speaks to the heart and soul of who I am.

It’s the measure of my character. It’s the foundation of my life. It’s the substance of what’s most important to me. It’s the context and framework of who I am at a most fundamental level. And it’s the root system to the happiness I experience from day to day.

Incidentally, what I don’t do reveals just as much about my soul as what I do. I can pass or persevere, give up or give it all I’ve got, live a life of selfishness and greed or one of meaning and purpose, integrity and compassion. But at the bottom line of these beliefs is the assumption that it all matters.
3. I assume who I am matters.


How I live my life, the character I forge, the values I live by, the virtue I stand for, the honor I defend, the way I treat others all have tremendous meaning and significance. It’s an assumption I’m not willing to let go of.

It informs the goals I set, the standards I aspire to live by, the work that I do and the way I interact with others, the nature of the happiness I live with. Believing down in my guts that who I am matters helps me be a better parent and husband and son and brother and friend and neighbor.
4. I assume people are both decent and indecent.

I’ve always taken it for granted that some people will treat me well and others simply won’t. Some will be kind and some struggle with that trait. Some people are compassionate and others are mean-spirited. Some people give to those in need and some rob banks. Some are rude and others are sweet and thoughtful. And sometimes you and I fluctuate between the kind and the not-so-kind as well.

Humanity is a mixed bag. Accepting that fact solves a whole lot of heartache that believing otherwise would otherwise create. So when I encounter rude people, I’m not offended, crushed, confused or angry. Instead, I smile, shrug and move on to someone else. I don’t dwell on offenses or ruminate on perceived unfriendliness or question my likeability or God’s justice or their decency.

After all, I assume there will be both kind and rude people and sometimes kind people will be rude and sometimes rude people will be kind and sometimes I may even find myself somewhere in between the two. That assumption keeps me sane.
5. I assume personal imperfection, not as an excuse, but as a reality.

Somewhere in the course of the day, I’m going to mess up, do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, fail to do the right thing, fail to say the right thing, or engage in some combination of all the preceding.

And on a particularly human day, I’ll mess up on all 4 of those possibilities at the same time. It’s a given. That assumption allows me at the same time to be vigilant at personal development, tolerant of others’ weaknesses and forgiving of my own moral face-plants and sincerely happy even in the midst of mistakes and mess-ups.
6. I assume there will be good and bad days.

Sunlight through clouds

If one day is challenging, all I have to do is wait for the tide to change, circumstances to shift, the next day to come. Things will get better. They always do. Then, when new challenges come, we will have learned something from the last time that makes weathering new storms easier.

But even if we learn nothing, the assumption that things will improve allows us greater emotional equanimity even in the middle of what would otherwise be emotional turbulence.
7. I assume the world will work just about the way it usually works.

The earth will spin. Gravity will keep me grounded. The laws of physics will still apply in most instances most of the time. And life will do what it typically does. The sun will set tonight and rise in the morning. Summers will warm and winters will cool and the tide will ebb and flow. There is a pattern of predictability that lends my life a sense of stability even when all else seems to be falling apart.

That assumption keeps me afloat when the winds pick up and the waves start to pound relentlessly. Knowing this, believing this, taking it for granted helps me keep my head up, my feet kicking and my arms paddling toward shore, knowing that in the end, all will be okay.
The Necessity of Assumptions (for life, peace and happiness)

If I can’t make a few basic assumptions about life, if each and every possibility suddenly becomes equally likely, if there were no guiding principles I was able to count on, and there ceased to be any predictability to any experience I ever had, every moment would be fraught with stress and happiness would be much more fleeting.

Think about it.

If absolutely nothing can be assumed, then every decision is monumental. Every moment is filled with possible collapse. Nothing can be set on autopilot and the mental muscles have to remain flexed at all times.

But when muscles never relax, they weaken and stiffen and fail. I don’t know about you, but I’ll accept an occasional “I-told-you-so” from someone who recites the “ass out of u and me” platitude just to add a little predictability to my life. Not cement. Just a degree of assurance that tomorrow the laws of the universe will still be in operation.
Your turn …

What do you think? The usual advice is to get rid of assumptions, so this may be new to you. But does it ring true?
I would love to get your thoughts in the comments!

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Meant to be Happy

Dec 18
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Assumptions, Happy, People

A Good Life

The sun is sparkling on the Mississippi and my Papa has his shorts pulled up to his hip so that the tops of his legs get tan. His arms and half his chest are exposed in his white undershirt.

He isn’t smiling, but I know he’s happy.

The fish are biting.

And somehow the topic of death comes up, of unexpected death specifically. “What if…?” I ask him, something about an accident or lightning striking while he’s on the river.

“Well then it’s my time to go,” he shrugs.

I laugh. “And that’s it?”

“Listen,” and he gets his serious face on, “if the Good Lord says it’s my time then it’s my time and that’s all there is to it.”

You do not question the Good Lord.

“So you’re not scared at all?” I ask.

And then he tells me his Truth.

“I’ve had a good life.”

Sitting on his throne, the captain’s chair of his fishing boat, with a wife and grandkids waiting on shore for him to return, he was the picture of contentment.

The night he arrived at the hospital by ambulance, in pain and far away from his favorite fishing spots, he told his wife and two kids the same thing he’d told me on the river years ago. “I’ve had a good life.”

His aorta was torn. The paperwork said no extreme measures.

You don’t question the Good Lord.

He died Sunday December 15, and they tell me he didn’t look like himself at all. I’ve watched strong men die before so I’m certain this is true, but I’ve no doubt that he was still – at least in the ways that count – the picture of contentment.

Papa Dad Grammy

My Papa was not a saint.

He gave up his favorite brand of whiskey for Lent each year and was giddy when he got to crack the bottle open again after Easter Mass.

He hollered at the “busted assholes” who drove too fast on the roads where his grandkids played, and he still referred to the people he served at the Salvation Army as “colored”.

He insisted that I could be as thin as Mother if I got up and did 6am workouts like she did, nevermind that my grandmother and I don’t actually share any genetic material and that I was 13 when he started telling me this.

He used an aluminum sleeve and a shotgun to protect his yard from squirrels – in town.

I’m sure he was expecting to spend a little time in purgatory, as most good Catholic boys do.

But he was also certain that he’d make his way to Heaven eventually, and he’d see not only God but the Blessed Mother, whom he adored.

His entire life was about loving his family, his God, and his Church. He doted on his wife, and let us know he “chased her around the house” long after any of us wanted to picture such a thing. He loved to fish, and so he made time for it whenever possible in between volunteering and keeping his garden going.

I never had any doubt what my Papa believed or that he loved me, even when those two things seemed like they should be in conflict.

He didn’t scold me when I showed up unwed and pregnant, but hugged me and told me he and Grammy would do everything they could to help me.

He loved my mother thirty years after she divorced my dad, and told me so every time he saw me. “How is your mom? Tell her we said hi.”

His wake and his funeral will be overrun, I know, by people whose lives he touched. His absence will be felt. He will be mourned. He will be missed.

He will also be remembered. The stories about his life will make us laugh. He will be quoted, and some of the lessons he taught us will be passed on to future generations. He will still be loved.

That is a good life.


Join the conversation at A Good Life.

If you liked this post, you’ll love my book, An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Dec 15
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Good, life

Secret of Adulthood: Enthusiasm Makes Difficult Tasks Easy.

Further Secrets of Adulthood:


The more I think about happiness, the more I value enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm is a form of social courage – it’s safer to criticize and scoff than to praise and embrace — and I’ve decided that I’d rather be “enthusiastic” than “confident.”

I have a patron saint for enthusiasm. Can you guess it? Julia Child! (This post about Julia Child may be one of my favorite posts ever.)

It can seem cooler and smarter to be ironic, detached, or critical, and it’s certainly much easier and safer to adopt that sort of stance. But enthusiasm is more fun. Enthusiasm is generous, positive, energetic, and social. It’s outward-turning and engaged. It’s unselfconscious, warm-hearted, and kind of goofy. Like Julia Child!

Also, enthusiasm makes difficult tasks easy. One interesting question for self-knowledge is: What do you memorize without effort? That tells you something important about yourself. Do you effortlessly remember sports scores, song lyrics, scientific facts, vocabulary words, recipes, details about friends’ lives?

When I feel enthusiastic about some undertaking, it comes so, so, so much more easily to me. For instance, writing. My husband is great at writing, but I’m a writer, and he’s not — because I have endless enthusiasm for writing and revising, and he doesn’t.

How about you? Do you find that enthusiasm makes an otherwise difficult task easy?

If you’re reading this post through the daily email, click here to join the conversation. And if you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

Bonus! If you pre-order the paperback of Happier at Home, I’ll send you a bonus, a fun Tips sheet about “9 extremely quick and easy steps to become happier at home.” Honor system. More info here. Because of the peculiarities of book publishing, if you’re inclined to buy the book, it’s a big help to me if you pre-order it now. I love all my books equally, but my sister the sage says that Happier at Home is my best book.

The Happiness Project

Dec 12
Talisa Hill
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Adulthood, Difficult, Easy., Enthusiasm, Makes, Secret, Tasks

How to Teach Yourself Confidence

how to feel more confidentIt may surprise you to know that I don’t consider myself especially confident. (And if it doesn’t, be polite and act surprised.)

I have wished lots of times for more confidence, more guts to put myself out there and ask for what I want. I have not followed through on plans because I was scared of looking stupid or failing.

I have as many doubts and insecurities as anyone else.

Fortunately, I also have courage and a growing list of chances I have taken that have not ended entirely badly. I’m learning to channel that into the confidence I need to live out my Big Fact Scary Purpose.

Even if you don’t consider yourself naturally confident right now, I believe you can learn how how to feel more confident. I think we both can.
What is confidence, anyway?

Confidence is an emotion, and one thing we know about emotions is that we tend to fall back on the ones that are familiar. That’s why when you’re in the middle of uncertainty in one area of your life, you may start to feel insecure about everything.

Just like you can get used to feeling insecure, you can get used to feeling confident.

Confidence is also a reflection of how you see yourself. If you believe you’re capable, you’ll feel confident.

That belief has little to do with reality. You probably don’t keep an accurate accounting of your skills and shortcomings. Instead, we base our beliefs on what we think we see in the mirror, or the stories we tell ourselves.

Fortunately, that means you don’t have to drastically alter reality to boost your confidence! You just need to shift your perspective a little.

How in the heck do you do that?
how to teach yourself confidence1. Do things you know you’re good at.

Everyone is good at something. That’s where you naturally feel confident.

I’m confident when I’m standing in front of a crowd telling a story. I’m confident that I can make you laugh and feel at ease with me. I’m confident that I make kick-ass stuffing. (Seriously, it’s amazing.)

On the other hand, I hate pitching myself. I am in awe of people who assume everyone in the world wants to hear what they have to say. That’s not where my confidence lies. (Says the blogger, ironically.)

I bolster my confidence by spending more time doing what I already know I’m good at and paying attention to my sense of confidence in those moments. Then, I can draw on those emotional memories when I have to pitch myself to a conference planner, for example.

What are you good at? It doesn’t have to be your passion or your calling or your thing that you think is going to change the world. Whatever you already know you’re good at, do it as often as you can and pay attention to how awesome it feels to know you’re rocking it.

Get yourself a win every day.
2. Teach.

The great thing about teaching is that it proves you know what you’re doing – or at least that you know a little more about what you’re doing than the person you’re teaching. Congratulations, you’re at least one step up from the very bottom!

Being able to teach is a reminder that you have skills. Focus on that proof and the experience of teaching to shift your perception about your capabilities.

It comes down to self talk. When you hear yourself saying, “I suck; I can’t do anything!” you can refute that with, “I can ice skate well enough to teach an eight year old!”

Do that often enough and you’ll build a backlog of “I can” tapes in your head.
3. Keep a praise folder.

When I was having a confidence crisis recently, a friend of mine said, “it sounds like someone needs to go read her reviews on Amazon.” She was right.

Your brain has a natural tendency to focus on criticism, so it’s a good idea to refresh your memory by revisiting old compliments. That’s not douchey; it’s science!

I keep a folder in GMail of emails from readers. I also slap a star on favorite tweets. Science!

Make a habit of revisiting your own testimonials. Whether you have customer emails or a Facebook wall full of birthday wishes, know where you can go to listen to the good over and over again.

Remember: repetition makes the good stuff stick.
4. Practice.

Getting better at a skill is a great way to experience confidence. Remember how great it felt the first time you figured out how to publish a blog post or make cookies that you weren’t ashamed to share? That sense of accomplishment had nothing to do with being the best and everything to do with progress and improvement.

The best way to improve is to practice.

Keep doing what scares you and you’ll get better at it. You’ll get to do the mighty fist pump in the air that says, “yes! I am slightly better at this than I was yesterday! Suck it, Yesterday Me!”

(You can also cheat a little and practice a skill that feels slightly less terrifying. But, know that you’re cheating and will eventually need to practice That Thing That Scares You. Sorry.)
5. Meditate on your purpose.

It’s easier to practice scary things when you know it’s for a good reason, like fulfilling your higher purpose, but knowing intellectually isn’t enough. You need constant reminders.

Start your day by meditating on your purpose, your big reason for wanting to feel more confident in the first place. Think about what you want to accomplish and why you think it matters so much.

Confidence is about trust. Literally. The definition is to have “full trust”. If you don’t completely trust your abilities, trust your reason.

Let that faith push you out the door, on the phone, or into the office of the person who can bring your vision to life.

You’re not stuck with your current level of confidence. If you want to have a greater faith in your abilities, make a habit of feeling confident by doing what you’re good at. Practice so that you’ll excel more often. Pass on your skills to someone else.

And, most importantly, be mindful of how you’ll use your confidence for good.

When you’re no longer afraid to fail, what will you do?

Join the conversation at How to Teach Yourself Confidence.

If you liked this post, you’ll love my book, An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness.

In Pursuit of Happiness

Dec 10
Talisa Hill
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Confidence, Teach, Yourself

10 of the Most Inspiring Quotes by Nelson Mandela (a tribute)


Nelson Mandela passed away today at the age of 95. After serving a 27-year prison term for his anti-apartheid involvement, Mandela would become South Africa’s first black president. He served only one term, choosing instead to dedicated his life to charitable work.

He died earlier today, December 5th, 2013.

His legacy is not only an apartheid-free South Africa and a Nobel Peace Prize, but a profound dedication to peace, racial reconciliation, service, forgiveness and compassion.

No man is perfect, Nelson Mandela included. But this imperfect man profoundly changed the lives of untold numbers of people. His life serves as an inspiration to millions of us from around the world. We will miss him and the work he dedicated his life to.
A Tribute to Nelson Mandela in Quotes
My Favorite Mandela Quotes:

Nelson Mandela II

1. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” (Tweet)

2. “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”

3. “Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

4. “The time for the healing of the wounds has come. The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. The time to build is upon us.”

5. “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela Quote

6. “There is no passion to be found playing small–in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

7. “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”

8. “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”

9. “Money won’t create success, the freedom to make it will.”

10. “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

Nelson Mandela IV

For more Photo Quotes, visit my Facebook page at Your Daily Thought
Your Turn …

Let us know your thoughts about Nelson Mandela in the comments below.

And please share your favorite Mandela quote!


Meant to be Happy

Dec 7
Talisa Hill
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Inspiring, Mandela, Most, Nelson, Quotes, tribute

Story: Guess–Who Never Confuses Identical Twins?

This week’s video story:

I’m talking about One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I’ve Learned about Everyone’s Struggle to Be Singular by my friend Abigail Pogrebin. I’ve always been fascinated (and a little envious) about the relationship between identical twins.

If you want to learn more about the book, check out the book trailer (made by the same person who makes my videos, Maria Giacchino.)

Do you ever think about what it would be like to be an identical twin?

Find the archives of videos here. Almost 1.9 MILLION views. Don’t forget to subscribe.

If you’d like to get the daily blog post by email, sign up here.

If you’re looking for a great blog to read, check out my friend Nir Eyal’s Near and Far–”a blog about business, behavior, and the brain.” I love talking about habits with Nir–which, now that I’m deep into my next book, Before and After, it’s my favorite subject.

Are you reading Happier at Home or The Happiness Project in a book group? Email me if you’d like the one-page discussion guide. Or if you’re reading it in a spirituality book club, a Bible study group, or the like, email me for the spirituality one-page discussion guide.

The Happiness Project

Dec 4
Talisa Hill
Can't comment
Confuses, Guess–Who, Identical, Never, Story, Twins

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How to improve your self-confidence

There are different kinds of people in this world, some are fearless, some are contented, some are full of attitude while some are filled with gratitude. But there is a lot of difference between who you actually are and what part of your personality you actually show to others. Everyone around is going to perceive you the way in which you present yourself and the most important part of an individual’s personality is his/her self confidence.

I won’t go into the definitions of self confidence to tell you what it actually is. In simple words, self confidence means believing yourself, having complete faith in your own decisions and judgments. For instance, you have been chosen for a declamation contest in order to represent your school or give a presentation in a meeting at work and you have a firm belief that you will be able to justify the tasks given to you, then my friend you are blessed with self confidence. But not everyone is blessed with self confidence from the beginning, the reason can be any. However, the important thing is to recognize low self esteem and search for ways that’ll help in overcoming low self esteem.

In this article, we have tried to incorporate all the ways through which you can improve your self confidence and achieve the goals you’ve been dreaming of:

Give time to yourself The important aspect of overcoming low self esteem is focusing on your own self. The difference between the crowd puller and crowd is just self confidence, so groom yourself to become a crowd puller. If you are afraid of something or someone, stand in front of the mirror and practice to speak imagining the real circumstances, trust yourself and you’ll see a positive change in yourself.

Speak Most of our friends are actually afraid of public speaking and some of us have such a low self esteem that they are not able to express themselves in front of their friends and family. The reason behind this shyness is not lack of knowledge or communication skills, it is lack of confidence. But try to incorporate the habit of speaking up in public, expressing your opinion once in a while initially will definitely help improving your self confidence.

Get rid of all the negativity Most of the people are so busy thinking about the negative aspects of their own personality that they lose all the positivity and charm that they possess. Also, there are few individuals who think that people would judge them for their acts and words and thus the fear of getting negative reviews lowers their self esteem. Friends, just feel free to think and speak your mind because every individual in this world is unique and you can’t make everyone happy all the time, so first try and make yourself happy.

Stand tall Yes, overcoming low self esteem with the help of Velvet Evolution at The Studio, 21 Old Square, Warwick, CV34 4RU 07961 31 30 29 involves changing the way you dress, sit, stand and walk. A good posture while sitting and standing makes an impression of a confident personality. A fast and straight walk is a wonderful way of conveying that you are fearless. Similarly, a good dressing sense according to the occasion is a great of way of improving self confidence.