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The “It Could Be Worse” Game March 4, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Gratitude, Happiness, Mindfulness.
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Many times, finding greater happiness in your present situation is as easy as playing the “It Could Be Worse” game.

Once, I got caught in a blizzard and had to spend the night in an airport.  I’d been babysitting my nieces for several days, causing me to be both over-tired and sick.

What I desired was to be home, in my nice warm bed, not stuck in Dulles Airport sleeping on a hard bench.

If I had continued to focus on that desire, it would have led to suffering of my own creation, because it was an unattainable desire at that moment in time.  Nothing that I could do at that moment would have caused the snow to stop falling, or melt more quickly.

Sometimes, you just have to accept the “what is.”

So, I shifted my focus and began to play the “It Could Be Worse” game.

I was not stuck in a blizzard in a tent without adequate warmth.  I had food, shelter, and clothing in this nice warm airport.  Thanks!

I was not alone and scared in the dark, hoping that someone would rescue me.  I was surrounded by airport personnel (who brought blankets and pillows around to me and the other over-tired travelors).  Thanks!

As I looked around at my fellow travelors, I noted that many had small children to oversee.  Focusing on the children really helped.

What if I had four young children with me?  What if three were sound asleep and the fourth needed to go to the bathroom?

What if that child was not old enough to go alone?

Would I wake the sleeping children and drag them to the bathroom too ~ in order to keep all my little ducklings together?

Or would I ask a neighboring stranger to watch my sleeping children?  Would I trust my precious offspring to a perfect stranger’s care?

These thoughts made me happy that my nieces were safely at home, snug in their beds.  Thanks!

As I continued to envision other, much more desperate  situations, my own situation began to look pretty good.

I saw all that I still had to be grateful for ~ even if I was stuck in an airport for the night.

No rules.  Just write! 

Related post:  How To Turn A Bad Day Around (Think Simple Now)

Life Lessons ~ Randy Pausch March 4, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness, Life Balance.
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In the last post, we focused on The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch. As promised, here are a few other life lessons Randy shares in his inspiring book:

Manage time like money * Stop wasting time on irrelevant details * Learn to delegate * Some times all you have to do is ask * Focus on your priorities ~ you may have less time than you think

Be self-reflective * Your rights are balanced by your responsibilities * You cannot change others, but you can change yourself and how you view them *

Don’t obsess over what other people think about you ~ focus on what you think about you * Tell the truth ~ all the time

Listen to others * Encourage others to excel * Let them know you appreciate their efforts * Look for the best in others and you will probably find it * Actions speak louder than words ~ watch what they do, not what they say

Pick your battles wisely * It’s better to be happy, than to insist on being right * Sometimes the best way to avoid unnecessary arguments is just to raise the white flag * Find common ground * Take a time out * Check your ego at the door

Dream Big * Whining about problems is not the best way to achieve your goals * Start moving in the direction of your dreams, and don’t stop * Think ahead and be prepared ~ bring what you need with you

Remember you are not alone: be open to input from others * No job is beneath you * Work hard and play hard * Encourage your kids to develop a joy for life * Help them discover their own path to fulfillment

Above all:  Show gratitude * Remember to give thanks * Never give up * Don’t live like you are dying ~ or die while you are still living * If you live your life fully, your dreams will come to you

Related post:  Stop Yer Belly-Aching

The Last Lecture March 4, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Gratitude, Happiness.
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Randy Pausch, diagnosed with terminal cancer, decided to share a few lessons on what makes life worth living, before  passing from this world. 

Written with Jeffrey Zaslow, The Last Lecture shares his thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Dedicated to the childhood dreams in all of us, Randy addresses how to achieve our dreams, and enable the dreams of others.  

Pausch shares how he worked to achieve  his childhood dreams, and how  the extraordinary people he met along the way helped him, starting with his parents.

Despite his grim diagnosis, Randy continued to focus on the positives, and live life to the fullest, by enjoying every possible moment he could with his wife and children.  He realized that he could not remove the “elephant in the room,” but he could live, work, and play around it.

In discussing his life lessons, he talks about the brick walls that we encounter.  These obstacles are opportunities “to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” 

With anecdotes, he demonstrates that, since you can go over walls, or around them, there’s no reason to keep banging your head against a brick wall in a futile attempt to knock it down.    

In my next post, I’ll share more of Randy’s wonderful advice about how to live life to the fullest ~ even if you are dying of a terminal illness.  In the meantime,  here is the overall philosophy of life which forms the basis for his advice:  

Be a fun-loving Tigger, not a sad-sack Eeyore.  Pack as much fun and laughter as you can into the limited time you have here.  

As Randy realized, everyone dies, but not everyone really knows how to live.